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‘Green Lantern: The Animated Series’ Sneak Peek [NYCC 2011]

Cartoon Network debuted several minutes of footage from the upcoming Green Lantern: The Animated Series at San Diego Comic-Con International this past summer, which briefly introduced Hal Jordan, Kilowog, their space ship The Interceptor’s artificial intelligence Aya and a host of Red Lanterns as the groups clashed on the frontier of The Guardian’s established space sectors. This weekend at New York Comic Con 2011, CN gave fans a much fuller look at the series by showing the entire pilot episode and giving fans access to executive producer and DC animation icon Bruce Timm, whose signature style was adapted into CG-animated 3D for the first time for the series.

Check out our initial (potentially spoilery) impressions of the sneak peek airing on CN November 11, along with Timm’s comments and answers to fan questions after the jump.The new series begins with a headstrong Hal Jordan doing his best to balance working as a test pilot for Ferris Industries while policing his sector — especially Earth — as a Green Lantern with a secret identity. What’s more, the hero maintains a relationship with boss Carol Ferris.

Of course, Jordan doesn’t hesitate to put his life on hold when called to Oa to be reprimanded for some recent brash conduct by The Guardians, and he’s soon in the presence of Kilowog and Guardian ally Ganthet. While being reprimanded for his seemingly justifiable actions on an earlier mission, the ring of a recently killed Green Lantern enters the room. Hal and Kilowog learn that in addition to The Guardians’ regular space sectors, they’ve also instated an initiative to recruit “Frontier Lanterns” in the far sectors of space who’re being killed at an alarming rate with no backup in sight. Even at maximum speed, these sectors would take a standard GL 18 months to reach. Hal and Kilowog’s first reaction is to take off immediately, but The Guardians forbid it.

As Hal storms off, Ganthet introduces Hal to a prototype ship, the Interceptor. Naturally, the test pilot can’t resist the allure of a new ship, and takes off with Kilowog to help the latest “Frontier” lantern in need.

From there, Hal and Kilowog interact with the new Lantern extensively and encounter the Red Lanterns (who don’t barf blood) for the first time. Among them is a major new threat, a conflicted, young Red Lantern by the name of Razor. Atrocitus is established as the RL leader, with familiar (big) face Zilius Zox cast as something of a psychotic, sniveling minion.

The first episode concludes with a clear enemy to face in an uncharted part of the galaxy, though there are still many mysteries left to solve before Hal and Kilowog can return to Oa.

Following the Green Lantern: The Animated Series presentation, Timm took to the stage to discuss the show and to take questions from attending fans. Timm briefly discussed his first exposure to an animated Green Lantern in the ’60s before talking about his professional experiences using GLs in the various shows he’s worked on for Warner Bros. Animation. For the 1996-2000 run of Superman: The Animated Series, Timm and his team worked with DC Comics to present the then-current GL Kyle Rayner, but more or less with Hal Jordan’s origin story. The conflation was due to Hal’s development in the comics as the murderous Parallax.

Timm said now is the right time for a solo GL cartoon because of the convening successes of Geoff Johns’ enormously popular Green Lantern series, which resurrected the Hal Jordan character, and the presence of this past summer’s Green Lantern film (although Timm joked that if the film had done a little better at the box office, it would’ve helped the animated series out a bit).

As Timm’s first fully CG project, the new GL series presented the animator with a number of challenges, but he said that working in the new medium has been very rewarding. Timm commented that he’d resisted CG for a long time since he knew 2D animation so well. He also joked that he could barely read his e-mail. Timm said that when starting work on the show, it was important that the overall look of the show not be rooted in realism. He said that while he enjoyed CG films like Disney and Pixar’s The Incredibles and Tangled, he doesn’t enjoy motion-capture animation, where filmmakers try to emulate reality extremely closely.

Fans then began to pick Timm’s brain for details about the show. According to Timm, Hal Jordan has only been a Green Lantern for “a couple of years” when the series begins. This approach keeps the protagonist confident and increasingly experienced without making him jaded or troubled by too long of a career.

Another fan asked if Earth GLs such as John Stewart and Guy Gardner would make appearances on the show. Timm teased that other lanterns and even Sinestro were a possibility down the road, and went on to say that the heroes would return to Earth by the end of the season for a finale full of interstellar warfare. Kyle Rayner fans were disappointed to learn that his appearance on the show wasn’t likely, however. According to Timm, Carol Ferris, who is initially only present for the opening of the show, will be in later episodes where “other aspects” of her character will be explored. Between Sinestro and Carol’s teased role as a Star Sapphire, fans can probably count on seeing at least four of the cosmic color corps in the Green Lantern animated series.

When discussing the Red Lantern Corps, Timm commented on the big-faced Zilius Zox, describing him as “an angry MODOK Madball,” to laughter from the crowd.

The panel wrapped with Timm discussing how some of the show’s original concepts and characters were already beginning to cross-pollinate with DC’s comic book stories. The Interceptor ship made a brief cameo in Green Lantern #65 before the DC reluanch (although it was accidentally drawn backwards) and Timm mused that fans will likely see the DCU version of the Red Lantern Razor apear in the comic at some point.

Heat Vision has an exclusive video of the opening scene of the series, which you can check out below:

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