At the panel for Blue Ribbon Content during the ongoing TCA press tour, Executive Vice President Peter Girardi weighed in on the strategy regarding CW Seed’s animated Arrowverse series. Blue Ribbon Content is the digital series production arm of Warner Bros. Television Group and they have produced the animated digital series Vixen, Freedom Fighters: The Ray, and Constantine.
Vixen was a success, and the title character even managed to crossover into the live-action Arrowverse; the reverse has already taken place for the other heroes with Russell Tovey performing both versions of The Ray, and Matt Ryan famously reprising his role from his fan-favorite live-action appearances. So when it comes to the strategic planning for Blue Ribbon Content and their animated DC Comics properties, our own TV Editor Allison Keene wanted some more details as to the future of The Ray and Constantine. Plus, Girardi teased a much darker animated version of Constantine to come, one that’s closer to Vertigo’s “Hellblazer” comics.
What’s the strategy for The Ray and Constantine? We’ve seen them introduced in live-action in the Arrowverse, but is the hope to continue with those live-action crossovers or create an animated universe that’s separate from the Arrowverse?
Peter Girardi: That’s yet to be determined. The first one we did was Vixen. And Vixen started out as animated. And I think we were also happy when it did migrate into the Arrowverse, but it started out as animated first. Since then, we’ve figured out a little more of a strategy around it where we worked very closely with Greg [Berlanti] and Marc Guggenheim and the team there to figure out what characters are going to work, what’s in [their] future plans, what can we do.
Also, with animation, the first thing you ask is, Why does this need to be animated? So we try to up the scale, and the consequences, and the VFX, and the set pieces in animation because, as we call it in the world of animation, pencil power. Just pencil power, it’s people drawing.
Moving forward, Constantine was a great example as well because the Constantine that we’re doing … it’s Constantine, if you’re familiar with the character. It’s Constantine from the Vertigo comic; it’s dark. Darker than the show.
Is the audience a little older than maybe Vixen’s audience might have been?
Girardi: Certainly for Constantine. Clearly, it should be, responsible parents. [laughs]