Merry Little Batman: behind the scenes of the new animated film

Merry Little Batman: behind the scenes of the new animated film

The moment Batman fans have been waiting for has finally arrived! This Friday the new animated film Merry Little Batman will be released on Prime Video. Warner Bros. Animation gave Cartoon Brew a behind-the-scenes look at the design work that went into creating a new aesthetic for this special holiday.

Merry Little Batman tells the story of Damian Wayne, a young man who finds himself alone in Wayne Manor on Christmas Eve. Instead of relaxing with hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies, the boy is forced to transform into "Little Batman" to defend his home and the city of Gotham from criminals and supervillains intent on destroying the holidays.

The film is directed by Mike Roth (Regular Show) from a screenplay by Morgan Evans (Teen Titans Go!) and Jase Ricci (Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham). It's one of three Batman titles coming to Prime Video, along with Bat-Family and Batman: Caped Crusader.

Ahead of the release of Merry Little Batman, we asked the film's art director Guillaume Fesquet and character designer Ben Tong to tell us about the inspirations and design process for the characters they created. Fesquet and Tong explained: Guillaume Fesquet: Taking inspiration from Ronald Searle's artistic style, our goal was to produce a Batman film that possessed a distinctive aesthetic, paying homage to Searle's universe. Guided visually by a very illustrative and “sketch” approach to the overall look, we wanted to maintain this naive illustration of Batman's world that reflects the identity of the protagonist, Batman's 8-year-old boy named Damian.

Here's what the two had to say about the design of the main characters in this unique adaptation of the Batman universe. Damian/Little Batman Fesquet: We imagined Damian, Batman's son, in a lighter and more affectionate version for a Christmas-themed film. He maintains his temper and desire to fight crime despite being an adorable 8 year old. Through his perspective, viewers experience his journey as a small young hero in a big world of villains. The character's design draws inspiration from Bill Watterson's innocent and playful style seen in Calvin & Hobbes. Bruce/Batman Fesquet: Bruce, our beloved Batman, is almost retired, but not quite! He still retains his superhero instincts despite now being a dad and having a much bigger responsibility: to be there for his son and protect him. While we wanted to inject some humor into his character, we also made sure to keep his charisma intact, which was a challenge to translate from a design perspective. Alfred Ben Tong: What fun designing this character! Our director, Mike [Roth], pushed me a lot on this. We wanted to create a very playful design; we took a lot of freedom. I think it's a great example of how far we wanted to take the silliness of the film. The outlines of him reflect an older age, a much slower character than Damian.

Joker Tong: I felt incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to put my own spin on such a vibrant and endearing character! When designing the Joker, I was inspired by the work of Christophe Blain. Blain is a talented French cartoonist known for his distinctive style characterized by characters with simple yet visually appealing personalities. I also wanted to give him a primal, animalistic look, exaggerating his expressions to make it even more dramatic.

In short, Merry Little Batman promises to be a one-of-a-kind film that will take fans on a holiday adventure with a Batman twist. We can't wait to see what this new aesthetic and well-designed characters have in store for us!


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