Those who watched the first “Robot Chicken DC Comics Special” know that just about anything can happen when your favorite superheroes get pulled into that world. For the second time out, in “Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise,” the creators of the show are pushing the envelope even further — but can they go too far?
According to DC Comics chief creative officer Geoff Johns, probably not. “The thing is the characters can’t get broken,” he tells Zap2it during a press event for the special. “They’re too big and too popular. So putting them through the ‘Robot Chicken’ lens is fine.” Co-creator Seth Green adds, “There’s no real line we can’t cross.”
Green continues, “It speaks to the persona, and I don’t think people know this about DC as an organization because most non-comic book readers only know DC from the movies, which have an incredible emotional gravity to them. … You wouldn’t think that the personality of DC is flexible enough to perform in all of these different mediums.” However, he points out, several versions of Batman, all aimed at different audiences, co-exist in the DC Universe.
Besides, it’s not like Green and the “Robot Chicken” crew would even want to do anything detrimental to the character. “All the jokes come from love,” he says.
It’s that love for the properties that convinced some very big names to join “Robot Chicken” to lend a voice. For “DC Comics Special 2,” Alfred Molina returns to voice Lex Luthor. Molina gets to go back to high school with Lex and see exactly what the most devious man in Metropolis would have been like with a head of hair. It turns out he was in a metal band. Thus, Sexx Luthor was born and became a permanent part of DC Comics lore forever.
“I think part of the fun of doing something like this is you’re throwing yourself into something without really going into it too deeply,” Molina says. “You know it’s going to be a bit wacky, a bit crazy, but you know it’s going to be fun. I think that’s the key to the whole thing.”
Getting to be a little wacky and crazy is exactly what draws celebrity guests to the show. “Most actors, even if they’re really dramatic, want to do something silly,” Green says.
One voice viewers will likely recognize in the new special is Zac Efron, who portrays Superboy and has a song-and-dance number in the middle of the chaos. “Robot Chicken’s” take on “Summer Nights” from “Grease” finds Efron’s Superboy bragging about the new lady in his life, Lena Luthor (“Modern Family’s” Sarah Hyland).
“When Zac Efron first came in for ‘Robot Chicken’ back in the day, we all just clicked with him,” co-creater Matthew Senreich says. “We needed someone young who could actually sing as Superboy. It was a no-brainer.”
You can check out Efron and Hyland’s duet below, then tune into “Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise” on Sunday (April 6) at 11:30 p.m. ET on Adult Swim.
Chris E. Hayner is equal parts nerd, crazy person and coffee. He watches too much TV, knows more about pro wrestling than you do and remembers every single show from the TGIF lineup. You may have seen him as a pro-shark protester in "Sharknado 3." His eventual memoir will be called "You're Wrong, Here's Why..." TV words to live by: "I'm a firm believer that sometimes it's right to do the wrong thing."