(CBR) Batman, Robin and Catwoman took over Hall H, and fans couldn't have been happier. Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar headlined Thursday's San Diego Comic-Con International panel celebrating the Nov. 11 launch of “Batman '66: The Complete Television Series” on Blu-ray.
“Fans always ask me, 'When can we own the series? When is it coming to [Blu-ray]?'” West told the Hall H crowd, adding that he is now very happy to have an answer for those patient fans.
Moderator and Los Angeles radio personality Ralph Garman introduced the panelists — Newmar was escorted on stage by two “Henchman” wearing masks — then West surprised fans by giving a shout out to another Catwoman in the crowd — Lee Meriwether — and then treated the excited crowd to both behind-the-scenes stories and clips from the remastered episodes.
As much as fans were excited to see the celebrities on stage, it was the footage that was the real star of the panel; split-screen comparisons of Batman and Robin going BOP! and POW! on Joker's henchman showed night-and-day differences between the standard def and HD transfers. After screening the clips, the panelists shared several production anecdotes and details surrounding this fall's box set, which is packed with extras.
In addition to owning the complete series on both Blu-ray and DVD, a Limited Edition set will also be available. The boxset includes: Limited Hot Wheels replica of the classic Batmobile, a set of 44 vintage trading cards, an episode guide with synopses for all episodes, and a personal letter from West. Each remastered episode comes with previews of the next installment — all in HD, obviously — similar to what CBS/Paramount did with their HD releases of “Star Trek: The Original Series.”
The set also boasts extensive retrospective docs, including “Batmania Born,” which profiles the series' impact on fandom with new interviews featuring Jim Lee, Bruce Timm and DC Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada. West is particularly proud of another special feature on the set: “Inventing Batman: The Words of Adam West.”
“[For this video], I still have my original script — my script from the pilot, with all my notes in it,” West said, adding that the doc features him going over his script notes while discussing his approach to portraying Gotham's Caped Crusader.
After West applauded the set's restoration efforts, the panelists engaged in a brief Q & A — where Ward revealed that, of all the cast members, he was the most accident prone.
“We were doing a stunt in the Batmobile,” Ward said, “and I should have let my stunt double do it when I saw that [Adam's] was doing his.”
The stunt required the Batmobile to drive at 50 MPH and while on the road, the passenger door opened and almost shot Ward out of the speeding vehicle. (Holy Wrong Day Not to Buckle Up, Batman!) The panel ended with West being asked why he has never made an appearance in any of the live-action Batman films. “Simple,” West said. “Because they've never asked me.” Your move, Zack Snyder. “
Batman '66″ goes on sale Nov. 11 and can be pre-ordered online now.