HBO Max is bringing DC’s “Batman: The Audio Adventures” back for a second run next month, with actor Jeffrey Wright again lending his rumbling baritone to the iconic superhero.
The 10-episode “Batman: The Audio Adventures” Season 2 will premiere in its entirety exclusively on HBO Max on Friday, Oct. 7. (All episodes of season 1, which debuted last year, are available on HBO Max and this month were also released on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other major audio platforms.)
“Batman: The Audio Adventures” — presented in the style an old-fashioned radio play — is created by Dennis McNicholas (a longtime “Saturday Night Live” writer). In addition to Wright, the ensemble cast includes Ike Barinholtz as Two-Face; Rosario Dawson as Catwoman; Gillian Jacobs as Harley Quinn; Bobby Moynihan as The Penguin and Bat-Mite; John Leguizamo as The Riddler; Seth Meyers as Jack Ryder; Brooke Shields as Vicki Vale; Brent Spiner as The Joker; Kenan Thompson as Commissioner Gordon; Alan Tudyk as Alfred; Melissa Villaseñor as Robin; Bradley Whitford as Scarecrow; and Chris Parnell as the narrator.
“It’s edgy, but has comic elements too — it’s very noir and old-school in some ways,” Wright tells Variety. “What drew me to this, what distinguishes it, is that it’s a radio show. I’m giving a wink to the old radio shows… I love the strangeness and the melodrama you can bring to it. We lean on that.”
Coincidentally, Wright (HBO’s “Westworld,” “No Time to Die,” “The French Dispatch”) also appeared in Warner Bros.’ “The Batman” starring Robert Pattinson, as Lt. James Gordon. The only common thread there, he says, is that he’s a longtime fan of the Batman franchise.
McNicholas, like “The Batman” director Matt Reeves, is “a deeply entrenched fan of the franchise” — and both have “a fairly encyclopedic knowledge” of Caped Crusader lore, Wright says. Both have tried to “rethink the world in ways that are new but at the same time are rooted in its origins,” he adds.
In an audio drama, as a nonvisual medium, “you’ve got to do a bit more work with the language,” Wright notes, praising McNicholas as a “fantastic writer.”
“I love voice work,” says Wright. “It’s kind of a craft unto itself. Having come from the theater, I enjoy working with the voice… It’s music on the page. I have an instrument, and I try to interpret it for the composer and for the conductor.”
In Season 2 of “Batman: The Audio Adventures,” Gotham City’s cauldron of crime and corruption is about to boil over. While The Joker remains at large, criminal kingpins and former rivals The Penguin and Two-Face have joined forces – and the mysterious narco-terrorist known as Scarecrow remains unidentified, even as his chemical nightmares plague the city. The schism between Batman and Catwoman grows ever larger as both escalate their separate wars on crime, threatening dire consequences for both. And Harleen Quinzel (aka Harley Quinn) is living for a love that’s slowly killing her, just waiting for inspiration to strike.
“It’s a fairly dense series. There’s a lot in there,” Wright says.
Meanwhile, alongside “Batman: The Audio Adventures,” there’s “Batman Unburied,” a scripted podcast from DC/Warner Bros. for Spotify that tells an alternative origin story for the superhero. Spotify recently renewed the show for a second season. “Batman Unburied” stars Winston Duke in the title role and was created by and executive produced by David S. Goyer.
HBO Max is promoting the new season at New York Comic Con, with a panel discussion set for Oct. 7 at 1:45 p.m. with writer-director McNicholas as well as Wright and Moynihan.
In addition to the podcast series, a new “Batman: The Audio Adventures” seven-issue comic-book miniseries is coming out this fall. Written by McNicholas, the comics feature art by Anthony Marques and J. Bone, with cover by Dave Johnson and two variant covers: one by Michael Allred, a second by Marques and J. Bone. Issue No. 1 will be released Sept. 27, priced at $3.99 (variant $4.99).
In the new miniseries, a string of attacks has plagued Gotham’s seedy underbelly, sending criminals into a panic. But it’s not Batman who is striking at the heart of the city — it’s a group of mysterious assailants on the hunt for an ancient artifact. As Batman hunts down the assassins, he finds clues that keep drawing him to their true goal: the sword of King Scimitar.
Listen to the trailer for HBO Max’s “Batman: The Audio Adventures” Season 2:
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