Annecy 2023 Recap: Warner Bros. Animation Teases “Batman: Caped Crusader,” “Tiny Toons Looniversity,” “The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim,” and more at Annecy Festival.

Three TV animation brands owned by Warner Bros. Discovery – Warner Bros. Animation, Cartoon Network Studios, and Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe – joined forces at Annecy Festival to give attendees a brief overview of their impressive slate. Not only does it include shows and movies based on evergreen franchises like Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo, and Batman, but there are also quite a few originals aimed at all ages, from preschoolers to adults. No photos were allowed during the panel, with many projects unveiling the first images and footage seen anywhere outside of the studio.

(Warner Bros. Animation/Cartoon Network/Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe)

(Warner Bros. Animation/Cartoon Network/Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe)

Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe

First to present was Sarah Fell, Vice President of Series for Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe. The London-based studio is where The Amazing World of Gumball was born, which ran for six seasons on Cartoon Network. The first series presented will be the studio’s first foray into preschool animation, Jessica’s Big Little World. A spin-off of Cartoon Network’s Craig of the Creek, this show is coming this fall, and the first clip was revealed during the presentation. Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is also getting a preschool spin-off, Foster's Imaginary Nursery.

The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe premiered in the U.K. on May 15th. It’s coming to the U.S. this fall.  

Based on the popular Looney Tunes character Tasmanian Devil, Taz is a new stop-motion series from Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe. In the footage shown, the show has a very Gumby quality to it, with characters looking like they’re made out of clay rather than a moveable rig. Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe is also beginning production on their first DC series based out of the UK, Beast Boy: Lone Wolf.

Warner Bros. Animation – Kids & Family

Audrey Diehl, SVP of Development for Warner Bros. Animation, handled the Kids & Family portion of the presentation, which began with Tiny Toons Looniversity. A continuation of the hit series Tiny Toon Adventures, Annecy audiences were the first to see the new intro, which uses the original theme song with some modified lyrics. Like the original, the series is being produced in partnership with Amblin Entertainment.

Coming in 2024, a new series called Invincible Fight Girl follows the daughter of accountant parents in a world full of wrestlers. Naturally, all she dreams of is becoming a wrestler herself. Annecy attendees were the first to see a test animatic of the style of the series.

My Adventures with Superman is coming on July 6th to Adult Swim. While the series is bowing on Cartoon Network’s adult-focused brand, it is technically aimed at families. The animation has an anime esthetic and it follows the working relationship between Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen.

Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai recently debuted on Max, and Audrey teased that Warner Bros. Animation is already in production on Season 2. And while The Amazing World of Gumball began at Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe, a tease of the revived 7th Season was included under Warner Bros. Animation’s section of the panel, which showed creatives from the series answering some popular fan questions (hilariously, no consensus was made in response to any of them).

Warner Bros. Animation – Adults

Peter Girardi, Executive Vice President of Alternative Programming, and Shaleen Desai, Senior Vice President of Adult Series, started their section of the presentation with Velma. Whether Scooby-Doo fans were rage-watching or genuinely interested, the series currently stands as the most-watched original animated series to launch on Max and Season 2 is coming.

Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake is coming this fall, and Annecy attendees saw a clip from the show, in which the lead characters try to rehabilitate Ice King.

Season 4 of Harley Quinn is coming later this summer, but the bigger news was that its spin-off has been retitled from Noonan’s to Kite Man: Hell Yeah! Having been jilted at the altar, Kite Man and his girlfriend, Golden Glider, buy a bar called Noonan’s and turn it into a space where B-list heroes and villains can drown their sorrows. Bain was revealed to be a major part of the series and we saw test animation for the series.

Creature Commandos will be the first animated series set within the continuity of the new DC Universe spearheaded by James Gunn and Peter Safran. James Gunn wrote all of the scripts and voice actors aren’t just cast for animation, but will also play their roles in live-action films. Creature Commandos is set after Suicide Squad and will serve as a direct lead-in to Superman: Legacy. While it was too early for any footage, Peter and Shaleen showed a few character model sheets.

Bruce Timm is back with a remake of his beloved Batman: The Animated Series, this time telling the story on his own terms without network censors dictating what can be done in animation. J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot are on board for Batman: Caped Crusader, which is coming to Prime Video. We got to see some early footage, with character designs looking much like they did on Batman: The Animated Series. In the quick footage, we got to see Bruce Wayne/Batman, Alfred, Catwoman, Gentleman Ghost, and Clayface.

Warner Bros. Animation – Longform & Specials

Sammy Perlmutter, Vice President of Longform & Specials for all three studios, kicked off his portion of the presentation with Craig of the Creek: The Movie. A prequel to the hit Cartoon Network series, We got to see a brief clip, which wasn’t finalized yet, but it was clear that the animation quality has been improved for this feature film, which follows Craig as he meets his future best friends, Kelsey and J.P.

Porky Pig and Daffy Duck are departing for a sci-fi adventure in Looney Tunes: Bubble Brains. From the same team behind Looney Tunes Cartoons, this special uses the same animation style and attendees got a work-in-progress tease of a kitchen scene with the rascally stars.

A holiday special, Merry Little Batman, will kickstart a new animated series called Bat-Family. Both projects follow Bruce Wayne and his son Damian, with the holiday special finding the young son of Batman discovering the Bat Cave and becoming Little Batman for the first time. Some test footage and character designs were revealed, with the esthetic looking like a fusion between Tim Burton’s unique style and Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. Like Batman: Caped Crusader, both of these projects are heading to Prime Video.

The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim

Jason Demarco, Senior Vice President of Anime and Action Series/Longform for Warner Bros. Animation & Cartoon Network Studios, spent his time on just one title – The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim. This anime film is two years into production and will receive a big-screen theatrical release. Set 250 years before The Hobbit, this story is based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s Appendices and is set within Peter Jackson’s cinematic universe (as opposed to Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power). A separate panel was held at Annecy in which Jason showcased some rough scenes from the film. But to close out this panel, we got to see a 15-second teaser created just for this event.

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Alex Reif
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).