WonderCon@Home 2021: ‘Justice Society: WWII” Cast And Creators Tease Black Canary/Hawkman Relationship

by Erik Amaya

In discussing their work in the upcoming Justice Society: World War II at a WonderCon@Home panel on Saturday, the cast and crew of the DC Animated movies continued to come back to an intriguing element of the story: a potential romance between Hawkman (voiced by Omid Abtahi) and Black Canary (Elysia Rotaru).

Though an element of the script by Supernatural veterans Jeremy Adams and Meghan Fitzmartin, the idea took on an additional life in the storyboard process. “Even though we’d written it, it was animated in such a way that I found myself really gripped by it much more than it was on the page,” Adams said. But according to supervising producer Butch Lukic, the subtlety of the resulting animation still took them by surprise.

“There’s that second and third look from her to him that’s there [in the script], but you don’t see it until you visualize it,” he said. “And even then, you go ‘oh, okay!'”

The success of the work also took Abtahi and Rotaru by surprise. “I never got to meet Elysia and I never got to hear anything [she] did in the booth” he said. “Watching it, I thought ‘this girl is so cool and I’d hang out with her in real life.'” He also credited Rotaru with doing “most of the heavy lifting,” which suggest Hawkman may not be entirely cognizant of what’s going on.

“I love watching the dynamic” Rotaru said. “It was an interesting energy I was trying to mix in there. It’s a tension of sort, but we don’t know how. I came at it with an admiration and respect for Hawkman.”

Chris Diamantopoulos, who plays Steve Trevor, noted part of what makes it striking is the way Abtahi brought a new dimension to the role. “Hawkman, typically because of the sheer physical presence of him, can be larger than life and it was so smart to take him into this still place. Of all the superheroes, he would be the stoic philosopher.”

“You’re making me blush through my beard,” Abtahi joked. He also noted it is a pleasure to play one of the marquee JSA heroes as, growing up, brown superheroes were so rare. Even as recently as twelve years ago, Abtahi felt the opportunity to play a DC character would still be unlikely.

Though the film takes place in an scenario where action is a given, the actors felt the drama — particularly the way the film highlights a tension between Hawkman and Black Canary and the ongoing relationship between Wonder Woman (Stana Katic) and Steve Trevor — was one of the unexpected aspects of the completed film. A quality the voice talent all credited to Lukic, voice director Wes Gleason, and director Jeff Wamester.

“It’s like being guided [blind] into traffic,” Diamantopoulos said. “You have to trust these guys see the entire painting and they really did a tremendous job.”

Justice Society: World War II hits digital on April 27th and disc formats on May 11th.

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