Yesterday was a big day for the DC Comics universe. Because after months of speculation, James Gunn revealed part of the first slate of live-action and animated titles in the newly formed DCU. The slate will have many familiar faces while also bringing in some new ones for non-diehard fans to watch and enjoy. One of the key parts of Gunn’s vision was a “unified universe.” He explained that the stories would connect, whether it was across movies, TV shows, or video games. He also emphasized that the actors providing characters’ voices for animated and possibly video game productions would later play their characters in live-action to have “consistency.”
When you think about that from strictly the “consistency” approach, you can see why James Gunn would want that. Over the years, there have been many complaints with DC Comics adaptations of “too many versions” of a character being played by different actors without acknowledging the others out there. However, one former developer at Rocksteady, who was a part of the Batman Arkham trilogy, noted on Twitter that this idea of consistency could have a big problem if you’re not careful:
While this may seem like an odd argument to the uninitiated, it’s actually a valid one. Going from being a live-action actor to a voice actor, and vice versa, takes work. There are only certain actors that do it and do it well. The dev specifically named Mark Hamill and Haley Joel Osment as fully capable of doing it, but others not so much. Tara Strong has also done live-action, so we can add her to the list.
But regarding the budget issues, that is a serious problem as many live-action actors might not be up for the pay their “VO counterparts” have to settle for with certain projects.
Plus, as the dev teased, by limiting who can voice/act as the character in both mediums, you potentially eliminate those who can dominate the role in one medium or the other. An excellent example is the late great Kevin Conroy, he voiced Batman for decades, yet if you looked at him, he doesn’t have the “Batman physique” that would let him play the character in live-action. He only did that once in the Arrowverse adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths and played an older and broken Batman.
To be fair to Gunn, he did admit there would be “Elseworlds” projects outside the main continuity. So it’s very likely those projects won’t have as strict a casting method.