by Matt Sernaker, Managing Editor
Anyone who grew up in the 90’s will probably be familiar with the work of actor Will Friedle, also known as Cory’s older brother, Eric Matthews, on the hit series Boy Meets World. In addition to Will’s role on BMW, Will has taken on several key voice acting roles such as Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond, Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern) in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, Jaime Reyes (Blue Beetle) in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, as well as Lion-O in the 2011 ThunderCats series. While attending the World Premiere of Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters at Universal Studios Hollywood, Will was kind enough to talk about his time voicing these fan favorite series, and gave us an exclusive regarding the upcoming Boy Meets World spin-off series: Girl Meets World.
ComicsOnline: Will, let’s start with Batman Beyond. As I mentioned when we first met, we have had several interviews with Bruce Timm, and we always have to ask when we’re getting more Batman Beyond. It’s such a fan favorite series and it still resonates today. How does that make you feel playing Batman?
Will Friedle: First of all, it was obviously a huge honor for me to be able to kind of step in the mantle of Batman, but I also think it was a little easier for me because I didn’t have to be Bruce Wayne. I got to be Terry, which was a nice easy way to move into playing Batman. But at the same time, you’re coming onto a project with Bruce Timm and Paul Dini and Alan Burnett. You’ve got Andrea Romano directing. You’re stepping right into the heart of the beast when it comes to animation at that point. So it was a trial by fire for me, and everyday I would walk into work, kind of realizing how honored I was to be in the same room as these people that are animation icons. Especially coming off from Batman: The Animated Series which is arguably one of the greatest superhero animated series of all time. So to have them turn around and do Batman Beyond and then to get the part of Batman was pretty incredible for me.
CO: Especially since you’ve also had Kevin Conroy still voicing Bruce Wayne…
WF: Kevin was my mentor the entire time, I mean, to the point I had never done voice over before and the first episode or two, he was literally saying “Alright well why don’t you sit up a little straighter?” I really looked to him to help me out with even just the little things, and he got me on the path in this side of the industry and I owe him a lot. He was next to me, just a rock the entire time with that deep booming voice. I don’t know where I would be without his help.
CO: I had the opportunity to speak with Kevin a couple of times also, just one of those people that blows you away in person.
WF: Oh yeah, well you also couldn’t meet a nicer guy. I think I’d known him for about 3 weeks and I said “Oh I have to go back to New York to go do something” and he said “Oh well do you have a place to stay? I have an apartment back there. Did you want to stay at my apartment?” I was like, I had just met this guy! He’s just so nice. He’s just a genuinely nice guy, and yeah, man we had a lot of fun.
CO: Batman has places all over.
WF: (Laughs) Batman’s got places everywhere. Ya know Terry didn’t, Bruce does.
CO: Batman Beyond has recently come back in comics, have you had any opportunity to read any of the current series?
WF: I have not read many, I was sent one or two and I love to just even kind of see the artwork again, and see some of the old characters we were introduced to. I’m very much an animation fan, and I’m very much a fantasy series type when it’s books, real type kind of stuff. I never really got into the comic book side of it.
CO: They’ve done some really great stuff with Terry and just giving fans a little bit more of what they wanted that unfortunately, we didn’t get to see towards the end of the series.
WF: “Epilogue” was a very cool way to end in which that was an episode that we were- I was sworn to secrecy about for, you know, months, but it was a lot of fun.
CO: I think it was amazing to see a little bit during the end of Justice League and then leading into Justice League Unlimited. If that was the way to end the series, or even end Justice League in that whole DC animated universe, that would have been a perfect send off.
WF: It was pretty cool, yeah. That was one of those things that when it came back with that really black and white film noir kind of look to it that was one where I was just absolutely blown away. So yeah, it was a great episode.
CO: You mentioned that you got to voice a character for Green Lantern: The Animated Series.
WF: I did, yeah. We just saw our friend over there Mr. Josh Keaton, and Josh and I had worked together before many times- not often because we always talk about the fact that Josh, Jason Marsden and myself, we all are friends and we all sound similar, but it seems like very rarely are the three of us ever in the same room together. But I have had the opportunity to work with Josh a couple times, and the last time was the Green Lantern: The Animated Series with Kevin Michael Richardson and John DiMaggio and some other great people, so yeah, we had a blast.
CO: Josh had mentioned how he was also going for the part of Lion-O and joked about being “happily angry” that you got the part.
WF: Yeah we figured, that’s again always the way. Had he got Lion-O hopefully that I would have gotten Green Lantern. We like to switch off, but and then of course Jason Marsden from getting Duke when G.I. Joe came out again. So, yeah, we like to trade off between the three of us, if we can, but these were parts that we were all kind of vying for and really wanted. To be Lion-O was one of the coolest things that I’ve ever done in my career, and I mean, I’ve done some pretty neat things. Being able to tell women that you’re Batman and not be lying is pretty awesome. So, to be Lion-O, just as a kid, this was made for me. That’s what I tell people, that ThunderCats was made for me. I was 8 when the show came out. I was there, every day. I had my Thundertank and knew where to put the couch cushions up on my couch to make my Thundertank or my Cobra HISS, and I was having a blast, so when I actually had to sit there and say “Thunder, Thunder, ThunderCats” for the first time I was shaking. So yeah, that one was kind of hitting right on the childhood.
CO: We got to meet Larry at WonderCon and it was funny how his signature line seemed to be “Well you know, Cheetara was the original “ThunderCats Ho”
WF: “ThunderCats Ho”, Yes he loved that.
CO: Does he say that like, every five minutes?
WF: He loves that. Here’s the funny thing, Larry and I became email buddies and I’ve never met him. He would record when we weren’t there or we would record when he wasn’t there, and again we’re trading emails back and forth all the time, thanking him for just even having the opportunity, but never having a chance to meet him. I don’t really go to all the ThunderCon stuff. I probably should, I mean something like this was a ton of fun and I can’t wait to watch the show, but yeah, I don’t really do that. So he and I kept saying “We’re going to get together when I’m in LA, we’re going to have a drink” and then I was out of town and then he was out of town, so hopefully we’re going to get together at some point.
CO: Seems like a nice guy.
WF: That’s all I’ve heard, is that he’s a wonderful man, so I can’t wait.
CO: So we just had a big announcement that a certain series is coming back… Boy Meets World, now, Girl Meets World–
WF: Yes, Girl Meets World, you know you’re the only person I’ve spoken to about this.
WF: You really are, I have not said anything and to be honest, I don’t know what I’m going to say about it now.
CO: Are you excited to see that the franchise is continuing?
WF: Absolutely! Absolutely excited to see it. I’m very happy for Ben and Danielle. I can’t wait to see what they do with it. I can’t wait be really involved as a fan.
CO: If you were presented with the opportunity, would you jump back in and be Cory’s brother again?
WF: I don’t know, I have to say that, presented the opportunity I’d like to kinda be Ben’s older brother. Ya know he’s got Fred, but we were always together on the set and we had that kind of brotherly bond. As far as the show, I’m 36 years old now, and I have an amazing time doing Boy Meets World, I really did. It was one of the highlights of my life, and seven years I’ll never forget, and I want to remember it, exactly as it was. So we’re certainly going to be there on the set with them and supportive in every possible way that we can, but as for actually going back and reprising the character… it’s tough, I really don’t know. I really couldn’t tell you. I’d be lying to you if I said either way, frankly.
CO: I can say honestly fans would like to see it.
WF: That’s very sweet. I’ve heard that as well, but I also think it’s important that the new cast kind of gets to have the opportunity that we did as kids, and get to learn their characters and get to grow up doing that as well and maybe we need to just kind of leave them alone a little bit and let them do that. So, you know, who knows, the future’s a funny thing, you never know what’s going to happen, but I will definitely be involved as a fan, I can tell you that.
I have done many interviews over the years, and I wanted to mention that Will was one of the nicest people that I have had the fortune to speak with. Hopefully fans will get to see Will show up as Eric and provide some brotherly support to Cory in the Girl Meets World spin-off…but only time will tell.
Thanks again to Will Friedle and The Hub for making this interview possible.
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