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Frank Miller's graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns gets animated?

Apr. 14, 2011by: Dave Davis

As a way to compliment the live-action versions of their famous comic characters (or present ones that haven't made it to screens yet), Marvel and DC have each been cranking out animated direct-to-video movies.

Lately, DC in particular has been adapting some of their prominent storylines like BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD and ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, the version of Grant Morrison's recent acclaimed limited series. Now they're pulling one of their most famous stories off the bookshelf and into your DVD player.

According to Bleeding Cool, Frank Miller's influential Batman story THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS is currently in the animation pipeline. The seminal 1986 book, driven by Miller's distinct artistic style, takes place in a bleak future Gotham City and finds middle-aged Bruce Wayne un-retiring to wear the cowl to battle the Joker, marauding gangs, and Superman himself.

There's no timeline on when to expect the animated adaptation, but BATMAN: YEAR ONE will apparently arrive first.

Fans of the great "Batman: The Animated Series" have already seen Miller's highly praised book paid tribute in the episode "Legends of the Dark Knight", featuring the voice of Michael Ironside:

Extra Tidbit: Who would you want to see direct a live-action version of the comic? (I'm still trying to forget Miller's abominable sequel.)

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9:58AM on 04/18/2011

Clint Eastwood

I seem to remember a version that of Batman that was making its rounds during the Batman reboot-a-tron 2000 that was a version of this with Eastwood as the grumpy old Bats. I would venture to say he should direct it too...
I seem to remember a version that of Batman that was making its rounds during the Batman reboot-a-tron 2000 that was a version of this with Eastwood as the grumpy old Bats. I would venture to say he should direct it too...
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2:53PM on 04/16/2011

Maybe it's the booze talkin but....

I know it will never happen, and I am a huge fan of the Nolan/Batman Franchise but I would love to see a Batman film done in the same style as Sin City. Maybe not the whole ``one thing color while everything else is b&w`` but just that whole noir vibe. Definately something to think about all you future filmmakers.
I know it will never happen, and I am a huge fan of the Nolan/Batman Franchise but I would love to see a Batman film done in the same style as Sin City. Maybe not the whole ``one thing color while everything else is b&w`` but just that whole noir vibe. Definately something to think about all you future filmmakers.
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9:53AM on 04/18/2011
That has already been done. A French fan film from 2008/2009 called Ashes to Ashes. It was pretty good, though there is one scene with Joker and Harley that is pretty stomach turning.
That has already been done. A French fan film from 2008/2009 called Ashes to Ashes. It was pretty good, though there is one scene with Joker and Harley that is pretty stomach turning.
2:30PM on 04/19/2011
I agree. Thats why I said Robert Rodriguez but I got a lot of thumbs down for it.
I agree. Thats why I said Robert Rodriguez but I got a lot of thumbs down for it.
12:35AM on 04/16/2011

Casting

Bruce Willis - Batman
Ian McShane - Joker
Brandon Routh - Superman
Bill Mosely - Green Arrow
Michelle Pfeiffer - Selina Kyle
Kane from WWE - Mutant Gang Leader
Bruce Willis - Batman
Ian McShane - Joker
Brandon Routh - Superman
Bill Mosely - Green Arrow
Michelle Pfeiffer - Selina Kyle
Kane from WWE - Mutant Gang Leader
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9:27PM on 04/15/2011
Can't wait for an animated movie version, as for a live action movie:
Russell Crowe as Batman
Jon Hamm as Superman
Jeff Bridges as Green Arrow
Chloe Moretz as Robin
Steve Buscemi as Joker
Vin Diesel as The Mutant Leader
Dennis Farina as Gordon
Can't wait for an animated movie version, as for a live action movie:
Russell Crowe as Batman
Jon Hamm as Superman
Jeff Bridges as Green Arrow
Chloe Moretz as Robin
Steve Buscemi as Joker
Vin Diesel as The Mutant Leader
Dennis Farina as Gordon
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9:08PM on 04/15/2011
As for live action, Aranofsky directing w/ Daniel Day Lewis as Joker all the way. I'm drawing a blank on the Batman casting . . .
As for live action, Aranofsky directing w/ Daniel Day Lewis as Joker all the way. I'm drawing a blank on the Batman casting . . .
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8:55PM on 04/15/2011
They need some top-notch animation for this. Like way better than any D.C. animation to date. I'm excited at the thought of it, but it just feels like there's no way it'll be done right.
They need some top-notch animation for this. Like way better than any D.C. animation to date. I'm excited at the thought of it, but it just feels like there's no way it'll be done right.
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+3
11:53AM on 04/15/2011
If they are smart they'll get this thing out by spring of 2013 when the popularity of The Dark Knight Rises is still trending very high.
If they are smart they'll get this thing out by spring of 2013 when the popularity of The Dark Knight Rises is still trending very high.
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10:13AM on 04/15/2011
Have both books, LOVE both books......BRING IT!!
Have both books, LOVE both books......BRING IT!!
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10:01AM on 04/15/2011
This just made me realize how much I miss Batman: The Animated Series. Why does everything suck nowadays?
This just made me realize how much I miss Batman: The Animated Series. Why does everything suck nowadays?
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10:49AM on 04/15/2011
Because you grew up and your tastes became more discerning.
Because you grew up and your tastes became more discerning.
9:47AM on 04/15/2011
FINALLY!
FINALLY!
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+5
8:39AM on 04/15/2011

that episode

Has a great dig on J. Schumacher. The kids telling the stories end up in front of a womens clothing store and one of them picks up a pink boa and makes some sort of comment (i think about batman's tight costume) while wrapping said boa around his neck and the other boys respond "oh Joel...." LMAO
Has a great dig on J. Schumacher. The kids telling the stories end up in front of a womens clothing store and one of them picks up a pink boa and makes some sort of comment (i think about batman's tight costume) while wrapping said boa around his neck and the other boys respond "oh Joel...." LMAO
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11:02AM on 04/15/2011
All the more reason I find B:TAS to be the best cartoon of all time..
All the more reason I find B:TAS to be the best cartoon of all time..
6:48AM on 04/15/2011

for live action

Daniel Day Lewis for the Joker...Michael Ironside for Batman
Daniel Day Lewis for the Joker...Michael Ironside for Batman
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3:35AM on 04/15/2011

the minority opinion

even though i support anything comic related in terms of seeing it before i develop opinion in regards to a miller batman, never liked his work on batman, and so this will be one of the batman vehicles that i think will lie at the bottom of the pile. now to be fair i will watch it because it is batman but anticipatory wise i will not be glued to the screen waiting and hoping
even though i support anything comic related in terms of seeing it before i develop opinion in regards to a miller batman, never liked his work on batman, and so this will be one of the batman vehicles that i think will lie at the bottom of the pile. now to be fair i will watch it because it is batman but anticipatory wise i will not be glued to the screen waiting and hoping
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-33
2:51AM on 04/15/2011
Great more freaking Batman, please, more Bieber too...
Great more freaking Batman, please, more Bieber too...
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3:37AM on 04/15/2011
why not?
why not?
10:04AM on 04/15/2011
I agree with you Kilar, though I wouldn't mind to see this movie(a live action version)--ESPECIALLY instead of the next Nolan/Bale flick... those, while good, are getting stale... not sure if another return to that world will even be that exciting...
I agree with you Kilar, though I wouldn't mind to see this movie(a live action version)--ESPECIALLY instead of the next Nolan/Bale flick... those, while good, are getting stale... not sure if another return to that world will even be that exciting...
3:17PM on 04/15/2011
Pffft, hating just to hate.
Pffft, hating just to hate.
7:35PM on 04/15/2011
@Pin - or maybe he just has his opinion... just because there's the majority (which you seem to be in) doesn't mean that everyone does or has to agree with it without 'hating just to hate'

maybe you're loving just to love. splooge.
@Pin - or maybe he just has his opinion... just because there's the majority (which you seem to be in) doesn't mean that everyone does or has to agree with it without 'hating just to hate'

maybe you're loving just to love. splooge.
-14
2:02AM on 04/15/2011
Live action directed by Robert Rodriguez and Mickey Rourke as Batman.
Live action directed by Robert Rodriguez and Mickey Rourke as Batman.
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3:18PM on 04/15/2011
Nah he'd make Gotham in Mexico.
Nah he'd make Gotham in Mexico.
11:43PM on 04/14/2011

Nolan and TDKR

Two things about Nolan's The Dark Knight that reminded me of 'returns.'

The vigilantes dressed as Batmen in the opening scene are clearly taken from 'The Sons of Batman' the post-Mutants vigilante group that takes shotguns to petty thieves.

That guy on the ferry who volunteers to blow up the prisoners MUST have been inspired by that straight-laced guy who angrily rationalizes his descent into violence when all hell is breaking loose in Gotham. That little inspiration is what kept the
Two things about Nolan's The Dark Knight that reminded me of 'returns.'

The vigilantes dressed as Batmen in the opening scene are clearly taken from 'The Sons of Batman' the post-Mutants vigilante group that takes shotguns to petty thieves.

That guy on the ferry who volunteers to blow up the prisoners MUST have been inspired by that straight-laced guy who angrily rationalizes his descent into violence when all hell is breaking loose in Gotham. That little inspiration is what kept the ending from being cheesy for me.

And of course, Frank Miller's Batmobile resulted in the Tumbler.
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2:21PM on 04/15/2011
In the comics, it isn't uncommon for Gotham's citizens to dress as Batman. Most notably, (and before TDKR) there was the story Die Big, Die Small where a postman dresses as Batman and is killed by thugs.
In the comics, it isn't uncommon for Gotham's citizens to dress as Batman. Most notably, (and before TDKR) there was the story Die Big, Die Small where a postman dresses as Batman and is killed by thugs.
11:37PM on 04/14/2011

Draw You All Kinds of Cartoon

It will be a friendly, nostalgic reminder of a wonderful time before Frank Miller lost his goddamn mind to self-parody. When his gritty sparse prose could connect with human beings and he produced one of the finest, most complete pieces of pop art known to man.

Before Dark Knight Strikes Again, before The Spirit, before "What are you retarded? I'm the Goddamn Batman."
It will be a friendly, nostalgic reminder of a wonderful time before Frank Miller lost his goddamn mind to self-parody. When his gritty sparse prose could connect with human beings and he produced one of the finest, most complete pieces of pop art known to man.

Before Dark Knight Strikes Again, before The Spirit, before "What are you retarded? I'm the Goddamn Batman."
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11:27PM on 04/14/2011
It's too bad Heath Ledger died.

In 10 to 20 years, Nolan and Bale could have revisted Batman with this story.
It's too bad Heath Ledger died.

In 10 to 20 years, Nolan and Bale could have revisted Batman with this story.
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10:24PM on 04/14/2011

Extra tidbit.

Shoot THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS to debut on the Warner Premiere label. Keep costs low by filling the cast with talent and using the character as the star. Bruce/Batman would be played by Stephen Lang. The film would be a mix of live action and digital backgrounds to mimic the look of the original comic while also evading location costs. The film would be directed by a visual artist like Adam Berg or Chris Cunningham.
Shoot THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS to debut on the Warner Premiere label. Keep costs low by filling the cast with talent and using the character as the star. Bruce/Batman would be played by Stephen Lang. The film would be a mix of live action and digital backgrounds to mimic the look of the original comic while also evading location costs. The film would be directed by a visual artist like Adam Berg or Chris Cunningham.
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10:02PM on 04/14/2011
Batman Beyond was a pretty cool story, I'd enjoy a live action batman in the future flick.

what they really need to do is scrape together, oh, $500 million give or take a century and make a faithful Kingdom Come trilogy.
Batman Beyond was a pretty cool story, I'd enjoy a live action batman in the future flick.

what they really need to do is scrape together, oh, $500 million give or take a century and make a faithful Kingdom Come trilogy.
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9:21PM on 04/14/2011
One of the few episodes I loved from the final season that was an abomination.Though I liked the other episodes to some degree. This was the season where they changed the name of the show and they changed the art style and made it much lighter so they could do crossovers with the Superman series. Jokers redesign was the worst part.
[link]
cant wait for this movie though ">
One of the few episodes I loved from the final season that was an abomination.Though I liked the other episodes to some degree. This was the season where they changed the name of the show and they changed the art style and made it much lighter so they could do crossovers with the Superman series. Jokers redesign was the worst part.
[link]
cant wait for this movie though
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11:04PM on 04/14/2011
There were some great freaking episodes in that season though--"Never Fear", "Over The Edge", "The Ultimate Thrill", "The Demon Within" and "Cold Comfort" among them..

It's actually more of a success than failure, IMO..
There were some great freaking episodes in that season though--"Never Fear", "Over The Edge", "The Ultimate Thrill", "The Demon Within" and "Cold Comfort" among them..

It's actually more of a success than failure, IMO..
2:48AM on 04/15/2011
Story wise yes. But the redesigns leaned towards aweful most of the time. Especially Joker and the way they redesigned Riddler was exactly what they wanted to avoid the first time around. Green jumpsuit with a big ?
Story wise yes. But the redesigns leaned towards aweful most of the time. Especially Joker and the way they redesigned Riddler was exactly what they wanted to avoid the first time around. Green jumpsuit with a big ?
10:41AM on 04/15/2011
Yes, except for Scarecrow, the redesigns in Vol. 4 were mostly awful..

Scarecrow's rotting corpse look and having him voiced by Jeffery Combs were strokes of genius.
Yes, except for Scarecrow, the redesigns in Vol. 4 were mostly awful..

Scarecrow's rotting corpse look and having him voiced by Jeffery Combs were strokes of genius.
+5
9:00PM on 04/14/2011

live action please

get Eastwood to play Bats. Nuff said.

...and (obviously) do it quick!

Watch all the Nolan loverboys give me a thousand thumbs down, but it's a much more interesting idea than the 3rd Nolan/Bale batman flick, and I'd much much much rather see it instead of that.
get Eastwood to play Bats. Nuff said.

...and (obviously) do it quick!

Watch all the Nolan loverboys give me a thousand thumbs down, but it's a much more interesting idea than the 3rd Nolan/Bale batman flick, and I'd much much much rather see it instead of that.
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9:25PM on 04/14/2011
I may be a Nolan "loverboy" but Im a Batgeek first. Ive never been too much of a fan of Clint playing old Batman.
I may be a Nolan "loverboy" but Im a Batgeek first. Ive never been too much of a fan of Clint playing old Batman.
9:45PM on 04/14/2011
who'd you like to see instead?

...you know it might be kinda cool if Burton does TDKR with Keaton... he's definitely older... it could work...
who'd you like to see instead?

...you know it might be kinda cool if Burton does TDKR with Keaton... he's definitely older... it could work...
9:54PM on 04/14/2011
That would work for me.
That would work for me.
10:35PM on 04/14/2011
Why even invite criticism? Clint as Batman is a great idea. He's been used as an archetype for all manner of aging badasses; Darren Aronofsky even once remarked "I want to cast Clint Eastwood as Batman and shoot in Japan". Who knows how much he was joking!
Why even invite criticism? Clint as Batman is a great idea. He's been used as an archetype for all manner of aging badasses; Darren Aronofsky even once remarked "I want to cast Clint Eastwood as Batman and shoot in Japan". Who knows how much he was joking!
2:05AM on 04/15/2011
Clint is way too old for this part. You need someone in their 50's. Someone who looks older but not coming straight out of the nursing home.
Clint is way too old for this part. You need someone in their 50's. Someone who looks older but not coming straight out of the nursing home.
10:05AM on 04/15/2011
Eh I don't know, if Stallone can do The Expendables at his age -- Eastwood could easily play Batman.
Eh I don't know, if Stallone can do The Expendables at his age -- Eastwood could easily play Batman.
10:51AM on 04/15/2011
Brer - we all know Clint is far too old for the part, but that's part of the fun of pretending. Fine, "Heartbreak Ridge"-era Eastwood. Better?
Brer - we all know Clint is far too old for the part, but that's part of the fun of pretending. Fine, "Heartbreak Ridge"-era Eastwood. Better?
12:25PM on 04/15/2011
Donnacha, I apologize for assuming that you meant Clint at his current age. Looking back on it it now it was fairly obvious you meant a younger Clint...Since we are pretending how about Ernest Bognine as the Penguin and Jimmy Stewart as the Joker.
Donnacha, I apologize for assuming that you meant Clint at his current age. Looking back on it it now it was fairly obvious you meant a younger Clint...Since we are pretending how about Ernest Bognine as the Penguin and Jimmy Stewart as the Joker.
+1
8:59PM on 04/14/2011

I hadn't seen this episode before

But it only increases my respect for the Animated Series. What a great show...

Extra Tidbit: Darren Aronofsky or Martin Campbell
But it only increases my respect for the Animated Series. What a great show...

Extra Tidbit: Darren Aronofsky or Martin Campbell
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+0
8:57PM on 04/14/2011
Regarding the extra tidbit: I would love it if, say a couple years after Nolan's trilogy is complete, Tim Burton came back and directed "Batman Beyond," with Michael Keaton. I've always felt Burton's Batman films were worthy of being fleshed out just a bit more with one more installment, wrapping up as a trilogy and I think this would be a great way to do it.
Regarding the extra tidbit: I would love it if, say a couple years after Nolan's trilogy is complete, Tim Burton came back and directed "Batman Beyond," with Michael Keaton. I've always felt Burton's Batman films were worthy of being fleshed out just a bit more with one more installment, wrapping up as a trilogy and I think this would be a great way to do it.
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11:55AM on 04/15/2011
I actually think Nolan, Bale, Oldman and Hathaway ought to reconvene in 15 years and make their own version of The Dark Knight Returns. That would be epic. Enough time would have passed that they could recast The Joker in memory of Ledger and not have it feel exploitative.
I actually think Nolan, Bale, Oldman and Hathaway ought to reconvene in 15 years and make their own version of The Dark Knight Returns. That would be epic. Enough time would have passed that they could recast The Joker in memory of Ledger and not have it feel exploitative.
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