Warner Bros. Developing Animated Adaptation of Frank Miller’s THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS?

     April 14, 2011


One of the seminal deconstructions of the superhero genre is Frank Miller and Klaus Janson’s 1986 miniseries The Dark Knight Returns.  The comics are set in the future where a middle-aged Bruce Wayne feels forced to come out of retirement and fight crime only to incur the wrath of his old foes as well as the Gotham police department, the United States government, and Superman.  If you haven’t read it, go buy it right now.

But if you don’t feel like reading it, Bleeding Cool reports that an animated adaptation is in the works.  The adaptation would be the latest in a line of animated films based on DC Comics following the recent All-Star Superman and the in-development Year One, the latter of which is also based off a famous Miller Batman comic.  According to Bleeding Cool, “several veterans of Batman toons past will be on the crew list.”  My question is how dark can they go with this adaptation.  DKR isn’t exactly the bright sunshine of All-Star Superman.   It will be interesting to see who will be writing the adaptation of Dark Knight Returns and how they’ll be adapting this classic comic.  Hit the jump for a synopsis of The Dark Knight Returns.

Here’s the official synopsis for Frank Miller and Klaus Janson’s The Dark Knight Returns:

It is ten years after an aging Batman has retired, and Gotham City has sunk deeper into decadence and lawlessness. Now, when his city needs him most, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of glory. Joined by Carrie Kelly, a teenage female Robin, Batman takes to the streets to end the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city. And after facing off against his two greatest enemies, the Joker and Two-Face, for the final time, Batman finds himself in mortal combat with his former ally, Superman, in a battle that only one of them will survive.


  • ccraw13

    This fanboy would love seeing this done right. Give me Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne and Mark Hamill as the Joker with art work that is NOT anime derived (and hopefull Batman: TAS inspired), and I think something great is SURE to come about. Here’s hoping…

  • skivington

    Never have my prayers been so precisely answered.

  • JLC

    Eh, it’s not THAT dark. The worst stuff is probably the outdated war in Nicaragua subplot. I think Year One is darker. Anyway, I hope they do it justice. I was disappointed in the “highlight reel” that was All Star Superman.

  • jamaal


  • Charlie S.

    it better NOT look like TAS – that style is CRAPPY and over used. It needs to look like Miller’s books…Millers LOOK is what makes him cool as well as the story…TAS is boring choppy and blocky (in a bad way) Millers look is Blocky, but in a good way.

    • SuperSeanski

      Although I love TAS, I totaly agree with you. They need to capture the look of the comic. To often anymore it seems like TAS has become the look for DC animation.

      • ringbearer1420

        And that’s a problem? It’s the reason DC animation is consistent and accessible to the layman, where as Marvel’s animated history, despite a few bright spots, it’s plagued with crappy, bizarre and inconstant art (or CG).

      • SuperSeanski

        Its not a “Problem”, but the Dark Knight Returns has a look of it’s own, and should be utilized to set it apart from other animation.

  • Wolstenholme

    this should really be the next movie after Nolan finishes up his run

  • Stinky

    I thought I read that Hammil is done with The Joker after the next project…

  • HaRris
  • EV M

    …’sgotta be said that Bruce Wayne is well past middle-aged in TDKR. I haven’t read the book in a while, but he’s a grey-haired sixty at least?

  • sense 11


  • RomanM

    Well Matt I remember watching a video interview with the guys working on Year One animated, which is a bit darker than TDKR and he said they weren’t cutting any of the adult material out of the comic. He said the prostitution and drug stuff was in there and was going to stay. Now of course things can always change, but I hope not.

  • MonsterKilledThePilot

    Remember the episode of Batman TAS ‘Legends of The Dark Knight’ where those kids told the stories?



    Maybe someday we’ll actually get a live action adaptation.

  • Jimbo

    read that some execs were overheard talking about Tim Burton and Michael Keaton doing the next BATMAN installment, continuing their series in the DKR vein. That would be awesome!

  • Brett

    Boy would THAT be amazing — Michael Keaton is the definitive Batman in my book. He’s also an amazing actor otherwise in everything he does. Would love to see an animated Dark Knight Returns but would also love to see The New Teen Titans: Judas Contract by Wolfman and Perez on dvd as was promised years ago — with Jericho.

  • dingdong

    Keaton and Burton returning would be the most awesome thing ever!!! where did u read that?

  • Jeff T.

    Keaton is almost 60, so maybe it would be a Batman: Beyond type of thing.

    • Jeff T.

      Of course, Batman is 55 in TDKR.

  • RobDuggan

    I always wondered how tim burton and michael keaten would of handled a 3rd batman flick hopefully wb will let em do it

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