It’s been announced that DC’s animation folks would be taking on The Dark Knight Returns, but we’ve finally got some details on cast and crew. Namely, if you thought that Michael Ironside or Kevin Conroy would take on the role, you’ll be disappointed and then possibly comforted to hear they’ve hired Peter Weller to voice Wayne/Batman. The Robocop star has a fine voice and, though I hate to admit it, is probably a more well-rounded choice than bringing back Ironside to reprise his very brief turn as Miller’s Batman in the Dark Knight Returns tribute segment of Batman: The Animated Series.
As for the rest of the cast, THR reports that Ariel Winters (Modern Family) will voice Carrie Kelly’s Robin, Wade Williams will voice Two-Face, Michael McKean will voice The Joker’s Psychiatrist, and David Shelby will take an unknown part. Perhaps he will be the film’s Joker? That would be the major role left out in the open.
The two-part animated film has been written by frequent DCAU pen Bob Goodman, and will be directed by storyboard artist Jay Oliva.
You know, there was a time when Frank Miller was just crazy enough, and his controlled insanity allowed him to write some seriously interesting shit- most notably The Dark Knight Returns. Lodged squarely in that dystopian 80s New York aesthetic, it provided a theoretical conclusion to the Bruce Wayne/Batman story by tying up loose ends with many of the major characters in that universe. It also is half of the one-two punch of deconstructionist comics — the other, of course, being Watchmen — that ripped the superhero genre apart, and from which it has arguably never recovered.
There have long been pipe dreams that Clint Eastwood would star in some kind of one-off live-action adaptation of the story, or that perhaps Nolan and Bale could wait a decade or so and come back to the franchise- but really the book has just been picked here and there for pieces that have ended up in the Nolanverse and in other comics. The only logical way to adapt this story is as an animation, so I hope they do a bang-up job bringing a new life to this singular, enduring piece of the Batman legacy.