It’s Actually Happening! ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ Voice Cast Announced; First Images Released

Rumored and then talked about for a while, I refused to believe it until some concrete proof emerged, and now we have it. The Hollywood Reporter‘s Heat Vision blog has the scoop on the upcoming animated movie, The Dark Knight Returns.

First, the voice cast:

Peter Weller as Bruce Wayne / Batman


Ariel Winter as Carrie Kelly / Robin


The rest of the announced cast includes Wade Williams as Harvey Dent/Two-Face, (recently badly injured) Michael McKean as Dr. Wolper, and David Selby in an unidentified role (probably Jim Gordon?). No word yet on who is voicing The Joker, Catwoman, Oliver Queen, or Superman.

In addition to the two images from the film(s) shown above, Heat Vision also has a bunch more images from the film, like this one:

Click here for the full gallery of images.

Here’s what else we know:

  • The book will be broken up into two films: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 and The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2.
  • The release dates for the films are fall 2012 and early 2013.
  • The line of films, of which these will be the 15th and 16th entries, was formerly known as DC Universe Animated Original Movies and is now being called DC Comics Premiere Movies.
  • The films are directed by Jay Oliva, who directed parts of Green Lantern: Emerald Knights and is the storyboard artist on Man of Steel. They are written by Bob Goodman who writes for Warehouse 13 and other DC cartoons.

Update! This isn’t the first time that The Dark Knight Returns has been animated. There, of course, was the tribute in The New Batman Adventures in the episode entitled “Legends of the Dark Knight.” (Thanks to TheGoddamnDeadpool for posting it in the comments and reminding me.)


  1. Holy crap, Robocop is Batman.

    • those were my words, almost exactly.

      now i really want to watch robocop.

    • I like Buckaroo Banzai… but here’s to hoping he actually tries to ‘do a voice’ and not use his natural voice. Last time I saw him act (on Dexter), he had this oddly-rhythmic, slow drawl that was creepy.

  2. Is it wrong that I get disappointed every time Batman isn’t Kevin Conroy? (I’m sure Weller will be great, imjustsayin’)

  3. Very good news! The two part format should allow them some breathing room. I can’t wait!

  4. Oh boy. This is the stuff of wildest fantasies and worst nightmares. What changes will be made? I’m assuming the Soviets and the Max Headroom-meets-Reagan POTUS will be abandoned. Will the Mutant’s tweet each other about showing up at the Dump? Still… my mon Bats don’t shiv.

  5. Darn it! I was hoping for the next DC Antimated movie to be Teen Titans. But no Barman will make more money so let’s do a batman movie. Oh well, A guy can dream.

  6. Animated Watchmen, anyone?

  7. Since Robocop was already used….Holy shit, Buckaroo Banzai is Batman!

  8. i saw this article somewhere else online and thought it said “peter cullen” to voice Batman in Dark knight returns. i almost fell off my chair

  9. TWO PARTS!!! Yessssssssssssss!! Finally!

    My only one complaint about DC animated DVDs was they never had enough time to really adapt the whole story. Some have done well adapting, but others sorely missed some great moments because of it (Doom, All-Star Superman).

    If they start doing multi-part DVD films now… thats one step close to the possibility of an animated Kingdom Come or Crisis!!!!

  10. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Not a fan of the source material, but I’m definitely excited about the care with which DC Animation is approaching this one. Splitting it up like this is very smart. Hopefully it will perform well enough that more adaptations will receive the same kind of treatment.

  11. A bit disappointed that Batman won’t be Michael Ironside, after hearing how good he was in the part of DKR Batman in that episode of the Batman Animated Series.

    Seriously, check it out if you haven’t already seen it:

    • I agree, I’ve always loved that bit of voice casting.

      When I was in my teens, I wanted them to make a live action DKR movie starring Clint Eastwood. I still hear his voice when I read through panels of the graphic novel (when I’m not hearing Michael Ironside) (or any of the other voices in my head).

    • @BionicDave: I hear Eastwood as well. Every time I read it. I may be wrong, but I think I once read somewhere that Miller Heard Eastwood when he was writing it too.

    • It’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one disappointed when Eastwood retired from acting without tackling that role.

  12. I hope they don’t dumb this down too much.

    • I can see so many nuances being cut. All the little details being dropped. “Didn’t we have a kid?”

    • They’ve got a pretty good track record. All-Star Superman was pretty faithful, but it stood on it’s own as a great movie even if things were cut.

      Under the Red Hood was way better than it’s source material IMHO.

      If they don’t change anything, they’re not doing their job…which is to make a great movie first and foremost.

      My only fear is that they incorporate any DKR2 continuity into it…*shudder*

      And Paul, you need to write an article on why you’re not a fan. I haven’t seen any critical analysis of this in years, and I like to see what riles you.

  13. Given the great job they did with Year One (possibly my favourite DC animated movie!) I’m very much looking forward to this. Been loving all of them recently, can’t even remember the last bad one.

  14. Look up “Cute” on Wikipedia, and there should be a picture of Ariel Winter.

  15. Well, Frank Miller should be plenty pissed about that. Here and Weller apparently didn’t get along during the filming of Robocop 2. But then, Miller’s opinion on anything hasn’t really mattered in quite a while.

  16. Weller is an inspired choice. Something as big as this should have Conroy doing it, but I can make peace with it.

  17. “Dead or Alive you’re coming with me!”

  18. I can only assume they don’t just hire Kevin Conroy because either they don’t want Conroy to start demanding unreasonable amounts or Conroy has some odd idea that he’ll be typecast if he does too much Batman. Just not sure what the story is there.

    I can certainly understand not liking Batman: The Dark Knight. It suggests that Batman doesn’t find happiness (until much later). Which at the time was not what I assumed for Batman’s future at the time it was published.

    • Having attended many panel discussions with the people behind these movies I can tell you that neither of those theories are correct. They just like to have different interpretations of the characters by different actors. They like exploring different variations of the characters. Which is good–when you have a character appearing in animation so often you don’t want the same people voicing these characters. Variety is good. Different interpretations are good.

      That having been said, if Conroy ever wanted to retire his Batman (as Mark Hamill sort of has with The Joker), then this would be the project to do it. I don’t believe he intends on retiring the voice anytime soon, though.

      I look forward to Weller’s interpretation of Batman.

    • i wonder if it might have to do with the fact that dkr stars old man batman, and kevin conroy is more of a middle-aged batman. we’ll definitely get an older voice with weller.

    • @thered: Weller is only 5 years older than Conroy.

    • Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      A lot happens to a man in those five years.

    • I’m surprised they didn’t go for Michael Ironside considering he was PERFECT for the homage in the Animated Series homage.

      Conroy and Hamil would be good choices if this was going to be the last thing they ever do with Batman and Joker. But it won’t, so it wouldn’t work. No matter how many times Hamil says he’s done as Joker.

    • imdb has them almost 8 years apart… (OMG ROBOCOP IS ALMOST 65! I FEEL SO OLD RIGHT NOW!) i haven’t heard peter weller’s voice in a while, but he definitely looks like he probably sounds quite a bit older than conroy… i’ve always pictured old man batman sounding like clint eastwood sounds these days. eastwood would probably cost more than the entire budget of the movie, so weller looks like he could be a good replacement.

    • I attended a Batman Animated Series 20th anniversary panel at Emerald City recently. A fan mentioned an animated Dark Knight Returns to Conroy and he said he had no clue it was being made and joked that he needed to get his agent on the phone. Conroy definitely doesn’t seem done being Batman the way Hamill is. I think DC just wants to have different guys doing it. That way, they aren’t hamstrung to one guy. There’s lots of projects going on all the time.

    • @thered: Hey, you’re right… I flipped the 6 and the 9 and aged Conroy by four years.

    • I hope Conor doesn’t handle the payroll

  19. SO pumped for this! I’ve always said that if they were gonna do this, they’d have to split it up. The story has a pretty natural break in it anyway after the Harvey Dent parts. Glad they went that way.

    Now for the real question: Who’s gonna voice Joker?

  20. Wow, I was blindsided by this one! I always thought Clint Eastwood should do the voice if this movie ever came out, but I’m sure Peter Weller will be great. This is pretty exciting, and I love they are spreading it out over two films. This should be fantastic!

    Also, in Paul’s defense, I do think Batman: Year One is better than Dark Knight Returns.

  21. Not the cast I was expecting, especially Weller, but as I’ll give it a shot as I have with all of these. Maybe they’ll top “Red Hood” as the best of the animated batfilms!!

    Kinda humorous that this is following “Superman VS The Elite” in the production considering their opposing statements on what a hero should be. I feel that the heroes The Elite represent are the immature outgrowth of what DKR started in comics, but ech, maybe I’m still just down on Miller… A blog rant about Occupy shouldn’t ruin a creator for everyone, but it sure did for me…

    My suggestion for the next one of these where Bats stars : Paul Pope’s “Batman Year 100″…

  22. Woooo!!! I’ve been waiting for this the moment DC started this animated venture. All we need is Kingdom Come to be adapted and I can die happy.

    I like it this is being released in two parts. Cause, I hope, it means that this will be faithful to the entire story and not cut out anything. Why make it two parts if they were still going to cut material out? Then again…..we can cut the Nazi’s. I’d be okay with that.

  23. man these superhero movies are trying to break my bank. even though it will cost more, i’m sooooo glad that this is being split into two movies. year one is a shorter book, and it would be a lot easier to handle in one movie. dkr is long, and it’s intricate. it definitely needs the extra space to get done well.

  24. Why are comic fans always so worried about the changes with screen adaptations? It’s not ever gonna take anything away from the story you already read and love and some things work better on page than screen and vice versa. I personally like when they’re at least 90% accurate and capture the tone/feeling of the book as close as can be or right on the money. A few minor changes don’t bother me at all and think this will add pure fun to the awesome DC animated canon.

    • This is a never ending argument.

      I’m willing to bet some people hate on Sin City just because the narrative is broken up… or because the angle of which Marv jumps feet first through a windshield isn’t the exact angle as depicted in the book.

  25. Also, they are two separate entities anyway but should be close, just don’t have to be identical.

  26. Looking forward to this, and very cool that they’re giving it 2 movies instead of one, considering how these movies are generally pretty short.

    The Year One adaptation was pretty faithful, and it looks like more budget or time is going into the animation in this one comparatively, I’m pleased for sure.

  27. Hopefully two parts means two animated shorts accompany the DVD’s. I love those things almost as much as the feature length films. Jonah Hex and Green Arrow particularly stand out for me.

    Who would you like to see get the 15 minute treatment?