Trailer: ‘Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – Part 1’

This year, Warner Bros and DC Universe are taking on their most ambitious adaptation yet. And that’s only a year after delivering Batman: Year One to the small screen. Oh yeah, this is the big one.

Outside of Watchmen, comics don’t get much bigger, much more sacred, than Frank Miller The Dark Knight Returns. Both eagerly anticipated and deeply feared, this is a superhero adaptation project that absolutely requires a full measure. Wisely, producers Sam Register and Bruce Timm have decided to divide their source material in half, presenting Batman: The Dark Knight Returns in not one but two animated features. The first part is out on September 25th, and we’ve got the first trailer, courtesy of MTV Geek.

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Yep, that’s Peter “Robocop” Weller as the most seasoned Batman yet, back in action some ten years after Bruce Wayne shrugged off the cowl for what he’d hoped was the last time. Ariel Winter plays his plucky new Robin. David Selby is Jim Gordon. And that’s Gary Anthony Williams bellowing platitudes as the Mutant Leader. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 is written by Bob Goodman and directed by Jay Oliva.


  1. I got tingles. Noticed some shots taken straight from the graphic novel, and they look great. Some of those odd CG-cars in this trailer, but I’m willing to forgive them. Very excited for this one.

  2. Wow that cover treatment really doesn’t fit the source material at all.

  3. Looks very good. I’m not certain I love Commissioner Gordon’s voice, but everything else seemed spot on.

  4. This looks awesome! Would have liked them to go a lot more Miller-esque with the DVD cover though.

  5. I can not wait for this!!!

  6. Wow watching this a week after having seen The Dark Knight Rises makes me realise how much it was based on TDKReturns by Miller! The mutants/Bane, Alfred saying he’s going to get killed cause he’s in his prime and Bruce isn’t, etc. hehe

    Just proves it’s a classic! 😉

  7. Holy monkey poop…

  8. Damn! I should really read that thing before this comes out…

  9. Anyone else getting a black screen and no video?

  10. BTW, What happens to Alfred in the book? I remember the panel but just wanted to see if my assumption is correct.

    • You mean at the end?

    • Yup, reading the panel gives me my answer but I always interpreted the art differently.

    • SPOILER:

      He has a stroke and (seemingly) dies on the lawn of Wayne Manor as it’s burning.

    • Well, that’s what I was trying to avoid. But it is pretty clear, and there’s a news report that spells it out as well in like – the next panel. lol

    • Ha. I covered my bases and put SPOILER on top. As far as I’m concerned it’s required reading anyway.

      Forgot about that news report. Strike my “seemingly”.

    • To me (back in the ’80s) the panel that shows poor Alfred’s body layed out looked to me like he jumped off a cliff.(yes I had poor reading comprehension)

    • @Jesse – Now that would really change his character a little bit, wouldn’t it. All that sarcasm – he meant every word of it. As soon as he had a chance he off’d himself to get away from that lunatic Master Wayne.

    • Yes, he most def. was(is)?
      Oh, and that classic cover for #1 with the lightning strike? I see a pegasus……(I may have optical problems)

  11. HOLY S***! This looks badass

  12. The only down side is after seeing this, having to wait so long for the second half!

  13. There’s a typo in the video where they spell it “Dark Night”. Weird.

  14. Jacen Chris Jacen Chris (@jcbhatestweeter) says:

    Gimme. Now. Yeah, please.

  15. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Again, not my favorite story, but it looks like they’re making some smart choices. Maybe I’ll get more into it with part two and the Joker material. The mutants just aren’t terribly interesting to me.

  16. Intense.

    Looks great. Some of my favorite moments from the first half in just the trailer. Obviously I’m not alone here, but there isn’t a story closer to my heart than DKR (dammit, now we need a new abbreviation), so I’m proceeding with caution. But everything we’ve seen looks really promising. I’m excited.

    I’m curious about what moment they’ll pick for the last minute cliffhanger. Looks like they’ve included the mudhole fight, so I’m guessing they’ll wrap it up with Joker heading off to Late Show With David Endocrine.

    “My next guest is someone who’s brought a lot of smiles to the world …”

  17. can……….not………WAIT! This is my favorite Batman story and it looks like they are going to do it justice.

    However I agree with the comments that the DVD cover doesn’t fit the source material. I too would have liked a more Miller like cover. Maybe even the cover to number one would have made a nice DVD cover.

  18. Why didn’t they just use the iconic Batman silhouette with the lightning in the background? Heck, throw in the yellow Bat symbol just so people definitely know who it is if there’s really any confusion.

  19. yeah. DKR issue #1 cover would have been a lot better than the above image. it’s cool, but still.
    well, i guess i know what i’m reading tonight.

  20. Okay that was pretty awesome.

  21. The lightning is there and it looks like Batman’s about to jump, so maybe Part II will have the classic cover? Regardless, I have high hopes for this.

    • Part 2 the cover should be Batman vs. Superman. That baby will sell like hotcakes!

    • Nice. Going with that theme, maybe the cover to issue #4?

    • Exactly. I realize based on the cover for Part 1 they won’t use Miller’s or a Miller-esque art style, but hopefully the cover does an homage to #4 as really anyone just walking past in on the shelf and sees Batman and Superman slugging it out is going to go “holy crap!” and want to know more.

  22. Very very cool. Though, of course, adapting source material where there are very big shoes to fill. A couple nitpicks, I will say the direction, style, and the style of the voice acting doesn’t seem quite “gritty” enough. It’s all very smooth and the voice acting feels very, not sure what the word is, cartoony? Especially the mutant leader.

    Long story short, I dig what DCs doing with their animated movies/adaptations, but this could’ve been even stronger if this was a bigger departure from how they normally approach these. Also, Weller’s voice seems great for Bruce, but his voice especially during fights doesn’t seem nearly intimidating or intense enough. Batman was FIERCE in the book.

    Still, much like Year One I think this will be very cool and I’m glad they’re doing it. Doubly since this will get twice as much time as Year One. Though, ultimately, it’ll never top the original, and I don’t think they’ll even quite live up to the potential of adapting it. None the less, will still be one of the best DC animated movies, can’t wait.

    • I’m with you on the concerns about Weller’s voice. He seems to be playing it way to casual – no menace, rage or desperation at all.

  23. I don’t know the trailer didn’t work for me, it just seemed flat. But I thought Year One was good and I loved it when the animated series did that little bit of DKR, so I have faith it should turn out pretty good.

  24. Finally watched the trailer last night – not 100% goosebumped by this thing. A – the trailer was cut oddly – just kinda jumped around from scene to scene without establishing a narative or a tempo. B – I’ve had these voices from DKR in my head for – 25+ years, so it’s understandable that it didn’t quite “sound” right to me.

    Still want to see this thing, obviously, and looking forward to it.

    • re: trailer narrative – For example – they start off “its been 10 years since the last sighting…” and then like they just jump in and Batman is running around. This was a perfect opportunity to show character and story by showing the Bruce/Batman struggle at the beginning of the book.

  25. I guess liked the trailer, but one thing I’m always struck by with adaptations like this is that the very first thing you lose is the art that we loved in the first place.

    Which then makes me wonder, what is it about comics that we love? Is it the artwork, or the story, or the combination of the two? If it’s the latter, then it’s a pity that the animation style doesn’t look more like Miller’s artwork.

    One of the MANY problems I had with the Watchmen adaptation was just that. Gibbons, who was responsible for at least half of the storytelling in that book, was clearly very excited by the transition to screen. Except… his art isn’t ON the screen. Someone else’s approximation or ‘improvement’ to his art was.

    This is less of a problem with things like Iron Man or Superman, when the adaptation isn’t of one particular source or story, but when the book is as iconic as TDKR, I feel a more concerted attempt to at least get the look VERY close to the comic.

  26. I just finish reading the The Dark Knight Returns for the first time and let’s put it plain and simple my mind was BLOWNED!. I have read some Graphic Novels, but nothing like this, yes I’ve heard how this change Batman to a Darker Batman but I didn’t expect this, I mean this set the bar pretty high. I loved Frank Miller’s Joker (*Spoiler-Alert*) I mean when this guy is explaining to Joker that Two-Face asked him to make a bomb and Joker is just smoking his cigarette and with an expressionless face asks “What kind of Bomb?”, I just kind of freeze for a minute with a grin on my face. I know how a lot of people feel about Superman and this book and honestly I felt that most of the times this is how I see Superman except for the last part of the book when he fights Batman, I do think he would opposed more to bring Batman down and would put more of a fight against it. There’s just one thing that bug me about the book well two panels ( because I don’t believe Batman would say that although everything after that was awesome(before this two panels the thing about Batman’s laugh being scary that was funny specially Superman saying it and the thing about thinking to throw a party after Batman retired funny also).
    This is a great book that deserves an A+ for the story and the art I know is a touchy subject for some people I give it B+ because it helps the tone of the book and for me it just felt right.