Warner Brothers producer/director/writer James Tucker has been working on various animated projects over the years, with a heavy focus on the studio’s DC properties, including its direct-to-DVD movies. With Cartoon Network seemingly abandoning ‘Beware The Batman’ and not announcing a new DC show to replace it, this may be the only source for comic fans to acquire new, serious DC animated projects.
The next project to be released will be ‘Son of Batman’ (May 6th) which will introduce Damian Wayne, the illegitimate son of Bruce Wayne/Batman and Talia al-Ghul. While most of these DC direct-to-DVD movies have stood alone in their own continuity, Warner Brothers announced that going forward, most of these movies will now take place in the same reality, meaning that ‘Son of Batman’ takes place in the same world as their last movie ‘Justice League: War’. The plan is for two movies a year to tie together in the same reality, while one movie per year will not tie-in. (This year, it’s ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum’ based on the video game series.) To that end, the same voice actor, Jason O’Mara has provided Batman voice in both ‘Justice League: War’ and ‘Son of Batman’ and will presumably continue to voice him moving forward.
Also, it appears that these films will continue to adapt existing comic book stories rather than original tales. But the producers are free to make changes to fit the more limited time frame (these movies are only 70 minutes long) as well as to plant other seeds for future films.
“We knew we couldn’t literally adapt by the letter of the books everything, but we wanted to get the gist of the character and put him in our own continuity. So that’s why we took elements. Deathstroke was in the Damian stories at some point. So we’re like, oh, let’s use him to tie them into the League of Assassins a little more, gave him a reason to have a vendetta against Damian. And it kind of gives Damian’s character a focal point because he actually has a bad guy that hates him right off the bat — no pun intended. So that was the reason for Deathstroke’s inclusion, changing some things around, making Damian pop as a character in a short-form 70-minute movie. If this was a TV series, I’d have started from “Batman and Son” issue one or whatever, and all the way up till he got the knife.
You can’t boil it down to 70 minutes. And we’re not strictly doing New 52, meaning just because New 52 did it, it doesn’t mean we can’t veer from that. We’re just piggybacking what we’re doing by changing the universe and creating a connected universe within the DTVs. That wasn’t done before. Before it was just each movie was its own thing, an adaptation of a classic story. So we’re trying something different by actually having almost an OVA version of the DC universe where there’s connectivity between the movies. So DC’s on board with that. Home video wants it. You know, we want it, because it’s kind of like having a series without having a network. So it’s all good. I think if fans come into it open, if they view it as its own thing, I think they’ll enjoy it more, and if they’re not trying to ‘A/B’ it with what they’ve already read.”
So while the original Damian story did spill over into the New 52 and ‘Justice League: War’ was based on the first storyline from the New 52 ‘Justice League’ comic book series, the producers aren’t locked into only basing their stories on these particular comics. (Although, the next Justice League movie will be based on the ‘Atlantis Attacks’ storyline, also from the New 52, and will showcase Aquaman, who was cut from ‘War’.)
However, Tucker stresses that there is a certain appeal to adapting more recent comics that haven’t been adapted before on other shows or in movies.
“The challenge is to do something that hasn’t been done before, like do a story that we didn’t do in other series or that hasn’t been done in other media. Damian is great, because he’s a character that has never appeared anywhere, and he’s relevant to comics now. A lot of the things we adapted in the old days were old stories. I mean, they had been out already 10 years or something, and it’s just oh, this is a classic story. Let’s do our spin on it. Well, this is clearly taking something that’s not even that old and bringing him into the film world, and he’s an instant classic. So it was a great opportunity to do that and give Batman a fresh spin because now he’s a dad, he has to act in a different way than he’s used to acting. It’s not like having Dick Grayson, who you kind of adopt, who’s already had a tragedy in his life. Damian comes to Batman saying, ‘I’m trained to be the next you. So let’s get it on.’ He’s challenging Batman in a way that some of the others sidekicks never did.”
Tucker expressed that he is a big Damian fan, so even though the character was– at least for now– killed off in the comics, he could still pop up in another movie.
“I love Damian, and I think he really popped well in this movie, so, yeah, we would definitely. And he’s not dead if you notice by the end of the movie, so — I know, spoilers, but so yeah, I mean, I love him. I’d love to bring him back.”
But as stated, the next Justice League movie will showcase Aquaman a character whose star has been on the rise over the past few years, with his book outselling those of The Flash and Superman among others and a fan-favorite depiction on ‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’. Tucker stated that essentially, expect the release schedule every year to reflect that with one Justice League movie and one Batman movie a year in continuity and one additional that steps out of that. (But will most likely star Batman, DC’s most bankable character.)
What do you think? Is there a a different DC property that you think deserves a DTV movie?
Source: Comic Book Resources