Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns – the tale of a hardened, aging Batman in a futuristic version of the Silver Age DC Universe – is easily the most seminal comic book of the 1980s next to Watchmen. Of the eight live-action Batman movies that have been or are being made, DKR has greatly influenced three – Tim Burton’s Batman, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, and, perhaps more than any of them, Zack Snyder’s upcoming Batman v Superman</em>.
The book was so popular upon release (and to this day) that it prompted DC to hire Frank Miller to rewrite Batman’s in-continuity origin in the form of Batman: Year One, which Miller considers to be a prequel to DKR. Then, nearly 20 years later, Miller returned to Batman with the first Dark Knight Returns sequel – The Dark Knight Strikes Again – and a prequel called All-Star Batman and Robin, both of which sold well but were poorly received by fans and critics alike.
But sales are sales. So perhaps it’s not surprising that DC and Frank Miller are (reportedly) returning to the Dark Knight Returns well once again. According to Bleeding Cool‘s Rich Johnston, The Dark Knight Returns 3 – not its actual title – will be jointly written by current Batman writer Scott Snyder and Frank Miller. (Snyder has been responsible for a very popular run on the character, which has included the Court of Owls and Zero Year arcs.)
Apparently, Miller isn’t well enough to draw the book, so DC is considering hiring various artists to do the job, from Greg Capullo (Snyder’s co-creator on Batman) to Jim Lee (Justice League) to Andy Kubert (Flashpoint) to Marc Silvestri (Witchblade) to Sean Murphy (American Vampire).
As for the plot of the book, here it is, courtesy of Johnston:
The story, I am told, would concern Carrie Kelley, the Robin of ‘Dark Knight [Returns]’, now in her elder years. She is now in a similar position to that of Bruce Wayne in the original ‘Dark Knight [Returns]’, and she is seeking her own successor to protect Gotham.
Carrie Kelley, of course, is also rumored to be playing a part in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman. According to reports, she’s being portrayed by Jena Malone, who was cast in the movie not so long ago, who previously acted in Zack Snyder’s Suckerpunch, and who recently cut her hair short and dyed it red, not unlike Carrie Kelley. Might the book be focusing on the first female Robin as a means of synergizing with the film?
On the one hand, a book that focuses on a grown Carrie Kelley as Gotham’s protector could be a throughline worth pursuing creatively. On the other hand, I’m not sure how interested I am in seeing a sequel to The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again that isn’t about Batman himself.
Then again, I’ve been mostly underwhelmed by Scott Snyder’s Batman run and I haven’t liked a Frank Miller book in decades, so perhaps I’m not the target audience here. I will say that I have no problem with DC and Miller returning to the Dark Knight Returns universe, whereas I was far more turned off by DC’s decision to make Watchmen prequels in the form of Before Watchmen (the main difference, of course, being Alan Moore’s resistance to the latter). Heck, it’s not like you could do much worse than Miller did with All-Star Batman and Robin.
It should also be pointed out that this project might not even come to fruition (Miller’s health is possibly the biggest roadblock). So for those both for and against another Dark Knight Returns sequel, don’t get your hopes or ire up just yet.
What say you, Screen Ranters? Do you want to see a sequel to The Dark Knight Returns and Strikes Again? Drop us a line in the comments.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – probably the closest we’ll get to a Dark Knight Returns film adaptation for a while – hits theaters March 25th, 2016.
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