Bleeding Cool report tonight that the WB Animated team behind All Star Superman and the forthcoming re-telling of Batman: Year One (which is now nearly complete) have set their sights on adapting another of The Caped Crusader’s stories next… the seminal 80′s masterpiece, The Dark Knight Returns. In fact, work is said to be already underway.

Previously I had mentioned my hope that DC would tackle Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s The Long Halloween next but presumably because it’s the bigger and more well known tale, they’ve gone straight from Bat’s origin movie to his epic final battle. Of course any self respecting Batman fan will know Frank Miller and Klaus Janson’s 1986 mini-series revolves around a middle-aged and long retired Bruce Wayne (depicted as a grey haired Clint Eastwood lookalike) who once again dons the Batman costume to fight a pedophile Joker, a violent group of vigilantes, the U.S. government and even Superman himself.

It’s epic, beautiful, obscure, totally bonkers but an essential read and perhaps the greatest Batman story ever told. Fans have long dreamed about what a movie version would look like, but because it’s so uniquely stylistic, we always figured an animated, motion captured or Sin City style green screen movie would be the only way to make it work.

As this isn’t an official press release none of the particulars have been ironed out just yet but the guess is it’ll be be a Straight-to-Video release like the rest of the DC animated dvd’s – however maybe there’s a feeling at WB that they could go theatrical with it?

Having said that… The Dark Knight Returns is hardly a PG-13 rated tale if you adapt it right, and faithfully.

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This article was first posted on April 14, 2011