'Batman: Year One' Shaping Up Pretty Well, Has Bryan Cranston's Voice

April 20, 2011

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It's mostly been Dark Knight Rises news--what with its riveting updates on Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing "police guy", and some other guy also playing a cop--keeping us breathless lately, but there's another Batman film in development we should probably also be paying attention to.

With DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation continuing their mission of bringing popular comic storylines to life through straight-to-video animated films that I leave unwatched in my Netflix queue for months, the studios have at last worked up to the point of adapting Batman: Year One, Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli's seminal telling of Batman's nascent months. The Hollywood Reporter got the above first stills from the series, and if that doesn't already look decent enough for you, longtime Batman animator Bruce Timm's comments that it's a "pretty straight forward literal retelling" for which they "were able to refer to the comic for about 80 percent of the camera setups" should at least get the nerd purist in you pleased that it will remain faithful (though hopefully not to its own detriment, à la Watchmen). It's going for a PG-13, too, so reference to Catwoman's early prostitution years shouldn't even be entirely off the table. Hooray, animated sex work!

Bryan Cranston, Ben McKenzie, Eliza Dushku and Katee Sackhoff make up the somewhat-notable celebrity voice cast, with the awesome, Emmy-winning Breaking Bad star voicing then-Lieutenant Gordon, Southland's McKenzie doing Bruce Wayne, Eliza Dushku playing Catwoman, and Battlestar Galactica as Det. Sarah Essen, a Gordon love interest who takes care of the requisite illicit romance part of the storyline, giving Batman a much-deserved break from always having to pause his crimefighting to kiss Vicki Vale or Katie Holmes or whoever. The film is set for a fall release, but will first debut at Comic Con in July, where it will surely delight geek audiences once they overcome their initial disappointment that they'd waited in the wrong "Batman Movie Presentation" line.

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