'The Dark Knight Returns' Animated Film Casts Batman...and It's RoboCop!

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DC Comics

You see, Christopher Nolan's hugely anticipated 'The Dark Knight Rises' isn't the end of Batman's on-screen missions. Warner Bros. has started the ball rolling on an animated version of Frank Miller's brilliant graphic novel 'The Dark Knight Returns,' and has zeroed in on casting … with a classic action-hero actor in the lead role of Bruce Wayne and his masked alter ego.

Peter Weller, best known for his role in the 'RoboCop' series, has nabbed the key part of Batman in the animated 'Returns.' Jay Oliva -- who storyboarded Zack Snyder's in-production Superman movie, 'Man of Steel' – will direct the feature, which will break Miller's four-part graphic novel into two feature-length films.

The vocal cast for 'Dark Knight' includes veteran soap opera actor David Selby in an undetermined role; 'Prison Break' star Wade Williams as Harvey Dent and Two-Face; and Michael McKean as Dr. Wolper, the psychiatrist who's remembered for releasing The Joker from an insane asylum.

And then there's this: Ariel Winter, who plays the brainy middle child Alex Dunphy in the ABC sitcom 'Modern Family,' has been cast as Robin. For those who don't know, Miller's plotline takes place in a distant future, where a retired Wayne must don the cape and cowl one more time to protect Gotham with the help of a new, female Robin. Winter's great casting. This thing's really taking shape.

It's outstanding news that Miller's dark, brooding Batman story is coming to life on screen. The Hollywood Reporter says Warner and DC will release the first movie in stores this fall, with part two reaching shelves in early 2013. Warner probably could have put this into theaters and made a mint. But just knowing that a version of 'The Dark Knight Returns' is on its way – in some shape or form – is enough to brighten this day.

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