The Dark Knight Returns Made in the 80's Fan Cast, An End to the 60's TV Show

My take on an 1980's Adaptation of the Frank Miller, Klaus Jansen, and Lynn Varley Graphic Novel restoring the complexity and Darkness to the Batman and adapting it to Darkening the the TV Series

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By Robert Garlen - 10/1/2012
BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

NOTE: I would like Everyone to know that this cast came from and idea of me wondering how a Batman Dark Knight Returns Movie would have been like had it piggy backed it’s continuity after the T.V. Show. Personally I think it would have been an awesome way of Darkening up the Adam West Universe while giving it some growth, deepness, and an ending that would capture the attention of all fans. I am a hug fan of this book, as well as the T.V. Series, and I am certainly aware of the Irony in this fan cast as the intention of the book was to bring Batman back into the darkness after so many years in the campy world set in the T.V. Series. But using the T.V. Series would be a great way of doing this story.

Major Changes:
-This is treated as Bookend for the Batman 1960’s T.V. Series.
-Harvey Dent is replaced by Chief O’Hara from the T.V. Series to make Two Face more emotionally connected to Batman instead of a character that wasn’t introduce through the T.V. Series.
-Dick Grayson is the dead Robin, Not Jason Todd.
-Carol Ferris and Lana Lang are both replaced with Barbara Gordon as a way of shortening the cast list and give a character more screen time while also making it less DC and more Batman.
-Oliver Queen/Green Arrow is replaced with Britt Reid/Green Hornet.
-Abner is a more Physical antagonist instead of just a bomb maker.

Story:

The Dark Knight Returns is set in a dystopian near-future version of Gotham City. A year is never specified, though it has been a full decade since the last reported sighting of Batman, the current American President appears to be Ronald Reagan or someone using his image, and the Cold War is still ongoing. The author also alludes to the deaths of Bruce Wayne's parents as being on the night of a movie theater showing of Tyrone Power in The Mark of Zorro, a movie with a release date of November 8th, 1940, a time when Bruce was a youth. Virtually all superheroes, with the exception of Superman, have been forced into retirement or otherwise driven away by a populace that no longer trusts them. Bruce Wayne, now 55, has voluntarily retired from crime fighting following the death (under unspecified circumstances) of Dick Grayson, Robin. In the absence of superheroes, criminals run amok, and a gang called the Mutants terrorizes Gotham City.

The return of an old enemy prompts Wayne to don the Batman costume once again: Chief O’Hara, thought cured after Wayne paid for plastic surgery to repair his disfigured face, is holding the city for ransom with a bomb. Batman confronts O’Hara, whose face is swathed in bandages, and realizes that his old foe, while physically cured, is still disfigured in his own mind.

The city is saved, but the populace debates whether Batman's brand of vigilantism has any place in society. The media plays a large role in DKR, with the narrative broken up by news reports and "talking head" editorials debating events in the story as they unfold.

After Batman saves her from a Mutant attack, 13-year-old Carrie Kelley buys herself a knock-off Robin costume, and searches for Batman to aid him. She finds Batman at the city dump, where he is fighting the Mutants. The Mutants' leader defeats Batman in combat, but Kelley distracts him long enough for Batman to pacify him and Kelley pulls Batman into the tank-like Batmobile. Kelley attends to Batman’s wounds as the vehicle drives toward the Batcave. Once home, Batman takes Carrie on as the new Robin despite the objections of his butler, Alfred. With the help of retiring Commissioner James Gordon, the Mutants' leader is allowed to escape from jail, and Batman beats him in a mud fight in front of the assembled gang. The Mutants disband as a result of his humiliation, forming several smaller gangs, one of which, the "Sons of the Batman," uses extremely violent methods (up to and including murder) to "purge" Gotham of its criminal element.

Meanwhile, the return of Batman causes The Joker to awaken from a years-long catatonic state at Arkham Asylum. The Joker convinces his psychiatrist, Dr. Bartholomew Wolper, that he is sane and feels remorse for his crimes. Seeking to discredit Batman, whom he has crusaded against in the media, Wolper appears with the Joker on a late-night talk show. While the police, now led by the anti-vigilante Commissioner Ellen Yindel, attack Batman, the Joker murders everyone in the television studio (including Wolper) and escapes. He finds Selina Kyle, and after finding out what he wants from her gags her, beats her, dresses her in a Wonder Woman costume, and binds her with a gold-covered rope. Batman and Robin free her, and track the Joker to a county fair, where he has already murdered many people. Batman defeats Joker in a violent showdown, breaking his neck but stopping just short of killing him. The Joker twists his neck until his spine breaks completely, taunting Batman as he dies with the knowledge that he will be charged with a murder he couldn't bring himself to commit. Batman escapes, but not before another confrontation with the Gotham police, and a citywide manhunt is now on for the Caped Crusader.

After Superman diverts a Russian nuclear warhead which then detonates in a desert, Gotham is hit by an electromagnetic pulse, and descends into chaos during the resulting blackout. Batman and Robin train former Mutants and the Sons of the Batman in non-lethal fighting to stop looting and ensure the flow of needed supplies. In the midst of nuclear winter conditions, Gotham becomes the safest city in America; the U.S. government, seeing this as an embarrassment, orders Superman to take Batman down. Having been warned of the government's plans by Britt Reid, the former Green Hornet, Batman confronts Superman. Symbolically, their duel takes place in Crime Alley, where Bruce Wayne's parents were murdered decades earlier. Batman defeats Superman (with the help of Green Hornet and a kryptonite-tipped arrow), but dies from a heart attack immediately afterward. Alfred destroys the Batcave and Wayne Manor, and dies from a fatal stroke.

After Bruce's funeral, it is revealed that his death was staged as an elaborate ruse; Clark Kent (Superman) attends the funeral and gives Robin a knowing wink after hearing Bruce's heartbeat as he leaves the grave site, suggesting his silent approval of what will happen next. Sometime afterward, Batman leads Robin, Green Arrow, and the rest of his followers into the caverns beyond the Batcave and prepares to continue his fight. His plan, which will take years of training, is to build an army, and to bring sense to a world plagued by something "worse than thieves and murderers". He decides that this will be a "good life – good enough."

1980’s Fan Cast


Composer: A film score (also sometimes called background music or incidental music) is original music written specifically to accompany a film. The score forms part of the film's soundtrack, which also usually includes dialogue and sound effects, and comprises a number of orchestral, instrumental or choral pieces called cues which are timed to begin and end at specific points during the film in order to enhance the dramatic narrative and the emotional impact of the scene in question. Scores are written by one or more composers, under the guidance of the film's director and/or producer, and are then usually performed by an ensemble of musicians – most often comprising an orchestra or band, instrumental soloists, and choir or vocalists – and recorded by a sound engineer.
Basil Poledarious: Basil is a genius with music, his scores reach the essence of barbarianism to the vast potential of the future all in a few notes. He has created iconic scores that are just perfect for a Dark Knight Returns adaptation.


Director: Directors are responsible for overseeing creative aspects of a film under the overall control of the film producer. They often develop the vision for a film and carry out the vision, deciding how the film should look, in other words they make their vision come to life. They are responsible for turning the script into a sequence of shots. They also direct what tone it should have and what an audience should gain from the cinematic experience. Film directors are responsible for deciding camera angles, lens effects and lighting with the help of the cinematographer and set design with the production designer. They will often take part in hiring the cast and key crew members. They coordinate the actors' moves, or blocking and also may be involved in the writing, financing and editing of a film.
Paul Verhoeven: Honestly so much of Robocop is just like the Dark Knight Returns, The political jabs, the Humor, the News clips, the cityscape and style. It’s all futuristic without beating that idea over your head, he gets the book. He would have been perfect.


Screenwriter: Screenwriters are responsible for researching the story, developing the narrative, writing the screenplay, and delivering it, in the required format, to Development Executives. Screenwriters therefore have great influence over the creative direction and emotional impact of the screenplay and, arguably, of the finished film. They either pitch original ideas to Producers in the hope that they will be optioned or sold, or screenwriters are commissioned by a producer to create a screenplay from a concept, true story, existing screen work or literary work, such as a novel, poem, play, comic book or short story.
Frank Miller: A genius comic book and screenwriter. He wrote a great reinvention of Batman for the Darren Aaronofsky Batman Year One project, and he just gets the differences between a film and a comic, a prime choice for the project.


Batman: Bruce Wayne, 55, retired as Batman ten years prior to the beginning of the story. When he sees violence running rampant and his personal demons can no longer be denied, he is forced to return.

Adam West: The whole point of this cast was to do The Dark Knight Returns as a movie Bookending the T.V. Series while establishing it as a Darker Batman. West is a Batman fan, more so after playing the character. I feel he could have embodied a dark and brooding Dark Knight in the right story and he was still a physical guy while also being of the right age for this Batman. Not to mention despite being campy he was the true embodiment of the 60’s Batman comics, having him comeback to become the embodiment of the 80’s Batman Comics, and honestly I’ve always felt this story could have been perfect for this story. To be honest I would have even gone as far as using his voice for the new animated movie. He really is the true first Batman to me, campy or not he was everything the 60’s Batman was and as an older man in the 80’s he could have made a dynamic dark knight.


Alfred Pennyworth: Wayne's trusty butler, medic, and confidant, now in his eighties.

Peter Cushing: He’s a legend, he’s played Sherlock Holmes, Dr./Baron Frankenstien and most famously Grand Moff Tarkin from George Lucas’ original sci-fi epic. Now by the time the graphic novel was written Alan Napier the original 60’s Alfred passed away. So this is one of the three roles I had to recast and to be honest, I am glad Cushing was around, not only could he deliver an Alfred as grand as Napiers, but he could also have made it his own and more memorable. He’s got the character’s look down pat, and he’s the type of actor who does what he does because he’s the best for it and this role is no exception.


Carrie Kelly/Robin: A 13-year-old girl who becomes Batman's newest sidekick. During the creation of the series, fellow comics writer/artist John Byrne told Miller "Robin must be a girl", and Miller complied. Comics historian Les Daniels commented, "In retrospect the imperative seems less than inevitable, perhaps no more than trendy gender bending or possibly just a response to the homophobia inspired by Fredric Wertham more than thirty years earlier."

Mayim Bialik: I wanted an actress who was rising star, and who would have been able to do the role right. Mayim is a wonderful actress and in the 80’s was a rising star who could make the cut for Carrie Kelly having the character’s trademark attitude and could easily transition the comic’s look onto her for the big screen.


James Gordon: The Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department for 26 years – a police officer for 50 years – who finally retires on his 70th birthday. He is aware of the dual identity of Batman and is supportive of the Caped Crusader.

James Cromwell: This choice was made to cater to the original actor Neil Hamilton, who was a fantastic choice in that day. Cromwell bares a passing resemblance and was old enough at the time to do any action required and be more open to getting the make-up to look like Hamilton. Cromwell has always been a class act and to be honest if anyone else were to take the role off Hamilton who better then Cromwell?


Two-Face/Chief O’Hara: Now in his 50's, after having been in Arkham Asylum for 10 years and treated by Doctor Wolper for 3 years, Chief O’Hara's face has been repaired with plastic surgery and his doctor gives him a clean bill of mental health. He is still Two-Face in his mind, however, and terrorizes the city with his face swathed in bandages.

Charles Bronson: Much like Alan Napier and Niel Hamilton, It was truly unfortunate that Strafford Repp passed away before being able to do this film. I change the character from Harvey to Chief O’Hara because simply I wanted someone as emotionally connected that fans who only saw the show knew. Having to recast I chose Charles Bronson because… Well he’s Charles Bronson the Captain of Cool, the guy who starred in the Iconic Death Wish Films. Someone as awesome as him would have been an awesome choice to play O’Hara with very little make-up changes made to the actor to play the character. I know many would be pissed but for a version of the story connected to the T.V. Show he would have been a great way to keep Two Face an elemental character in the film.


Barbara Gordon: Working at Wayne Tech using her technological skills to aid Bruce’s Weapon Manufacturing, her role is the same as Carol Ferris’ as well as the Political reporter Lana Lang.

Yvonne Craig: When trying to reformat this story I knew there was a snippiet featuring Carol Ferris talking to Bruce, which could easily have been Barbara instead, and there is the political analyst Lana Lang who I cut out really because she’s a bit too Superman oriented and felt that we could just morph her in and give Barb a bigger role and just add more time with her so we get the feeling that it’s someone who knows Bruce sticking up for the Batman.


The Joker: Batman's archenemy, who awakens from a catatonic state upon learning of Batman's re-emergence and plans one last brutal crime spree to draw him out. His return to crime sets in motion a final confrontation with Batman.


Ceaser Romero: Now again this is a great performance perfect for the time. Being an actor who played the character right for the time and still being alive at the time I would love to have seen him play the character in the 80’s. Seeing him comeback to play the Joker would be amazing. The biggest change is that this character is responsible for killing Dick Grayson instead of Jason Todd, Todd not existing in this universe.


The Mutant Leader: the cunning, brutal head of the Mutants.

Dolph Lundgren: At this time he was an up and coming and has done a few villain roles, this could have been a good step and getting him some geek cred earlier then later.


Bruno: A Neo-Nazi woman with two large swastikas covering her breasts, she robs convenience store and encounters the misfortune of the Batman’s watchful presence!

Daryl Hannah: Her performance in Blade Runner is great, and very different from Bruno, but I want to see Daryl Hannah’s style for Bruno and would be a big twist from the books but a great take on the character.


Abner: A mentally Ill member of the Joker’s Gang working with him by building bombs in the guise of children’s toys and assists in the carnival battler against the Dark Knight and Robin.

Gus Rethwisch: I loved the guy as Buzzsaw from The Running Man and I thought that he could give us a creative Abner instead of a very one purpose character which would just add a little more action to the story.


Dr. Bartholomew Wolper, Two-Face and the Joker's psychiatrist and staunch opponent of Batman's "fascist" vigilantism. Wolper is convinced that the Joker and Two-Face are both really victims of Batman's crusade – claiming that Batman drives them to become criminals by assuming an ideological image that they feel compelled to counter. His attempts to treat Two-Face meet with failure, however, and he ends up murdered by the Joker along with the entire audience of a late night talk show when he is manipulated into bringing the Joker out in public as an example of Batman's 'victims'.

Timothy Dalton: I love Dalton as an actor, he’s my favorite Bond. With Wolper I wanted an actor who is a convincing person, who could talk you into something or someone you could see as playing a hitler like character which is very different from Wolper in the books but I’ve always considered him a villain.


Ellen Yindel, James Gordon's successor as Commissioner. A captain in the Gotham City Police Department, she starts off as Batman's fiercest critic, but doubts herself after the Joker debacle and comes to terms with his involvement, realizing that he is 'too big' for her to judge.

Nancy Allen: This Choice is all because of Robocop. She’s got the look down pat and the acting talent to play Yindel.


Green Hornet, aka Britt Reid: After the outlawing of all superheroes, he undertakes a clandestine career of rebellion against government oppression, including the sinking of a nuclear submarine. He lost his left arm years ago and blames Superman for that. He is still a formidable marksman, using his teeth to grip the nocks of his arrows. His role is the same as Oliver Queen’s Role in the Graphic Novel.

Van Williams: he quit acting around the 70’s but to be honest there is no one else who could have played the older Green Hornet then the original t.v. Green Hornet.


Superman, aka Clark Kent, is now simply a pawn for the US government. His internal monologues show that he detests having to be a government weapon but sees it as the only way to be able to do some good.

Christopher Reeves: He IS Superman, and this would’ve been a much better Sendoff then Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.


Selina Kyle: No longer Catwoman, Kyle now runs an escort business.

Julie Newmare: this would just be a fun little cameo for her.

Source: Robert Garlen
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6 Comments
MDHENDRICKS - 10/1/2012, 6:09 AM
I actually kinda like the idea.
FlixMentallo21 - 10/1/2012, 11:57 AM
Gotta say, this is a pretty unusual idea for a DKR adaptation, but that's what's good about it.

When you have a minute, check out my three latest fancasts: "Avengers Legends: Hawkeye", "The Ray: The Animated Movie", and "What If...We Got A Spider-Man 2099 cartoon instead of Spider-Man Unlimited?"
ImNoSuperMan - 10/1/2012, 7:51 PM
Interesting.....

Btw, before you catch flack from the more agressive nerds, I'd change the bit about Green Hornet to the proper Green ARROW. Much different character than the one you got up now.
DoctorAlgernopKrieger - 10/2/2012, 12:27 AM
@ImNoSuperMan did you miss the point of the cast? Or did you see an episode of Batman Featuring Green Arrow that I never saw? I didn't want Green Arrow because he didn't appear in the Show, and this is to connect the book to the show. Hence me using Green HORNET not Arrow.
Kakarot - 10/2/2012, 5:19 PM
Amazing.
jjk2814 - 10/2/2012, 10:46 PM
This is really creative and fun to think about!

It just makes me sad again that we didn't ever get the Christopher Reeve as Kingdom Come Superman. I always imagine him playing that role and wish things had been different.

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