It may only be June, but SYFY WIRE is celebrating the spookiest date on the calendar a tad early with an exclusive clip from Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One. On sale next week, the feature film from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and DC Animation tackles the late '90s storyline from writer Jeph Loeb (who later went on to speerhead Marvel's TV division) and artist Tim Sale.
In this rather festive arc, a young Bruce Wayne, who is still finding his footing as the Dark Knight, tracks a brutal serial killer whose murders are inspired by different holidays. (One has to wonder if the theatrical release of David Fincher's S7ven the year before the debut issue helped contribute to The Long Halloween's success). Our first look clip finds Batsy (voiced by Supernatural's Jensen Ackles) chasing gangster Mickey Chen (Greg Chun) into the sewers below Gotham City, where they come across a certain hulking baddie who died on a Monday and was christened on a Tuesday...
"In the book, it's Mickey Sullivan and his Irish gang, but to give the film a little more diversity, we replaced the Irish gang in the book with Mickey Chen and his gang," supervising producer Butch Lukic (Justice Society: World War II) tells SYFY WIRE. "And in this setting, the Chinese gang does feel more formidable. In both the book and film, Mickey tries escaping Batman's pursuit by dipping into the sewers — where he encounters Solomon Grundy. That short scene gives us some fast, subtle insight into Batman's perspective of the characters he must deal with."
Check it out below:
"The thing I like about this scene is how Batman deals with two types of criminal," says screenwriter Tim Sheridan (Reign of the Supermen). "He’s ruthless in his pursuit of the gangster Mickey Chen, yet he handles Solomon Grundy — who is this huge, terrifying brick house of a thing — with kid gloves. Later on (spoiler alert), he even brings Grundy some Thanksgiving dinner! I feel like Batman shows us here that he’s more comfortable with the loner 'freak' villain than the 'gun-for-hire' mobster. It’s like he feels compassion for them, like he identifies with them — and, really, who else could?"
Sheridan also reveals that he tried to convince Lukic to let him cut this scene from the script, which was starting to run a little long, but the supervising producer refused.
"He was adamant that it stay in and, of course, he was 100% right," Sheridan continues. "It’s an important moment because I think it’s the first time we see in one place the juxtaposition between the old guard, represented by gangster/triad leader Mickey, and the new breed of Gotham criminal, represented by Grundy (who, admittedly, at this point, isn’t much of a criminal...but give him time.) That juxtaposition, that transition from the old threat to the new, is at the heart of The Long Halloween."
Grundy is voiced by the prolific Fred Tatasciore, whose Part One co-stars include: Naya Rivera (Catwoman/Selina Kyle; one of Rivera's final roles before her death last year), Josh Duhamel (Harvey Dent), Billy Burke (James Gordon), Titus Welliver (Carmine Falcone), David Dastmalchian (Calendar Man), Troy Baker (Joker), Amy Landecker (Barbara Gordon), Julie Nathanson (Gilda Dent), Jack Quaid (Alberto), Fred Tatasciore (Solomon Grundy), Jim Pirri (Sal Maroni), Alastair Duncan (Alfred), Frances Callier, Greg Chun, and Gary Leroi Gray.
"In the book, this scene is a little more fraught," Sheridan concludes. "Batman and Grundy get into a physical altercation during the pursuit of Mickey, but, in his narration, the Dark Knight seems to express regret about that. He calls Grundy 'innocent' and a 'lost soul,' which are interesting clues about the level of compassion Batman might feel for the more troubled 'villains' he's come up against. He shows no such compassion for Mickey, who is a calculating gangster using crime to enrich himself — unlike Grundy, whom he sees here as more of a victim. This is all part of Batman’s learning how to be a detective. Later, when Jim Gordon gives him some advice on the right way to interact with criminals, we see an almost immediate change in Batman. He’s a fast learner, or, rather, he knows how fast he has to move to keep up with the changing winds in Gotham."
Feast your eyes on the box art:
Chris Palmer (Superman: Man of Tomorrow) directed the movie, with Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) and Kimberly S. Moreau (Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) producing. Michael Uslan (longtime Batman producer) and Sam Register (Batman: The Killing Joke) executive-produced.
Here are the special features that await you:
- DC Showcase – The Losers (New Animated Short) – The legendary rag-tag team of World War II outcasts – Captain Storm, Johnny Cloud, “Mile-a Minute” Jones, rookie Gunner and Sarge – find themselves marooned on an uncharted island in the South Pacific that is completely overrun with dinosaurs! Their would-be ally on this deadly mission, the mysterious and beautiful Fan Long of the Chinese Security Agency, tells them their job is to rescue the scientists that have been sent to study the time/space anomaly. Perhaps… but what is her mission?
- A sneak peek at the next DC Universe Movie – An advance look at the next animated film in the popular DC UniverseMovies collection, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two.
- From the DC Vault – Batman: The Animated Series – “Christmas With The Joker”
- From the DC Vault – Batman: The Animated Series – “It’s Never Too Late”
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One arrives on Digital and Blu-Ray next Tuesday, June 22. Part Two — which is rated R for some violence and bloody images — hits Digital Tuesday, July 27 and Blu-Ray Tuesday, Aug. 10. Both installments will be available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack as a combined film presentation sometime next year.