According to DC animation figurehead Bruce Timm, the next movie to go into development after the release of Batman: Gotham By Gaslight, may well be an adaptation of the classic Elseworlds comic Superman: Red Son. An alternative take on the iconic American superhero, it would be an appropriate follow-up to the Victorian version of Batman, and is so well-regarded that it has been reportedly pitched for a live-action movie in the past.
Gotham by Gaslight is generally acknowledged to be the original Elseworlds story, a framework which gave writers at DC the chance to produce standalone versions of superheroes that weren’t tied to the current comic-book continuity. Whereas Gaslight springs from the idea of Bruce Wayne against Jack the Ripper, Superman: Red Son imagines an entirely different origin for the Man of Steel. Released in 2003, the limited series was written by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) with Dave Johnson and Killian Plunkett providing the art. It went on to receive awards and plenty of acclaim in the comics community. The premise sees the infant Kal-El land in the field of a Ukrainian farm rather than in Kansas. Starting in the 1950’s it sees the Kryptonian grow up fighting for Stalin and socialism, rather than the familiar American values. This is reflected with the emblem on his suit, which depicts a hammer and sickle rather than the ‘S’ symbol.
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During a promotional Q&A for Gotham By Gaslight, Timm spoke to ComicBook.com and other reporters, stating that the next animated story he’d most like to tackle would be Superman: Red Son. Although he subsequently admitted that this would ultimately depend on how Gaslight sells and is received. However, if the Batman Elseworlds adaptation does as well as anticipated, it would almost definitely open the door to Warner Bros. funding more diverse and experimental stories about alternative versions of DC characters, with the Superman tale being first in line. Especially as the story has consistently topped most-wanted lists for a movie adaptation of some kind.
Apart from occasional stumbles like The Killing Joke, the DC Animated movies generally do good business and Gaslight is expected to follow the pattern. If the project is given the go-ahead and remains faithful to the plot of Red Son, then we can also expect to see alternative versions of Wonder Woman, Batman, and Lex Luthor operating in the Soviet Union. There’s obviously no indication as to who may voice Clark Kent for this outing, but it would be nice to think that past performers like Tim Daly might be in the frame.
In the meantime, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight releases January 23rd on digital, and Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay will arrive in Spring. Following that, Superman fans can also look forward to animated versions of The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen sometime later this year. Whatever issues the DCEU may have with live-action movies, the animated films are still rolling along nicely. We’ll bring further updates for Superman: Red Son as they appear.
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