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Following in the footsteps of The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: The Long Halloween, one of the Caped Crusader’s many popular comic book stories, is being adapted across two animated direct-to-video movies, with Part One releasing next week and Part Two coming out in late July. The Long Halloween movies arrive 25 years after the original limited series was first published, but as it turns out, they were originally supposed to come out much earlier. What delayed them? Matt Reeves’ The Batman.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Batman: The Long Halloween supervising producer Butch Lukic, and during our conversation, I noted how Part One and Part Two share the same animation style as Superman: Man of Tomorrow and Justice Society: World War II, which came out in August 2020 and April 2021, respectively. When I asked if this meant the animated Long Halloween existed in the same continuity as those other two movies, and subsequently whether a new shared universe is now being built similar to the recently-concluded DC Animated Movie Universe, Lukic responded:
Well yeah, initially Long Halloween was the start of all this, but after I almost finished Part One, we got shelved. The Matt Reeves movie, they told us, ‘Well he wants to adapt Long Halloween for his screenplay.’ So we’re out, we have to wait or not get released at all until after he’s finished his film and released it. So the original intention was for Batman: The Long Halloween to be the first movie, and then continue on into Man of Tomorrow, and then next it would have been Justice Society: World War II. But this got shelved for a couple years, so now we’re releasing the final versions now because I wasn’t able complete them until four months ago. Once we got the go-ahead that we could release our version because Matt Reeves’ version isn’t going to be about Long Halloween.
Although elements of Batman: The Long Halloween (which was written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Tim Sale) influenced Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, particularly 2008’s The Dark Knight, until now, the storyline has never been directly adapted for another form of media. Had things gone according to the original plan, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One and Part Two would have kicked off this new corner of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line, but Matt Reeves signing onto The Batman complicated said plan. Word of The Long Halloween potentially being adapted for the big screen first reached the public in September 2019, but obviously people over at Warner Bros and DC would have heard about this long beforehand.
However, we’ve since learned that The Batman is telling a more original story rather than directly adapting Batman: The Long Halloween. Yes, we’ll still be seeing Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne early into his crimefighting career, and Jeffrey Wright did read The Long Halloween to prepare to play James Gordon, but rather than Holiday being the main antagonist, this cinematic Batman will be clashing with Paul Dano’s Riddler, who’s being depicted as a serial killer. So because The Batman went in a different creative direction, the Long Halloween animated movies were able to come out a little over a year before Matt Reeves’ contribution to the Batman canon is released.
Just like in the original story, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One and Part Two sees the titular hero tracking down Holiday, who is killing people associated with the Falcone crime family. Along with Batman running into colorful members of his rogues gallery during the course of his investigation, Long Halloween also chronicles Harvey Dent’s slow decline into darkness. Part One’s main cast includes Jensen Ackles, the late Naya Rivera, Josh Duhamel, Billy Burke, Titus Welliver, David Dastmalchian, Troy Baker, Julie Nathanson and Jack Quaid, among others.
Following Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One’s release on June 22, Part Two will be made available digitally on July 27 and in disc form on August 10, As for The Batman, it hits theaters on March 4, 2022, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more news about that project and other upcoming DC Comics movies.