If you’ve been collecting DC animated movies for some time, then you probably remember the Showcase shorts from nearly a decade ago. For those unfamiliar, these truncated stories allowed for the likes of the Spectre, Jonah Hex and Green Arrow to shine alongside whichever feature film they complemented. Not long after, each were compiled on a separate home video release, Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam, which was considerably meatier than its brethren but still technically a short itself.
Now, after a lengthy hibernation, the concept has been resurrected. Soon enough, cult favorites such as Sgt. Rock, Adam Strange, Death and the Phantom Stranger will stand next to whatever corresponding animated flicks Warner Bros. choose. And much like before, each of those will join a lengthier short in the form of Batman: Death in the Family in one handsome Blu-ray package later on in 2020.
Previously, the whole Death in the Family concept had been touched upon during the opening minutes of Batman: Under the Red Hood back in 2010 so that viewers may acquaint themselves with the murder of Jason Todd. This time, though, the material will be explored more in depth. But given its length, I’m expecting for meat and potatoes only, so hopefully Joker’s goofy diplomatic immunity that allowed him to get off scot-free is shed from the story.
Believe it or not, key cast and crew and synopses have already been disclosed, so let’s get to it. Here’s the skinny on Sgt. Rock, which stars Karl Urban as the titular character:
Executive produced and directed by Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) from a script by veteran comic book writers Louise Simonson & Walter Simonson and Tim Sheridan (Reign of the Supermen).
“The original tale finds battle-weary Sgt. Rock thinking he has seen everything that World War II can dish out. But he is in for the surprise of his life when he is assigned to lead a company consisting of legendary monsters into battle against an unstoppable platoon of Nazi zombies.”
This is what to expect from Adam Strange starring Charlie Weber:
Produced and directed by Butch Lukic (Batman Unlimited), who also conceived the original story – which is written by comics vet J.M. DeMatteis (Constantine: City of Demons).
“On a rugged asteroid mining colony, few of the toiling workers are awarethat their town drunk was ever anything but an interplanetary derelict. But when the miners open afissure into the home of a horde of deadly alien insects, his true identity is exposed. He is spaceadventurer Adam Strange, whose heroic backstory is played out in flashbacks as he struggles to save the very people who have scorned him for so long.”
As for Death, expect for Jamie Chung to headline as the titular character, with Leonardo Nam joining her as Vincent. Here’s what we know so far:
Produced & directed by Sam Liu (Justice League vs. The Fatal Five) and written by DeMatteis.
“In the story, Vincent, an artist with unresolved inner demons, meets a mysterious girl who helps him come to terms with his creative legacy … and eventual death.”
Finally, you can expect for Peter Serafinowicz (The Tick) to lend his pipes to the Phantom Stranger, as Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville) inhabits the role of Seth.
Executive produced and directed by Bruce Timm and written by Ernie Altbacker (Teen Titans: The Judas Contract).
“Set in the 1970s, the short follows young adult Jess as she joins her friends at a party in a dilapidated mansion hosted by the mysterious Seth. When odd things begin to happen to Jess and her friends, the Phantom Stranger intervenes to save her from a dreary fate.”
Unfortunately, no synopsis or cast and crew for Batman: Death in the Family were provided, but that’s said to be revealed in 2020. At least the basics are known though, which gives you ample time to familiarize yourself with the graphic novel. As always, we’ll keep you posted as more info comes down.