The years spent by Bruce Wayne training to become a crimefighter are some of the most fascinating in the Batman mythos, and have been explored in multiple ways across various mediums. A new DC animated feature, Batman: Soul of the Dragon now offers the intriguing prospect of a 1970s-set story wherein a young Bruce embarks on the path to martial arts mastery. We recently received the trailer and first clip from the film, and now have an introduction to Richard Dragon, one of the main characters from the Bruce Timm-produced movie.
In the video, which you can catch above, voice actor Mark Dacascos describes how we meet Dragon in the 1970s as a super spy who trained with Bruce alongside master O-Sensei. We then see Dragon in training, and being pointed out by O-Sensei to Bruce, foreshadowing the partnership between the two depicted in the recent trailer. At this point, Dragon and other martial arts masters team up with Bruce as Batman to take down a shadowy criminal group.
Richard Dragon was first introduced by Dennis O’Neil and James R. Berry in a novel outside the DC Universe, before being brought into the comics continuity as a thief who becomes one of the best fighters in the world. In later series, Dragon helped train characters like The Question, Oracle, and Huntress, and has returned for various revamps. A villainous take on him also appeared in Arrow, played by Kirk Acevedo.
In addition to the video, DC have also put out a full synopsis for the upcoming release, which confirms that, as well as being an Elseworlds tale, Soul of the Dragon will be R-rated:
“Renowned animation producer Bruce Timm takes the Dark Knight back to the 1970s for a supernatural-laden martial arts extravaganza in Batman: Soul Of The Dragon, the next entry in the popular series of the DC Universe Movies. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated film will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting January 12, 2021, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray on January 26, 2021. The film is rated R for some violence.
Set in the midst of the swinging 1970s, this Elseworlds adventure finds Bruce Wayne training under a master sensei. It is here that Bruce, along with other elite students, is forged in the fire of the martial arts discipline. The lifelong bonds they form will be put to the test when a deadly menace arises from their past. It will take the combined efforts of Batman, world-renowned martial artists Richard Dragon, Ben Turner, and Lady Shiva and their mentor O-Sensei to battle the monsters of this world and beyond!
The ensemble cast features a core group of actors playing martial arts students-turned-heroes in David Giuntoli (Grimm, A Million Little Things) as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Mark Dacascos (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Iron Chef America, Hawaii Five-0) as Richard Dragon, Kelly Hu (Arrow, X2: X-Men United) as Lady Shiva and Michael Jai White (Spawn, reprising his role from Arrow) as Ben Turner/Bronze Tiger.
Their mentor O-Sensei is voiced by James Hong (Big Trouble in Little China, Blade Runner). Josh Keaton (Voltron: Legendary Defender; Green Lantern: The Animated Series) is featured as Jeffrey Burr, and additional voices are provided by veteran Voice Over actors Grey Griffin, Chris Cox, Erica Luttrell, Robin Atkin Downes, Patrick Seitz, Jamie Chung, and Eric Bauza.
Sam Liu (Reign of the Supermen, Batman: The Killing Joke) is Producer and Director of Batman: Soul Of The Dragon, utilizing a script by Jeremy Adams (Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge). Michael Uslan is Executive Producer. Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: Red Son) and Sam Register are Executive Producers.”
Batman: Soul of the Dragon is coming out on VOD, Blu-ray, 4K Blu-ray and 4K + Figure Editions this Tuesday, January 12th, 2021, while a DVD version will be available on January 26th. We’re certainly looking forward to this one, but what do you think? As always, share your thoughts in the comments section down below.