Over the course of two wildly successful miniseries, Batman: White Knight creator Sean Gordon Murphy has turned the Dark Knight mythos on its head with his “Murphyverse.” This Elseworlds alternate reality is popular among critics and fans alike and offers a unique take on Gotham City that’s informed by some of Batman’s most memorable adventures.
In 2017, Batman: White Knight, Murphy established this world with a story that sees the Joker reverse Gotham City’s perception of himself and Batman. With his just-completed sequel series, Batman: Curse of the White Knight, Murphy expanded on this world by diving deep into the Wayne family legacy in a tale that also sees Batman faces off against the violent Azrael. With action figures and statues already rolled out for this critically acclaimed series, these stories are a multimedia success that should be brought to life in animation.
DC’s animated films haven’t shied away from DC’s Elseworlds tales, as recent releases like Batman: Gotham By Gaslight and Superman: Red Son can attest to. This has created a platform for standalone, non-canonical stories to be presented to a wider audience that might not be familiar with anything outside of the regular DC Universe.
With its mishmash of styles and wide array of influences, Batman: White Knight would be an animator’s dream project come to life. Whereas it would be extremely difficult to bring all these elements together into a live-action film, animation removes any creative barriers that might be imposed on filmmakers. More importantly, it encourages the creative team to break all the rules and bring all the famous Batmobiles together onto the small screen.
Batman: White Knight also opens up the door for more films. With Curse of the White Knight wrapped up in the comics and more stories on the way, there would be an abundance of material for filmmakers to adapt into multiple features.
Of course, an animated movie will require a voice cast and the solution is simple: Bring back Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as the Joker and the rest of the Batman: The Animated Series crew wherever possible. While the Murphyverse features a host of other notable influences — especially from the live-action films — it’s easy to see the shadow the heralded show casts on everything else.
Murphy even admitted as much to CBR, saying, “I love the characters that I found in Batman: The Animated Series. I’m most comfortable with that sort of version, so I figured I’d take TAS and kind of upgrade it, make it a little darker, and kind of see where it goes.”
White Knight is certainly that, and it’s the perfect vehicle for Conroy, Hamill and everyone else from that era to reprise their roles in a different kind of Gotham City.
Normally, DC’s animated films aren’t announced too far in advance. While the slate is set for 2020, there isn’t much news about what’s coming next year. While there’s no telling what the future holds for the ever-growing world of Batman: White Knight or DC’s animated films, White Knight seems uniquely well-suited to that medium, and it’s almost certainly only a matter of time before it’s adapted in one form or another.
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Sean Gordon Murphy's Batman: White Knight has lit up the comic book world. Now, it's time for the series to become a DC animated film.