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Batman: Death in the Family
Blu-ray cover
Directed byBrandon Vietti
Written by
  • Brandon Vietti
Based on
Produced byAmy McKenna
Brandon Vietti
Starring
Music byChristopher Drake
Production
companies
Distributed byWarner Bros. Home Entertainment
Release date
October 13, 2020
Running time
18-30 minutes
95 minutes (Digital)
LanguageEnglish

Batman: Death in the Family is a 2020 American animated interactive short film based on alternate outcomes of the storyline of the same name. It is a spiritual sequel to Batman: Under the Red Hood and was released on Blu-ray and DVD on October 13, 2020.

Synopsis

Format

Death in the Family is an interactive film. When presented with a choice point, the user has ten seconds to make a choice or a default decision is made for them. The film has an average viewing of 95 minutes, and at least 7 alternate endings.

Plot

Believing that Jason Todd is becoming too aggressive in his crime-fighting, Batman decides to suspend him from his active duties as Robin; angered, Jason forsakes Batman and leaves Gotham City. The two end up reuniting in Bosnia to fight the Joker and Ra's al Ghul, who are working together to steal enough uranium to create radioactive dirty bombs. As Batman stops Ra's al Ghul's men from getting the uranium across the border, the Joker captures Robin and brutally beats him with a crowbar, leaving him to die in the warehouse that is rigged to explode.

Robin Dies

If Robin dies, the events of Batman: Under the Red Hood play out naturally. A guilt-ridden Ra's al Ghul uses the Lazarus Pit to resurrect Jason, who becomes the Red Hood and wages a war against Batman and Black Mask, eventually leading to Black Mask releasing the Joker from Arkham Asylum. Red Hood captures Joker and forces Batman to decide between killing the Joker or him. Batman manages to avoid killing either of them, but Red Hood disappears. Bruce provides a recap of the events to Clark Kent, who commends Bruce for his bravery in facing his inner demons and offers his help in finding Jason.

Robin Cheats Death

Jason survives the explosion, but is severely injured, requiring his face to be swathed in bandages. He is also severely traumatized, and blames Batman for his plight. He dons a new Robin suit while keeping the bandages on his head, and becomes a violent vigilante who brutally murders several Gotham criminals, such as Cheetah, the Riddler, and Black Mask. He is eventually found by Talia al Ghul, who offers to help him find and kill the Joker in exchange for Jason agreeing to raise her and Bruce's infant son Damian. Jason agrees, secretly planning to eventually turn Damian against both of his biological parents.

Batman Saves Robin

Unlike the other two options, this version offers multiple branching paths. Batman manages to get Robin out of the warehouse, but he is killed by the explosion. With his dying words, Bruce attempts to convince Jason not to take revenge on the Joker and to be strong for his family. Jason, Alfred, and Barbara Gordon put Bruce to rest next to his parents, and Dick Grayson succeeds him as Batman. The viewer then has to decide whether Jason chooses to kill the Joker.

Kill the Joker

Jason goes to a local diner and sees a new report about the Batman. A man sitting next to him figures out that it's not the same Batman and is likely just Nightwing pretending to be him. When prompted by Jason, the man claims to have known Batman and fought alongside him, but is now a new man and is attempting to start his life over. Reminiscing, he tells Jason a joke he once told Batman, leading Jason to realise it's the same joke from when Barbara Gordon was shot in the spine and that the man is a reforming Joker. Jason reveals his identity by repeating the parting words Joker said to him back in the warehouse, making the Joker excitedly grin in realization, before stabbing the rogue in the eye with a knife, killing him and causing the Joker to rub off some of his face paint disguise in his laughing death throes. Shortly afterwards, two GCPD police officers arrive to arrest Jason. The viewer then has the option to determine if he turns himself in or escapes.

Catch the Joker

Jason attempts to fulfill his promise to Bruce not to kill the criminals he fights. To attract the Joker's attention, Jason adopts the Clown Prince of Crime's previous persona of the Red Hood and wages a bloody war on Gotham's criminal underworld. He eventually manages to bring Joker out of hiding and defeats him in a fight. The Joker is overjoyed by what Jason has become, and says that Jason is now more his successor than Batman's. Jason, who has been repressing his memories of killing criminals, suddenly realizes what he has done. The viewer can then decide once again on whether Jason chooses to kill the Joker or not.

Regardless of which option is chosen, Red Hood becomes a wanted fugitive and is pursued by the police and Dick. On top of a Wayne Industries tower one night, Jason is confronted by Talia and a revived Bruce Wayne. Talia reveals that she resurrected Bruce with the Lazarus Pit, but he was driven insane in the process and can only say "Zur-En-Arrh." She offers Jason the chance to join them in the League of Shadows, but he refuses and fights Batman. The viewer can decide whether Jason battles Batman to the death, or tries to save him.

Cast

Dick Grayson / Nightwing, Alfred Pennyworth, Barbara Gordon, Harley Quinn, Black Mask, Riddler, Cheetah and Lex Luthor make non-speaking cameo appearances. Wonder Woman and Flash also appear in non-speaking cameos but are only partially visible.

Production

Batman: The Animated Series alumni Kevin Conroy (Batman) and Mark Hamill (the Joker) teased producing an animated adaptation of A Death in the Family during a panel at Canada's Fan Expo in 2016.[1] The interactive film based on the comic was released on October 13, 2020 which also serves as a follow-up to the film Batman: Under the Red Hood with the cast from the latter film reprising their roles (with the exception of Jensen Ackles as Red Hood, leaving Vincent Martella to portray him all throughout).[2]

References

  1. ^ Neuwirth, Aaron (September 5, 2016). "Mark Hamill & Kevin Conroy Tease Hush & Death in the Family Animated Films". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on September 21, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  2. ^ Schedeen, Jesse (July 29, 2020). "Batman: Death in the Family and All the DC Animated Movies in Development". IGN. Retrieved July 29, 2020.