The next movie from the DC Universe Animated Originals line is Batman: Death in the Family, based on the infamous storyline in which the Joker murdered Robin. And just like in that 1988 story, fans will decide whether the kid lives or dies.
Much like Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Batman: Death in the Family will include interactive elements and a branching story, allowing the viewer to control the fate of Jason Todd. The trailer, seen on IGN, hints at some major deviations from DC canon depending on those choices, including Jason in his traditional role as the resurrected vigilante the Red Hood, but also as Red Robin, and as a version of Hush.
The short film will also reunite much of the voice cast of Batman: Under the Red Hood, one of WB Animation’s best received DC animated films, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary.
The interactivity of the story is a nod to the original Batman: A Death in the Family arc, which had its own interactive component. In a nutshell, Batman editorial knew that the readership was divided on Jason Todd, and also wanted an excuse to try out a phone polling system to get readers invested in a comic. Batman #427 ended in a cliffhanger, and while the creative team crafted two different versions of Batman #428 just in case, readers were invited to call one number if they wanted Jason to live, and another if they wanted him to die.
Only one version of Batman #428 was ever published, but Polygon got peek at what might have been when we visited the DC Comics archives, where the unfinished sketches of the unpublished issue are stored. In 1988, readers decided that Jason Todd should die by a hair, but who knows what’ll happen when Batman: Death in the Family hits Blu-ray and digital HD later this fall. It’s one thing to thumbs down Jason Todd when he’s on the comics page, it’s another thing to do it while the kid is dragging his broken body across the floor in full motion.