Zack Snyder On Adapting The Dark Knight Returns

Published 6 years ago by

zack snyder Zack Snyder On Adapting The Dark Knight ReturnsWatchmen and 300 director Zack Snyder let it be known last year at Comic-Con (during a Watchmen panel) that he, “would love to see Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns made into a movie.” And creator of the graphic novel Frank Miller even gave his blessing, saying that Snyder could go ahead with it if he wanted to.

However that obviously doesn’t in any way mean he would get the gig just because Miller gave it the thumbs up. Nor does it mean Snyder will be adapting the graphic novel just because he said he’d love to see it done. However thanks to our friends over at, via an interview with Snyder we get a bit more insight into what direction he would take if he were to direct a Dark Knight Returns movie:

“I think the thing that’s awesome about Dark Knight, like Watchmen, is that it is a complete and total experience, that was unlike anything anyone has ever seen, and still is,” Snyder said. “I think the big challenge for me would be – it’s so ‘montage-y’ and so media thick, that you just have to – that’s the techniques you’d have to develop and make work. But as far as the rest goes, the thing I’d be really interested in is that kind of Frank [Miller] narration over that cool action, that’s a thing we haven’t really seen in that context.”

There’s no doubting that it sounds like Snyder is at least interested in adapting the popular Batman story for the big screen. Snyder has already successfully adapted a graphic novel from page to screen with 300 (which like The Dark Knight Returns, is a Frank Miller work) and it looks like he’s done it again with Watchmen. So even though Warner Bros. probably won’t let Snyder direct a Batman movie any time soon (because of how successful Nolan’s style has been both for box-office and how it affected how we now all perceive the franchise), I still think it’d be interesting to see.

Obviously Snyder’s style is a heck of a lot different from Nolan’s (could you possibly get two more opposing filmmaking styles?) but after Nolan has bid farewell to the series (as he most likely will do after the next one) I’d be very much interested in seeing the series switch styles to one we haven’t seen before. If Snyder is liking the sound of the narration being a significant factor (as Snyder mentioned above that’s something we haven’t really seen before) there’s no telling what other different things he could bring to the table.

batman 3 movie Zack Snyder On Adapting The Dark Knight Returns

It would be a different Batman universe, for sure, but an interesting one all the same. And who knows, maybe he will have a shot at directing it if, as fellow Screen Rant writer Kofi pointed out, Watchmen does well at the box office.

As far as adapting The Dark Knight Returns in general, I say now (or even five years down the line) is not the right time to do it. I think you should wait a good few years (probably ten at least) before touching a story which sees Batman in his 50s and retired from doing the hero thing.

This may be looking a little too far ahead but it would be very cool if they did it in real time with the current franchise – meaning that they wait 20 years or so and then adapt it, having Christian Bale back as Batman when he’s actually at the age the character is supposed to be in the story (presumably Bale won’t still be portraying Batman in 20 years time).

Do you think Snyder would do a good job of adapting The Dark Knight Returns onto the big-screen?

Sources: First Showing, Slash Film

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  1. This is just a crazy wild guess, but I’m thinking the color palette will be decreased, there will be a lot of CG backdrops, contrast will be high, there will be a lot of slow motion, and blood and other reds will be the only vibrant color.

    I don’t know, it’s probably just a shot in the dark…

  2. first @ greenknight333…. i think that’s the definition of being his ‘style’… and if your passionate about something why the hell not?! the man has talent!

    as for the article… man i hope its some where in the span of 10 years… it gives me time to build up my experience and be right there with Snyder working along side him ;D (another one of those life changing or at least great inspiration graphic novels for me)

    Dream Big!!!

  3. I think we should see how Watchmen actuall turned out before we give Zack Snyder The Dark Knight Returns ,
    but itsan intruiging idea.

  4. If they gave it to him now, it would take ten years to make it onto the screen.

  5. Some stories do not need to by adapted. Like The Dark Knight Returns, it is too complex and has a lot of setups for it to be a complete film. If they were to do it justice, they would have to make a 4 hour epic-Che style, but again, not everything has to be translated on film. Honestly, I do not think TDKR can be.
    300 was a good adaption because it is a simple story to tell. TDKR, and even Watchmen, the medium they are on fits perfectly. Why not take the idea of an older Batman returning as a concept and make an entirely new story down the road? Not a straight adaptation but something different using the same idea?

    Lastly, can we stop using the term ‘Graphic Novel’? I hate it when it is used, it is Comics! These stories were out as individual comic books! Not put together into one item like what occurs today, which is a cop out IMHO. Is that such a taboo word to say? Comic? When I hear ‘Graphic Novel’ it is like I am in Starbucks having to listen to a bunch of posers drink their Serra Leonne grounded-hazelnut-low fat grande while wearing gaudy clothes discuss what happened on Gossip Girl the other night.

  6. @SK47

    I think for some stories the term graphic novel is appropriate, even if they were originally published in individual comic book form. Watchmen is a very good example of this.

    Heck, Time Magazine called it one of the 100 best novels ever written.


  7. Please use Bruce Campbell as Superman! If they make this within the next ten years, oh yeah. And Tom Selleck as Batman. And Clint Eastwood as Jim Gordon(you know you just pissed yourself).

  8. At Vic, I guess so.
    After all, The Wire AKA the greatest show ever on television, is considered a visual novel.

  9. @ SK47
    I think you’re right to an extent… especially now that more noobs are being exposed to what we have loved for years. …This reminds me of a story…

    I went into a comic book store once (and being a well dressed girl) I was immediately approached by the new worker (probably thinking I was trying to buy something for my boyfriend or brother) and asked if I needed help finding anything, in which I responded with… I’m just looking at what comic to splurg my money on this week… and they responded. “well you know you’re in the graphic novel section and a graphic novel is…..”

    I just stared at them… waved at the owner Jim who called me up to the front because he had a Deadpool poster waiting for me that he had saved… The original ‘helper’ looked dumbfounded…

    … moral of the story is… don’t use the term graphic novel to impress… and don’t think attractive girls can’t like comic books… or graphic novels

  10. D-E-A-D-P-O-O-L
    I am with ya about using the term Graphic Novel to impress. Maybe I am just a tradionalist.
    From now on, I am just going to refer to this medium as ‘books’. No comic or graphic novel or whatever, just only as books.

  11. sorry, that should be:

  12. Yeah that makes sense to me, but I don’t think he had money to create that ‘style’ yet. In my opinion maybe he should take a break from the books for a while and prove to us how creative he can be without them. who knows, guess we have to wait and see.

    and SK47 thanks for the name correction :D lol I really hope people get that joke and don’t just think i don’t know how to spell deadpool. that would make me sad.

  13. I thought you just can’t spell… :-P

    lol j/k

  14. I guess I was a little late for this debate. Either way, I think adapting The Dark Knight Returns to the big screen is an awesome idea. I respect Zack Snyder’s work, but after watching the dystopian masterpieces “Se7en” and “Fight Club” for like the 500th time the other day, I think the only person that can adequately portray Gotham City in 30 years is David Fincher (unless, of course, Ridley Scott brings back the “Blade Runner” glory days).