Batman: The Long Halloween screenwriter Tim Sheridan may have solved the DCU casting conundrum in a single tweet. Sheridan reacted to news of Katee Sackhoff telling ComicBook.com that she would love to play a live-action Poison Ivy by writing: “Yes please. I’m biased, but I think every single actor in our animated Long Halloween cast, especially Ms. Sackhoff, would crush their role in live action. Prove me wrong, DC!!”
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Sackhoff portrays the role of Pamela Isley in the second part of the 2021 animated adaptation of Batman: The Long Halloween. The film is divided into two instalments and features a star-studded cast, including Jensen Ackles as Batman, Josh Duhamel as Two-Face, the late Naya Rivera as Selina Kyle, Troy Baker as the Joker, and Titus Welliver as Carmine Falcone. While James Gunn and Peter Safran are undoubtedly planning their vision for the DC Universe, along with casting, Sheridan’s suggestion here actually makes a lot of sense — and should be seriously considered. Here’s why.
Animated productions are finally getting the respect they deserve
No longer are animated films or series being looked at as strictly for children. Finally, people are realising these productions take as much effort – if not more – than live-action features. More importantly, the key decision-makers are not writing off the possibility of the voice actors portraying the live-action versions of the characters.
Lars Mikkelsen as Grand Admiral Thrawn in Ahsoka is a fantastic example of this. Mikkelsen voiced the character in Star Wars Rebels, as Thrawn became a fan-favourite villain in the universe. Allowing Mikkelsen to bring what he did in the animated shows to Ahsoka is just reward for the effort he put in crafting an iconic character.
Similarly, the late Kevin Conroy received the chance to play the live-action Bruce Wayne in an Arrowverse crossover after his voice defined Batman for generations in the animated features and video games.
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Fulfilling the promise of Jensen Ackles as the live-action Batman
Jensen Ackles has a long history with comic book projects. From his time on Smallville to his outstanding turn as Soldier Boy on The Boys and his phenomenal performance as Jason Todd in Batman: Under the Red Hood, the actor has had a chance to play in both the animated and live-action worlds. Ackles has also made no secret of how he’d love to play Batman – and the opportunity came in Batman: The Long Halloween.
In fact, Ackles didn’t need much convincing to play the part, as he revealed to Entertainment Weekly. “I come from a previous film where I voiced Red Hood,” he said. “So when I got the call for this, I assumed I would be reprising that role into whatever story these guys were adapting. But then I realized I’d gotten the upgrade! I don’t think they even got the whole word ‘Batman’ out. They were like, ‘Bat—’ and I was like, yes!”
At the same time, everyone knows he wants a crack at playing the DCU’s Caped Crusader. He wants to put on the cape and cowl and light up the streets of Gotham City in the Batmobile. Judging by his performance in Batman: The Long Halloween, he understands the three aspects of the character: Batman, Bruce Wayne for others, and the real Bruce Wayne. He gets that this man wears many masks, and this comes across in how he portrays the complex hero. He’s already proven he can capture the Dark Knight in one of the best stories ever penned, so why wouldn’t he be right for the DCU?
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The critical reception for Batman: The Long Halloween
Sheridan isn’t simply paying lip service to The Long Halloween cast either. They are genuinely that good. Both parts of the film have been well received by critics and fans. The first part holds a 100% critical approval rating and 88% audience score, while the second also has 100% critical approval and an 81% audience score. Heck, some have called it the greatest Batman adaptation of all time and almost everyone has reserved special praise for the cast’s performances.
It’s no secret that DC’s animated films have been better received than the live-action universe in the past decade, so maybe there’s an opportunity for Gunn and Safran to learn the lessons from the past and apply it to the future. If the cast of Batman: The Long Halloween get the characters already, why not let them play in the live-action universe as well?