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Comic book crossovers are a frequent occurrence, though most of the time they happen with characters owned by just one company. But every now and then, two companies will join forces to have two separately-owned properties interact with one another. DC Comics and IDW Publishing have already done this several times with Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and today it’s been announced that the Caped Crusader and the Heroes in a Half Shell will now join forces in a cinematic setting as well.
Based on the first Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book crossover that was written by James Tynion IV and illustrated by Freddie William II, this Warner Bros Animation direct-to-video movie, titled Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, is a co-production between DC Entertainment and Nickelodeon, and will be released on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD this spring. Batman will cross paths with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles through a “transdimensional encounter,” and the anthropomorphic reptiles will subsequently team up with the Dark Knight to fight his colorful rogues gallery.
As reported by SYFY WIRE, Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will feature Troy Baker voicing both Batman and The Joker. Baker has previously voiced those characters in separate projects, but this will be the first time that any actor has voiced the arch-nemeses in the same project. The cast also includes The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’s Darren Criss as Raphael, Saturday Night Live’s Kyle Mooney as Michelangelo, Grace and Frankie’s Baron Vaughn as Donatello, Eric Bauza (who voices Splinter on the Nickelodeon series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Leonardo, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Rachel Bloom as Batgirl, Spongebob Squarepants’ Tom Kenny as The Penguin, Adventure Time’s John DiMaggio as Mr. Freeze, The Powerpuff Girls’ Tara Strong as Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, Reno 911!’s Carlos Alazraqui as Bane and The Expanse’s Cas Anvar as Ra’s al Ghul. Robin will also appear, as shown by the first official still from the movie, but it wasn’t revealed who will voice him.
Considering that this movie is based off the first time that Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles met on the printed page, noticeably absent from this lineup of characters is the Turtles’ greatest foe, The Shredder. In the original storyline, Shredder and his Foot Clan were transported with the Turtles to Gotham City, and Shredder subsequently formed an alliance with Ra’s al Ghul. Either this movie is keeping Shredder’s role a secret or this will be more of a loose adaptation that doesn’t include him. If it’s the latter, perhaps he could be saved for a sequel where Batman is the one transported to the Turtles’ universe and has to fight an assortment of their enemies, including Shredder.
After Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first crossed over in 2015, these versions of the characters reunited in 2017, where Bane traveled to the Turtles’ universe and seized control of the Foot Clan. That story could also be used as the story for a Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel, especially since we’re meeting Bane in the first movie. There was also a crossover that was published between late 2016 and early 2017, although that was a separate ‘first encounter’ event between the Batman from the DC Animated Universe continuity and the Ninja Turtles from the world of the 2012 CGI animated series. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were also made available as playable DLC characters in the Injustice 2 video game. To put it simply, this animated movie marks the next logical step for an odd, yet fun superhero alliance that’s less than half a decade old.
Of course, neither of these properties is lacking for attention outside of the comic books right now. While he’s currently not leading his own animated series, Batman does appear in many of the direct-to-video DC animated movies, most recently Reign of the Supermen. In live action, the DC Extended Universe’s Bruce Wayne most recently appeared in Justice League, which ended up being Ben Affleck’s last performance as the character. For Matt Reeves’ The Batman, a younger, but still well-known actor, is being sought to take over as Gotham City’s shadowy vigilante. This project will have a noir vibe, highlight Batman’s detective skills and feature several members of his rogues gallery, including possibly The Penguin.
As for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, they’re currently leading Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which debuted on Nickelodeon last summer. That show was renewed for Season 2 right before Season 1 premiered, so expect to see a lot more of these incarnations of the characters. On the big screen, the Turtles last appeared in 2016’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, which fared poorly commercially and earned mixed-to-negative critical reaction. Rather than move forward with a threequel, the property will be rebooted yet again, this time with Bad Words’ Andrew Dodge reportedly writing the script.
Depending on how Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is received, maybe this could open the door to DC Comics characters crossing over with other properties from different companies in animated movies. In the last several years alone, we’ve had the Justice League meeting the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, the Green Lantern Corps meeting the classic Planet of the Apes and Batman ’66 meeting the Green Hornet (again), the British Avengers, the Archie Comics gang and more. The point being that Batman vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles could pave the way for more crossovers that stand out from the DC animated movies we get on a regular basis.
Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for all the biggest updates concerning Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, whether they’re together or off on separate adventures. If you want to learn what movies are heading to the big screen this year, look through our 2019 release schedule.