First Look At Animated 'Batman: Year One'

Just as they got to between "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight," Bat-fans anxiously awaiting director Christopher Nolan and star Christian Bale's "The Dark Knight Rises" may whet their appetites until 2012 with a new look at the Caped Crusader.

It was 2000 when word first surfaced that Warner Bros. sought bringing writer Frank Miller's beloved early-days Batman saga "Batman: Year One" to film.

Back then, the plan was for a live-action tale to be directed by future Oscar-winning director Darren Aronofsky. Almost 12 years later, the story will finally be told but now as a full-length animated feature hitting DVD and Blu-Ray next month.

Today, we have the first look at the story that's historically inspired pieces great and small of the animated "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm," and Nolan's "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight."

"Year One" tells the story of a young Bruce Wayne's (Ben McKenzie) return to Gotham, hit-and-miss beginnings as Batman, the beginnings of his friendship with a young Det. James Gordon (Bryan Cranston) and a war with Carmine "The Roman" Falcone (Alex Rocco) to avenge his parents' tragic murders. Young Bruce Wayne/Batman along the way becomes instrumental in Selina Kyle's (Eliza Dushku) rise as Catwoman, Batman's future on-again, off-again flame/friend/foe. The origin story debuted in 1987, 48 years after Batman made his first "Detective Comics" appearance.

The feature film could be a bittersweet note for long-time animated Batman fans. Kevin Conroy's gruff delivery in many of The Dark Knight's animated incarnations has become iconic since his debut in that role in Fox Kids' "Batman: The Animated Series" in September 1992. However, Conroy - like fellow iconic "Batman" voice-actor Mark Hamil as The Joker - has made it known that his voice work for this fall's "Batman: Arkham City" has been his final appearance in that role.

Though the planned live-action "Year One" never materialized, Nolan has seen to it that Miller's essential work left its mark.

To name just a few selections, Nolan lifted and adapted story elements and moments from "Year One" that have ranged from depicting Bruce Wayne's initial "street attire" shown in "Batman Begins" and Batman's hanging Falcone from a lamp post, to the entire concluding scene of "The Dark Knight" with Two-Face holding Gordon's family hostage (though Two-Face was substituted for Falcone) and "Batman Begins" concluding with Gordon warning Batman of Gotham's new threat: The Joker.

Watch a preview of "Batman:Year One" below: