As is always the case when finding an actor to voice Batman, The Dark Knight Returns: Part 1 casting director Andrea Romano felt a daunting responsibility to get it right. Her concern was that after all of these years – she’s the one who cast Kevin Conroy for Batman: The Animated Series — she’s seen pretty much everyone who might be right for the role. Enter RoboCop himself, Peter Weller. “Because of the nature of this Batman,” Romano says, “he’s so much older, so bitter, so shut down with so many years in his voice, Peter was the perfect fit. He’s got that great texture and he’s a wonderful actor, period. There’s experience in that voice, and that played well into the experience of this Bruce Wayne and Batman.”
“He’s so much older, so bitter, so shut down with so many years in his voice, it was the perfect fit to have Peter play it.”
Adds producer Bruce Timm, “For years, everybody was saying if we ever did Dark Knight, it would have to be Clint Eastwood [doing his voice]. I’m a huge Eastwood fan, but we were never going to get anywhere near him and, frankly, he’s too old to be playing the part now. But I knew I wanted somebody who was a little older, and I said, ‘The comic came out in 1986 — are there any ’80s action stars around who would be good?’ [Director] Jay Oliva is the one who suggested Peter Weller and I said, ‘Duh!’ Not only is he perfect because he was RoboCop at the time ‘Dark Knight Returns’ was published, but over the years he’s added layers of depth to his persona and his voice has kind of dropped an octave. I can’t imagine anyone else playing him.