While we all wait for the new live-action The Batman to complete filming, we're getting a new movie about the Caped Crusader -- though it is short, animated, and you, the viewer will have to do a lot of the narrative heavy-lifting. This fall sees the release of Batman: Death in the Family, an adaptation of the comic that featured the iconic "murder of Robin" storyline, and the decidedly less iconic "The Joker is given a cushy job in the Iranian government by Ayatollah Khomeini" storyline.
The comic famously allowed readers to decide the fate of Jason Todd (the second Robin) by voting through one of two 900 numbers -- so we can't be totally sure that the Boy Wonder didn't bite the dust because a bunch of horny '80s dudes mashed the wrong buttons on their cordless touch-tones while trying to connect to a hot singles party.
The new movie will replicate the audience participation component of the story by allowing viewers to vote on what happens in the movie, not unlike Black Mirror: Bandersnatch or the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt special.
But despite this being one of the darkest twists of any Batman story, the inspiration for it was surprisingly silly, involving both crustaceans and the star of Norbit. After Todd failed to catch on with Bat-fans, the writing team concocted the stunt after watching ... Saturday Night Live? In a 1982 episode of SNL, Eddie Murphy showed off a live lobster named Larry and invited viewers to call-in to one of two phone numbers to "determine whether it would be boiled on live television or spared." Which sounds cruel, but is it really any crueler than forcing us to watch Colin Jost read the news week after week?
Almost half a million people voted, Larry was ultimately saved (though Murphy still decided to eat him the following week anyway). The popularity of the routine inspired DC to try something similar with Robin -- thankfully stopping short of having The Joker boil him in lemon butter.
Top Image: DC Comics/Warner Bros.