The DC extended universe has been stepping it up as of late. 2019’s Birds of Prey was the female ensemble film that the franchise has been missing. And in 2021, James Gunn directed The Suicide Squad amassed critical appreciation with a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Now DC is moving into animation for its features as the company is officially working on DC’s Metal Men.
DC’s Metal Men will bring high-caliber talent onto the project. Veterans in animation, Ron Clements and John Musker have joined the project and written a treatment for the story (via The Hollywood Reporter). Clements and Musker have made a name for themselves by working with Disney for decades. Among many of their varied titles include Moana, The Princess and the Frog, and Hercules. The duo will also be joined by Celeste Ballard whose writing credits include Space Jam: A New Legacy.
The world seems to be ready for the story of DC’s Metal Men. When news first broke of the plan to develop the property, director Barry Sonnenfeld commented on his involvement. The director has been trying to get the property developed for over a decade and finally, it is coming to fruition. Sonnenfeld has worked on The Addams Family, A Series of Unfortunate Events, as well as Pushing Daisies. All of these stories have a quirky tone that would translate well to Metal Men. The characters originally appeared in DC comics in 1962. Created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru, the story revolved around scientist William Magnus who created six robots. Each robot was associated with an element from the periodic table and were created to fight evil.
The original characters were named for gold, iron, lead, tin, mercury, and platinum. The potential for quirky characters lays in the concept of their personalities. The personalities of DC’s Metal Men were related to which element they embodied. For instance, Iron was strong while Mercury was more of a hot-head. Later down the line, additional characters were added from different elements on the periodic table. This is a clever concept that would do well in animation. This would also be the first time that the Metal Men were front and center of a medium outside of comics.
DC’s Metal Men have appeared in other media, but usually as tertiary characters. They appeared in a series of DC-related shorts but also in 2008’s Batman: The Brave and the Bold. The show ran from 2008-2011 and was a new interpretation of the Dark Knight. The Metal Men appeared in two episodes of season two and assisted Batman in saving the world. Now that a treatment is being written, the charming characters will hopefully get their time in the sun.
DC has made a recent move into animated features with the anticipated release of League of Super-Pets. Fans will have to wait for the release of League of Super-Pets in May of 2022. But with big names such as Dwayne Johnson and John Krasinski attached, this could mean good news for the future of animation.