In the 1980s, DC tried an interesting stunt with the Batman comic. Their new Robin, Jason Todd, was a controversial figure — some liked the little punk, some hated him. So DC published a story called “Death in the Family” that ended with Joker beating Todd withÂ a crowbar and leaving him to die in an exploding building. The resolution of the cliffhanger would depend on reader input — a 900 number was published on the last page where you could vote to spare or kill Robin.
Jason Todd died by a slim margin of votes. Rumors persist to this day of fanboys stuffing the ballot with autodialer machines, but to this day the only version of Death in the Family DC has published is the one that does not spare Jason. However, like most other comic book deaths, this was later walked back by other writers. Todd would return as the vengeance-seeking Red Hood.
One of the best animated Batman movies ever made, 2010’s Under The Red Hood, features Jason Todd as a central character. The movie remains popular enough with the fanbase that WB made the decision to animate Death in the Family as a prequel, complete with the ability for the viewer to choose the fate of Jason Todd.
On the DVD and Blu-Ray version, when it gets to the moment Todd is left in the exploding building you’re given the option to vote on his fate with your remote. Vote no and you get the comic book’s ending. Vote yes and the movie continues with an alternate version of Under The Red Hood, but with more choices (seven in all) that let you shape the narrative.
So ever since this project was announced we’ve been wondering…how is the voting mechanic going to work in the digital version of the movie? We now know the answer. It…doesn’t.
Those who purchase Batman: Death In The Family in discless form will not have the option to choose between fates, but can only watch a predetermined one (the one where Todd lives). What that means is that you’re just re-buying an edited version of Under The Red Hood with a new flashback sequence. You can see the other branch paths in a “Bonus Features” section, but not all retailers will offer this feature, so you might not even get that.
Drag your old players out of the closet if you have to, but you definitely don’t want the digital version of Batman: Death In The Family. Warn your friends!