With the serious nature of even the most comedic live-action superhero films, it seems time for Superman’s loyal doggo Krypto to save the day. And he’s bringing friends with him in the Warner Bros. Pictures upcoming animated feature film 'DC League of Super-Pets'.
But this isn’t a lightweight production. With Dwayne Johnson (Black Adam, Jumanji, Disney's Jungle Cruise, Red Notice) voicing Krypto himself, an all-star cast of actors are lending their voices to the all-ages superhero cartoon. Check out the details of the lighthearted superhero film that just so happens to have cute animals as the lead.
Superman’s dog Krypto
Created by Otto Binder and Curt Swan, Krypto the Superdog first appeared in Adventure Comics issue #210 cover dated March 1955.
The story revealed that the dog was the pet of Jor-El, the father of Kal-El (aka Clark Kent/Superman) on his home planet of Krypton. As a toddler, Kal-El played with Krypto, but Jor-El used the dog as a test subject during his attempt to create a personal spaceship to save his son from the planet’s destruction. Although knocked off its course, Krypto’s ship eventually made it to Earth, but Kal-El was already a teenager by then. Krypto possessed similar Kryptonian powers and his intelligence reached human levels (though unable to speak).
Although intended as a one-shot character, Krypto proved to be a very popular character to readers. The super dog returned as a regular member of Superboy’s supporting cast. Krypto even gained a secret identity as the Kent’s dog named Skip, using a special removable dye on his back when not using his powers, and wearing a gold collar and red cape with the Superman symbol when he does.
As Superman’s history was revised, so did Krypto’s presence and role. In the famous Man of Steel revision by John Byrne, Krypto was all but absent, except for a pocket universe version created by the Time Trapper. Later on, an actual Krypto from an alternate reality was adopted by Superman, but this lacked the human-like intelligence of the original. In the present, Krypto has become the loyal companion of both Superman’s teenaged clone Kon-El/Connor Kent and his son Jonathan Kent, both heirs to the Superboy and Superman mantle.
Krypto has also appeared in other media. Most of Krypto’s appearances have been in animated form and he even starred in his own animated series, Krypto the Superdog which ran for 2 seasons and a total of 39 episodes from 2006 to 2007. There are also a few live action versions, the most recent as Conner Kent’s companion in the Titans TV series.
Cast of stars
The newest iteration of Krypto comes in the form of DC League of Super-Pets, a feature film length animation. Here, it appears Krypto has retained the human level intelligence of his original version. But he will not be alone. As the title implies, the film will have a number of other super-powered pets, and it falls into their shoulders to help save the world when the Justice League is incapacitated by arch-villain Lex Luthor.
The film has a similar vibe to other animated films that feature anthropomorphic animals such as Finding Nemo or The Secret Life of Pets, with the cute animals able to talk to each other. But this is a superhero story, so expect action and adventure, along with the comedic hijinks.
Krypto will be voiced by Dwayne Johnson, while John Krasinski (A Quiet Place) will be voicing Clark Kent/Superman. They are joined by other Hollywood celebrities such as Kevin Hart (Jumanji) voicing Batman’s dog, Ace, Natasha Lyonne (Ad Astra) as The Flash’s pet turtle Merton, Diego Luna (Star Wars: Rogue One) as Green Lantern’s pet squirrel Chip, and Vanessa Bayer (Wander Darkly) as Wonder Woman’s pet pig PB.
The trailer revealed how Krypto is very much inspired by the heroics of his master, Superman. But with the threat being bigger than he can handle himself, he recruits the newly empowered pets to help him, although the rest of the Super-Pets have to learn their powers on the fly, such as Ace’s invulnerability, PB’s ability to grow in size, Merton having super-speed, and Chip being able to generate electricity. However, while Krypto is committed to the superhero role, his new friends might not be as brave or as capable.
Comic book roots
The Super-Pets actually have comic book inspirations. Batman does have a pet dog called Ace, which has appeared in comics and in other media, such as Batman Beyond and the previously mentioned Krypto The Superdog show. Merton is based on Merton McSnurtle also called the Terrific Whatzit, from DC Super Friends. There is a Green Lantern named Ch’p. And PB is inspired by Wonder Woman’s time being transformed into a pig by the demi-goddess Circe, which is also referenced in an episode of Justice League Unlimited.
The dialogue looks promising, with similar banter to previous Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart collaborations. If you have watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and its sequel Jumanji: The Next Level, the you know the kind of comedy gold "The Rock" and Kevin Hart can deliver. DC League of Super-Pets also has a more kid-friendly tone than the usual superhero fare, especially with the infamously darker elements in recent live action DCEU entries. Which is amusing since the next major project Dwayne Johnson has for the DC Extended Universe is as the powerful anti-hero Black Adam.
As far as the style goes, the animated film appears to be taking a page from prior successful superhero romps like The Incredibles (2004), Megamind (2010), and Despicable Me (2010). It has a bright and cheerful design that should please a wide range of audiences.
The Warner Bros. Pictures official synopsis for DC League of Super-Pets reads:
In "DC League of Super-Pets," Krypto the Super-Dog and Superman are inseparable best friends, sharing the same superpowers and fighting crime in Metropolis side by side. When Superman and the rest of the Justice League are kidnapped, Krypto must convince a rag-tag shelter pack—Ace the hound, PB the potbellied pig, Merton the turtle and Chip the squirrel—to master their own newfound powers and help him rescue the superheroes.
DC League of Super-Pets stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Kate Mckinnon, John Krasinski, Vanessa Bayer, Natasha Lyonne, Diego Luna, Marc Maron, Thomas Middleditch, Ben Schwartz, and Keanu Reeves.
Produced by Warner Animation Group, DC Entertainment, and Seven Bucks Productions, the super-powered animated film will debut internationally in theaters starting May 18, 2022 with a delayed release in North America on May 20, 2022.