HBO Max Orders Animated Aztec Batman

I don’t know who hasn’t gotten the memo at this point, but HBO Max Latin America has ordered an original DC animated film called Batman Azteca: Clash of Impérios (Aztec Batman: Clash of Empires). This collaboration between Warner Bros. Animation, DC, Anima and Chatrone is probably one of many. Last month, HBO Max Latin America said Variety they were looking to release 50-70 originals from the Latin American branch. Deadline reported the news at the Guadalajara International Film Festival, and the official synopsis says,

During the time of the Aztec Empire, Yohualli Coatl – a young Aztec boy – experiences tragedy when his father and village chief, Toltecatzin, is assassinated by Spanish conquistadors. Yohualli escapes to Tenochtitlan to warn King Moctezuma and his high priest, Yoka, of impending danger. Using the Temple of Tzinacan, the Bat God, as a lair, Yohualli trains with his mentor and assistant, Acatzin, developing equipment and weapons to face the Spanish invasion, protect Moctezuma’s temple, and avenge the death of his father.

Experienced screenwriter and director (Harley Quinn: The Animated Series) José C. García de Letona will be the director with Aztec Batman, entirely produced in Mexico. According Deadline, it’s about bringing in local talent in all aspects of production. They bring in Alejandro Díaz Barriga (a specialist in Mesoamerican studies) to ensure that indigenous representation is handled appropriately. Barriga also specializes in the ethnic history of Mexico and the Andean region (west of South America).

Give us more of this

Empires are evil and the Aztecs are no different. However, technologically and culturally, the Aztecs, alongside the Persians and Romans, have so many well-documented aspects that I can’t stand still – I’m so excited. Honestly, I’m already anticipating the bad takes of “it’s not realistic” even though 1) it’s a Batman movie and 2) maybe it’s because the civil engineering of the Aztecs was top notch . On a positive note, I’m also glad to see lectures and video essays from people in history and art pointing out things I missed.

Contrary to Batman: Ninja (which I had mixed feelings on), I hope they stay with the same cast/dubbing regardless of region and only use subtitles. I don’t know how viable it is to have a majority of the cast speaking Nahuatl (the main language), except for the Spaniards. Numbers are everywhere, but about 1.5 million people are talking about some version of it today. I say a “version” because I am technically speaking in writing in the same language as 1500s England, but also, I am clearly not. By the title alone, however, it will likely be in Spanish.

Jaime Reyes
(DC Universe)

The three-dimensional characters and story of Latinx are so underrepresented in major movies that I was truly surprised (before I was devastated) when we got to see this time period recently represented for a few very meaningful moments in the Eternals. While Marvel struggles to give us even a non-McGuffin Latinx character (not to mention Afro-Latinx erasure), DC is here with two movie projects with Latino sons. A movie starring Xolo Maridueña as 2000s striker Blue Beetle (aka Mexican-American teenager Jaime Reyes) will hit theaters in August 2023. Now there’s pre-Spanish (and, in this case, pre-Mexican) Yohualli Coatl coming soon now too!

(Going through Deadlinepicture: HBO Max)

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