Batman Beyond (known as Batman of the Future in Latin America, Europe, Asia and Australia) is an American superhero animated television series developed by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Alan Burnett and produced by Warner Bros. Animation in collaboration with DC Comics as a continuation of the Batman legacy. The series began airing on January 10, 1999, and ended its run on December 18, 2001. After 52 episodes spanning three seasons and one direct-to-video feature film, the series was put on hold for the Justice League animated series, despite the network having announced plans for a fourth season.
|Created by||Bruce Timm|
|Developed by||Bruce Timm|
|Voices of||Will Friedle|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||52 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Jean MacCurdy|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Warner Bros. Television Animation|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original network||Kids' WB|
|Original release||January 10, 1999 –|
December 18, 2001
|Preceded by||The New Batman Adventures|
Depicting a teenaged Batman in a futuristic Gotham City under the tutelage of an elderly Bruce Wayne, Batman Beyond is set in the chronological future of the DC animated universe (despite being released before Static Shock, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited), and serves as a continuation of both Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures.
Though the initial announcement of the series drew mixed reactions, Batman Beyond went on to receive critical acclaim and a cult following. The show is said to explore the darker side of many Batman projects, playing on key elements such as emotions, personal relations, fear of the unknown, as well as cyberpunk and sci-fi themes such as the issues and dilemmas of innovation and technological and scientific progress affecting society, and the psychology of the character of Bruce Wayne. As such, it was considerably darker than most other children's programs at the time, although producer Bruce Timm recalls it was conceived as a kid-friendly Batman cartoon. It is also the first Batman series to portray the hero as a teenager. IGN named the show 40th on their list of "Top 100 Animated TV Series." The premise of Batman Beyond has been used in various comic book stories published by DC Comics, including an ongoing series beginning in 2011.
The pilot episode begins on June 21, 2019 (set about 20 years after The New Batman Adventures and 15 years after Justice League and Justice League Unlimited). An aging Bruce Wayne, despite suffering from health complications continues to fight crime as Batman in a new high-tech Batsuit. In the rescue of a kidnapped heiress, Batman suffers a mild heart attack and, at risk of being nearly killed by one of the kidnappers, is forced to betray a lifelong principle by threatening to use a gun, which scared one of the kidnappers into running towards the police. Ashamed of how far he was willing to go, Bruce ultimately but reluctantly decides to retire from crime-fighting and shuts down the Batcave. By this time, his butler and father-figure Alfred Pennyworth and longtime allies (Commissioner James W. Gordon, Lucius Fox, Leslie Thompkins, Renee Montoya and Harvey Bullock) have either died or retired; his partners (Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, Tim Drake and Selina Kyle) are still alive and have grown up and left or had falling-outs with Bruce after their retirement from their alter-egos; all of his enemies (The Joker, Harley Quinn, The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face, The Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Bane, Killer Croc, Clayface, Man-Bat, Deadshot, The Mad Hatter, Ra's al Ghul and his daughter Talia, the Ventriloquist and Scarface, the Firefly, and Hugo Strange) are either retired, reformed, incarcerated, in exile, disappeared, or dead, and he had left the Justice League.
The story moves ahead 20 years later to 2039 in Neo-Gotham, a futuristic version of the old Gotham City and a megalopolis featuring staggering high rises and flying vehicles. Bruce is now an elderly man in his 70s and a recluse living in bitter isolation in Wayne Manor, with no other companion but his guard dog Ace. Despite having retired primarily due to failing health and old age, it is strongly hinted (he retained the costumes of his former partners) that he had suffered a traumatic event years before his health began failing which also contributed to his ultimate decision (the exact reasons were eventually revealed in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker). Terry McGinnis is an athletic 16-year-old high school student and reformed troublemaker with a deeply ingrained sense of social justice. Living on difficult terms with his father Warren McGinnis, Terry disobeys his curfew one night to meet up with his girlfriend Dana Tan, only to incur the wrath of a group of the gang called the Jokerz harassing them. A high-speed motorcycle chase between Terry and the Jokerz leads them to the grounds of Wayne Manor, where they run into the elderly Bruce Wayne. Bruce and Terry fend off the Jokerz side-by-side, but the exertion aggravates Bruce's heart condition. Terry helps Bruce back to the manor and, while exploring the mansion after realizing that he is unable to leave the mansion as Ace is guarding it, stumbles upon the entrance to the Batcave and thus discovers Bruce's secrets, only to be chased out by an angered Bruce.
Terry returns home to discover that his father has been murdered, apparently by the vengeful Jokerz. Soon after, he discovers that his father had stumbled onto information about the production of illegal chemical weapons by Derek Powers through Wayne-Powers (Wayne Enterprises had merged with Powers' company long ago, sometime around Bruce's retirement from crimefighting) and that the man actually responsible for his father's murder is Powers' personal assistant/bodyguard Mr. Fixx. Terry goes to Bruce for help but he refuses, feeling that he is too old and too weak to be of any use and instead tells Terry to take the evidence to Barbara Gordon (who has become the new Police Commissioner). After the evidence of the illegal weapon production is forcibly taken from Terry by Derek Powers, Terry subsequently steals the Batsuit, intending to bring Powers to justice. Bruce initially opposes all of Terry's efforts and vehemently demands that he return the suit, but Terry asks Bruce to let him take on the Batman mantle, partially by drawing on the fact Bruce lost both of his parents to a criminal he never caught, and that he (Terry) has the chance to catch his father's murderer. Bruce allows Terry to be Batman, and as Batman, Terry subsequently defeats Mr. Fixx. During the battle, Powers is exposed to the chemical and forced to flee into hiding to receive treatment, which subsequently mutates him into a radiation-emitting entity, though he uses artificial skin to hide the accident. Realizing that crime and corruption are running rampant in Gotham without Batman's presence, Bruce offers Terry the chance to assume the role of Batman, with Bruce himself mentoring Terry, in addition to working as Bruce's chauffeur and assistant so that Terry can support his family.
The new Batman soon develops his own rogues gallery, with both new villains (Derek Powers a.k.a. the radiation-emitting metahuman Blight; seductive shapeshifter Inque; the hypnotist Spellbinder; sound weaponizer Shriek; deadly assassin Curaré; insane eco-terrorist Mad Stan; cybernetically-enhanced African big game hunter the Stalker; nerdy psychokinetic Willie Watt and a new version of the Royal Flush Gang) as well as some of his mentor's old foes, such as Mr. Freeze rejuvenated; Bane's strength-enhancing drug Venom reborn as slap-on patches; the longevous Ra's al Ghul; and the Joker himself, somewhat inevitably.
Terry also makes allies in Neo-Gotham, including computer genius Maxine "Max" Gibson. After discovering Batman's secret identity, Maxine helps Terry with everything from computer hacking to babysitting. Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon also works with Terry. Though initially unhappy about another person following in Bruce's dangerous footsteps, she admits that the city needs Batman, and that Terry could not be deterred from being Batman any more than she could have been from being Batgirl. He also has a relationship with Melanie Walker, who was forced to do the bidding of her family's new Royal Flush Gang under the code name Ten. Terry and Melanie's relationship is similar to that of Bruce and Selina Kyle. Terry also eventually meets Bruce's old ally Superman and the Justice League, even being offered membership though he eventually declines. He does later on join the team sometime in his adulthood though on a part-time basis like his mentor before him.
- Will Friedle as Terry McGinnis / Batman:
The second Batman, he is a high school student and former delinquent. Under the pretense of doing errands for Bruce, Terry fights crime as the new Batman. Terry was chosen to be the new Dark Knight as he shared a similar loss as Bruce had; that being the death of a parent.
- Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne:
The original Batman, he is Terry's employer, mentor, and predecessor who guides Terry through the Batcomputer but occasionally ventures into the field to help his successor if the situation demands it. During his final mission as Batman, Bruce suffered a heart attack that nearly cost him his life forcing him to almost use a gun in self-defense; abhorred by this, holding the such-like weapon that took his father's and mother's lives, he reluctantly hung up his cape and cowl.
- Cree Summer as Maxine "Max" Gibson:
A genius high schooler and friend of Terry's. She discovers his secret identity, and from then on occasionally helps Batman in an "Alfred"-type role, though she is considered a nuisance to his predecessor (but less so as time went on). Her parents are divorced and she has an unnamed sister.
- Lauren Tom as Dana Tan:
Terry's on and off girlfriend in high school who is unaware of his secret identity as the new Dark Knight, and thus surprised or upset by his frequent absences which she only knows due to him working as a personal assistant for Bruce Wayne, to support his family financially following his father's death. She also has a father who is disapproving of Terry because of the latter's past as an irresponsible delinquent, which serves as a reminder and another motivation for Terry being Batman.
- Frank Welker as Ace:
Bruce Wayne's pet dog and his sole companion in Wayne Manor, the billionaire rescued and took in the stray Great Dane after the canine defended him from a Jokerz thug during one of Wayne's annual visits in memory of his parents to Crime Alley. Fiercely loyal to Bruce, he eventually develops a bond with Terry as well.
- Stockard Channing (1999-2000) and Angie Harmon (2000) as Barbara Gordon:
The new Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department, having succeeded her father Jim and Bruce's former crime-fighting partner Batgirl. Unlike her father, Barbara has initially has a rocky relationship with the new Batman, showing resentment towards Bruce for dragging him into this life and is at first against him intervening in police duty. Though this is revealed to have been due to a long standing grudge towards Bruce for how he treated his former partners as she later gains respect for Terry after he helps her in several sticky situations and begins acknowledging his help whenever needed, though does not use a Bat-Signal unlike her father, presumably because she has direct access to the Batcave from the office and because of her past as Batgirl. She is married to Sam Young, the District Attorney of Neo-Gotham.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||January 10, 1999||May 22, 1999|
|2||26||September 17, 1999||May 27, 2000|
|3||13||August 19, 2000||December 18, 2001|
The third season of Batman Beyond featured the two-part episode "The Call" with (for the first time) a futuristic Justice League, a springboard for the Justice League animated series. The setting and characters of Batman Beyond were also briefly revived in Static Shock during the episode "Future Shock" in which Static is accidentally transported 40 years into the future.
Justice League Unlimited revisited the Batman Beyond world twice in 2005. The first was in "The Once and Future Thing" (Part 2), which featured Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern transported 50 years into the future to stop a time-travelling villain with the help of the future Justice League (Batman II, Static and Warhawk).
The second time was meant to be the de facto series finale for Batman Beyond: the episode "Epilogue" reveals that Bruce Wayne is actually Terry McGinnis' biological father. The story, set 15 years after Batman Beyond, centers on Terry (now a 31-year-old) tracking down an elderly Amanda Waller. She explains through flashbacks that, even though she grew to trust and respect Batman, she was aware of him aging, thus accepting the idea of either Bruce retiring or being killed at some point. Finding the idea of a world without Batman unacceptable, Waller used her Project Cadmus connections to gather the technology for "Project Batman Beyond", whose goal was to physically create a new Batman, starting with a secretly collected sample of Bruce Wayne's DNA. Some years after Bruce retired, Waller found a young Neo-Gotham couple—the McGinnises—with psychological profiles nearly identical to those of Bruce's parents, a nanotech solution was injected into Warren McGinnis to rewrite his reproductive material with that of Bruce. The eventual result was his wife Mary McGinnis giving birth to Terry, a child sharing the genetic traits of his mother and Bruce Wayne. When Terry was eight years old, Waller employed an elderly Phantasm (Andrea Beaumont, Bruce's ex-fiancée, whose exit from Bruce's life became one of the reasons why he became Batman in the first place) as an assassin to kill Terry's family, hoping the trauma would put him on the path to becoming Batman. However, Beaumont could not commit the act, arguing that she would be doing something against what Bruce stood for. Waller eventually conceded that Beaumont had been right and abolished the project altogether. Eight years afterward, Warren would be murdered, and Terry would meet Bruce by happenstance—resulting in Terry becoming Batman's successor. Waller concludes by reminding Terry that he is Bruce's son, not his clone, and that, despite the circumstances of his existence, he still has free will to live out his own life; Terry comes to terms with his revelations, and continues in being Batman. With a new sense of purpose, Terry plans to propose to Dana, while continuing his life of crimefighting. Whether Bruce was the genetic father of Matt McGinnis as well was not clearly established in-story, since nothing was stated as to the longevity of the alterations made to Warren McGinnis' DNA; however, the series' creators have said that this is the case. The fact that Matt was born with black hair despite both of his biological parents having red hair is also an indicator of Bruce's dominant DNA.
In order to complete the series, Warner Bros. Animation outsourced Batman Beyond to Dong Yang Animation, Koko Enterprises and Seoul Movie (a subsidiary of TMS) in Seoul, South Korea. While the South Korean studios animated the series' episodes, the feature film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker was animated by TMS Entertainment in Tokyo, Japan.
A spinoff from Batman Beyond, an animated series called The Zeta Project, featured a revamped version of the synthoid Zeta from the Batman Beyond episode "Zeta". Batman would guest-star in the episode "Shadows". The supervillain Stalker was to have appeared in The Zeta Project episode "Taffy Time", but ultimately did not do so. The second-season episode "Ro's Gift" has an appearance by the Brain Trust from the Batman Beyond episode "Mind Games". Terry McGinnis/Batman was originally slated to appear in this episode as well, but was cut since Bruce Timm and company were working on Justice League.
While the idea of Batman Beyond seemed as if it were "not a proper continuation of the legacy of the Dark Knight", it gathered acclaim after its release. It has been praised for its dark, mature, and often unsettling storytelling. The show was nominated for four Daytime Emmy Awards, two of which it won in 2001 for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program and Outstanding Music Direction and Composition. In addition, the show was nominated for five Annie Awards and won two of those nominations in 1999 and 2001. In 2009, IGN.com named Batman Beyond the 40th best animated television series of all time. Greg Weisman commented that while the series was well made, it felt more like a Spider-Man series and much less like Batman.
Some episodes of the series were released on VHS from 1999 to 2000, including the series' premiere (as Batman Beyond: The Movie), and select episodes as five VHS volumes containing three episodes per tape (the same contents as the individual DVD volume releases, see below), and the direct-to-video film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (edited version).
|DVD name||Release date||Episodes||Additional information|
|The Complete First Season||March 21, 2006||13||Special features: creators' commentary on two key episodes; Inside Batman Beyond: Meet the Series' Creators; Music of the Knight: Enjoy Score-Only Versions of Key Scenes.|
|The Complete Second Season||October 24, 2006||26||Special features: creators' commentary on two key episodes; Inside Batman Beyond: The Panel – In-Depth Dialogue with the Show's Creators. DVD art designed by Jesse Stagg at RDI.|
|The Complete Third Season||March 20, 2007||13||Special features: Inside Batman Beyond; featurettes on four episodes by producers, directors and Will Friedle. DVD art designed by Jesse Stagg at RDI.|
|The Complete Series||November 23, 2010||52||Special features: creator commentaries, season retrospectives, bonus 9th disc with 95 minutes of new special features, Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics documentary and three all-new, all-revealing featurettes.|
|DVD name||Release date||Episodes||Additional information|
|Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
(edited version, 73 mins.)
|December 12, 2000||1||Commentary by the filmmakers*; behind-the-scenes documentary; deleted scenes; animation tests; music video Crash by Mephisto Odyssey featuring Static X; animated character bios; interactive menus; production notes; trailers; scene access; subtitles: English and French.|
|Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
(uncut version, 76 mins.)
|April 23, 2002||1||Commentary by the filmmakers*; behind-the-scenes documentary; deleted scenes; animation tests; music video Crash by Mephisto Odyssey featuring Static X; animated character bios; interactive menus; production notes; trailers; scene access; subtitles: English and French.|
|Batman Beyond: The Movie||May 18, 1999||6||Compilation of the first six episodes (by production order, not by air date) of the series: "Rebirth " (Parts 1 and 2), "Golem", "Dead Man's Hand", "Meltdown', "The Winning Edge"|
|Batman Beyond: School Dayz and Spellbound||March 2, 2004||6|
|Batman Beyond: Tech Wars and Disappearing Inque||March 2, 2004||6|
- *Note: The audio commentaries for both the edited and uncut versions of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker were provided by the same contributors; however, both versions are slightly different from each other.
Batman Beyond was released on Blu-ray on October 29, 2019. The four-disc set includes all 52 episodes and the uncut version of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. 41 of the episodes and Return of the Joker were remastered. The remaining 11 episodes were an upconversion.
In other mediaEdit
"Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker" novelization of the feature film, written by Michael Teitelbaum, was released on November 1, 2000. Two Batman Beyond books for young readers were released on November 14, 2000 - "Batman Beyond: New Hero in Town" and "Batman Beyond: No Place Like Home", followed by two more, released on May 28, 2002 - "Batman Beyond: Hear No Evil" and "Batman Beyond: Grounded".
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||August 31, 1999|
Released on August 31, 1999, the soundtrack to Batman Beyond features many of the same composers who worked on the previous animated Batman shows. The music style is more industrial, with some metal influence, to tie in with the show's futuristic cyberpunk genre.
|1.||"Batman Beyond (Main Title)"||Kristopher Carter||1:00|
|2.||"Cold vs. Hot"||Lolita Ritmanis||3:12|
|3.||"Terrific Trio vs. Rocketeers"||Michael McCuistion||1:50|
|4.||"Bat-Slapped in Store"||Kristopher Carter||1:16|
|6.||"Batman Defeats Chappell"||Kristopher Carter||2:14|
|7.||"Batman Chases Inque"||Kristopher Carter||2:43|
|8.||"Yachting with the Card Gang"||Shirley Walker||2:09|
|9.||"Batman's First Fight"||Michael McCuistion||2:57|
|10.||"The Legacy Continues"||Michael McCuistion||1:24|
|11.||"Hotel Scuffle"||Shirley Walker||1:57|
|12.||"Trouble in the Museum"||Shirley Walker||1:46|
|13.||"Inque Escapes!"||Kristopher Carter||1:22|
|14.||"Nuclear Lab Destruction"||Michael McCuistion||1:54|
|15.||"Golem Chases Shoppers"||Shirley Walker||2:00|
|16.||"Willie Defeated"||Shirley Walker||2:37|
|17.||"Genetic Theft"||Michael McCuistion||1:29|
|18.||"Joker Chase"||Lolita Ritmanis||3:08|
|19.||"Move to the Groove"||Lolita Ritmanis||1:16|
|20.||"Batman Beyond (End Credits)"||Shirley Walker||1:00|
In 2000, Burger King included Batman Beyond toys in their kids' meals.
A direct-to-video feature film, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, was released on December 12, 2000. The original release was censored for elements of violence and death, though a second, uncensored version was later released. Nevertheless, it received critical acclaim for its story, voice acting, animation and score. A second Batman Beyond film, focusing on the origins of Terry McGinnis, multiple clones of Bruce Wayne and the appearance of an elderly Selina Kyle, was planned by Bruce Timm and Glen Murakami, though it was never scripted, as it never went beyond a 45-minute impromptu plotting session between the two. Unfortunately, it was finally scrapped due to the dark tones and controversies surrounding Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
Among the live-action films proposed between the critical failure of Batman & Robin and the reboot of the Batman franchise was Batman Beyond. In August 2000, Warner Bros. announced that it was developing a live action film adaptation with Boaz Yakin attached to co-write and direct. The TV series' creators, Dini and Alan Burnett, were hired to write a screenplay for the feature film, with Neal Stephenson as consultant. Yakin hoped to cast Clint Eastwood as the retired Batman. By July 2001, a first draft was turned in to the studio, and the writers were waiting to see if a rewrite would be needed. The studio, also exploring other takes of Batman in development eventually placed Batman Beyond on hold in August 2001, but ultimately canceled the proposal. Yakin reportedly wanted to the film to be dark, nihilistic, and with swearing and violence, and not the PG-13 film the studio wanted.
In January 2019, rumors began to circulate that Warner Animation Group was developing an animated Batman Beyond film following the critical and commercial success of Sony Pictures Animation's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. However, it was later reported that no such film was in the works. In an August 2019 interview with DC Universe, Paul Dini revealed that Warner Bros. continues to express interest in a film adaptation but have put emphasis on other projects. In June 2020, Michael Keaton entered talks to play an elderly Bruce Wayne, reprising his role from Tim Burton's Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) in the DCEU film The Flash, which is set for release in 2022. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. hopes for Keaton to return for multiple DCEU films in a way "akin to the role played by Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, something of a mentor or guide or even string-puller."
A Batman Beyond DLC was included in the third Lego Batman video game.
A "Batman of the Future" character pack featuring the Terry McGinnis Batman with all its trademark gadgets (such as the flying suit and the ability to turn invisible) and other Batman Beyond era characters were revealed to be PS3/PS4 exclusive DLC for Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
In April 2014, a Batman Beyond short by Darwyn Cooke premiered at WonderCon. The short, which saw Will Friedle and Kevin Conroy reprise their roles, sees Batman (Terry McGinnis) battle a Batman android (resembling the design from The New Batman Adventures) in the Batcave with help from the elderly Bruce Wayne and the Batmobile (resembling the design from Batman: The Animated Series). Once defeated, Batman and Bruce look out to see and prepare to fight seven additional invading androids resembling the designs from Beware the Batman, The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman (1989 film), Batman (TV series), and the original design by Bill Finger. Though the androids' source is unstated, they're reminiscent of the story arc from Batman: The Animated Series involving the computer program HARDAC.
Batman Beyond is alluded in Teen Titans Go!. In the episode "Sandwich Thief", Robin travels to the future to his future self Nightwing's apartment where a poster of the Batman Beyond Batman can be seen, indicating that Nightwing admires this incarnation of Batman.
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