Batman Beyond is an American animated television series created by Warner Bros. Animation in collaboration with DC Comics as a continuation of the Batman legacy.
At least 40 years after the “current” adventures of Batman and 20 years after Bruce Wayne retired from the role, his secret is discovered by troubled teen Terry McGinnis. After McGinnis’ father is murdered by the man who took over Bruce Wayne’s company, McGinnis dons a high-tech Bat suit that Wayne last used, creating a new hero for a future Gotham.
- The idea for this show came from the office of Jamie Kellner, who was head of programming at the WB, after he had called a meeting with the crew from Batman. Kellner told them they were doing a great job on the series but it skews a bit old and the WB would really like to retro fit Batman to get more the kid demographic higher, to make sure the kids watch. The crew thought they would have to bring in another sidekick, but Kellner told them he wanted an all new show with a teenage Batman. Keller told them that this series has been green lit and they can start working on it immediately. The crew was a bit shell shocked when they were asked to do a teenage Batman series and even thought about quitting. Glen Murakami was enthusiastic about the idea and convinced everyone to do the show.
- Paul Dini and Alan Burnett thought this show would be a good idea if they could make it a continuation of the original Batman series that they had already been doing by skipping ahead 50 years into the future.
- The original working titles for this series was “The Tomorrow Knight”, “Batman Tomorrow” and “B2″.
- The working title for a long time was “Batman Tomorrow”, in fact all the development art had “Batman Tomorrow” on it. However, the title was changed because it would be too hard to do promotional interstitials for a show called “Batman Tomorrow”.
- Jamie Kellner really liked the idea of an old Bruce Wayne.
- Will Fredle had never done any voice acting before auditioning for Batman/Terry Mcginnis.
- Sherman Howard, who voiced Derek Powers/Blight, was cast by the producers after they remembered nearly picking Howard to play Lex Luthor on Superman (a role which Howard had actually played on three seasons of The Adventures of Superboy). Since Derek Powers an evil corporate businessman character, similar to Lex Luthor, the producers thought Howard would be perfect for the role.
- Alan Burnett came up with the idea to start the show off with Bruce Wayne’s last night out as Batman.
- The opening sequence is a hodgepodge of traditional animation and other different techniques. The sequence was designed and put together by Darwyn Cooke.
- The scene on the opening sequence where Batman is surrounded by all kind of villains was done by producer Bruce Timm who shot it in his kitchen with an action figure on Lazy Susan.
- The close up of Bruce Wayne in the opening sequence was not CGI but it’s actually a maquette, sculpted by Glen Wong, that Bruce Timm used and twirled around on a Lazy Susan. Timm also shot this sequence with a camcorder in his kitchen.
- Jamie Kellner, who was head of Kids WB kept bringing up Buffy the Vampire Slayer in early meetings and said doing a Batman show like that would be more kid friendly. However most kids did not watch Buffy.
- The slight Victorian cut of the clothes people wore was from ‘The Stars My Destination’ graphic novel by Howard Chaykin. Mike Mignola did some development work early on and he made everything victorian-esque.
- The motorcycle chase that ends at Wayne Manor in episode 1.01 “Rebirth Part 1″, was inspired by the anime Akira.
- The club Terry and Dana are waiting to enter when the Jokerz attack says “Club 54 Level”, a reference to Manhattan’s famous Club 54. (episode 1.01 “Rebirth Part 1″).
- The Golem’s actual classification is Galvanic Lifting Machine (G.L.M.) (episode 1.04 “Golem (a.k.a Gotham Golem)”)
- The Terrific Trio in this episode are a take on Marvel Comics’ Fantastic 4. (episode 1.06 “Heroes”)
- Episode 1.05 “Meltdown” is the first Batman Beyond appearance of Mr. Freeze, one of Batman’s original villains.
- When Bruce Wayne activates his Batman power-armour, the background music plays a variation on the original Batman: Animated Series theme. (episode 1.11 “Disappearing Inque”)
- The anti-technology rantings of Mad Stan in episode 2.09 “Rats!”, voiced by Henry Rollins, are similar to those of Rollins’ character Spider in the film Johnny Mnemonic, especially the “information overload” speech.
- Jodi Benson, who plays Aquagirl in episodes 3.07 & 3.08 “The Call Part 1 & 2,” played another animated aquatic female: Ariel in Disney’s Little Mermaid movies and TV series.
- Most of the characters in crowd scenes that don’t have a speaking part are colored either purple or blue to blend into the background.
- When developing the show, the WB network wanted Terry’s little brother, Matt McGinnis, in on Terry’s Batman secret. They even wanted Matt to have a secret exit in a closet or dumpster where a motorcycle would be there so he could be part of the adventure as sort of a Robin sidekick to Batman.
- Episode 3.13 “Unmasked” was originally scheduled to air on Kids’ WB! on Sept. 14, but was pulled after the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001. Instead, it premiered on the Cartoon Network
- ‘Bruce Timm’ was not originally happy with the original actor for the Jokerz gang leader and Alan Burnett told Timm that he should do the voice then. Timm reluctantly did it and eventually Burnett and the other writers kept writing the character into many episodes so Timm would have to do voice the character.
- Fingers the Gorilla, from episode 3.06 “Speak No Evil”, is a subtle nod to Gorilla City of DC Comics.
- Paul Dini has stated that the primary reason this show was made was to sell toys.
- In other countries Batman Beyond is called “Batman of the Future”.
- Warner Brothers hired Paul Dini and others that worked on the show to write a live-action screenplay, based on Batman Beyond. It was to be directed by Boaz Yakin, but eventually Warner Brothers decided to go with Batman: Year One, to be directed by Darren Aronofsky. The Batman: Year One project failed and then Christopher Nolan took over, which ended with Batman Begins.
- DVD audio commentary for the first episode, Rebirth (Part 1), reveals that one of the original intentions of the TV show was to shift crime from the streets of Gotham to the boardroom, with the villains being wealthy and powerful members of Gotham society. Though crime would be just as prevalent as it had been in the time of the original Batman, the streets themselves would actually be safer. The Jokerz street gang, introduced in the first episode, would be one of the few remaining members of “low class” crime. This idea was never brought to full fruition, but the primary villain of Season One, Derek Powers, was a representative of this wealthy class of criminals.
- The WB network never allowed Bruce Wayne’s age to be revealed in this series because they didn’t want him to be old and decrepit. In one episode where Bruce has a birthday, the writers said his age in the initial script but had to take it out because the WB network would not allow it. The producers say Bruce Wayne was about 80.
- When characters go in the Batcave a unique monochromatic purple and blue color scheme is used in the characters clothes.
- Right off the bat with Season 2, the WB network wanted a strong young teenage girl to be in on Terry’s secret and hopefully share his adventures with. It was decided to have Max Gibson, a friend and classmate of Terry’s, be in on Terry’s secret. None of the writers liked the idea of including Max, but the network wanted someone girls could identify with. She always seemed superfluous to writer Stan Berkowitz who said in an interview Terry could talk to Bruce about his dual identity issues, and the show already had a younger gateway character in the form of Terry’s little brother. Berkowitz also said you can see what he thought of Max in the way Bruce Wayne treated her in “Where’s Terry?”.
- Starting with Season 2, the WB network wanted more stories to be about the high school drama and less about corporate corruption. The writers even joked about that with having Bruce Wayne in one episode say, “I’ve seen it all, demons, witch boys, immortals, zombies. But this thing, I don’t know it just feels so… so High School.”
- One of the rules for Saturday Morning TV is that you’re never ever supposed to fire a gun towards the camera. However, this series has somehow gotten away with it several times in the second season premiere. It fact one of the scenes was used in a promotional clip for the episode.
- A story called “The Last Resort” was conceived in response to the Columbine Massacre, and it turned out to be the only script the network didn’t want to do. It was originally supposed to be a gritty prison story, but a lot of the grit was lost when the writers made the revisions they had to make in order to get the network to approve the episode.
- The show started off by using traditional ink and pain animation. Halfway through Season 2, starting with the episode “Eyewitness”, the show started using digital coloring. The crew tried to match the cell paint color with the digital colors, but the digital colors were slightly brighter.
- One established DC hero that the producers thought would probably show up in this series is the Huntress. They were getting a lot of pressure from the network who said “You have to do a new Batgirl”. The producers also wanted to do another female crime-fighter along the lines of Batgirl, but didn’t want to just do ‘Batgirl Beyond.’ They also didn’t just want to have a recurring Batgirl character as much as the old Batman show had. They don’t want to have someone who teams up with him every episode. They thought the Huntress is an interesting character and an updated version of the character would be a natural choice.
- Sometimes when a sequence was animated too stiffly or looks really slow a button was pushed in the editing room so that it plays the scene at twice the speed. Some scenes in this show used that editing technique.
- For Season 3, Glen Murakami and ‘Bruce Timm’ were considering doing a story where Terry actually gets to go an a date with Dana since she always got the short end of the stick as Terry went off to fight crime. This story would have Terrybreaking dates throughout the story but eventually succeeding at going on a date with Dana at the end of the story. Glen pitched the idea to Alan Burnett who tried to make it work as a story. Burnett made several changes that had Terry not only miss the date with Dana, but Dana gets so mad at Terry she dumps him. Terry then went to Max and pour his heart out to her and then Terry and Max end up ‘making out’. Timm and Murakami had the story faxed to them while they were in Japan and when Timm read it he was furious and gave Burnett an angry phone call. Burnett said he had made the changes because 1)D ana was the nagging girlfriend and having Terry make out with someone else would be a surprise and 2) to change the precedent of all these super shows having the hero going through their life and the series with one steady girlfriend
- The clothing and fashion sense of the era that the series is set in, is a a very eclectic one. The creators have stated that one of themes they wanted to explore in the series was the class battle. With the primary villains ranging from the over-class corrupt businessmen (Derek Powers for instance) to the lowest of the dregs (the JOKERZ and other gangs), the clothing would always feel different. The new style of clothing would have a very Victorian/Old English feel to them, to further illustrate the Dickensian themes (most notably those from “A Tale of Two Cities”). In addition to the clothing, the structure of the city would play on the themes as well. For example, the lower you are on the class levels, the higher you would have to rise to get to the industrial and business districts (via future tech elevators and monorails among other things).
- Interestingly, the scope and structure of the city, is reminiscent of a cross between “Akira” (1988), “Metropolis” (1927), “Blade Runner” (1982) and “Metropolis” (2002). The creators have acknowledged the influences from Anime in general. The city combines film noir and German expressionism aesthetics with future tech noir from various Japanese sci-fi/cyberpunk films. “Metropolis” is also another film about the upper and lower class portions of a “futuristic” city.
- The creators purposely tried to avoid or minimize appearances of various rogue’s gallery characters from Batman’s past, as they wanted the series to be able to stand on its own and not rely on such gimmicks like “Two Face Beyond” and so on and so forth. However over the course of the series, not only did certain characters make interesting cameos, but a few of them ended up being the center of many episodes. “The Winning Edge” was about the Venom drug being manufactured again and sold to Terry’s classmates, and Bruce leads him to confront Bane, an obvious suspect, only to find him dying from the many years of addiction. “Meltdown” completed Mister Freeze’s entire storyline in the DCAU, where he is given life in a new body, as his old one broke down because of his unique cryogenic condition, only to eventually realize he was being used as a lab experiment for Derek Powers. “Out of the Past” dealt with Talia Al Ghul, who offers Bruce Wayne a trip to the Lazarus pit as a birthday gift. Somehow Bruce and Terry figure out that Ras Al Ghul is actually behind this. Finally, the Joker makes his big and possible most famous appearance in the DCAU in the feature film “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker”. where, after presumed dead, he comes back to haunt Bruce, revealing a deep dark secret from his past. Other cameos include android versions of the Riddler, Two Face and Killer Croc, who are used as a part of Terry’s training in “Terry’s friend dates a robot”. A “Armed and Dangerous poster” for the Joker is seen in Crime Alley in what is now know as Old Gotham, in the episode, “Shriek’. Also, Selina Kyle’s picture is seen in “Out of the Past”.
- The executives had the creative team develop the series to be a children’s television series, and to sell toys. Like “Batman: The Animated Series”, “Superman: The Animated Series’ and “Justice League (Unlimited)” (later on), “Batman Beyond” was one of the few children’s television series that was actually not a children’s television series. At comic-con 2006, Bruce Timm stated at a panel, that even though the rating for the shows was TV-Y7-FV, a rating normally designated for Children’s programming, he and the creative team knew that it was TV-PG, a rating assigned for shows targeted at general and adult audiences (much like “The Simpsons’ target audience). The creative had always wanted to tell good stories and explore the themes and characters from the source material, and making a show limited to children was not something they wanted to be bound to. In the end, the shows had gained a great adult following, and turned out be shows for all ages/adults.
- The cellphones in this television just kept getting bigger in size. In reality, the creative team had no idea that they would get much smaller and be more practical.
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