BATMAN BEYOND "Series Preview" - From the Archives

Fourteen years after the debut of Batman Beyond, there is still tremendous interest in the show's premise and characters. For that reason we've dipped into the archives for this 1998 "series preview" piece featuring interviews with Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and others.

Follow EdGross:
By EdGross - 12/23/2013
Batman Beyond feature image

Given its success with DAWSON’S CREEK, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and CHARMED, it’s no surprise that the WB network is a bit youth-obsessed, and that obsession has moved to Saturday mornings with the January debut of the animated BATMAN BEYOND.

“About this time last year,” explained producer Paul Dini, “we were meeting with the WB people. We had brought the animated Batman show to the Kids WB with new episodes and a new look that proved to be very popular. The WB wanted to find ways of expanding the appeal of Batman to include not only just old fans who wanted to see the show again, but a new audience of kids who were less familiar with it. They were looking for ways to kind of spin Batman off and do another take on the concept. Rather than just do more episodes of the old show, they just wanted a completely fresh take.

Ideas were thrown back and forth – including one ultimately discarded notion of chronicling the exploits of a young Bruce Wayne (“It felt too Johnny Quest-like,” noted producer Alan Burnett) – until everyone agreed on one concept: looking at the idea of Batman some time in the next century.

“At a mid point of the next hundred years, what has happened to the IDEA of Batman?” Dini mused. “We decided to tell the story from a teenager’s point of view; somebody who basically stumbles upon the Batman legacy and is chosen by fate and his own sheer determination to be the next Batman.”

Terry-and-Bruce

That somebody is Terry McGinnis (voiced by Will Friedle), a teenager who, like the original Batman, lost his father to criminals and whose sometimes volatile relationship with the now 70-year-old Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy) ultimately results in his protecting the futuristic Gotham City from a new breed of criminal – a breed that does NOT include variations of traditional Batman villains. “What we tried to avoid was the trap of saying, ‘Here’s Joker 2000; here’s Two-Face 2000’,” explained producer Bruce Timm. “There was actually pressure on us to do that because the studio thought that would be a way for kids to hook into the show, but we wanted to do something fresh. We wanted to come up with villains who seemed like Batman villains, but were completely new. The closest thing we have to pre-existing characters is an anarchist bike gang called the Jokers, who kind of base their look on the old, long-dead Joker. So we avoided that trap as well as dealing with all the supporting characters. Bruce Wayne could have imported Alfred’s memory into the computer and that’s how Alfred survives, or we could have said Dick Grayson is now this or that. The only person from the old cast who kind of shows up again besides Bruce Wayne is Barbara Gordon, who becomes Commissioner Gordon. That was too neat a concept to pass up.”

batman beyond 2

Added Burnett, “Although the future setting is interesting, the heat of the show for me is the relationship between Bruce Wayne as a mentor and this kid, who is a rather hot-tempered guy, and the uneasiness of their relationship. They don’t particularly like each other. It’s much better to do it that way than having a mutual admiration society. It’s much more realistic. This kid goes to high school, he’s middle-class, he lives with his mother and younger brother, so he’s not only pulled by being Batman but also by his social, family and educational obligations. He’s not as alone as Bruce Wayne was. On the other hand, he also has this temper and sense of vengeance that gives him a great deal of willpower, just like Bruce Wayne.”

The team is confident that BATMAN BEYOND will fit in nicely with the mythos of the character that has preceded it. “There are certain traditions that haunt Gotham City,” said Dini, “and one of them is Batman, regardless of who wears the costume. Even though he’s been a known entity to the city for 55 or 60 years at the time that Terry takes over, people just refer to him as Batman. He’s still a being that provokes a response of fear or wonder, depending on who sees him. As far as they know, Batman has always been a part of Gotham City and always will be.”

Check out these epublications from Voices From Krypton: Superman Birthright Turns 10: Issue-by-Issue with Mark Waid, a 20,000+ word exploration of that classic maxi-series and part of the inspiration for Man of Steel; and Spider-Man: From Cannon to Cameron, a behind the scenes look at the various aborted attempts at bringing Spider-Man to the big screen.

DISCLAIMER: This article was submitted by a volunteer contributor who has agreed to our code of conduct. ComicBookMovie.com is protected from liability under "safe harbor" provisions and will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement. For expeditious removal, contact us HERE.
5
LIKE!
35 Comments
JoeMomma29 - 12/23/2013, 2:11 PM
Love this show, some day I can hope for a live action movie.
Brainiac13 - 12/23/2013, 2:12 PM
Love this series....this changed the way fans perceived the way Batman's symbolic essence would be in the future.

Love your article Ed.
JoeMomma29 - 12/23/2013, 2:13 PM
Love this baddie!

SnapperCarr - 12/23/2013, 2:13 PM
While I did love this show as well as BTAS and STAS, the DCAU as a whole is extremely overrated.
Brainiac13 - 12/23/2013, 2:13 PM
@Joe

Started to watch Arrow.....Fantastic. I thought it would stick to teeny ways of Smallville...but it's way better.
Brainiac13 - 12/23/2013, 2:14 PM
#articles
Jollem - 12/23/2013, 2:15 PM
nice. i liked batman beyond. always thought it was a cool idea. comics, video games and cartoons are okay, but i'm not on board with a live-action movie for beyond that i've heard some talk for. not anytime soon, at least. feel the same way about spider-man 2099
JoeMomma29 - 12/23/2013, 2:15 PM
Oh yeah one of the best intros as well!

THEDARKKNIGHT1939 - 12/23/2013, 2:16 PM
Awesome, awesome show but I think they ruined it when they revealed that Bruce is his "Father."
JoeMomma29 - 12/23/2013, 2:16 PM
@ Brain

Arrow is amazing, I thought the same thing as well when I saw the trailers for it. The show is another whole level. I am not sure where you are at beyond the season finale for season 1 was amazing and season 2 is like watching a movie every week.
dutchman - 12/23/2013, 2:19 PM
YES kickass cartoon still watch this one sometimes!

out of the past is kinda my Favorite
Brainiac13 - 12/23/2013, 2:20 PM
@Joe

Just seen 3 eps of S1....more tonight.
JoeMomma29 - 12/23/2013, 2:21 PM
@ Brain

Just wait till episode 5 or 6 and beyond it will get you addicted.
MrReese - 12/23/2013, 2:22 PM
Great show.
Brainiac13 - 12/23/2013, 2:23 PM
@Joe

Everyone hates AoS, what do you think?, I'll start watching that when I get upto date with Arrow.
EdGross - 12/23/2013, 2:23 PM
Thanks, Brainiac3000. Personally, I thought the show was an innovative take on the Batman concept.
Tevii - 12/23/2013, 2:25 PM
thadarkknight1939 - Im kind of torn about that part. I thought it was cool that Waller thought the world needed a Batman, and that even Bruce Wayne had no idea Waller did that. It also preserves the uniqueness that is Batman. Not just anyone can put on the suit and be Batman and that reinforced that idea by being the same bloodline (contrary to the stupid-ass Batman Inc. crap).

But it did also seem like the story-line was too forced.
Robicon - 12/23/2013, 2:32 PM
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker was incredible!! Loved both ways they dealt with the Joker in the flashbacks!
Rebelslayer - 12/23/2013, 2:33 PM
I have to say cartoons now days suck compared to the 90's - early 2000's cartoons. I mean you do occasionally get the good one but I dunno maybe its cause I'm a 90's kid but the cartoons nowadays are lacking.
wavehunter - 12/23/2013, 2:34 PM
@ Tevii - Agreed. Except, I'm not torn. Love that story arc.
JoeMomma29 - 12/23/2013, 2:34 PM
@ Brain

I suggest you watch Agents of Shield you may like it, do not let my hate for the show discourage you from watching it.
Brainiac13 - 12/23/2013, 2:37 PM
@Joe

I will....I'll watch anything related to Marvel and DC.

Have a nice Christmas.
DrunkenPirateNukem - 12/23/2013, 2:45 PM
i have this great series on dvd..already saw all chapters..most of them are great...favorite was when ra´s tricked bruce wayne as talia...that was a great episode
TheDemonsHead - 12/23/2013, 2:48 PM
I LOVE PAUL DINI AND BRUCE TIMM
ALmight - 12/23/2013, 3:06 PM
This takes me back to my childhood. On a side note, "Epilogue" is probably my top favorite episode from JLU.

sameoldthing - 12/23/2013, 3:16 PM
Need a live action movie based on BATMAN BEYOND.
Do It Hollywood!
Scooby - 12/23/2013, 3:24 PM
I actually enjoyed watching this show more than the other DC animated series stuff of the time (Batman:TAS and Supes: TAS . . . recent Young Justice was pretty darn awesome as well). Of course, nothing beats Justice League! Both Beyond and JL and JLU had great and engaging stories and characters - and great relationships between the characters.
mgeoff88 - 12/23/2013, 3:24 PM
Awesome show. I really want to see a live-action movie of this someday.

It would be a nice change of pace for the Batman movie franchise.
Facade - 12/23/2013, 3:33 PM
Never understood the interest in this show. The villains were terrible (with the exception of Blight). The suit was bland as hell. And the animation was sloppy. I did like the techno intro, though. Hope to hell Hollywood never develops this.
Arrow96 - 12/23/2013, 3:58 PM
I've read on CBM.com that they're going to bring back the show in some shape or form. Please tell me I'm not deliusional.
xNightwingBeyondx - 12/23/2013, 5:22 PM
The show was soo ahead of its time, much like Batman TAS.
Would love to see a live action movie, but im sure that would happen in 2030...soo yeah. But im sure by the popularity of the previous show and the current comics would make the rebooted tv series just bomb.



npamusic - 12/23/2013, 8:55 PM
[frick] yeah, the show rocked. and had tie-ins to Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.

Return of the Joker was a bad-ass movie.
Mark Hamill even reprises the role.
BLACKTHORN - 12/24/2013, 6:31 AM
Batman the animated series and Batman Beyond are what got me into loving this amazing character
V8ER - 12/24/2013, 7:24 AM
Love this show along with the whole DCAU and their movies. Wish Return of the Joker got a theatrical release. Hamill's best performance IMO. Make A Batman Beyond movie WB/DC!!!
MarVell - 12/25/2013, 5:14 AM

Please log in to post comments.

Don't have an account?
Please Register.