2014 is the 75 year anniversary of Batman’s first appearance in the comics! So, we’re doing a series of articles (called Batman 75) looking back at the Caped Crusader’s history as well as articles covering DC’s efforts to celebrate the anniversary.
Batman Beyond Short
Teen Titans Go! viewers were given a surprise a couple of weeks ago in the form of a new DC Nation animated short from Bruce Timm giving his Batman: The Animated Series Batman a black-and-white, pulp-y makeover. It was supposed to happen again this week with a new DC Nation animated short premiering with the next Teen Titans Go! episode. However, then the short premiered to WonderCon attendees this weekend, and Yahoo manged to get it online. It stars futuristic Batman Terry McGinnis (Will Friedle) from the animated series Batman Beyond (1999-2001) teaming up with elderly Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy) to battle….well, why spoil it. Watch it below:
Also featured in that final row of Batman robots is an homage to Tim Burton Batman (1989 film).
Batman Beyond is the logical place for such a battle to take place. Set 20 years after the events of Batman: The Animated Series/The New Adventures of Batman, Batman Beyond was a completely original creation focused on Bruce Wayne mentoring a young kid taking over as Batman and battling almost entirely new villains (or remarkably different versions of the old ones). As a result, it is a bit of a aquired taste since those in search of familiar Batman elements will come away unsatisfied. Plus, they were clearly trying just a little too hard to be the hip, new scary Batman. Just look at their opening credits with Rob Zombie-like theme song:
The show’s most memorable moment is likely the direct-to-video movie Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker, which bridges the gap between the New Adventures of Batman and Batman Beyond. If you were a fan of Batman: The Animated Series and have yet to see The Return of the Joker you should rectify that immediately.
In the animated realm, Batman Beyond remains the furthest into the future Batman has gone (even though its 2020 time setting is now right around the corner), and its characters even received a proper goodbye in the series finale of Justice League Unlimited, which though set many years before Batman Beyond existed in the same fictional universe.
Like the Bruce Timm animated short, this isn’t likely something Warner Bros. Animation has produced the test the waters for a return of Batman Beyond to full-time series. You always have to wonder since the current series Teen Titans Go! began its life as a series of DC Nation shorts. However, this clearly seems like it’s just them celebrating the 75 year anniversary of their marquee character, using their most futuristic version to fight robot versions of the most famous prior versions. They actually already have a current Batman series, the CGI Beware the Batman, which though presumably unofficially canceled after being quietly pulled from Cartoon Network’s DC Nation Saturday morning block has now been moved to Adult Swim’s Toonami block meaning it will air at 3 AM (ouch). However, only 11 of the 26 produced episodes of its first season have aired, 13 of which were released on DVD. So, though unconfirmed you’d assume they intend to either burn off the remaining episodes on Toonami, or are testing out a potential future home for their more violent, less kid-friendly superhero cartoons (or both).
Son of Batman/Assault on Arkham Trailers
WB-Animation still has two direct-to-video animated Batman films coming up, Son of Batman and Assault on Arkham, the former depicting that time Damien Wayne showed up and said, “Hi, dad!” to a rather surprised Bruce, and the latter continuing the events begun in the video game Batman: Arkham Origins. The Son of Batman trailer has been out for a while now. If you missed it, here it is:
The Assault on Arkham trailer, however, just premiered two days ago. Here it is:
Actually, we still don’t know if Assault on Arkham is meant to exist in the same fictional universe as the Arkham video games, or is just an adaptation looking to cash in on the appeal of an insanely awesome line of video games. Batman: Arkham Origins does end with a post-credits sequence (that’s right – video games have those now, too) in which Amanda Waller recruits Slade Wilson/Deathstroke to the Suicide Squad, a team of incarcerated supervillains working high-risk jobs in secret for the government in exchange for commuted prison sentences, yet Deathstroke isn’t a character in this movie. Instead, the Suicide Squad consists of Floyd Lawton/Deadshot, the never not awesome Harley Quinn, King Shark, Captain Boomerang, and (I’m guessing) Killer Frost. Considering that rumors have the Suicide Squad being high on WB’s list of lesser known DC properties to adapt into mid-budget, live action films and that Arrow just did its own version of the Squad, it’ll be interesting to see what director Jay Oliva (The Dark Knight Returns, Young Justice, Justice League: War) does with his take on the group in the animated realm. Beyond that, he has Batman being voiced by Kevin Conroy (as he should always be, really, and is in the video games), and the Joker by Troy Baker, a more than capable Mark Hamill replacement as the Joker in Arkham Origins. So, it’ll definitely sound familiar to those who play the video games, but, as is the way with the DC Animated films, waste no real time in establishing its universe for those not already steeped in the lore.
Updated: 7/18/14 – WB has released the first minute of Assault on Arkham:
Son of Batman is due out 5/6/14 while Assault on Arkham is due sometime in late 2014.
Sources: screenrant.com (Short), screenrant.com (Assault on Arkham)
If you like this, check out our other “Batman 75” articles:
- Batman 75: How Tim Burton’s Batman Set the Stage for Netflix’s Assault on the Theatrical Release Window
- End of An Era? – 2015 Could Be the First Year in Nearly 2 Decades Without An Animated Batman Series on TV
- Batman 75: How Robin Williams Almost Played the Joker & The Riddler
- Is Fantastic Four Doomed to Because It No-Showed Comic-Con? It Didn’t Hurt Batman Begins
- Batman 75: How We Almost Got a Bruce Wayne Origin Series Instead of Smallville
- Batman 75: The Sad Fates of Batman Actors of the Past Translates to a Very Promising Black Comedy: Michael Keaton’s Birdman
- Batman 75: Did An ABC Executive’s Visit to the Playboy Club in 1965 Really Inspire the Adam West Batman TV Series?
- Batman 75: Looking Back at Batman’s Film Debut in the Casually Racist & Generally Atrocious 1940s Film Serials
- Batman 75: Will We Ever Be Able to Accept a Non-Bruce Wayne Batman on Film?
- Batman 75: Test Your Batman Knowledge With 11 Questions from NPR’s Comic Book Critic Glen Weldon
- Batman 75: Watch Bruce Timm’s New Animated Short “Batman: Strange Days”
- Batman 75: How the Joker Was Created & Then Saved from an Early Death
- Batman 75: Bill Finger – The Man Who Co-Created Batman