There have been many, many animated iterations of Batman over the years, but there has never been one quite like “Batman: The Animated Series.”
The series, which began in the fall of 1992 as the lynchpin of Fox’s Fox Kids afternoon programming block (masterminded by former Disney exec Bill Mechanic as a way to draw attention away from the wildly popular Disney Afternoon), it would run for more than a 100 episodes, saw a radical reinvention in the form of “The New Batman Adventures,” and would inspire a theatrical feature (“Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm”) that many fans feel is the best big screen appearance of the Dark Knight.
And now “Batman: The Animated Series” is back – sort of. Get ready for “Batman: Caped Crusader.”
Just as the original “Animated Series” took inspiration from Tim Burton’s two “Batman” films, this new series is tied into the new feature film “The Batman.” And as such that film’s director Matt Reeves has teamed with his old buddy J.J. Abrams (they created “Felicity” and “Cloverfield” together) and original “Batman: The Animated Series” mastermind Bruce Timm, along with producer James Tucker.
In the announcement video, part of the DC Fandome event, Timm said that his elevator pitch for the new show is “It’s more ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ than ‘Batman: The Animated Series.’ It goes back to the principals of the show that we came up with in the early 90s.” Yes. “You watch this lone figure swimming through the cesspool of Gotham alone,” Reeves said, about a pre-Justice League Batman.
While the only thing we have in terms of a release date is a vague “coming soon,” just how soon remains a question mark, especially given that the announcement doesn’t contain any actual animation from the new series, with only clips from the original “Batman: The Animated Series” and Timm’s black-and-white Batman short “Strange Days.” “Just to be clear the show won’t be in black-and-white, unless I can convince Bruce to do a special episode,” Tucker said.
As to what the show will eventually look like, Timm said: “Set in the timeless ’40s world. If anything, we’re going to lean into that more in terms of authentic clothes and hairstyles and hats and vehicles and architecture. The way we deal with the characters will be more modern in terms of representation and inclusivity.”
We’ll just echo Reeves when he said, “I can’t wait to see how this turns out.”