Batman Beyond (known as Batman of the Future in Europe, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand and India) is an American animated television series created by The WB Television Network in collaboration with DC Comics as a continuation of the Batman legacy.
Batman Beyond began airing on January 10, 1999 and ended its run on December 18, 2001. With 52 episodes and one direct-to-video movie under its belt, the series was then put on hold for the new Justice League animated series. As of 2008, Batman Beyond remains on hiatus with no plans to revive the series in the near future. However, there was a short-lived spin-off, The Zeta Project. It is worth noting that in The Zeta Project's first season episode "Shadows", there is a crossover with Batman Beyond; in this continuity, the story takes place between the episode "Countdown" and the series finale "Unmasked."
The series is set in the chronological future of the DC animated universe, although it was released before Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Static Shock. Some characters from the series appeared two years later in "Future Shock", an episode of Static Shock, and then again in "The Once and Future Thing," episodes of Justice League Unlimited. The character was revisited a final time in the JLU episode "Epilogue"', which tells much about the future of Batman.
Batman Beyond is said to exploit the darker side of many Batman projects, playing basically on such key elements as emotions, personal relations, fear of unknown and technological malfunctions. It is also the first Batman series to portray the hero as a teenager.
The story then fast-forwards another twenty years. Gotham City is now a futuristic megalopolis equipped with staggering high rises and hovering/flying vehicles. Bruce Wayne is now a recluse, living in bitter isolation with no companion but his guard dog, Ace. It is implied by virtue of his continuing to fight crime long after he should have, and his retaining of the costumes worn by Robin, Nightwing, and Batgirl, that even before he had a heart attack, something horrible transpired that caused Bruce to sever his ties with the Justice League and forbid his disciples to ever again assume their alter-egos. The events which caused all of this are revealed in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
In 2039, Terry McGinnis (born on June 27, 2023) is an athletic sixteen year-old high school student and reformed troublemaker with a deeply ingrained sense of personal justice. During the pilot episode, he saves a fellow passenger on a commuter rail from a member of the Jokerz gang, and later single-handedly takes on an entire gang of them to defend his girlfriend, ultimately resulting in a harrowing high-speed motorcycle chase through Neo-Gotham's expressways. The chase ends at the doorstep of Wayne Manor, where a fleeing Terry runs into the elderly Bruce Wayne. Bruce and Terry fend off the Jokerz side-by-side, but the exertion aggravates Wayne's heart condition. Terry helps Bruce back to the manor, and while staying there, he discovers the entrance to the Batcave. He later returns to "borrow" the Batsuit to avenge the death of his father. As crime and corruption are beginning once again to rear their ugly heads in Gotham, Bruce ultimately allows Terry to assume the mantle of Batman.
Terry continues the battle against crime, tutored by Bruce and aided by a new, high-tech Batsuit that augments his abilities, fires Batarangs from the wrists, flies using jets fired from the feet, allows eavesdropping through a hypersensitive touch microphone, and provides camouflage abilities. He comes to have his own rogues gallery, such as the seductive shape-shifter Inque, the hypnotist Spellbinder, the bitter, deaf sound expert Shriek, the deadly assassin Curare, the insane terrorist Mad Stan, the African hunter Stalker, a new version of the Royal Flush Gang, and the Jokerz, a gang idolizing the notorious Joker. However, on occasion, Terry is also forced to face his mentor's old foes, such as the atrophying Mr. Freeze, Bane (elderly, wasted, and dying from his consumption of Venom, the substance that gave him his strength), the immortal Ra's al Ghul, and even a reborn Joker.
Terry's first foe is Derek Powers, a ruthless billionaire who took over Wayne Industries and is later accidentally mutated into a radioactive monstrosity known as Blight. Powers had Terry's father, Warren, murdered after Warren discovered that Powers was in the process of developing a biological weapons program. The first season ended with a showdown between Batman and Blight aboard an abandoned nuclear submarine, where Powers was in hiding after his identity as Blight was revealed to the world by his ambitious son Paxton, who planned to usurp his father as chairman of Wayne-Powers.
Maxine "Max" Gibson (born October 28, 2023) is a seventeen year-old computer genius who discovers Batman's secret identity, and helps Terry with everything from computer hacking, to babysitting, to coming up with excuses for Terry's girlfriend, Dana Tan. Max plays an integral part in Batman's war on crime, essentially as his Alfred.
Terry also finds one other ally, though a begrudging one: Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl. Having followed in the footsteps of her father, James Gordon, Barbara is now Police Commissioner of Gotham City. In one episode, Barbara reveals to Terry that she and Bruce had once been romantically involved. However, she is unhappy with the idea of a new Batman, especially a teenager, as she is still haunted by the same event that caused Bruce to go into isolation. Knowing from personal experience that she cannot deter Terry anymore than she could have been deterred from being Batgirl, she relents, possibly also out of respect for her mentor and former lover, the original Batman. Passing conversation between Barbara and Bruce suggests that at the time of Batgirl's retirement, the suit had bullet holes in it that had been repaired.
Justice League Unlimited revisited the world of Batman Beyond twice in 2005. The first time featured Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern transported 50 years into the future to stop a time-traveling villain with the help of the future Justice League Unlimited cast, including Terry McGinnis as Batman and a future Static. The second time occurred during the episode "Epilogue", where the true secret origin of the future Batman is learned in a story meant to be the de facto series finale for this Batman's story.
Over the years Amanda Waller came to respect Batman and even trust him. As the years passed, she saw that he was getting older and slower. The thought of a world without Batman was unacceptable to her, so she decided to make a new one. She used her Cadmus connections to gather the technology for "Project Batman Beyond", and obtained Bruce Wayne's DNA. She found a young Neo Gotham couple with psychological profiles nearly identical to those of Bruce's parents, and injected Warren McGinnis with a nanotech solution programmed to rewrite his reproductive material into an exact copy of Bruce Wayne's. A little over a year later, Mary McGinnis gave birth to Terry, a child sharing half her genetic material and half Bruce's.
When Terry was eight years old, Waller hired Andrea Beaumont (the title character from Mask of the Phantasm) as an assassin to kill Terry's family, hoping the trauma would put him on the path to becoming Batman. However, Beaumont refused, arguing that Batman would never resort to murder to achieve his goals. Derek Powers later had Warren murdered, resulting in Terry becoming the new Batman.
Fifteen years after Terry McGinnis became the new Batman, Bruce Wayne's kidneys fail and doctors need a tissue donor to clone him new ones. When Terry shows a perfect histo-compatibility match with Bruce, Terry runs a DNA test and found out that half his DNA was from Bruce. Terry assumes that Bruce set the whole thing up, using some old Cadmus nanotechnology to have Terry's genes rewritten to match Bruce's, similar to what the Joker did to Tim Drake. He tracks Amanda Waller down and she reveals his origins to him. She also reminds him that he is Bruce Wayne's son, not his clone, and that despite his genetics he still has free will and makes his own choice in becoming Batman.
|DVD Name||Release Date||Episodes||Additional Information|
|The Complete First Season||March 21, 2006||13||Special Features: Creators' Commentary on 2 Key Episodes; Inside Batman Beyond: Meet 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 2 Key Episodes; Inside Batman Beyond: The Panel - In-Depth Dialogue with the Show's Creators.|
|The Complete Third Season||March 20, 2007||13||Special Features: Inside Batman Beyond; Featurettes on 4 episodes by producers, directors, and Will Friedle.|
|DVD Name||Release Date||Episodes||Additional Information|
|Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (edited version)||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 & Francais.|
|Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (original uncut version)||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 & Francais.|
|Batman Beyond: School Dayz and Spellbound||March 2, 2004||6|
|Batman Beyond: Tech Wars and Disappearing Inque||March 2, 2004||6|
Originally, Batman Beyond #3 (the monthly series) was to focus on The Terrific Trio from the Batman Beyond episode "Heroes." The story would have 2-D Man and Magma trying to revive their former teammate, Freon. It was rejected due to their resemblance to the Fantastic Four.
More recently, in Superman/Batman #22 (written by Jeph Loeb), a Batman wearing the Beyond costume appears, making his first foray into the regular DC Comics continuity. The plot involves Bizarro being transported to an alternate version of Gotham City. It would appear from #23 that this Batman is someone named "Tim" (presumably Tim Drake). However, the writers admitted to the mistake of misnaming the character, and although the name was rumored to be changed to "Terry" in the trade paperback, it still reads "Tim" (see first page of "Smoke and Mirrors" chapter in the trade paperback). Furthermore, the packaging for the action figure created by DC Direct based on this appearance in Superman/Batman also erroneously identifies Batman Beyond as Tim Drake instead of Terry McGinnis. Another oddity is the Batwing pictured is the version from Batman: The Animated Series, not Batman Beyond. Whether this is the regular DC universe or a parallel one is still to be seen. It seems possible that this may be an alternate reality as the same story has Batzarro transported to the world of Superman: Red Son, an Elseworlds communist version of Superman.
On March 3, 2007 Dan DiDio announced that Terry McGinnis may be showing up in the DCU sometime this year. This turned out to be true, as Terry McGinnis will be appearing in Countdown to Final Crisis #21. He will be an inhabitant of Earth-12. It's unknown at the moment whether Earth-12 will be the home Earth of the entire DC Animated Universe, or just the home Earth of the Batman Beyond TV series.
A Green Lantern implied to be from a universe within the multiverse similar to that of Batman Beyond (though not the same GL represented in the animated series) is a participant in the Countdown: Arena series leading towards Final Crisis.
One canon contribution of Batman Beyond to the DC Universe is establishing that Barbara Gordon eventually becomes Commissioner of Gotham Police following in her father's footsteps.
The supervillain Stalker was to have appeared in The Zeta Project episode "Taffy Time," but didn't make it. The second season episode, "Ro's Gift," has an appearance made 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 Timm and company were working on Justice League.