Fans were over the moon when a couple of images leaked yesterday that seemed to confirm that Warner Bros. is developing an animated Batman Beyond movie as an answer to the critical and box office success of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Beginning life as a fondly remembered early 2000s cartoon the developed out of Batman: The Animated Series, the show imagined a futuristic Gotham City in which a new teenage Batman, Terry McGinnis is tutored by a now-elderly Bruce Wayne.
Upon the announcement of the movie, the original voice actor for McGinnis expressed an interest in reprising the role, but it seems those hopes might be dashed almost as soon as they were raised, as word is (according to SuperBroMovies writer Daniel Richtman) that Warner Bros. is searching for an Asian-American actor to play the role. This might indicate that the movie will be a little more of departure from the original series, though I’m sure the basic concept will remain the same.
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It’s also quite telling what lessons WB appear to be taking from Into the Spider-Verse. That film’s African-American hero Miles Morales has garnered near-universal praise, with the studio hoping to get a bit of that feel-good hype for themselves. Good on them for this, but I just hope they also take inspiration from Into the Spider-Verse‘s dazzling visual style. Those pieces of concept art don’t exactly fill my heart with hope, but I’m ready to be impressed.
Clearly, this film is at a very early stage of development, but the core concept of Batman Beyond is such a no-brainer for mainstream success (it’s basically Batman crossed with Spider-Man) that the studio would have to try really damn hard to screw it up. But then again, if anyone can, it’s meddling Warner Bros. executives.