To this day, there are legions of people stating that Batman: The Animated Series remains the definitive take on the Dark Knight. After all, it faithfully adapted many comic book storylines and featured a killer voice cast that allowed for the material to become the stuff of legend. Because of this, there are those who can’t accept anyone other than Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as the Caped Crusader and the Joker, respectively.
Of course, everything that has a beginning has an end, thus the plug had to be pulled on the show at some point. Fortunately, the story continued evolving by way of The New Batman Adventures – or the “revamp episodes” as they’re also known – in addition to the bold vision of Gotham’s future that was Batman Beyond.
So, when Conroy appeared at MCM Comic Con London over the weekend, it was only natural for those in attendance to continue asking questions about the legendary show. Aside from saying that he’d “love to” be a part of a reboot of some sort, the fan favorite spoke of when the ax came down:
“They didn’t stop making the shows because the audience wasn’t there or the actors weren’t there, they stopped, really, because the creators ran out of ideas for stories. And they didn’t want to compromise on the quality of what they had and start creating kind of silly stories.”
“So they go, ‘Look, we gotta go in a whole new different direction.’ So then they went to Batman and Robin, they brought in Robin, that was the next series. Then they went into Batman Beyond, you know, recruiting a young guy. And then it was the Justice League. They were always looking at different ways to re-imagine the characters, just so they can get new storylines. A lot of it had to do with trying to come up with stories that weren’t becoming ridiculous.”
After taking in that info, I think we have somewhat of a “Column A, Column B” situation to discuss here. I mean, Conroy isn’t wrong, but if you’ve seen the bonus content included on Batman Beyond‘s season sets on DVD, then you already knew of how WB pulled the plug on The New Batman Adventures and Superman: The Animated Series in order to focus on a teenage version of the Masked Manhunter. To the credit of Bruce Timm and company, they were able to run with a concept that would’ve been a disaster in the wrong hands, and fold it into the continuity they’d already established with their other series.
So, even if Batman: The Animated Series never enjoys a proper revisiting, its legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of fans everywhere – not to mention via animated films like Batman and Harley Quinn and the Arkham video games, the latter of which I always viewed as a mature spin on the cartoon classic.