Debuting on Jan. 10, 1999, Batman Beyond was the future-set Batman series you never knew you needed in your life until you had it.
After the end of Batman: The Animated Series, no one would blame you if you felt no animated version of the Dark Knight could ever be that good again. Then along came Batman Beyond and I was definitely in the camp of, “A future Batman? No thanks, I’m good.”
The idea that some punk kid named Terry McGinnis could ever replace Bruce Wayne was just insanity it seemed. Then it was announced that Bruce Wayne would indeed still be a part of the series, and that Kevin Conroy would carry on in the role. Okay, fine, you started winning me over with the idea this was in the same continuity as B:TAS.
Even at that stage, and the fact I was 27, I didn’t watch Batman Beyond for several years. Yes, I heard from friends how good it was, but I worked full-time, had other things on my plate and so on. I eventually picked up the DVDs and watched them as I exercised, and… I was hooked. It was better than I could have ever hoped and as we got to the big revelations about some of the characters in the final season, I was so ready for more.
At only 52 episodes, it’s a quick watch and well worth your time if you’ve never checked it out.
Batman Beyond Should Become a Film
Back in 2000, after the failure of Batman & Robin, Warner Bros. did consider a live-action film of the series as the studio tried to decide what to do with the franchise. Series creators Paul Dini and Alan Burnett were tasked with writing a script for the film. They indeed did take up the task and turned in a draft in July 2001. By that time, however, Warner Bros. was exploring other concept and ended up canceling the project in Aug. 2001.
It feels like now is the time to explore the concept again. By no means do I suggest a Batman Beyond film should replace any films based around Bruce Wayne, but instead should run in conjunction to them. Even if it was a one-off, you could set up a concept of a threat in a Batman movie and then that serves as the threat in the Batman Beyond film.
A Beyond film would also let you do away with some of the baggage. Terry had his own Rogues Gallery that was intriguing and could become fan favorites easily. A big budget battle with Inque could be a lot of fun. Or imagine Blight glowing and the visuals around him. And, of course, if you had a Ra’s al Ghul who used Lazarus Pits, he could be the hold over threat.
There is a lot of fantastic material that could launch a live-action Batman Beyond film, it’s just a question if Warner Bros. will ever let it happen.
For now, however, happy birthday to a series that should get a ton of respect for achieving the seemingly impossible: Getting people interested in a Batman that wasn’t Bruce Wayne.
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