Batman Beyond, the Emmy Award winning animated telling of the Batman clan far into the future, is going to be celebrating its 20th anniversary at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Those fortunate enough to be in attendance will have the opportunity to see and hear from the acting stars of the series, including Kevin Conroy as the voice of an older Bruce Wayne, and Will Friedle, the voice of our newest Batman and Terry McGinnis.
Fans will also be able to celebrate the series with members from the creative team including producers Bruce Timm from Batman: The Animated Series, Glen Murakami from Teen Titans, eight-time Emmy Award-winning casting and dialogue director Andrea Romano for Justice League, director James Tucker for the upcoming release of Batman: Hush, writers Bob Goodman from Elementary and Warehouse 13, and Stan Berkowitz of Justice League: The New Frontier. Perhaps most intriguing about this announcement is that fans are told to, “Stay to the end for some exclusive prizes and cool announcements." Whatever could this be?
Well, considering that both of the main voice actors are going to be in attendance, along with an outstanding list of individuals who have worked on the creative side of some other fantastic animated features in the Batman series, we may just be in for something new in the futuristic world of Batman Beyond. So what stories are left to tell?
Damian Wayne, the Son of Batman
For years now we have seen the development of young master Damian Wayne, son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, grandson of Ra’s al Ghul, leader of the League of Assassins. We have also seen Damien suffer massive injuries, always to return under the mantle of Robin.
And yet, Batman Beyond was suspiciously silent on the topic of Damian, which always felt a little out of place since they took the time to explore the fates of Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, and mentioned briefly Alfred Pennyworth, Jason Todd, and Dick Grayson, among others.
So where is the son of Batman? We do have one version of events, according to the comic Batman Beyond Vol 6 #7 released in June of 2017, which begins telling a fascinating story of how Damian and his father worked together in passing over the mantle of the bat, only for disaster to strike.
Using an experimental suit known as the X7, Damian was changed at a fundamental level, leaving his father behind to take over the League of Shadows when Ra’s al Ghul finally died, no longer able to harness the power of the Lazarus Pit.
Terry meanwhile is fighting the same inner demons as Damian while forced to use the same suit, and everything comes to an electrifying climax in an effort to avoid the type of massive destruction that the League of Assassins often strives to achieve.
The story itself is not without criticism, mainly in that more time could be devoted to fleshing out the past history of Damian, and this would be an amazing project to see brought to life in an animated film, and is possibly one announcement we could see at SDCC!
The Truth Behind Terry McGinnis
In an unexpected surprise, the twenty-sixth episode of Justice League Unlimited gave viewers a substantial bit of information regarding Terry and his true origins. More importantly, we came to learn about Project Batman Beyond, utilizing old technology from Project Cadmus, which sought to ensure that Batman would have a successor to continue protecting the city.
Without discussing heavy spoilers, it will suffice to say that Amanda Waller, now far older, plays a key role in telling the events that brought Terry into the fold. There are deliberate machinations in play, as much as pure chance and commentary about destiny in this story, and getting a feature length telling would be an outstanding addition.
This could be anything, really. There are so many characters from the past that do not make an appearance in Batman Beyond, but are hinted at, such as Harley Quinn. In a single spoken line at the end of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, we hear just for a moment, “Shut up, Grandma Harley!” as we learn that her two granddaughters have been a part of the newest Joker gang all along.
All in all, the 20th anniversary of Batman Beyond should be a celebration of an unlikely show that was a gift to fans everywhere, expanding an old formula into something new. Perhaps we are getting some new content in the future, but if not, we already have a great series to watch over and over again.