If Another Actor Was Voicing Batman, It's Because Kevin Conroy Wasn't Asked

There are only a handful of universal truths in this world, and one of them is that Kevin Conroy is the best Batman of all time. Period. Case closed. Don't @ me. For over three decades, Conroy has voiced the Dark Knight across film, television, video games, and so much more, becoming the definitive performer of the character. Similar to the way Mark Hamill's portrayal of the Joker has influenced just about every rendition of the character that followed, Conroy's Batman voice is inimitable — but that doesn't stop people from trying.

Vulture assembled the complete oral history of "Batman: The Animated Series" back in 2017, which contains some of the most insightful behind-the-scenes knowledge of all things animated Batman. In a surprise to no one, Conroy said that if there's ever been a different actor voicing Batman, it's because he wasn't asked to play the part.

"Periodically, some new director will come in and do a 'Batman' project for Warner Bros. and decide that they want to do their own take on the character and hire someone else to do the voice," he said. "Ironically, they usually have that actor imitate me, and when I hear it, I always think, 'Well, why didn't they just ask me?'" There have been some genuinely fantastic non-Conroy Batman voices over the years, with Bruce Greenwood in "Batman: Under The Red Hood" and the "Young Justice" animated series among the best, but compared to Conroy's legacy, everyone else is just fighting for second place.

Oh Batman, my Batman

When talking about new takes on voicing Batman, it's important to differentiate between an inspired creative risk and celebrity stunt casting. For the most part, the other actors who have voiced animated Batman (Bruce Greenwood, Jeremy Sisto, Troy Baker, Roger Craig Smith, and Diedrich Bader, for example) have all provided their own unique takes on the character, building off of Kevin Conroy's blueprint. Even better, the most obvious celebrity stunt casting performance, Will Arnett as the LEGO version of Batman, was clearly an intentional decision to allow the comedian to perform legitimately the best modern Batman parody imaginable.

"I am very lucky that, after 25 years, they still come back to me as often as they do," Conroy told Vulture. "But periodically, someone comes up with a genius idea to hire someone else and fans come up to me and they say, 'Why didn't you do such-and-such? Why didn't you want to do it?' And I say, 'What do you mean, why didn't I want to do it? Of course, I wanted to do it! They didn't ask me!'" 

Kevin Conroy was a legendary Batman and losing him has left an impossible void to fill. Fortunately, his impact has been so undeniable, his influence will be heard in the sound of whoever voices Batman in his wake.