A Tight Deadline Meant Batman Beyond Had To Make Things Up 'On The Fly'

Once upon a time, the DC Animated Universe was a thriving franchise that was jumpstarted by the resounding success of "Batman: The Animated Series." Spin-offs and sequels set within an interconnected universe followed shortly after, including several feature-length films. But in the late '90s, the network that carried the shows wanted a revamped, teenaged version of Batman sooner rather than later. Despite its detractors, including Bruce Timm himself, a new series was birthed that gave way to a fan-favorite character. Enter "Batman Beyond."

Here's the catch: Kevin Conroy returned to voice Bruce Wayne, but he wasn't Batman this time around. Taking over the mantle of the Dark Knight was Terry McGinnis (Will Friedle), an original character that had never graced the comic book pages. As one could imagine, there was skepticism surrounding the project, even from its creators. Worst yet, the series had to be done in a very short amount of time.

A follow-up set 20 years after "Batman: The Animated Series," the McGinnis-led series eventually captured the hearts of fans with its futuristic, cyberpunk setting and aesthetic. However, it was a tall task to pull off. Trying to put together a full-fledged show that introduced a brand-new character taking over the beloved persona meant Timm, Paul Dini, and Alan Burnett had to create a new world from the ground up. And, believe it or not, they did it all on the fly.

A Batman beyond deadlines

Timm discussed the origins of "Batman Beyond" with IGN, coincidently two decades after the series debuted. During the interview, he revealed that once his initial doubts subsided, it was a race against time to get the series made:

"Once I came around on it, we had to hit the ground running. We had no time to develop the show. And we were still finishing up 'The New Batman Adventures.' So we were doing two shows at the same time. We didn't have scripts, we didn't have characters, we hadn't done any of the world building yet. It was a mad dash. We were making stuff up on the fly."

The quick turnaround of "Batman Beyond" required all the help it could get, too. Writers, directors, and other crew members were recruited from several DCAU-adjacent shows, including "Superman: The Animated Series." At the very least, the final product is a testament to their commitment to producing a worthy continuation of "Batman: The Animated Series," an ambitious endeavor that could've ended in disaster.

The combined efforts led to the acclaimed series we know and love, confidently introducing an unforgettable addition to the vast Batman canon. But don't take our word for it, either. If you haven't experienced "Batman Beyond" yet, all three seasons are available to stream on HBO Max.