DC animated universe
The DC Animated Universe (DCAU) is the shared universe of animated DC Comics television, film, video game, and other multi-media adaptations produced by Warner Bros. Animation from the early 1990s to mid-2000s; beginning with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 and ending with Justice League Unlimited in 2006.
List of DCAU media
While there have been several animated projects based upon DC Comics characters over the decades, what is commonly accepted as the "DC animated universe" refers to the stable of TV series and films that spin off from Batman: The Animated Series (1992–95), the first TV show in this continuity. Two characters outside of the normal Batman canon, Zatanna and Jonah Hex, appeared on the show, but the first series to indicate a shared continuity with other well-known characters was the subsequent show, Superman: The Animated Series, in which the title character had encounters with heroes such as the Flash and the Green Lantern.
Older shows such as Super Friends and newer shows such as The Batman, Legion of Super Heroes, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Young Justice are not part of this continuity. The direct-to-video DC Universe Animated Original Movies, such as Superman: Doomsday, Justice League: The New Frontier and Batman: Gotham Knight, are also not considered part of the DCAU, despite utilizing similar character designs and several of them featuring much of the same voice cast as previous DCAU series.
The DC animated universe consists of these animated series (and their related films; see below):
|Batman: The Animated Series||September 5, 1992 – September 15, 1995||Fox||Starting point for the universe
"Showdown" (Jonah Hex)
|Superman: The Animated Series||September 6, 1996 – February 12, 2000||The WB||Crossovers with The New Batman Adventures:
The Demon Reborn
Speed Demons (The Flash)
The Hand of Fate (Dr. Fate)
Heavy Metal (Steel)
In Brightest Day (The Green Lantern Corps)
A Fish Story (Aquaman)
|The New Batman Adventures||September 13, 1997 – January 16, 1999||Sequel to Batman: The Animated Series
Crossovers with Superman: The Animated Series:
Girl's Night Out
The Demon Within (Etrigan)
Beware The Creeper (The Creeper)
|Batman Beyond||January 10, 1999 – December 18, 2001||Sequel to The New Batman Adventures
Crossovers with The Zeta Project:
Zeta (Infiltration Unit Zeta)
The Call (The Justice League Unlimited)
|Static Shock||September 23, 2000 – May 22, 2004||Crossovers:
The Big Leagues (The New Batman Adventures)
Fallen Hero (Justice League)
Future Shock (The New Batman Adventures/Batman Beyond)
Hard as Nails (The New Batman Adventures)
A League of Their Own (Justice League)
Toys in the Hood (Superman: The Animated Series)
|The Zeta Project||January 27, 2001 – August 17, 2002||Spin-off of Batman Beyond
Crossovers with Batman Beyond:
|Justice League||November 17, 2001 – May 29, 2004||Cartoon Network||Sequel to Superman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures|
|Justice League Unlimited||July 31, 2004 – May 13, 2006||Sequel to Justice League
The Once And Future Thing (Static Shock/Batman Beyond)
Epilogue (Batman Beyond)
An animated series based on the Teen Titans comic books was planned for the DC animated universe during the mid-1990s, but was finally scrapped. Also, after the success of Batman: The Animated Series in the early 1990s, Fox approached Bruce Timm to create a spin-off series focusing on Catwoman, but the project never materialized.
The following animated feature films also are part of the DCAU continuity:
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993; theatrical release)
- Superman: The Last Son of Krypton (1996; television)
- The Batman Superman Movie: World's Finest (1997; television)
- Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998; direct-to-video)
- Batman Beyond: The Movie (1999; television)
- Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000; direct-to-video)
- Justice League: Secret Origins (2001; television)
- Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003; direct-to-video)
- Justice League - Starcrossed: The Movie (2004; television)
- Batman and Harley Quinn (2017; direct-to-video)
Before the release of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, a third animated feature based on Batman: The Animated Series was planned, entitled Batman: Arkham. The film was supposed to be a follow-up for Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, and Boyd Kirkland was attached to write and direct; but the project was soon scrapped. A second Batman Beyond movie was planned for release but was finally scrapped due the dark tones and controversies of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker in 2001. Around 2003, during the production of Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, Warner Bros. approached Kirkland to write a Catwoman direct-to-video feature film as a tie-in with the 2004 live-action film. Although the script was written, the project was soon scrapped after the poor reception of the live-action film. Also, a direct-to-video feature-length animated film entitled Justice League: Worlds Collide was planned to connect Justice League with its follow-up Justice League Unlimited, but the production was finally cancelled in 2004, and the script was later rewritten for the animated film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, that was not part of the DC animated universe.
- The Dark Knight's First Night (1990) – A short film which acted as the developmental pilot for Batman: The Animated Series.
- Chase Me (2003) – A short film with no dialogue based on The New Batman Adventures.
- Batman Beyond (2014) – A short film based on Batman Beyond created by Darwyn Cooke for Batman's 75th anniversary. The short features the original voice cast of the show, as well as cameos of robotic batmen from The New Batman Adventures, The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Beware the Batman, The Dark Knight Returns, Michael Keaton's Batman, Adam West's Batman, and the original comic book Batman from 1939.
- Gotham Girls (2000–2002) – A Macromedia Flash web cartoon series, this was downloadable from the WB website, and featured DCAU versions of characters voiced by their original actors. A DC Comics miniseries inspired by the web series was released in 2004. All three seasons of Gotham Girls were released on the Birds of Prey DVD box set in 2008.
- Lobo (2000) – A Flash cartoon series starring Lobo, the galactic bounty hunter, the web-series is a spin-off of the Superman episode "The Main Man." A wax statue with the same character design as Lobo in this series appeared in an episode of Gotham Girls and he also made a reappearance in the Justice League episode "Hereafter" briefly becoming a member of the Justice League. Both of these examples somewhat support that the webseries is part of the official DCAU, although this is still disputed. Unlike the other cartoons set in the DCAU, it has graphic violence, sexual content and strong profanity.
Many of the DCAU productions have also had comic books created based on the characters of the various series, though their canonicity is disputable. The comics are:
|1992||The Batman Adventures (vol. 1)||#1–36
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
|1993||Superman & Batman Magazine||#1–8|
|1995||Batman and Robin Adventures||#1–25
Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero
Dark Claw Adventures
Superman vs Lobo
Exclusive Edition (Superman 64 Prequel)
|1997||Adventures in the DC Universe||#1–19
|1998||The Batman Adventures: The Lost Years||#1–5|
|Batman: Gotham Adventures||#1–60|
|1999||Batman Beyond (vol. 1)||#1–6|
|Batman Beyond (vol. 2)||#1–24
Return of the Joker
|Justice League Adventures||#1–34|
|2003||Batman Adventures (vol. 2)||#1–17|
|Batman: Shadow of Sin Tzu||#1–52|
|2004||Batman: Harley and Ivy||#1–3|
|Justice League Unlimited||#1–46|
|2010||Batman Beyond (vol. 3)||#1–6|
|2011||Batman Beyond (vol. 4)||#1–8|
|2012||Justice League Beyond||#1–25|
|Batman Beyond (vol. 5)||#1–29|
|2013||Batman Beyond 2.0||#1–40|
|Justice League Beyond 2.0||#1–24|
|2015||Scooby Doo Team Up||#12|
There have also been a number of DCAU tie-in video games released to correspond with the various animated television series and films. Some of these games have original plots, while others follow previous stories; their status in DCAU canon is unknown. The games are:
|1993||Batman: The Animated Series||Game Boy|
|1994||The Adventures of Batman & Robin||Super NES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Mega-CD/Sega CD, Game Gear|
|2000||Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker||Game Boy Color, PlayStation, Nintendo 64|
|2001||Batman: Chaos in Gotham||Game Boy Color|
|Batman: Gotham City Racer||PlayStation|
|Batman: Vengeance||PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Xbox, Microsoft Windows|
|2002||Justice League: Injustice for All||Game Boy Advance|
|Static Shock (canceled game)|
|Superman: Shadow of Apokolips||PlayStation 2, GameCube|
|2003||Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu||Xbox, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, GameCube|
|Justice League: Chronicles||Game Boy Advance|
|Superman: Countdown to Apokolips|
Five of these games feature voice acting from the casts of the original shows. These are: The Adventures of Batman and Robin (SEGA CD/Mega CD version), Superman, Batman Vengeance, Superman: Shadow of Apokolips, and Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu. The SEGA CD/Mega CD game, The Adventures of Batman and Robin, also features animation from one of the studios that animated Batman: The Animated Series.
Cast and characters
Characters adapted from the DCAU
Though the DCAU is an offshoot of the mainstream DC comics universe, it has also affected the DC universe in return. The following characters were originally created for their respective series in the DCAU, but were eventually adapted via retroactive continuity into the mainstream DC comic continuity:
- Nora Fries (Batman: The Animated Series)
- Harley Quinn (Batman: The Animated Series)
- Renee Montoya (Batman: The Animated Series)
- Lock-Up (Batman: The Animated Series)
- Sewer King (Batman: The Animated Series)
- The Condiment King (Batman: The Animated Series)
- Mercy Graves (Superman: The Animated Series)
- Livewire (Superman: The Animated Series)
- Roxy Rocket (The New Batman Adventures)
- Terry McGinnis/Batman (Batman Beyond)
- Gray Ghost (Batman: The Animated Series)
- Retroactive continuity
In addition, the backstory of Mr. Freeze was adapted from his portrayal in Batman: The Animated Series, and the visuals and/or characterization of Green Lantern, Supergirl, Toyman, Two-Face, Parasite, Metallo, Clayface, and many others have been applied to their comic counterparts. On a different note, issue #22 of DC Comics' Superman/Batman series, which explores alternate realities, had Bizarro transported to an alternate version of Gotham City patrolled by a Batman using the Batman Beyond version of the costume. A version of the future of Batman Beyond made an appearance in Countdown to Final Crisis #21, as part of the new Multiverse in the wake of the Infinite Crisis and 52, and a Batman Beyond series is planned. In January 2015, DC published The Multiversity Guidebook which revealed that a universe inspired by the DCAU is Earth-12 in the DC Multiverse, and currently in the Batman Beyond era, while the Justice Lords Earth from the Justice League episode "A Better World" has also been added to the canon as Earth-50.
The future of the DCAU
With the conclusion of the Justice League Unlimited animated series, Warner Bros has moved on to adapting new versions of the various DC comics properties rather than reviving the DCAU counterparts.
The last script written for DCAU continuity was titled Justice League: Worlds Collide. This screenplay was created to bridge the several month gap between Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. The draft was eventually adapted into the February 2010 film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, with the removal of any references specific to DCAU continuity, replacing Green Lantern John Stewart with Hal Jordan, and the casting of different voice actors than those of the DCAU.
On June 8, 2015, during an interview with Nerdist about his new film Justice League: Gods and Monsters, Bruce Timm was asked if the DC animated universe will return someday. Although he stated that the DCAU continuity will likely not return, he stated that anyway, the chance of it coming back exists.
The Batman Beyond comic series is a loose adaptation of the Batman Beyond franchise, intended to fit the character and storylines from the series into the mainstream DC continuity. The miniseries began in June 2010, under the title Future Evil. In August 2010, the series was announced to continue following the completion of the first arc as an ongoing series. That series concluded alongside the entire line of ongoing monthly DC Comics superhero books during the 2011 revamp and relaunch, titled The New 52.
Superman Beyond, a one-shot comic set in the same universe as Batman Beyond, was released in 2011.
Batman Beyond Unlimited, a title chronicling the adventures of the future Justice League introduced in the DCAU, was released in February 2012. This series published monthly triple-sized issues, containing three stories of Terry McGinnis, Clark "Cal" Kent, and the future Justice League Unlimited, respectively.
Batman Beyond Universe succeeded Unlimited in August 2013, condensing to double-monthly issues upon the elderly Superman's rejoining the future Justice League.
In 2015-2016, DC Comics and IDW Publishing released a jointly produced, six-issue miniseries comic titled Batman/TMNT, where the New 52 Batman encounters the IDW incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The success of this miniseries inspired a similar crossover story, with Batman's DC Animated Universe incarnation meeting the Amazing Adventures comic version of the 2012 CGI series' Turtles. The concept was first announced in late July 2016, and is scheduled for a six-issue release starting November 9, 2016.
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...don't miss the epic conclusion of Superman Beyond!
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