DC animated universe

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For other uses, see DC Universe (disambiguation).
"DC Animated" redirects here. For the feature films produced by Warner Bros. Animation, see DC Universe Animated Original Movies.
An image of many of the DCAU heroes, as seen in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Dark Heart".

The DC Animated Universe (DCAU) is a fan term to describe the shared universe of animated DC Comics television and film adaptations produced from the early 1990s to mid-2000s, beginning with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 and ending with Justice League Unlimited in 2006.[1][2]

List of DCAU media[edit]

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 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.

TV series[edit]

The DC animated universe consists of these animated series (and their related films; see below):

Series Airdates Channel Connection
Batman: The Animated Series September 5, 1992 – September 15, 1995 Fox Starting point for the universe
Soft introductions:
"Zatanna" (Zatanna)
"Showdown" (Jonah Hex)
Superman: The Animated Series September 6, 1996 – February 12, 2000 The WB Crossovers with The New Batman Adventures:
World's Finest
Knight Time
The Demon Reborn
Soft introductions:
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
Soft introductions:
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:
Soft Introductions:
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.[3] 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.[4]


The following animated feature films also are part of the DCAU continuity:

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 for 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.[7] 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, and the script was later rewritten for the animated film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, that was not canonical with the DC animated universe.[8][9]

Short films[edit]

  • 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.

Web cartoons[edit]

  • 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.

Comic books[edit]

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:

Year Title Issues
1992 The Batman Adventures (vol. 1) #1–36
Mad Love
Holiday Special
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Annuals (#1–2)
1993 Superman & Batman Magazine #1–8
1995 Batman and Robin Adventures #1–25
Annuals (#1–2)
Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero
Dark Claw Adventures
1996 Superman Adventures #1–66
World's Finest
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
Batgirl Adventures One-Shot
1999 Batman Beyond (vol. 1) #1–6
Batman Beyond (vol. 2) #1–24
Return of the Joker
2002 Gotham Girls #1–5
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
Superman/Batman Annual #4
2011 Batman Beyond (vol. 4) #1–8
Superman Beyond #0–20
2012 Justice League Beyond #1–25
Batman Beyond (vol. 5) #1–29
2013 Batman Beyond 2.0 #1–24
Justice League Beyond 2.0 #1–16
2015 Scooby Doo Team Up[10] #12
2016 Batman/TMNT Adventures

Video games[edit]

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:

Year Title Consoles
1993 Batman: The Animated Series Game Boy
1994 The Adventures of Batman & Robin Super NES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Mega-CD/Sega CD, Game Gear
1997 Superman[11] Game Boy
1999 Superman Nintendo 64
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)[12]
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[edit]

Character TV Series Films
Batman Superman The New Batman Adventures Batman Beyond Static Shock The Zeta Project Justice League Justice League Unlimited Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman
Bruce Wayne
Kevin Conroy
Dick Grayson
Loren Lester   Loren Lester   Loren Lester   Loren Lester  
Barbara Gordon
Melissa Gilbert   Tara Strong Stockard Channing,
Angie Harmon
  Cameo   Mary Kay Bergman Angie Harmon,
Tara Strong (flashback)
Tara Strong
Zatanna Julie Brown   Cameo   Jennifer Hale,
Juliet Landau
Jonah Hex William McKinney   Adam Baldwin  
Clark Kent
  Tim Daly Cameo Christopher McDonald   George Newbern  
Tim Drake
  Mathew Valencia   Eli Marienthal,
Shane Sweet
  Cameo   Dean Stockwell,
Mathew Valencia (flashback)
Eli Marienthal
Kara Zor-El
  Nicholle Tom   Nicholle Tom  
Wally West
  Charlie Schlatter   Michael Rosenbaum   Michael Rosenbaum  
Terry McGinnis
  Will Friedle   Will Friedle   Will Friedle  
Infiltration Unit Zeta   Gary Cole   Dietrich Bader  
John Stewart
Green Lantern
  Phil Lamarr   Phil Lamarr  
Shayera Hol
  Maria Canals   Maria Canals  
J'onn J'onzz   Carl Lumbly   Carl Lumbly  
Virgil Ovid
  Phil LaMarr   Phil LaMarr  
Diana of Themyscira
Wonder Woman
  Susan Eisenberg  
Olliver Queen
Green Arrow
  Kin Shriner  
Alfred Pennyworth Clive Revill, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Efrem Zimbalist Jr.   Efrem Zimbalist Jr.   Efrem Zimbalist Jr.   Efrem Zimbalist Jr.   Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
Commissioner James Gordon Bob Hastings   Bob Hastings   Bob Hastings   Bob Hastings
Detective Harvey Bullock Robert Costanzo   Robert Costanzo   Robert Costanzo   Robert Costanzo
Lois Lane   Dana Delaney Cameo   Dana Delaney  
Jack Napier
The Joker
Mark Hamill Cameo Mark Hamill   Mark Hamill   Mark Hamill   Mark Hamill  
Harley Quinn Arleen Sorkin Cameo Arleen Sorkin   Arleen Sorkin   Arleen Sorkin  
Oswald Cobblepot
The Penguin
Paul Williams Cameo   David Ogden Stiers
Edward Nygma
The Riddler
John Glover Cameo   Cameo  
Bane Henry Silva Cameo   Hector Elizondo
Ra's al Ghul David Warner   Olivia Hussey, David Warner  
Victor Fries
Mr. Freeze
Michael Ansara   Michael Ansara   Michael Ansara Cameo  
Harvey Dent
Richard Moll   Richard Moll Cameo   Cameo  
Matt Hagen
Ron Perlman   Ron Perlman   Ron Perlman  
Brainiac   Corey Burton   Corey Burton   Corey Burton  
Toyman   Bud Cort   Bud Cort   Corey Burton Bud Cort  
Lex Luthor   Clancy Brown   Clancy Brown  
Darkseid   Michael Ironside   Michael Ironside  
John Corben
  Malcolm McDowell   Corey Burton Malcolm McDowell  
General Hardcastle   Charles Napier   Charles Napier  
Bizarro   Tim Daly   Tim Daly  
Jax-Ur   Ron Perlman  

Characters adapted from the DCAU[edit]

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 into the mainstream DC comic 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.[citation needed] 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.[13]

Roland Daggett was adapted into the live-action film The Dark Knight Rises as a minor antagonist (renamed "John Daggett") and CEO of a rival company to Wayne Enterprises.

The future of the DCAU[edit]

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.


The Batman Beyond comic series is a continuation of the Batman Beyond franchise.[14] and the DCAU continuity.[15] 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.[16] 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.[17] This series published monthly triple-sized issues, containing three stories of Terry McGinnis, Clark "Cal" Kent, and the future Justice League Unlimited, respectively.[18]

Batman Beyond Universe succeeded Unlimited in August 2013, condensing to double-monthly issues upon the elderly Superman's rejoining the future Justice League.[19]

Terry McGinnis was the central figure in The New 52: Futures End weekly series.[20]

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,[21] and is scheduled for a six-issue release starting November 9, 2016.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A History of Batman on TV". IGN. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  2. ^ "The Greatest Comic Book Cartoons of All Time". IGN. January 26, 2007. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
  3. ^ http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/sections/backstage/abandoned/
  4. ^ http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/WF/sections/backstage/abandoned/
  5. ^ "Top 25 Animated Movies of All-Time". IGN. Retrieved 2012-10-10. 
  6. ^ "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Archived from the original on January 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  7. ^ http://jl.toonzone.net/episode50/episode50.htm
  8. ^ http://jl.toonzone.net/episodeC/episodeC.htm
  9. ^ http://www.worldsfinestonline.com/news.php?action=fullnews&id=222
  10. ^ "SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP #12". DC Comics. Retrieved 2016-08-08. 
  11. ^ "Superman: Game Boy: Video Games". Amazon.com. September 21, 2013. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  12. ^ http://www.blockbuster.com/games/catalog/gameDetails/2399[dead link]
  13. ^ Morrison, Grant (w), Wyatt, Jake (p). Maps and Legends 1: 35/1 (January 28, 2015), New York City: DC Comics
  14. ^ "Batman Beyond Press Release". Tfaw.com. July 28, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-03. 
  15. ^ "AMA with Kyle Higgins, Author of Batman Beyond 2.0". reddit.com. May 29, 2015. Retrieved 2016-05-08. 
  16. ^ "Batman Beyond To Receive An Ongoing Series". Inside Pulse. August 28, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-03. 
  17. ^ November 14, 2011 – 3:55 pm (November 14, 2011). "Dc Comics Launches Batman Beyond Unlimited | DC Comics". Dcu.blog.dccomics.com. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  18. ^ "DC Comics' FULL June 2013 Solicitations". Newsarama. Retrieved July 14, 2013. ...don't miss the epic conclusion of Superman Beyond! 
  19. ^ "DC Comics' FULL August 2013 Solicitations". Newsarama. Retrieved July 14, 2013. 
  20. ^ Arrant, Chris (May 16, 2014). "DC Reveals Creative Line-Ups For September's Futures End Titles". Newsarama. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  21. ^ Press, Official (2016-07-22). "The Classic '90s Cartoon Batman Is Teaming Up With the Ninja Turtles for a New Comic". io9.com. Retrieved 2016-07-23. 
  22. ^ Press, Official (2016-07-22). "Animated-style Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover announced". Batman-news.com. Retrieved 2016-07-23. 

External links[edit]