With the public proclamation earlier this week by Robbie Amell of his desire to play the lead in a Batman Beyond movie, and the celebration last weekend of everything batty, we at the Worst. Comic. Podcast. EVER! thought we’d revisit the character and backstory and share an awesome fan-driven effort bringing the suit and world of Batman Beyond to life.
In 1999, Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, the same duo who created one of the most popular characters in the DC universe today in Harley Quinn, were asked to create a world within the DC Animated Universe where a younger protagonist would replace an aging Bruce Wayne as the Batman. So the two sat down and created Terry McGinnis. A troubled youth with an unstable home life who is befriended by the aging Bruce Wayne and eventually given the keys to the Batcave.
The series lasted three seasons with 52 episodes and a direct-to-video movie in the offering. Despite the fan loyalty, the series was put on hiatus despite a commitment from DC for a fourth season, with the animated Justice League show taking it’s place in the DCAU line up. Since then, the character and storyline struggled to find a place in any of the DC worlds. Countdown introduced the character as a resident of Earth-12, and Grant Morrison brought the character into the mainstream Batman mythos in Batman #700, but his origin was different from the one devised by Timm and Dini. Beginning in 2010, DC revisited the character and original story premise and began spotlighting them in Superman/Batman Annual #4 and a Batman Beyond mini-series in 2011. After regular appearances in a new Batman Beyond and Justice League Beyond series, the character became an official part of DC continuity in 2014 as a result of the maxi-series The New 52: Futures End. There is a new comic series being written by Dan Jurgens with pencils and inks by Bernard Chang, but again this incarnation is a different take with the former Robin, Tim Drake, donning the cowl.
Despite all of the inconsistencies in the handling of the character over the years, there is a giant interest in Terry McGinnis and the futuristic suit. So much so a group of enthusiasts have come together to create a live action web series based on the original series and the direct-to-movie video. The effort was originally part of an Indiegogo campaign, but was eventually privately funded to increase production efforts and expand the number of episodes being considered to tell the entire story.
Legally the project doesn’t own any of the properties and as such considers itself a 100% non-profit with all monetary donations being used directly in the production of the web series. DC Entertainment has offered a legal statement regarding all fan fiction/videos saying, “At this time, neither Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. nor DC Comics (collectively Warner Bros.) is prepared to launch a fan film program, which would be solely, or in part, managed by Warner Bros. Warner Bros definitely appreciates the enthusiasm and respect of its fans. We will continue to monitor the use of Warner Bros. properties as used in fan films. However, we will only consider taking action against such films that are either commercial in nature, are commercially exploited or otherwise engage in or depict inappropriate activity. Further, we will try to work with the comic book conventions, such as Comic-Con, to develop fan film screening programs that do not conflict with Warner Bros. rights in its properties.” So unless the group begins selling merchandise or videos for profit, they seem to be within the guidelines.
Understanding the parameters they had to work within, the team over at BatmanBeyondTheSeries.com began work on securing acting talent, makeup and production expertise, as well as the Batman suits. The team is primarily based in Los Angeles, where principal shooting and production is taking place. According to Executive Producer Rick Niedt, the efforts of the actors, writers, and directors are coming together nicely and they are on track for a November 2015 launch. He also mentioned the talent of the actors and their resemblance to their animated counterparts. You can see an a really cool side by side photo gallery of the actors and their characters here.
Niedt, who has a cameo in the series as King from the Royal Flush Gang, credits makeup and special effects artist Cat Tanchanco with transforming the cast with her talents. You can see some of her wonderful work on display over at her YouTube channel.
So as rumors swirl about the future of the property, take a moment and head over to the Batman Beyond YouTube channel, subscribe and follow their progress as they prepare to bring you the story of Terry McGinnis and Bruce Wayne to life!