Trivia: Batman: The Animated Series

  • Actor Allusion:
    • In the Gotham Knights episode "Mad Love," The Joker, voiced by Mark Hamill, quips "May the floss be with you!". Hamill also happens to be married to a dental hygienist, saying he's heard that joke a number of times.
    • Grant Walker, a character played by Daniel O'Herlihy, has decided that things are too rough and wants to implement new city to replace an old society, but is willing to destroy the old one first? Walker's a bit more extreme, but we've seen this before.
    • In his introduction in "Heart of Ice", Mr. Freeze says "Revenge is a dish best served cold.", popularly called a Klingon proverb. Michael Ansara, who plays Freeze, played the Klingon Captain Kang in Star Trek.
  • Breakthrough Hit: The show served as one that put Alan Burnett, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm on the map.
  • Creator Backlash: Despite the series acclaim and legacy, there were several episodes that were either promising misfires, or outright duds, and were regarded as such by the shows team. They gave their thoughts on several of these episodes in an issue of Animato Magazine;
    "I think that if we hadn't gotten Alan Burnett to come over, we would have had a lot more shows like this one," noted director Frank Paur of the producer who stepped in to take control of the show's script process first season. Paur also disliked arming Batman with a screwdriver, but had his hands full wrestling with an as yet unsatisfying storyboard crew. "I had to get rid of most of these boards and start from scratch," he said. "It was very time-consuming. Our schedule was so tight, that small things got by." Noted producer Bruce Timm, "I can't even watch that show. It's the epitome of what we don't want to do with Batman. Strangely enough kids like it. The script came in and it was terrible. Normally, I tell the director to do what he can to make it interesting, and nobody could figure out a way to make it interesting. The storyboard artists didn't care, and it shows."
    • While the episode was based on a good story from the comics and having decent animation, "The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy" was considered a misfire, namely for its lackluster gimmick villain, and Batman having no real motive to play mind games with him.
    "I tried to kill this show, but they didn't let me," said director Frank Paur. "We had a lot of storyboard artists who wanted to rebel on this one. The best metaphor is kicking a dead horse. It arrived dead and no matter how hard you kick it, it ain't going to give you a ride."
    • "The Underdwellers" was likewise considered a dud, namely for censorship problems, bad story elements and very Off Model animation.
    "It was my first episode as director, and there are still things in it that I cringe at," said director Frank Paur. Usually when we get an episode, we get to use a lot of discretion and change things. I wish I had been able to spend more time on that script. Another problem at the time, was that we had storyboard people who made things difficult. I found myself going back two or three times to fix scenes. They didn't quite understand we were shooting for a higher standard. So there was always a constant drain on my time. That whole opening sequence of the kids playing chicken with the train should have been cut. That was what we had to contend with at the beginning of the season. We had these little public service announcements worked into the scripts, a concept we nixed real quick." "It's Junio's weakest episode," said producer Bruce Timm. "We almost didn't use them after that. It was the first one that came back that really looked totally unlike our show. It was very Japanese. But I'm glad we did use them again, they've done great work. BS&P took a lot out of this show. Originally, the kids were to be victimized by the Sewer-King, but he was not allowed to be mean or tortorous to any of them. The impact is watered down. If we were doing it today, we probably would have decided not to do the show."
    • "Lock-Up" was also considered a failure, due to its awful script, blatant plot holes and bloopers (Batman changing into his costume out in the open, not letting us figure out how he escaped), and slow, aimless scenes.
    • "Prophecy of Doom" was already considered a very average episode, but its criticism was mainly singled out for its terrible animation by Akom.
    "If that whole end sequence with the spinning worlds in the observatory had gone to Junio or any other studio, it might have come off, but it went to AKOM," said Bruce Timm. "They just weren't able to pull off that level of animation." "That broke my heart," said director Frank Paur. "I designed those planets using a circle template. How hard is it to animate circles? It was done by hand, and if we had done it now, it would have been done on computer and would have looked spectacular. When I knew the show was going to AKOM, a studio I'd had a long history with, I knew they weren't going to be able to pull it off. Admittedly, it was a tough sequence, but they should have been able to do it."
    • While not considered a "bad" episode, Bruce Timm was not satisfied with the episode "What Is Reality?", although he ironically complimented Akoms work on it.
    "Virtual reality is too science fictiony for our show. While it may be conceivable that it will work in four or five years, Batman transforming himself into a black knight and flying around on a chessboard is unfathomable to me. Strangely enough, it's one of AKOM's better shows. They pulled off all the special effects really well."
    • "The Mechanic" was also considered dissatisfying, save for some nice action and some of Akoms better animation.
    "This was one of those stories in development hell for a long time," said producer Bruce Timm. "We needed scripts. I think it's a stinker, but it has some of AKOM's better animation in it." Noted director Kevin Altieri, "It was the first show that AKOM laid out itself. It's not as good as their 'The Last Laugh,' but had far fewer retakes (almost 80% of 'The Last Laugh' needed retakes.) I think they were threatened that they might lose the work, so they put their A-Team on it. It actually is a script that is similar to the '60s series, but when you do do something like this comedy, you must remember that even thought the script may be goofy, you have to show that the characters are living it. When Earl drops the tires on Penguin's henchmen, he thinks Batman's dead and he's crying."
    • "Nothing to Fear", despite having some of the series best moments and nice animation work by Dong Yang (whose only glitch was straightening the Scarecrow's crooked posture), was considered to have bad pacing, a cliche way of beating Scarecrow, and an all around mediocre script.
    "It was written by Henry Gilroy, who had never written cartoons before," said producer Bruce Timm. "He was a film editor here and always wanted to get into writing. At the time we didn't have a story editor, so we gave it a go. When he turned in his first draft, which wasn't bad, we had hired our first story editor, Sean Derek. We immediately came to loggerheads over this show. Some of the dialogue she changed wasn't changed for the better."
    • "The Forgotten" was another misfire, mainly for being a message show put forth by the original story editors.
    "I didn't want to do this show from the very beginning," said producer Bruce Timm. "Sean Derek was big on doing shows with social messages. And my big problem with message shows, is that you can't solve the world's problems in a half hour cartoon. If you raise the issue of homelessness, what can you do? It makes the episode look very exploitive, because you're just using the problem as an exotic background. You can't discuss the problem on any meaningful level in a 22-minute action cartoon. So I put in the dream sequence with Bruce in the barracks where these multitudes of people are looking to Bruce for a handout, and he doesn't have enough money for them all, and they're surrounding him and suffocating him. It's not enough for him to put a band-aid on the problem at the end, by offering the two guys a job. It just doesn't work." BS&P undercut the script's essential message, as director Boyd Kirkland explained: "There was a sequence at the beginning where Batman is wandering around the city, trying to find out why people were disappearing. It was staged with homeless people hanging around on sidewalks: families, mothers and kids. They made us take all that out of the boards. They said it was too much for kids to see that maybe a woman or a family can be out on the streets. They specifically asked that we only show men as homeless."
    • "The Cat and the Claw, part 2" was considered a dud, namely for it's many plot holes, a lame villain and downright abysmal animation by Akom.
    "The whole end sequence was geared around the explosions, and they were some of the worst you'll ever see," said producer Bruce Timm. "We retook all of them two or three times. They were still awful, but we ran out of time and had to air them."
    • Bruce Timm really came to regret the Jokers redesign in the New Batman Adventures revamp; it looked good in concept, but he felt it was followed on too literally, and it robbed the Joker of a lot of his fearsome personality.
  • Executive Meddling: The executives required many changes to be made to the series for reasons based on both decisions of what was appropriate for a kids show and what was likely to get the biggest profit.
    • The very successful Tim Burton series of Batman films were one of the main impetuses for the creation of this series, and executive's hoped to capitalize on their success. The design for the Penguin was based on the design of the character as it appeared in the then-current and highly successful Batman Returns, which cast Danny DeVito as a physically deformed and emotionally scarred man with fingers fused into a flipper-like arrangement, as opposed to the comic counterpart, who (although only about 5' tall and sporting a prominent aquiline nose) was a still just a regular man.note  Catwoman was likewise turned into a blonde woman to match Michelle Pfeiffer's character, as opposed to her darker-haired appearance in the comics. Both characters were returned to their original comic appearance after the series was revamped into The New Batman Adventures.
    • Several episodes were actually improved because concern over the detail on-screen in some scenes forced changes to the animation, giving them much more emotional power. Dick Grayson's parents falling from the trapeze showed his parents swinging off screen, with a frayed rope swinging back in and everyone gasping in shock. If they showed any more, it would not have been as effective. "Over the Edge" contains another instance. Apparently, when Batgirl is thrown off of City Hall to her death we were originally going to see a police car pull up and then her body would land on the hood. When this was deemed too extreme, Timm redesigned the sequence as though the viewer was in the back seat of the car when the impact occurred. This has the effect of making things far more disturbing. Similarly, "I Am The Night" originally wanted to show Robin getting shot on camera. The network made them change this, so they picked Gordon and did not actually show the shooting. They all agreed this made the scene more powerful.
    • After the first season (production wise) Fox Kids demanded Robin be featured in every episode this necessitated a title change with the show being rebranded The Adventures of Batman and Robin.
  • Fake American: Tara Strong, who voiced Batgirl in Gotham Knights, is Canadian by birth, although her parents are American.
  • Fan Nickname: Tim Drake has Timmy Todd, due to being a composite of Tim Drake and Jason Todd.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Luke Skywalker is the Joker. Mark Hamill played a one-shot Corrupt Corporate Executive "Mr. Boyle" in the episode "Heart of Ice" .
  • Irony as She Is Cast: The Penguin squawks out a grating accompaniment of I, Pagliacci in "Birds Of A Feather". His voice actor Paul Williams is actually an acclaimed singer/songwriter with notably smooth, melodious vocals (as can be heard in the Penguin's speaking voice).
  • Name's the Same:
    • "Be a Clown" reveals that Mayor Hamilton Hill's son is named Jordan. Yep. Jordan Hill.note 
    • Thanks to bird-Theme Naming, one of Penguin's henchgirls is called Raven.
  • Playing Against Type: At the time, Mark Hamill playing the Joker was this, but it worked so well that he now plays villains more or less full time.
  • The Other Darrin: Alfred was voiced by Clive Revill for a handful of episodes, then by Efrem Zimbalist Jr. when Revill left to fulfill a theater commitment. A number of villains also were recast for the New Batman Adventures series including Scarecrow, Baby Doll, and Killer Croc. Penguin and Bane were recast in the Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman film. Excluding Batman Beyond, Batgirl went through three actors during the course of the series — Melissa Gilbert in the early episodes, Mary Kay Bergman for her later appearances and Tara Strong for the revamped episodes in The New Batman Adventures.
  • The Other Marty: Tim Curry was originally cast as the Joker, but he was replaced by Mark Hamill because Curry's Joker voice was too strenuous to produce.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Mark Hamill was cast as his favorite character. By sheer enthusiasm. Bonus points for becoming one of the most famous portrayals of said character.
  • Relationship Voice Actor: Tara Strong and Lauren Tom worked together for the first time in one episode of this show as Batgirl and Ice Maiden #3. Years later, they're together again in Codename: Kids Next Door as Mushi and Numbuh 3.
  • What Could Have Been: Tim Curry was originally cast to be The Joker, but Paul Dini states he was let go due to the physical strain his Joker voice put on his throat. You can actually hear his Joker laugh (somewhat modulated) in the episode "Be A Clown", coming from an animatronic clown.
    • There were talks of featuring The Sandman in an episode back in '93, but the whole Vertigo/DC divide came into play and cursed it forever. Link. They also wrote a Catwoman Black Canary episode, but the network killed it because Robin wasn't prominent enough in the episode.
    • Al Pacino was offered the role of Two-Face.
      • And Anthony Hopkins was offered Mr. Freeze.
    • There was once going to be an episode featuring the comic villainess Nocturna as a vampire, but the Fox censors complained about the story involving Batman becoming a vampire and craving human blood.
    • The Creeper was originally planned to appear in the earlier seasons before he finally showed up in The New Batman Adventures season.
    • Roland Daggett was initially planned to be Max Schreck.
    • In part with the Executive Meddling for the Penguin above, they had initially planned for him to be sort of a Norman Bates type character, committing crimes to dote on an unseen, but apparently overbearing mother.
    • Two unmade episodes are known; 'Midnight' in which Batman is captured by a drug lord who will auction him off at midnight, leaving Robin to play detective and find where Batman is and save him. (Unknown why this was unmade, seeing as how it gave Robin a starring role, which would've made the network happy) The other is 'Mind Games' in which Hugo Strange wipes Batman, Robin, and Alfred's memories of their crime fighting ways, allowing for the villains to go on a crime spree. They soon rediscover their identities with the help of Leslie Thompkins and Batman and Robin go out to stop Strange and get their memories back, the ending would've had Hugo Strange lobotomized, somewhat similar to his fate in The Batman. Another unmade episode that has yet to be named was about Batman infiltrating Blackgate Prison to stop a crime boss called Mr. Big from raising an army from inside the prison, in the end Riddler would have saved Batman, saying that as long as he can help it, a few lowly jailbirds won't defeat the Dark Knight. Another one included Robin being forced to become more responsible and save Batman's life as Poison Ivy's toxin slowly kills him. Another episode involved Bruce Wayne and a bunch of rich people being hypnotized by a magician called The Mad Maestro. And yet another unmade episode concerned a friend of Bruce Wayne's turning out to be a sadistic hunter who captures Catwoman and attempts to hunt her down.
    • Many villains were planned to appear, but never did. Including Black Mask, Nocturna, Anarky, Calendar Man, Gentlemen Ghost, Bronze Tiger, Dr. Tzin-Tzin, and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb.
  • Batman Maskofthe Phantasm was originally going to be the end of the series, which explains why Joker seemingly dies at the end. In addition Mask of the Phantasm was originally going to be a two parter called 'Masks' featuring Batman: Year Two's villain Reaper with Batman's origin being a stand alone called 'Vigil'.