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Rumour: Batman: The Animated Series sequel in development for HBO Max

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We all have different tastes, so the question of “What is the greatest animated series of all time?” will get a myriad of different answers. Different and wrong, because we all know that there’s only one correct answer and that’s Batman: The Animated Series. Running for 85 episodes from 1992 to 1995, the show was created by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski and won massive acclaim – as well as four Emmy Awards – for its mature storytelling, complex characters, film noir influences, music, and iconic animation style (courtesy of Timm’s designs). That’s not to mention the superb voice acting with Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and Joker, respectively, becoming the gold standard. It was also the birthplace of Harley Quinn and launched the DC Animated Universe with follow-up series and movies including Batman Beyond, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Justice League Unlimited, and more.

The influence of Batman TAS is undeniable in the industry and for the character of Batman as it has regularly been voted as the best adaptation of the Dark Knight outside of the DC Comics. And now it may be coming back.

Not too long back, a rumour started swirling that Warner Bros. may be looking to do something with the property again. And it appears that the studio is indeed dusting off the old cape and cowl. At least according to Kevin Smith’s latest Fatman Beyond episode where he and co-host Marc Bernardin both claim to have heard the same rumblings from “very reliable people” that WB is developing a sequel series to Batman TAS to launch on HBO Max. And it sounds like the possible talks are quite far along already, as Smith explains.

I don’t think that’s a rumor, I wouldn’t say ‘Set your watch to it,’ but it’s an idea whose time is not only coming, I think it came, and it’s smoking a cigarette. I think that’s gonna happen. How f–king amazing would that be because you can just literally pick up and keep going. It’s not like, ‘oh we gotta explain why everyone’s older,’ it’s f–king animation man so you can go right back to those amazing f–king stories.

That to me is no brainer, you’ve got HBO Max, you’re already doing that amazing Harley Quinn show, like, you’re printing money if you go back and do Batman: The Animated Series. You can’t f–k up the legacy, that’s for damn sure. You know what I’m saying, it’s not like ‘oh they went back and did it again and now it’s ruined,’ like some people felt about Twin Peaks. You can’t f–k it up, there’s no reason not to do it, as long as you’ve got the key creative components, as long as Bruce Timm is involved, wants to be there. F–king go for it for heaven’s sakes.

I have to agree with Smith that this makes way too much sense for WB to not be considering it. HBO Max needs content and subscribers stat. WB’s unprecedented plan to release its entire 2021 movie slate on the streaming service alongside international theatrical releases will definitely help massively there, but it’s not sustainable due to the huge pushback from the industry at the moment. So original programming specifically for HBO Max is where the studio needs to focus.

And as Smith mentions, the service already has an animated winner in the Harley Quinn series. While I doubt the potential for any crossover due to how R-rated this version of Harley Quinn is, there’s some easy promo work to be done when you can pitch relaunching the show where Harley Quinn was born.

This would technically not be the first sequel series for Batman TAS, of course. Running from 1997 to 1999, The New Batman Adventures was already a follow-up though it tended to focus more on the Bat-family rather than just Batman himself. This rumoured new show would probably be a direct continuation of the first series, and I would totally be there for it!

Last Updated: January 20, 2021

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