Justice for Gotham: Just say yes to the ‘Batman Beyond’ movie

After concept art for a “Batman Beyond” animated movie was released, UWT and Comic Con Superhero fans demand Warner Brothers make the movie a reality.  

On February 20, 2024, Director Patrick Harpin of “My Dad the Bounty Hunter” and production designer Yuhki Demers from the “Spider-Verse” movie trilogy posted on Instagram concept images to a secret project they’ve been working on: a “Batman Beyond” movie based on the 1999 show. This caused the internet to freak out more than Joker’s laugh gas could make anyone, for a lesser-known character of the Batman universe would be getting the long-denied spotlight again, Terry McGinnis, the Batman of a futuristic Gotham.  

In the Instagram post, Harpin and Demers stated that they have been working on this pitched idea for 5 months. When they first introduced the idea of a “Batman Beyond” movie that is inspired by “Spider-Verse” art style, Warner Brothers (WB) first told them no, for the company believed it would be impossible to do, but loved the two creators’ enthusiasm towards this idea. Now the “no” has become a “maybe” upon seeing the concept art. Now Harpin and Demers are asking fans to help them transform the “maybe” into a “yes” by resharing their post on social media.  

The goal is to help them reach James Gunn, chairman of DC Studios. Immediately fans all over social media reacted, questioning why WB didn’t greenlight Harpin and Demer’s vision. Even Batman fans that aren’t huge on Terry’s interpretation of Batman like user “the_batcat_hub_2005” on Instagram, under a reaction post by “hackyandbird,” said that they would watch Harpin’s and Demers’ “Beyond” movie due to the amazing art. This is strengthening fans’ belief that corporations don’t care about what the public wants, and would rather play it safe by continuing the creative path they’ve been on.  

The reason that WB probably believes that a “Batman Beyond” movie would be impossible to pull off is not budget issues, but because the person who plays Batman isn’t Bruce Wayne, but a rebellious kind-hearted teenager named Terry McGinnis. In the “Batman Beyond” series, Bruce Wayne steps down as Batman due to being too old to continue protecting Neo-Gotham during the year 2039. Terry takes up the mantel as the new Batman in the “Beyond” universe under the mentorship of Bruce Wayne. Fans don’t tend to accept new faces to iconic figures which leads to said figures losing popularity.  

However, Terry was accepted by fans for becoming his own unique version of Batman instead of being a carbon copy of Bruce Wayne’s Batman. The show obtained high ratings from major entertainment critics as seen on Rotten Tomatoes. Terry appeared a few times outside of his own show in 2001’s “Justice League Unlimited” time travel episodes, and recently in the newest trailer of “Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earth 2” movie, exciting fans.  

In 2023, a live action movie about Terry’s Batman was announced and swiftly cancelled. This is the version that got cancelled, not the animated one Harpin and Demers have pitched. Many are commenting on how WB and DC gave the greenlight to childish movies like “Teen Titans Go! To the movies,” which no one asked for, yet gave a “maybe” to a Batman movie that is giving “Bladerunner” and “Cyberpunk: Edge Runners” vibes with its beautiful artwork that compliments the dark storyline.  

As a fan, that hurts; clearly WB doesn’t care about what fans want anymore. However, I accepted the call for help, and alongside my sidekick Jackson Witcher, I set out to get more in-depth fan reactions towards the pitched movie and WB’s treatment of it by releasing a survey into the internet and asking fans at Emerald City Comic Con. 

23 people answered my survey, mainly UWT students. When asked if they were Batman fan in general, 52% said yes, 30% kind of were, and 17% said no. When asked if they would watch a “Batman Beyond” movie, 69% said yes while 21% were maybe and 8% no. But many of the nos and maybes soon became yeses once they were shown the concept art. 91% said yes due to the art style making them want to see this project happen. 9% said they might see it. Although the reactions differed among the survey takers, a common theme I saw in their responses was the fact many of them grew up with Bruce Wayne’s Batman, but were open to seeing someone else put the cape crusaders’ mask on.  

One of these responders was UWT student Jack Robinett, who told the Ledger that they’re a big fan of Batman media and loves “Batman Beyond.” Robinett responded by reminding us that Batman has always been a popular superhero but has been through many mainstream renditions of his classical version due to such treatment. An example of this is the fact that the classic Batman has so many live-action versions of himself played by different actors, and in each version his legacy as Batman begins differently. In the latest version played by Robert Pattinson, Batman’s first main villain is the Riddler and with a bit of Carmine Falcone. In Christian Bale’s version it was Scarecrow, Ra’s al Ghul, and Carmine Falcone. Due to this, Robinett believes it is time to show audiences what other great stories there are within the Gotham mythos.  

“Our generation could find a deep connection and fascination with this version of batman,” Robinett said. “Our dissatisfaction with many aspects of our societal structures, such as injustice, corporate powers, and technology dependency, can be reflected in this movie to empower us and validate our concerns. These are the kinds of ideas that are commonly analyzed in cyberpunk fiction, which Batman Beyond is. Cyberpunk is a genre of protest against capitalists, against war, against genocide, stuff we’re seeing every day.”  

The concept art Harpin and Demer posted on Instagram telling fans about the pitched project on February 20th. Post by Patrick Harpin and Yuhki Demers on Instagram. 

The fact that “Batman Beyond” is a cyberpunk version of the hero was also pointed out by UWT student Christian Comeaux, who pointed out that though the art does indeed look like “Spider-Verse,” the “Beyond” movie might lean more into the darker aesthetic like Blade Runner did.  

Many fans’ reactions towards WB’s choice against making the movie was echoed in the many Batman fans I interviewed at Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC). Of the 7 Batman cosplayers I was able to interview, all of them showed interest in seeing a “Batman Beyond” movie with similar art style to “Spider-Verse,” for it could bring out the futuristic setting the “Beyond” storyline is in.  

This interest was also seen in the few Marvel fans I interviewed, fans of DC’s rival. Although some of them were hardcore Marvel fans, few of them were Batman fans like Vlad E., who got excited upon seeing his favorite version of Batman version potentially returning.  

“It could be interesting to see Terry’s story in similar art style like Miles Morales’ [Spiderman] story is in” said Vlad as he cosplayed Miguel O’Hara’s Spiderman from “Spider-Verse.” “It’s a cool concept and I would go watch it since I enjoyed watching the animated art style in Spider-Verse.” 

“I would definitely see this movie since I love animated movies and the idea of a multiverse since many Superhero movies are starting to explore that idea,” said Emily H as she was cosplaying Marvel’s Scarlet Witch, a hero whose powers help her enter and travel the multiverse as seen in “Dr Strange: Multiverse of Madness.”  

Lately both DC and Marvel films have been tapping into the multiverse theory as seen in their latest movies like “The Flash” and “The Marvels.”  WB and DC have jumped into this trend even before “The Flash” movie, as seen through 2022’s “The Batman,” which shows us a different Batman than the one we see in the “Justice League” movies.  

“However, I think the multiverse movies are better executed in animation as seen in Spider-Verse,” said Emily. “It can show dramatic effects that would be impossible to do in live actions to show which heroes are from a different universe without confusing people. This was seen in Spider-verse through the different visual effects and art styles the different Spider-mans had.” 

As you can see, the comic book community wants to see a “Batman Beyond” movie, whether they’re hardcore DC or just Batman fans, or even Marvel fans. The fact that fans from the rival company are also saying they would want to watch this movie shows how WB is missing a massive opportunity to expand their fanbase. If DC is serious about catching up to Marvel’s big screen success, they’re going to have to take some risks. They need to stop putting all their hope on live-action hero movies and follow Marvel’s footsteps by showing both live-action and animated movies on the big screen, while also showing us newer versions of their heroes to give fans more variety.  

But in the end, we can only hope for WB to listen to the fans and give a “yes” to Harpin and Demer to make the “Batman Beyond” animated movie. Or at least give us a video game based on the concept art; we’ll take anything that has Terry’s Batman in it!

Batman fans cosplaying as characters found in Batman and Justice League comics at Emerald City Comic Con Day 2- Friday.  Photo by Karla Pastrana.
Batman fans cosplaying as characters found in Batman and Justice League comics at Emerald City Comic Con Day 2- Friday.  Photo by Karla Pastrana.
Batman fans cosplaying as characters found in Batman and Justice League comics at Emerald City Comic Con Day 2- Friday.  Photo by Karla Pastrana.

Featured photo caption: A collage made by movie posters of all “Batman” movies or movies the hero appears in forming the first Bat symbol. Collage by Cameron. Posters by DC Studios, Warner Brothers’ Animation Studio, and Warner Brothers’ Entertainment in the collection and Instagram.