‘Batman: Caped Crusader’ Will Be Darker Than Its Forebears But Won’t Feature Kevin Conroy At All Despite Rumors

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Batman (Kevin Conroy) is wounded by an explosion in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Warner Bros. Animation

The next Batman cartoon to carry the mantle begun by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, Batman: Caped Crusader, aims to go farther than that trendsetting series ever did or could with the restrictions of broadcast television. So much so, it turns out, that it comes with a viewer warning from its lead writer. 

Batman_ Caped Crusader_Key Art
Batman: Caped Crusader promotional poster

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Famed Captain America scribe and creator of the Winter Soldier Ed Brubaker revealed in a Zoom interview with YouTubers The Comic Book Club that Caped Crusader will be a much more mature show. “I’ll warn you guys, it’s definitely a lot different than [Batman: The Animated Series],” he said (via Toonado).

Brubaker made it clear this will be a full-on reboot of the Batman animated universe in every sense and everything producer Timm always wanted to do. “It’s very much a reconception of starting over. It’s not PG-13, but it’s definitely, it’s a lot different. It’s sort of like the show Bruce Timm always wanted to make, but that they wouldn’t let him make,” he added.

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The writer also teased how much more violent and noir the series will be. “There’s a lot more, you know, people actually getting punched on camera, and…I don’t want to spoil it for you guys, but it’s – everyone will kill me if I say it, but it’s kind of noir. It’s definitely a different take that I hope people will love, but I think people will also be shocked by some things,” Brubaker said.

The information he shared is in line with what executive producers Matt Reeves and J.J. Abrams shared in their initial statement when Caped Crusader was announced. “We are beyond excited to be working together to bring this character back, to tell engrossing new stories in Gotham City,” they said. “The series will be thrilling, cinematic and evocative of Batman’s noir roots, while diving deeper into the psychology of these iconic characters. We cannot wait to share this new world.”

The Punch
Batman (Kevin Conroy) lands a punch on Chuckie Sol’s (Dick Miller) goon in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Warner Bros. Animation

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Batman: Caped Crusader was saved from cancellation by Amazon Prime when the streaming giant acquired the cartoon and granted it two seasons. Other than Brubaker, seasoned writers Greg Rucka and Halley Finn (The Last of Us) are among those who penned episodes.

Timm, Reeves, and Abrams are seemingly bringing everybody in that they think will make this series something special. Expectations are middling at best so they are in for an uphill battle. They could surprise us and make it good – maybe even epic – but no matter how it turns out, there is one component they won’t have.

Sneak attack
One of Chuckie Sol’s (Dick Miller) men tries to sneak up on Batman (Kevin Conroy) in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Warner Bros. Animation

Rumors persisted despite his untimely passing that Kevin Conroy would return in some form for Caped Crusader, if only for a bit. This speculation was fed by an IGN report saying Conroy’s last round of line readings for the Dark Knight would be in Part 3 of the Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths Tomorrow-Verse DCAU feature.

That report remains uncorroborated by Warner Bros. and Conroy’s people, but Bruce Timm shot down the inference that the late actor of stage and voice has anything to do with the throwback noir serial.

“I have no idea if the CRISIS part of IGN’s supposed scoop is true or not, but Kevin Conroy did not record a voice for CAPED CRUSADER. We were hoping to have him do a voice for the new show (and he was eager to do it) but sadly he passed away before we could make it happen,” Timm wrote in an animesuperhero.com forum post.

Kevin Conroy in Batwoman
Kevin Conroy in Batwoman Season 1 Episode 9 “Crisis on Infinite Earths Part Two” (2019), The CW

He then cautioned, “As I have to do every so often, I will remind you all once again to take all un-sourced ‘news’ items in the sci-fi/comics/entertainment cybersphere with a huge grain of salt. Occasionally these ‘leaks‘ actually turn out to be true, but often as not they’re just cynical clickbait.”

NEXT: Two More Animated Batman Projects Being Added To Amazon Prime Video Line-up Alongside ‘Batman: Caped Crusader’

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