10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker
It’s been a long time since the release of Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker, but did you know these behind-the-scenes facts?
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Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is one of the most loved Batman movies of all time, with the film telling the story of Batman’s iconic villain returning and battling against the future Batman, Terry McGinnis. While the film isn’t held in the same regard as Mask of the Phantasm, it’s still well-loved by fans of Bruce Timm’s Batman Beyond.
The unique style of the Batman Beyond universe, coupled with the amazing stories of Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, as well as the voice acting of Kevin Conroy, Will Friedle, and Mark Hamill made this movie a cult classic among DC Comics fans.
10 Joker Tim’s Voice
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker relied heavily on the Batman mythos from the New Batman Adventures to construct its story, showing fans what happened to Joker and some of the Bat-Family several decades prior to Terry McGinnis becoming Batman.
This also meant that several voice actors returned to reprise their roles for this movie, with the most notable being Mark Hamill’s Joker. The voice actor for Tim Drake’s Robin also returned, but it was actually casting director Andrea Romano who voiced Joker Tim.
9 Planned Sequel
The movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is one of the most loved animated Batman movies of all time, with the film bringing Mark Hamill’s Joker back into the Bruce Timm universe, pitting him against Terry McGinnis’ Batman.
However, while the movie is loved by fans of the DC Animated Universe, the series wasn’t a commercial success and didn’t receive a sequel. The plot points for the sequel didn’t go to waste, however, as they were later used in the Justice League: Unlimited episode, Epilogue.
8 Jason Todd Influence
One of the things that made the DC Animated Universe distinct from main comic continuity was the lack of Jason Todd in this universe (until recently in the form of the Adventures Continue). However, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker did have some overt influences from the future Red Hood.
In the Death in the Family story arc, Joker famously kills Jason Todd. However, in the DCAU, the Joker instead kidnaps Tim Drake and turns him into ‘Joker Jr’ in a truly horrifying scene.
7 Violent Original Cut
Anyone who has seen Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker will know that it is one of the darkest stories in the DC Animated Universe. It features, not only murder but a child being forcibly turned into a brainwashed version of the Joker, complete with a terrifying laugh.
However, the version that originally aired on Cartoon Network was edited to remove most of this violence. That being said, the movie still remains the only PG-13 movie to be aired by Cartoon Network.
6 Rosenbaum’s Ghoul
One of the most notable characters in the film is Ghoul, whose voice was provided by Michael Rosenbaum. Interestingly enough, Michael Rosenbaum has a deep history in the DC Comics adaptations, with Rosenbaum providing the voice for The Flash in Justice League and portraying Lex Luthor in Smallville.
Returning back to his portrayal of Ghoul, Rosenbaum could do a funny Christopher Walken impression and the producers were so enamored by this impression that they wrote the part of Ghoul specifically for Rosenbaum’s Walken impression.
5 Akira Inspirations
Akira is one of the most influential and iconic animated movies of all time, with the Japanese movie inspiring countless movies since its initial release in 1988. The film took place in a post-apocalyptic ’Neo-Tokyo’, following some Japanese youths as they get pulled into a government conspiracy.
While the city of Neo-Gotham from Batman Beyond was inspired by Akira’s Neo-Tokyo, Return of the Joker took specific inspiration in the form of the orbital weapon system in the movie.
4 Captain America Reference
DC Comics and Marvel Comics are both competitors and, as such, are often seen to be at odds with one another. That being said, this doesn’t stop there being references made in DC Comics properties to Marvel properties (or vice versa).
In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Terry makes a reference to Captain America when he said perhaps the Joker was ‘placed in suspended animation due to floating around in a block of ice’.
3 Jack Kirby Influences
The comic book genre has a long and varied history, with greats like Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Bob Kane/ Bill Finger being some of the most iconic. For the DCAU, though, it was Jack Kirby who held substantial influence over creative inspiration.
Bruce Timm was heavily inspired by Kirby and made several design choices on ‘Kirbyisms’. Timm leaves an Easter egg in the movie for Kirby, with the Joker’s hideout (Jolly Jack Candy Factory) being named after the comic book artist.
2 Harley Quinn Was Supposed To Die
Return of the Joker is one of the darkest takes on the Batman universe, showing a future in which the Joker was killed by a tortured Robin. However, it could’ve featured even more death if the original plan had been followed.
The original idea was for Harley Quinn to also die in the flashback sequence, however, Paul Dini didn’t want to kill off his own character, so he added the scene of her appearing at the end of the film.
1 Hannibal Lecter Inspirations
The Joker is one of the most iconic villains of all time, with the Clown Prince of Crime being the perfect foil to the stoic and dark character of the Caped Crusader. In this film, though, creators took inspiration from another iconic villain.
The creators designed the Joker’s costume after Hannibal Lecter, showing him with slicked-back hair and a jumpsuit.