Like every superhero, every TV show deserves a compelling, interesting origin story, and Batman: The Animated Series does not disappoint. Its origin and more were discussed Sunday during a New York Comic Con panel celebrating the 25th anniversary of the show featuring co-creator and producer Bruce Timm, producer and writer Alan Burnett, Kevin Conroy (Batman), and Tara Strong (Batgirl).
Looking back at the beginning of the series, Timm said the show wasn’t a hard sell when it was pitched and “everybody wanted it to happen,” especially after the success of Tim Burton’s Batman film. It took a while for them to gather the dream team for the show, which included Burnett. Burnett recalled trying to get writer Paul Dini to work on staff and receiving from him an outline for the episode “Heart of Ice.”
“I was reading it at night, and I was like ‘Oh my God, this is it.’ I called the network up and I said, "I have the show. This is exactly what I wanted to do, what everybody wants to do, and we have a core script." Then Paul stayed on,” Burnett said.
According to Timm, what they were doing at the time for the show’s tone and technical aspects of production was revolutionary. He said it was challenging, terrifying, and exhilarating all at the same time. Burnett said they just forgot about the rules when working on their scripts. The scripts and how emotional they were was something that surprised Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman.
“The Batman character, what makes him so interesting is his complexity. He’s a dark hero. A man with issues. Serious issues, and they never talked down to the audience. They never talked down to what Batman was doing and what Bruce Wayne was going through,” he said.
While Timm knew the show had to be family-friendly, he said they weren’t making the show for children even though they had to be able to watch it without getting nightmares.
“We made the show we would have loved to have seen when we were 12 years old,” he said.
The show’s origin makes it easy to see why the animated series has remained a beloved entry in Batman media for the last 25 years and is still enjoyed by all ages today. Soon you’ll even be able to enjoy it in remastered Blu-ray, which was announced at the panel as having a 2018 release date.