Fox reportedly axed pitch for female-centric episode of Batman: The Animated Series featuring Catwoman and Black Canary

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Mar 26, 2021, 9:00 PM EDT (Updated)

During its run on Fox Kids from 1992 to 1995, Batman: The Animated Series helped change the face of Bruce Wayne as we know him today. It also included an entire collection of strong female characters — Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Talia al Ghul, and Barbara Gordon.

But could some of those female characters have gotten a brighter spotlight on the series?

According to one of the original writers and producers on the show, Paul Dini, Fox supposedly vetoed a pitch for an episode starring Catwoman and Black Canary amid concerns it would have detracted from another major character. 

“Yeah, the Black Canary/Catwoman episode was a casualty,” Dini told CBR. “They wanted more Robin in the series, and each time we wanted to drop him from a story, we had to fight for it. Not that we had anything against Robin, we just wanted to stretch now and then and do solo Batman stories or episodes that focused mainly on Gordon or the villains. After the experimentation of the first season, the network felt we might be leaving the boys behind, so we got the edict, add more Robin.”

Indeed, Robin became a major part of the cartoon, particularly during the last 15 episodes, when the show's title became The Adventures of Batman & Robin during the opening credits. Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Adrienne Barbeau) was also featured prominently in a number of episodes, such as "The Cat and the Claw" Parts I & II, "Perchance to Dream," and "Tyger Tyger."

Black Canary wasn't as lucky and never made the cut. Be that as it may, Dinah Drake's been around almost as long as Batman has. Created by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino in the late 1940s, Black Canary was another Gotham City crime fighter married to detective Larry Lance. As continuity was adjusted over the years, the character was split into a mother and daughter, Dinah Drake and Dinah Laurel Lance. This was because Canary was first depicted as having no powers and was later given a sonic scream called the "Canary Cry." As such, Dinah Laurel was created and given a genetic mutation to rectify the inconsistencies. Think of it as the two Silk Spectres in Watchmen

She may not have gotten the spotlight in BTAS, but Canary cropped up in animated shows like Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Young Justice, and video games such as Justice League Heroes and LEGO Batman 2 and 3.

Even though we'll never see that episode, it's not hard to imagine that Batman: The Animated Series would have gone with the younger of the Drakes in its depiction of the character.

Aside from this rejected episode, Dini had more a gonzo idea for another one that also didn't get made due to licensing obstacles. 

"There was a Poison Ivy-seducing-Swamp Thing story I toyed around with,” he said. “But the rights to Swampy weren’t available then. I did a sort of version of it years later as an episode of Justice League Action.”