The greatest Batman ever, Kevin Conroy, talks about his over 20 years in the role

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Feb 25, 2014, 4:58 PM EST (Updated)

There is only one true Batman, and he's opening up about his time as the Dark Knight.

Kevin Conroy has been Batman since 1991. That's bonkers. Micheal Keaton can't say that, nor can Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, or even Adam West. Voice acting -- it does have its advantages.

And since his debut in Batman: The Animated Series, Conroy has played the role in a host of other animated shows, TV movies and games. In fact, he's done it so much, we feel bad for every other actor who's ever had to fill Conroy's shoes since.

And now Conroy has revealed some interesting facts about his career during his tenure as the ultimate Dark Knight.

For example, he originally wanted to audition for the Joker, but casting director Andrea Romano convinced him that Batman would be a better fit. Phew! Just imagine if it had been Mark Hamill as Batman and Conroy as the Joker. What a bizarre world that would have been.

Apparently, it was Conroy who decided to make Bruce and Batman's voices as starkly different as they were in the animated series. So we can all blame him for Bale's incomprehensible gravel-voice in The Dark Knight, I guess.

And, ask to summarize his time as Batman, Conroy said this:

I had absolutely no expectation that this job would turn into what it became. I started recording it in 1991, and it went on the air on Fox in 1992 as a prime time series. Then over 23 years, it just evolved from Batman: The Animated Series to The Adventures of Batman and Robin to Justice League and then Batman Beyond. Since then, there’s been the direct-to-video movies and now the Arkham games. He’s such an iconic character. He’s such a part of the American cultural landscape. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of and to have contributed to. Like all actors, you never know where your career is going to go. You plan for things and you train for things, but you never really know the direction you’re going to go. So I had no idea that I was going to end up doing voice acting for animation and that I’d be voicing Batman. But it wound up working really well. The show is just a really good marriage of what I brought to the character and what Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Andrea Romano and all the people putting the series together were looking for.

I sometimes genuinely wonder if Batman would be as popular as he is now if Conroy hadn't taken on the role so long ago. Certainly no matter how many different versions of the character there have been, his voice is the first I hear in my head when I think of Batman, and what I imagine when I'm reading the comics. Bruce Timm gave us the design, the writing, but Conroy took that and made it iconic.

(via Comic Book Movie)