The Animated Batman Beyond Movie Could Finally Escape Development Hell

DC’s most underrated series may finally get its long-gestating revival.

Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond
Warner Bros.

Of all the disappointments wrought by DC’s The Flash, the most egregious might be the rumored Batman Beyond movie that hinged on its success. A live-action adaptation of the beloved ‘00s cartoon was reportedly in the works, with once and future Batman Michael Keaton set to reprise his role as Bruce Wayne — and serve as mentor to a new Crusader, Terry McGinnis.

Unfortunately, such an adaptation relied entirely on The Flash’s box office reception. It’s safe to say the 2023 film didn’t break any records in that arena, so a live-action Batman Beyond is probably never going to happen.

That said, there is a bit of a silver lining. While Warner Bros. and DC don’t seem interested in revisiting Keaton’s role at the moment, there’s still a chance that Batman Beyond could get a revival... just in a different medium.

Industry insiders have teased the existence of an animated Batman Beyond film. According to Jeff Sneider, the project was designed to compete with Sony’s game-changing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and F9 writer Daniel Casey has submitted “multiple drafts” of a script. Of course, that was all before DC embarked on a massive creative overhaul, and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn took over as one of the new creative heads. There’s no telling if Gunn is actually interested in the concept, but as he and Peter Safran rebuild the DC Universe, a pair of Spider-Verse alums are hard at work on their own version of Batman Beyond.

A first look at Yuhki Demers and Patrick Harpin's animated Batman Beyond movie.

Yuhki Demers

Animation producer Yuhki Demers recently took to Twitter to share concept art for a unique Batman Beyond feature. If the designs feel at all influenced by Spider-Verse, there’s good reason: Demers worked on visual development for both of Sony’s animated Spidey films. He’s teaming with storyboard artist Patrick Harpin (Hotel Transylvania) to pitch a new take on Batman Beyond, one that’s been slowly gaining traction among the WB brass.

“Before we pitched, they warned us ‘there is absolutely no way we can do a Beyond movie,” Demers wrote. Upon hearing the outline for the entire film, however, “what started as a ‘never’ turned into a ‘maybe.’”

While Demers and Harpin have yet to pitch to Gunn just yet, their chances are better now than they ever were before. Demers’s concept art gained great traction, racking up over 4 million views in just 24 hours. Fans are clearly hungry for a Beyond movie, especially one as stunningly animated as the Spider-Verse films. If Demers’ campaign reaches the right ears, the long-gestating film could actually find a second life.

It all depends now on whether an animated film would interfere with Gunn’s plans for the new DC Universe. But animation and live-action don’t have to compete: if anything, Demers and Harpin’s film could live in DC’s “Elseworlds” continuity, alongside Harley Quinn, the live-action Joker films, and Matt Reeves’ The Batman. The rules of engagement have been bent time and again at DC, so Beyond has a good chance of success. Like a bat out of (development) hell, a well-timed fan campaign could fast track development anew.

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