The DC Animated Universe was a series of shows and feature-length films that aired or were released during the period from 1992 through 2006 and featured many characters from the DC Comics roster. While many characters played important or ongoing roles in the series, many more appeared only in the background. This is a list of characters appearing in the related shows and films. The information is broken down by production and sorted by original air date or release date.
The series debuted in 1992 and ran through 1993, and 65 original episodes, under the title Batman. The characters it used consisted of primarily of those drawn from Batman related comic books, though a few were adapted from other DC Comics series or created specifically for the show. Notably, the show created the character of Harley Quinn / Harleen Quinzel.
Further information: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Released theatrically in 1993, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm continued the style and primary character use from Batman: The Animated Series. It also introduced a character created specifically for the film.
Further information: List of Batman: The Animated Series episodes
When Batman: The Animated Series was renewed for an additional 20 episodes, it was also renamed The Adventures of Batman & Robin and featured Robin more prominently. These episodes ran from 1994 through 1995 along with reruns of the previous season. Most of the characters used had appeared in the previous season. Most of those that had not were either created specifically for the show or drawn from Batman-related comic books.
Further information: Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero
A feature-length production released directly to video in 1998, Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero was based on the style of Batman: The Animated Series and The Adventures of Batman & Robin. The characters used had previously appeared in those two shows.
The series debuted in 1996 and ran for 54 original episodes through 2000 as an extension of the DC Animated Universe focusing on Superman. The characters it used consisted primarily of those drawn from Superman-related comic books, though characters from a number of other DC Comics series, notably The New Gods, were adapted for the show and a few were created specifically for it.
The New Batman Adventures debuted in 1997 as a continuation of Batman: The Animated Series and The Adventures of Batman & Robin. It ran through 1999 with 24 original episodes. Most of the characters who appeared were carried over from the previous series. Additional characters were added, with most of them being drawn from a wider range of DC Comics comic books. The odd character was created specifically for the show or borrowed from its sister show Superman: The Animated Series.
Running from 1999 through 2001, Batman Beyond was a spin-off of the other DC Animated Universe Batman shows set 20 years in the future. Over its run, 52 original episodes aired featuring a handful of characters carried forward from the previous shows. Most of the characters that rounded out the shows were created specifically for the show either wholly or as "20 year later" reinterpretations of then current DC Comics characters.
Further information: Gotham Girls
In 2000 Gotham Girls was launched as a web-toon featuring some of the characters used in The New Batman Adventures but from the perspective of three female villains. The episodes were posted through 2003.
In 2000 Lobo was launched as a web-toon featuring Lobo who appeared in Superman: The Animated Series. The episodes were posted throughout the same year. Unlike the other entries, it is completely adult-oriented with prominent graphic violence, profanity and sexual content.
Main article: List of Static Shock characters
Debuting in 2000 and running through 2004 with 52 original episodes, Static Shock featured the character Static. Prominent characters in the series were derived from, or very loosely based on, characters created by Milestone Media for comics published through DC Comics. Later episodes bring the series into the DC Animated Universe with the appearance of characters from the other shows.
Further information: Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
A feature-length production released directly to video in 2000, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker was based on the style of Batman Beyond. The characters used had previously appeared in the various shows.
Further information: The Zeta Project
Debuting in 2001 and running through 2002 with 26 original episodes, The Zeta Project was a spin-off show from Batman Beyond and featured mostly original characters.
Further information: Justice League (TV series) and List of Justice League episodes § Justice League episodes
Debuting in 2001, Justice League was a continuation of the continuity established in the various Batman and Superman related shows that had aired since 1992. The show ran through 2004, airing 52 original episodes. The characters were drawn from those that had appeared in previous series with additional characters being based on those from DC Comics comic books.
During the series various characters operated as teams in some episodes. In some cases the characters making up the team only appeared as part of that team, so the grouping is noted in the above list. In other cases the characters were not exclusive to the team. The teams that fall into this category are:
The two-part episode "Legends" featured pastiches of the Justice Society of America, the Justice Guild of America, and a selection of their villains. The pastiche was used in lieu of the actual characters at the insistence of DC Comics.
The two-part episode "A Better World" featured a variation of the Crime Syndicate of America called the Justice Lords. The pastiche was used as the writers worked on the episode, replacing the standard Crime Syndicate with a Justice League went fascist.
Further information: Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman
A feature-length production released directly to video in 2003, Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman was based on the style of The New Batman Adventures. With the exception of the titular "Batwoman", the characters used had previously appeared in the various shows.
Further information: Justice League Unlimited and List of Justice League episodes § Justice League Unlimited episodes
When it was renewed for a third season in 2004, Justice League was retitled Justice League Unlimited. The show ran through 2006, airing an additional 39 original episodes. Most of the characters were carried over with additional ones being based on those from DC Comics comic books.
The antagonists for this series break down into three types based on season and story arc. The first season had a set of episodes linked by an arc focusing on a secret government agency trying to control the Justice League. The second season had a set linked by an arc focusing on an expanded Secret Society. Both seasons also had episodes that did not tie to the arcs. The general antagonists are listed first.
The episode "Double Date" featured a crime lord as the primary antagonist that was a mix of two DC Comics character. The character was called Steven Mandragora, but did not visually resemble that character. The appearance was based on Tobias Whale.
The episode "Ultimatum" featured the Ultimen, pastiches of characters created specifically for Hana-Barbara's Super Friends series.
A few characters have been cited by writers and producers as "off-limits" at various times during the production of the various shows, though they are allowed to appear in the comics based on the show.
Adam Strange, was originally supposed to appear in "Hunter's Moon", but legal rights prevented that from happening. The episode's original title was "Mystery In Space", the name of the monthly comic that Adam starred in.
Characters from Aquaman comics could not appear due to character rights being reserved for a potential live-action TV series. This resulted in Black Manta's being renamed "Devil Ray" for the series, the character first appearing in an episode that was originally written to feature Aquaman.
Most characters from the Batman comics due to the "Bat-Embargo" that reserved those characters for the new Batman cartoon The Batman and the new Batman movies. This left only Batman available to be prominently used in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.
This resulted in a partial rewrite of the episode "Double Date". Originally, Barbara Gordon was to appear in the episode. The episode would have her getting injured during a case as Batgirl. Since Bruce forbids her from participating she would recreate herself as Oracle, and get in touch with Black Canary and Huntress to finish her case. Neither of them would meet her in person. Due to the Bat Embargo, the story replaced Batgirl with Green Arrow and the Question.
Some non-speaking and quick cameos did make it in to a few episodes though:
Kathy Kane the original Silver age Batwoman could not appear as one of the three women to don the costume of Batwoman in the animated movie Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman. According to the featurette included in the DVD release, Alan Burnett explains they had intended to use the name “Kathy Kane” but were asked to change it by DC Comics, thanks to some morally gray actions on the part of the movie Batwoman. This resulted in the character of Kathy Duquesne being created for the show. However, not much later, the a new Batwoman debuted in the new DC continuity being portrayed as a lesbian. The movie however features a near identical character named Sonya Alcana.
Black Lightning could not appear within the shows due to DC Comics' refusal to pay royalties to his creator, Tony Isabella. This resulted in the character Black Vulcan being created for the show Super Friends. The character Juice is a pastiche of Black Vulcan, and "Soul Power" in Static Shock is also a pastiche Black Lightning.
This also affected the characters connected to Black Lightning and also created by Isabella. The original idea for "Double Date" was for Tobias Whale to be the man who murdered Huntress's parents. He was replaced with a villain called Steven Mandragora, whose last name was later used for the man who arranged their deaths in the comic book Huntress: Year One.
Blue Beetle could not appear as a member of the Justice League due to rights being tied up until 2007 because of his 1940s radio show and 1980s cartoon proposals.
When the Justice League episode, "Hereafter" was being produced, Captain Marvel was set to appear as the temporary 7th member. As the rights to the character and the Marvel Family were unavailable to the show, a self-appointed Lobo took the position instead. Later in the episode it was shown that Aquaman had become the 7th member. Captain Marvel later appeared in "The Clash."
Firestorm could not appear as DC Comics did not allow the producers to include the Ronnie Raymond version of Firestorm in the show.
While the production team regularly referred to the collection of villains joining forces in the final major arc of Justice League Unlimited as the "Legion of Doom", DC resisted the use of the term within the show itself.
Plastic Man was stated by Dwayne McDuffie to be unusable in the show despite being mentioned as a League member by John Stewart in one episode, but he did not explain why. In the episode "The Greatest Story Never Told", Elongated Man complains longly and loudly to Booster Gold about feeling left out in comparison to Plastic Man, given the two's very similar powers (although Plastic Man can change into objects, Elongated Man is also one of the premiere detectives of the DC Universe).
Bruce Timm had intended to utilize the Phantom Stranger in the DC Animated Universe, but was not allowed to do so.
The Teen Titans and related characters were off-limits due to the eponymous series. Green Arrow's sidekick Speedy appears in the episode "Patriot Act" following the finale of Teen Titans.
Sandman and other Vertigo characters were said by Bruce Timm in a Wizard interview to be considered, featuring an appearance of Neil Gaiman's Sandman character, but they weren't sure how to incorporate it into the tone of the show. He went on to say "But now, it's not even an issue. The whole Vertigo universe is closed off for us." In the same interview, Bruce Timm also states that they did attempt to use the Phantom Stranger and the Spectre but were told they could not use those characters.
Neil Gaiman on the subject: "I always loved the idea of doing a Sandman/Batman Animated cartoon episode, and we were definitely talking about it in '93, after Vertigo came into existence...I'd assumed that they lost interest. But there was definitely some kind of Vertigo/DC divide that came into existence in there somewhere, imposed from DC/Vertigo editorial and above, worried, I was told, that a kid would feel pressured by continuity to pick up a 'For Mature Readers' title and the world would end."
A few characters were developed by writers and producers during the production of the various shows; however, they ultimately did not appear in any episodes or films.
When Justice League was pitched to the Kids' WB network, the lineup originally included three young members as proteges for the League. The members would have been Robin, Impulse, and an original character described as a "teenage female version of Cyborg" (Cyborgirl). The promo, which is viewable on the fourth disc of the Justice League Season 1 boxset, is the only appearance of Cyborgirl and Impulse in the DC Animated Universe.
When plans for a Justice League series were originally in development in the late 1990s, Nightshade was included in a roster of prospective Justice League members by producer Bruce Timm. Plans for the original series were canceled and production moved onto Superman: The Animated Series. She did not make into the Justice League series once it entered production.
Nocturna was scheduled to appear in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series as a vampire, but the episode was canceled after Fox censors objected to the storyline, which would have involved Batman being turned into a vampire and craving human blood.
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