This year marks the 25th anniversary of the landmark Batman: The Animated Series, created by animator Bruce Timm. Way back in 1992, Batman would debut on Fox Kids, and completely change the face of animated superhero programming forever, bringing a level of sophistication and maturity never seen before to weekday afternoon cartoons. Timm's Batman series would go through several incarnations over the years, and eventually spawn the DC Animated Universe, which would include Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and Justice League Unlimited.
Batman: The Animated Series would contribute a lot of things to the overall Batman mythos, but its largest contribution by far has to be the creation of iconic anti-hero Harley Quinn. Initially created by writer Paul Dini to be a one-off "Jokers girlfriend/sidekick" character, she proved so popular that she continued making appearances on the show over the years. She quickly outgrew her status as just the Joker's girl, and became one of DC's most popular characters once introduced into the comics. The box office performance of last year's Suicide Squad can be greatly attributed to the overwhelming popularity of Harleen Quinzel.
Now an avid fan over at the ToonZone message boards (via Comic Book) has discovered that we could very soon be seeing a return to the original version of Harley Quinn, as well as the classic Batman: The Animated Series versions of Batman and Nightwing in the upcoming Batman and Harley Quinn animated film. The film was announced as a "Bruce Timm Original" last year at San Diego Comic-Con, and now a screencap for the upcoming behind the scenes preview from the special features of the new Teen Titans: The Judas Contract animated film gives us an idea of what to expect. You can see the screencap in question below, which shows Harley riding along in the Batmobile with Batman and Nightwing, who clearly stopped for some drive-thru somewhere.
The designs of the Batman, Harley and Nightwing definitely harkens back to the New Batman Adventures designs from Bruce Timm, marking a return to the DC Animated Universe for the first time since Justice League Unlimited ended back in 2006. Nightwing looks slightly more modernized, as he's lost that late '90s mullet. If this is indeed a return to the DCAU, hopefully we'll get a return from voice actors Kevin Conroy as Batman, Loren Lester as Nightwing, and Mark Hamill as the Joker (where Harley usually is, her so-called puddin' Mr. J is often not far behind). But could we also see a return of original voice actress Arleen Sorkin as Harley? She retired from the role years ago, usually being replaced by Tara Strong. But could a special 25th anniversary movie be enough to coax her back to the role?
Aside from the above image, we don't much about the upcoming movie, although it will likely come out in the summer, and probably make its debut at the San Diego Comic-Con. More info will no doubt be released once Teen Titans: The Judas Contract hits, but judging from this one image, I don't think its too early for Batman: The Animated Series fans to celebrate - it appears at least one more return to that very beloved version of Gotham City may be imminent. Teen Titans: The Judas Contract will be released via Digital HD on April 4, 2017, and on April 18 on Blu-ray.
Are you excited about the returns of the classic animated versions of these beloved characters? Let us know down below in the comments.
Images: Warner Brothers Animation / DC Comics
Here's a li'l more on Harley: