We don’t think anyone will argue that Batman: The Animated Series was a huge step forward in the modern practice of not-treating-comic-properties-like-garbage. Well-written and with the perfect mix of darkness and humor, it was a huge hit and has influenced just about every other animated comic book show since.
Well, the original series bible of the show has popped up online and it gives us a glimpse at how creators Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Mitch Brian originally saw it. Now, TV shows always change and develop over time (Just ask Buffy’s fat original Willow, Riff Regan.) and this version’s pretty close to what we saw on the screen. But it does have some characters we didn’t see and episodes that never got made. Here are some highlights:
- The original version of Mr. Freeze lacked the heartbreaking pathos of his attempts to save his wife’s life. He’s described as a former “shifty cyrogenics ‘expert’ running a body freezing scam.” Considering they’ve adopted his animated origin as his current comics origin, it looks like they made the right decision.
- The Gentleman Ghost (now a staple of Batman: Brave & The Bold) was listed a likely villain to show up – the bible notes that no one, not even Batman, knows if he’s really a ghost or not. He’s even listed as the villain in Zatanna’s guest episode. (He was replaced by con man Montague Kane, who was so memorable he was never seen again.)
- Killer Croc’s origin involved being bit by a rare form of lizard on a zoological expedition, instead of being born that way as the series eventually went with. He also would’ve tried to create an army of Killer Crocs using that crazy lizard’s bite.
- Another possible episode featured the music-themed villain The Mad Maestro stealing valuables from an opera house to revenge himself from being rejected by the Gotham Academy of Music. While the Maestro never showed up in the animated series, it seems likely that he was the same source as the Brave and the Bold villain The Music Meister. (Could the name change have come from having to share the Mad Maestro name with a PS2 game?)