Summary: Sixty-five years in the future, Terry McGinnis, Bruce Wayne's successor to the mantle of Batman, discovers that his DNA is a perfect genetic match to that of Wayne's. His investigation into this anomaly leads him to Amanda Waller, who reveals to him the existence of the mysterious Project: Batman Beyond. In the end, he learns the truth about who he is, and resolves to carry on the legacy of Batman, but on his own terms.
JLU Mission Roll Call: Batman II, Green Lantern, Warhawk, Aquagirl
IC Roll Call: Parasite II, Inque, Stalker, Shriek
JL Mission Roll Call: Batman, Shayera Hol, Dr. Light, Stargirl, Red Tornado
RFG Roll Call: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten
Featured Character: Batman IISupporting Villains: Phantasm, The Inequity Collective, The Royal Flush Gang
Cartoon Network on “Epilogue”: “Fifty years in the future, the history of the Justice League is the key to Batman’s darkest secret—and his final destiny (courtesy of The World’s Finest).”
Dwayne McDuffie on “Epilogue” #1: “'Epilogue' is special; without giving anything away, we consider it a bookend to the entire DC animated universe that began with 'On Leather Wings'—the first episode of Batman: the Animated Series—and continued through Superman, Batman Beyond, and Justice League (courtesy of Comic Buyers Guide Magazine)."
Bruce Timm on an unproduced Batman Beyond DTV (circa 2001): “I could easily go back and do some more Batman Beyonds, sure. There was this one DTV story idea that Glen Murakami and I were toying with involving Catwoman, but it was really dark…I mean pitch black. So, after what happened with Return of the Joker, I don’t think that one’s gonna happen any time soon (courtesy of The World’s Finest).”
Bruce Timm on “Epilogue” and the unproduced Batman Beyond DTV (circa 2005): “The Catwoman Batman Beyond DTV thing was never scripted; it never went beyond a 45-minute impromptu plotting session between Glen Murakami and myself. Nothing was ever even written down on it. In its original (if nebulous) form, it was too similar to both Mask of the Phantasm and Return of the Joker in several key plot-structure points, but even before we had a chance to iron any of that out, the home video’s unbridled apathy towards any more Batman Beyond DTV projects made the whole thing moot.
“[However], as we were plotting out the tail end of the current JLU season, I brought the basic idea up to my co-producers, [and] we quickly realized how it could make a really nifty off-the-wall ‘bonus’ episode. […] We did have Buffy’s ‘Restless’ episode in mind, season finale-wise; also, the ‘flashback’ structure was very much inspired by Tim Minnear’s excellent Firefly episode ‘Out of Gas,’ as well as the ‘Three Cathedrals’ episode of West Wing. It actually works way better as the coda to this season than as a stand-alone Batman Beyond film; in fact, we were able to solve a lot of its inherent problems by grafting it onto the Cadmus plot.
“[In the Batman
Beyond DTV], instead of Waller, Selina Kyle herself was going to be the one
who cloned Batman. Staying much
closer to the ‘Boys from
“Selina’s ‘son’ was going to be the main bad guy ‘muscle’ of the story—a twisted version of Terry / Bruce, with his own ‘dark superhero’ outfit and everything. The plan was for him to be bumping off criminals from the Batman Beyond Rogues Gallery, and possibly even an old-timer like Edward Nygma, thus setting the plot in motion (this part was always a bit too ‘Phantasm’ for me, but I did like the ‘Manchurian Candidate’-ness of him).
“This version of Selina had, at some point in the past, ‘seen the light,’ after years of Batman nagging her to use her talents to help people instead of just helping herself. She eventually realized he was right, but with ‘born again’ zeal, decided Batman himself didn’t go far enough in punishing criminals; she needed a Batman who would help her eliminate criminals (i.e. kill them dead) and set about creating one. These were going to be ‘true’ Bruce Wayne clones, not nano-engineered ‘sons’; in fact, that had a whole lot of problems built into it, which we would have had to figure out if we’d ever gotten a greenlight:
"Dwayne’s ‘nano-engineered sperm’ idea neatly solved all these problems. [In addition], there were other aspects of the story that would’ve needed some massaging; for instance, Selina never seemed particularly tech-savvy, so the bonkers clone plot seemed like a bit of a stretch for her (but perfect for Mrs. Waller and her Frankenstein leanings). [Also], Bruce was going to discover the truth about ‘dark avenger guy’ being a clone of himself, put two and two together, and realize [that] Terry was also a Bruce clone and try to shut Terry out of the case, but that bit was way too similar to what we’d just done in Return of the Joker.
“Terry thinking he was ‘cursed by Batman,’ blaming Bruce for ruining his life, even suspecting that Bruce deliberately set the whole thing up, breaking up with Dana…all these bits originated in that impromptu brainstorming session with me and Glen Murakami. The Terry / Dana breakup bit was kinda cool: Terry and Dana go to the wedding of one of her cousins, and you know how people get at weddings; Dana starts hinting that they should think about getting hitched (after they graduate, of course!) and, surprisingly, Terry’s not completely adverse to the idea: part of him would actually like to settle down with this girl he obviously adores and live something of a normal life, but then he finds out he’s Bruce’s clone, thinks he’s cursed, doesn’t want Dana to have anything to do with him, [etc.].“Terry deciding to change the Batman paradigm by actually marrying her at story’s end was something we added when writing ‘Epilogue.’ I honestly don’t know how we would have resolved the Dana / Terry thing if we’d made the Batman Beyond version. Anyhow, that’s it in a nutshell (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Dwayne McDuffie on Waller’s cloning efforts: “Cut from the episode was a scene explaining that Waller did this many times (ala Boys from Brazil) in the hopes of producing one suitable Batman replacement. Girls would be ignored and left to grow up without interference. In families with a good male candidate, like Terry’s—any other siblings would be killed along with the parents. After Phantasm refused to kill Terry, Waller realized how far around the bend she had gone and gave up on the whole project. Terry meeting Bruce later and becoming Batman was indeed coincidence or, more charitably, fate (courtesy of Television Without Pity).”
Bruce Timm on
“Well, we didn’t come right out and say
it, but since
“Actually, the almost freakish similarity between the two brothers was what got us thinking about the ‘clone’ thing in the first place, back when we were working on Batman Beyond. We were always amused that Lil’ Matt was an almost exact duplicate of Terry, even down to the hairstyle. Then, the hair itself got us thinking, ‘Huh, Terry and Matt have jet-black hair, dad’s hair is sandy brown, and mom’s a redhead. Hmm…(courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Dwayne McDuffie on “Epilogue” #2: “The black-and-white parts [in the episode ‘Epilogue’] were [Terry’s] fantasies. [Also], in the script, I called [the new RFG Jack] ‘Kabuki Jack’ (courtesy of DwayneMcDuffie.com).”
Bruce Timm on “Epilogue” #2: “Note that ‘Kent’ didn’t call saying, ‘What the hell are you talkin’ about, quitting the League?,’ he just wanted to talk to Terry about a case. Also, the clock (a ‘Terry’s P.O.V. close-up of which we held on a real long time) isn’t broken. Sure, Bruce could have just had the clock repaired (and been too ‘cool’ to acknowledge the embarrassing emotional pyrotechnics of the earlier scenes), Dana might have just been thinking, ‘Yeah, yeah, it’s the “superhero-dumps-the-girlfriend-for-her-own-protection” bit again…third time this year,’ and Superman probably doesn’t take Terry’s, ‘I’m quitting the League,’ anymore seriously than Bruce’s old, ‘I’m just a part-timer’ schtick. The story works either way, whether the black-and-white scenes are Terry’s worst-case scenario imaginings or actual flashbacks.
“See, ultimately, that’s what the episode is all about (or, at least that’s what we intended it to be about). All the artsy-fartsy fantasy / flashbacks, and the cameos and in-jokes and even the big, ‘soul-shattering revelation’ are basically window-dressing. What I like most about the episode is that it provides an honest ‘happy ending’ for Batman, without being overly sappy and maudlin. Especially once you realize the ‘flashbacks’ never, in fact, happen, it’s clear that Bruce has willingly ‘retired’ completely from Batman, confident that Terry will carry on his tradition, and his beloved Gotham will always be protected. Note that he says Superman called, wanting Terry’s opinion on a case, not Bruce’s. The idea being that Bruce doesn’t actively participate in crime-fighting anymore, not even in an advisory capacity—he probably doesn’t even monitor Terry on the com-link anymore (oh yeah, that was another—admittedly probably too subtle—‘fantasy’ hint: Bruce is wearing way too much silent-movie-villain eyeshadow in the Batcave sequences). The ‘soup’ bit implies that he’s taken on the ‘Alfred’ role, and though he nags Terry about the soup going cold, he seems pretty confident with his lot overall.
“And as for Terry, he changes the Batman paradigm—whether he’s Bruce’s son or his clone or whatever, that’s beside the point: as Waller tells him, bottom-line, he’s his own man. He decides at the end to be Batman on his own terms, ‘Screw it, I’m gonna break the rules, defy destiny—and probably defy Bruce too, I bet he won’t be too keen on the idea—I’m gonna marry the girl I love and still be Batman’ (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Dwayne McDuffie on Bruce’s knowledge of Terry’s secret: “Of course [Bruce knew Terry was a clone]. He’d never bring it up because he wants Terry to be his own man (courtesy of DwayneMcDuffie.com).”
Bruce Timm on “On Leather Wings” symmetry: “That’s Kevin [Conroy] as the skycop in ‘Epilogue,’ all right. We thought it would be apropos to have him say the very last line spoken in a DCAU episode [as Conroy voiced the policeman in the blimp in the first DCAU episode, the Batman episode ‘On Leather Wings’] (though technically Clive Revill said the very first line, ‘This is Gotham Air One reporting in, things are actually quiet for once,’ so that kinda blows the coda things somewhat, but still; courtesy of Toon Zone).”
"I've known Bruce Wayne for over fifty years, and I've been keeping an eye on you your whole life. You're not Bruce's clone, you're his son. There are similarities, mind you, but more than a few differences too. You don't quite have his magnificent brain, for instance; you do have his heart though, and for all that fierce exterior I've never met anyone who cared as deeply about his fellow man as Bruce Wayne, except maybe you.
"You want to have a little better life than the old man's, take care of the people who love you. Or don't; it's your choice."
Amanda Waller (to Terry McGinnis) in "Epilogue"
Commentary coming soon!
Back to Main Page