The Batman: Caped Crusader Takes the Dark Knight to His Noir Roots

The Batman: Caped Crusader Takes the Dark Knight to His Noir Roots
It's all about the ears. (Image: WB Animation)

It’s pretty much understood that the great Batman cartoon of all time is the ‘90s animated series, made by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, which formed the cornerstone of the equally excellent DC Animated Universe. So anytime Bruce Timm gets his hands back on Batman it’s worth checking out — and based on this preview, his Batman: Caped Crusader cartoon sounds like it’s worth obsessing over.

Co-created and executive produced by The Batman movie’s director Matt Reeves and a little-known Hollywood producer by the name of J.J. Abrams, Batman: Caped Crusader is a reimagining of the Dark Knight that looks to hew closely to the very earliest incarnation of the character. Timm called it, “More Batman: The Animated Series than Batman: The Animated Series,” meaning it’s going to be set in a world with a very 1940s aesthetic, and very noir. “My idea is basically, it’s 1990 again and I get to do what I want to do this time,” added Timm.

Caped Crusader almost sounds like an origin series. The creators emphasised that Batman is alone — he doesn’t have allies like Commissioner Gordon yet, there are no other heroes, and he doesn’t have all the gadgets yet. However, as the show going on, he’ll begin to develop them along with an evolving Batmobile — basically, Batman’s on his journey to becoming the Dark Knight we’re so used to. It syncs with the concept art of the character, who’s Bat-cowl’s long, more genuinely bat-authentic ears are any indication, which are also located on the side of his head instead of just the top, hew closely to the character’s original design. I know that’s a lot to read into ear shape and placement, but these things matter to Batman, dammit.

When the show was announced back in May, the three co-executive producers issued a joint statement: “We are beyond excited to be working together to bring this character back, to tell engrossing new stories in Gotham City. The series will be thrilling, cinematic, and evocative of Batman’s noir roots, while diving deeper into the psychology of these iconic characters. We cannot wait to share this new world.”

Right now, Batman: Caped Crusader is scheduled to air on both HBO Max and Cartoon Network, so it’s presumably going to be at least somewhat kid-friendly — however, the producers stressed repeatedly how much of a psychological dram the show is going to be, so who knows? We’ll find out in 2022, presumably.

Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.