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Caped Crusader is the show Batman: Animated Series creator always wanted to make

Bruce Timm, J.J. Abrams, and Matt Reeves preview the new HBO Max series

artwork for Batman: Caped Crusader, with a Batman with very tall, pointy ears looming over Gotham City at night with a giant moon behind him Image: Warner Bros.
Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

The creatives behind Batman: The Caped Crusader revealed a first look at the upcoming HBO Max animated series at this weekend’s DC FanDome, showing off a noir-inspired Gotham City.

Announced in May of 2021, the series is the brainchild of J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Matt Reeves (The Batman), James Tucker (Batman Beyond), and original BTAS creator Bruce Timm, who has said the series would be thrilling, cinematic and evocative of Batman’s noir roots.

Timm best known in the world of Batman for being among the major creative forces behind Batman: The Animated Series, The Adventures of Batman & Robin, Batman Beyond, and the rest of the DC Animated Universe. And just like those shows, Batman: The Caped Crusader appears to be heavily inspired by Timm’s signature style.

“My elevator pitch of this show is that it’s more Batman: The Animated Series than Batman: The Animated Series,” Timm said at the preview. “My ideas was to say, ‘OK it’s 1990 again, I get to do what I want this time, and I have J.J. and Matt backing me up.”

“In Bruce’s word, in this new iteration, it’s just Batman right now. The Justice League doesn’t exist, there aren’t any other superheroes. It’s Batman. You’re watching this lone figure swimming through the cesspool of Gotham. It’s Batman, alone.”

Tucker went on to explain that this version of Batman will be low-tech in the early episodes. As he develops as a character, the creators will slowly bring his gadgetry and vehicular inventions into the world. And all of the relationships are back to square one too: season 1 is set before Commissioner Gordon is an ally, and versions of Joker, Catwoman, and Penguin are all reset — fans shouldn’t expect anything to be literally held over from BTAS. But prepare for even more of the German expressionist/film noir look that came to define the ’90s series. “If anything, we’re going to lean into that even more,” notes Timm.

Batman: The Caped Crusader will premiere on HBO Max in 2022.

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