Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Batman: the Animated Series Bible!

Today many of you will receive what you may consider the coolest Christmas present you'll get this year:

The series bible for Batman: the Animated Series!

A series bible is what the creators of the show develop that outlines the entire series. Official descriptions of all the characters, locations and episodes are included as well as how the creators want the writers to handle them. There are also model sheets, color keys and loads of concept artwork! This bible was put together by Bruce Timi, Paul Dini, and Mitch Brian.

This bible was obviously written very early in the production, as many character and episode descriptions are different than what eventually aired. Here are a few excerpts that I find interesting:

Now that we've dealt with his origin, we can put it away for the remainder of the series. We'll say it here first -- the the run of our series, we will do NO STORIES ABOUT BATMAN'S ORIGIN!

This was a great decision to make because it made Batman feel like a veteran crime fighter, even though he is meeting all of the villains for the first time. Though it is touched on in episodes like Appointment in Crime Alley and The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne, the origin is eventually told in the feature film Mask of the Phantasm, which I'm sure they never ever thought would be made when they were writing this bible.

Our series will stress economic, well-structured plots containing snappy conversational dialogue and characters whose actions are motivated an believable. We want expository information conveyed as visually as possible, stressing "visual shorthand" over lazy, expository speeches.

Although there is a temptation in every episode to be about a villain's attempt to set a trap for Batman, we offer a word of caution and encourage story lines that stress pursuit of criminals and their activities instead of simple "Bat-trap" stories. Although some of these stories are necessary and desires, we don't want to run into the problem that the [Adam West] TV series faced, where the only thing more outlandish than the traps was the improbable way the hero escaped.

A few of the characters were envisioned a bit different than how they eventually turned out.

There is a pretty large description of Renee Montoya, indicating that she was originally to play a much bigger role as a supporting cast then she ended up being.

There are hints of Mr. Freeze's tragic origin told in Heart of Ice in this bible, but his description retains the "cold-related crime" villain character established by the comics. There is a word of a possible Mr. Freeze/Penguin team-up that may have been interesting if it was ever made.

Calendar Man and Gentleman Ghost are included in the Rogues Gallery, but never made it to the series. Too bad!

Twenty possible episodes are described in the bible, many of them easily recognizable, but also some that were never made. There are a few more episodes involving the Riddler, indicating that he was to be used much more than only two or three episodes.

Villains called the Architech, Blackbeard, and Mad Maestro were scheduled for an appearance but never made the cut.

There is an alternate origin episode for Killer Croc, Mad Hatter, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze and it seems that Gentleman Ghost was originally intended to be behind the bank disappearance in Zatanna, rather than Dr. Kane.

I hope you enjoy this bit of history! I am going to take a few weeks off for the holidays, but I'll still be posting any breaking news, should there be any. There are no new episodes of anything this week, but the Super Hero Squad Show episode Mysterious Mayhem at Mutant Academy will air on December 26 at 7:30pm ET on Cartoon Network, and the Batman: the Brave and the Bold episode Revenge of the Reach will air January 2 at 8:30pm ET on Cartoon Network.

Have a very merry Christmas!


Carnage89 said...

Thanks you so much for this! Have a happy holidays!

Paul said...

"Today many of you will receive what you may consider the coolest Christmas present you'll get this year:

The series bible for Batman: the Animated Series!"

You make it sound like it's being published and sold in book stores. :P I was a bit confused by that. Thanks for sharing this, though! It's great to have a peek at the series bible and it does make for a cool early Christmas present. :)