Fans have learned that Fox rejected an episode of Batman: The Animated Series that focused on Black Canary and Catwoman because the network wanted more Robin. Widely regarded as one of the best superhero animated shows of all time, Batman: The Animated Series ran for 85 episodes on Fox Kids between 1992 and 1995. Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski developed the series.
Today’s news comes from Paul Dini, who served as a writer on Batman: The Animated Series and is currently trying to encourage his fans to invest in his Kickstarter-funded Boo & Hiss graphic novel. Dini’s most famous creation, Harley Quinn, has also been in the news recently: it was recently announced that DC is developing a Harley Quinn animated show for Warner Bros’ upcoming online streaming service. Somewhat weirdly, it doesn’t look like Paul Dini and Bruce Timm – who created Harley together for Batman: The Animated Series – are involved with that project at all.
While discussing his Kickstarter project with CBR, Dini touched upon a couple of ideas he pitched on Batman: The Animated Series that he didn’t manage to get made. Most interesting of these is the Black Canary/Catwoman episode, which sounds like a really interesting prospect. Sadly, the idea came at a time when Fox didn’t want other characters pulling the limelight from Gotham’s Dark Knight and his Boy Wonder sidekick:
“Yeah, the Black Canary/Catwoman episode was a casualty. They wanted more Robin in the series, and each time we wanted to drop him from a story, we had to fight for it. Not that we had anything against Robin, we just wanted to stretch now and then and do solo Batman stories or episodes that focused mainly on Gordon or the villains. After the experimentation of the first season, the network felt we might be leaving the boys behind, so we got the edict, add more Robin.”
It sounds like Fox weren’t willing to let Dini ditch Robin for a week so he could focus an episode on Black Canary (who ultimately never appeared in the series) and Catwoman (who showed up several times and was voiced by Adrienne Barbeau). It’s a shame, particularly because a female double-hander would have been quite forward thinking for the time.
However, this isn’t the only idea that Dini didn’t manage to see to fruition. There was also “a Poison Ivy seducing Swamp Thing story” that couldn’t work because “the rights to Swampy weren’t available then.” As Dini notes, he recycled that idea and “did a sort of version of it years later as an episode of Justice League Action.” Maybe, one day, the Catwoman/Black Cat idea will find a place on another DC series, too.
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