Fans weren't quite sure what to make of Batman Beyond when the show debuted. Sure, it had the same high quality creative pedigree that brought us Batman: The Animated Series. At the same time, it it was hard not to feel as if the Batman that we had come to know and love from that show was being cast aside in favor of this younger model. Therefore, it took many fans some time to warm up to his newest incarnation of Batman.
In time, of course, Batman Beyond distinguished itself as a fine addition to the DC animated canon, and the young Batman, Terry McGinnis, took his rightful place alongside some of the greatest DC heroes. The show went on to spawn several fan-favorite comics and an amazing animated movie, but despite this, there are a lot of things people don't know about Terry McGinnis.
From his criminal roots to the secrets of his batsuit to his bizarre interdimensional adventures, there is a side to this young hero you've likely never seen.
If you want to peek at this hidden part of Terry, you don't have to hack the Batcomputer. All you have to do is read our vigilante-approved guide to 15 Things You Never Knew About Terry McGinnis!
When Batman Beyond was first announced, it was natural for people to be curious who this new, young Batman was. Was he a relative of Bruce? A son, or somehow a grandson? Many fans were relieved when it turned out that the new Batman, Terry McGinnis, had nothing to do with Bruce Wayne except that they shared a love of fighting crime. However, the Justice League Unlimited episode “Epilogue” changed everything.
That episode revealed that none other than Amanda Waller had decided once upon a time that Batman was the ultimate hero and his legacy would need to continue after Bruce retired. She secretly obtained Bruce's DNA and injected it via nanites into Terry McGinnis, Warren's father. The short story is that it rewrote his DNA and passed what was effectively Bruce's genes on to Terry.
Depending on which set of fans you argue with, this makes Terry either a clone of Bruce or simply his biological son... although “Batman Biological” would have been a terrible name for a series.
Considering how squeaky-clean Bruce is when it comes to the law, you might expect Terry, his son/clone/whatever to be similarly on the side of angels. However, Terry has a bit of a dark side: he was once a member in a gang run by “Big Time,” otherwise known as Charlie Bigelow.
Charlie and Terry grew up as violent and angry kids, and Charlie eventually dragged Terry into some gang activity that was very short-lived.
One day, Charlie convinced Terry to go along on a heist for a gang Charlie was in. The idea of the heist was for eighteen-year-old Charlie to prove himself to the gang, and Terry's participation made him a de facto gang member. This wasn't how the law saw it, however: when the two were caught and arrested, adult Charlie ended up serving three years in prison while underage Terry did not.
His brief time helping a gang basically represented the culmination of Terry's criminal activity, and he kept to the straight and narrow (more or less) after this incident. However, in a later comic, he would go undercover as a Jokerz gang member to complete a dangerous mission.
Many casual fans of the show assumed that Terry working for Bruce Wayne was just a convenient cover for being Batman. Kind of like Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming, it's easy to assume that Terry telling his friends he has been hired by Wayne is similar to Peter and his mysterious “Stark internship.” However, he really was Bruce Wayne's gofer!
At Bruce's age, Alfred has long since passed away. Terry ends up taking on many of the tasks that Alfred would have once performed, from driving Bruce Wayne around Gotham to helping him out around the house.
To be fair, it's an arrangement that gives Bruce Wayne an excuse to provide money for Terry's family after the young man's father dies, but it's still amusing to think that the new hero who stalks Gotham by night spends his days as a glorified butler to Gotham's first bat vigilante.
One of the things that really separated Terry from Bruce is that Terry never formally took on a Robin. He still had a support system, of course: his friend Max functions more or less like Oracle once did for Batman, and Bruce Wayne is a kind of ongoing consultant for Terry's nightly patrols. Those patrols never include a kid sidekick, but this did not keep him from being friends with multiple Robins.
After the events of "Return of the Joker", Terry was able to bond some with Tim Drake. After all, they now had the shared drama of dealing with fighting the Joker and trying to work well with cranky old Bruce Wayne. In the Batman Beyond comics, he gets to meet Dick Grayson, who he first thinks is a suspect before finding out that the real culprit was an evil clone of Grayson. Later, Terry saves the real Grayson from his evil clone, and the two share a handshake of mutual respect before Grayson disappears into the night one more.
A distinction for Terry McGinnis is he was able to do what Bruce never could: end the threat of the Joker. In the Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker movie, Joker has seemingly returned to wreak havoc once more. This seems confusing to Bruce, as he's sure that Joker must be dead. Through flashbacks, we see that Joker kidnapped Tim Drake. He tortured Batman's secret identity out of Tim and tried to remake Tim in his image, but things backfired when Joker asked Tim to shoot the wounded Batman. Instead, Tim shot and killed the Joker.
However, during this time, Joker placed a secret microchip on Drake that rewrote his mind and body. Decades later, the Joker's identity has reasserted itself, and he was using Drake's body to commit new crimes. During their final battle, Terry taunted Joker as a pathetic clown who could never get Batman to laugh. This enraged Joker and made him lose his focus, so he did not see Terry grabbing his electric joy buzzer. Terry used it to destroy the microchip, and this restored Tim Drake's mind and body. More importantly, it meant that Terry, not Bruce, got the last laugh on The Joker.
For new heroes in the DC Universe, being offered membership into the Justice League is like being given one of Willy Wonka's golden tickets. It's the metaphorical keys to the kingdom, and it signals to the entire world that this hero is now one of the heaviest hitters. All of this makes it that much more surprising that Terry was offered membership into the Justice League... and turned it down!
In the Batman Beyond episodes “The Call” parts one and two, Terry gets involved with the League when Superman arrives in Gotham to offer him membership. He is quickly drawn into a web of figuring out who the hidden League traitor is.
It turns out to be a mind-controlled Superman, and after Terry defeats him (more on that in a minute), he has time to ponder the offer to join the League. He ultimately refuses, carrying on in the footsteps of Bruce: neither of them have ever been good team players.
In the Batman Beyond episodes “The Call", Terry helps uncover the unthinkable. The Justice League traitor he is trying to uncover ends up being none other than Superman himself. This is particularly frightening, as it means that the most powerful man on the planet has now gone completely rogue. Of course, this is something that has happened before, and Bruce Wayne is prepared: he offers Terry some green Kryptonite to help him take Superman down once and for all.
Fortunately, it doesn't come to that. In conjunction with the rest of the League, Terry helps uncover that Superman is not himself. Instead, he is being mind-controlled by the parasitic Starro. Due to Terry's quick-thinking (and the Batmobile's electric grapples), Starro releases Superman and he comes to his senses.
The veteran hero is immensely grateful that Terry has freed his mind, and Superman ends the episode by positively comparing Terry to Bruce, noting that Terry has more in common with the legendary hero than he realizes.
While Terry got a lot of development across the show and subsequent comics, his girlfriend Dana was a lot more one-dimensional. For the most part, she played the role of the faithful girlfriend who got annoyed at Terry's absences because she didn't know he was secretly Batman.
For the entirety of the cartoon series, it looked like their relationship was going to be in this static position, unable to move forward. However, the Justice League episode “Epilogue” revealed just how serious things got between Terry and Dana.
That episode gives us a vision of the future, and Terry is now in his early thirties. He is still dating Dana, and somewhere along the way, he admitted to her that he was Batman. He wonders about her feelings for him briefly after he discovers he's a special genetic clone of Bruce, but eventually realizes how much he loves her, and the last we see of him in the Justice League animated universe shows Terry planning to propose marriage to Dana.
There were plenty of times when Terry saved Bruce's life. For instance, he kept the Joker from outright killing Bruce when the villain returned, and he helped save Bruce's life when he was infected by Joker venom. However, on one memorable occasion, he saved Bruce via organ donation, and this was the event that led to him finding out how specifically he was created by Amanda Waller.
Terry confronts Waller himself. Previously, Bruce had experienced kidney failure and needed a donor, and when Terry was perfectly compatible, he got suspicious. When he checked his DNA, he was extremely shocked to see that he registered as Bruce Wayne's son. He is angry and confused, mostly at Bruce.
After Waller confesses her role in everything, Terry reconciles with Bruce, willing to help him with his kidney failure and, more importantly, willing to continue protecting Gotham City as Batman.
With his futuristic suit, Terry's Batman has more powers than most fans can keep track of. For instance, he can make himself invisible to help spy on his foes, and he has special night vision that allows him to operate in complete darkness. He has an endless array of different kinds of batarangs, and he can even make his suit super hot to escape various ice traps. However, one of Terry's quieter powers that fans tend to overlook is that he has super-strength!
Like everything else, his power is granted by the suit rather than being an innate ability. However, it enhances Terry's strength by a factor of ten. How does that work, exactly?
Part of his suit's inner working were designed by Dr. Peter Corso (a world-renowned expert in prosthetics), including servo-motors that enhance things like strength and endurance. Throughout the series, we see that Terry is able to lift up everything from debris to humongous light projectors that Bruce Wayne could not move without calling in a vehicle. Too bad we never see Terry ask Bruce if he even lifts!
Some of the later Batman Beyond comics continue to develop the relationship between Terry McGinnis and Dick Grayson. Previously, their only encounter involved teaming up to stop an evil clone of Grayson's, and afterward, Grayson disappeared. It was a little tragic, as he disappeared while Bruce Wayne, via the communicator, was trying to reconcile with him. In later comics, we see that Grayson hasn't just reconciled with Bruce— he's replaced him!
In the world of Batman Beyond 2.0, Terry has grown up a bit: we see that he is a freshman at Gotham University and now has a few additional years of experience being Batman under his belt. He still needs guidance, though, and it's no longer Bruce who provides assistance during missions, but Dick Grayson.
There is some drama behind this decision, however, as it results from Terry having a falling out with Bruce and Dick specifically seeking to ensure that Terry doesn't end up as angry and isolated as the original Batman.
One of the interesting features about Batman's world is how thoroughly everything is connected. It is a world of complex relationships and cyclical events. One such event concerns the existence of Batman, as one reason Bruce has to let Terry take on his mantle is that Gotham will always need its Batman.
Other cycles are a bit darker, with characters carrying on the violence of their fathers. This actually happens with Jake Chill, who is the grandnephew of the man who killed Bruce Wayne's parents. Jake ends up as a lackey for Derek Powers and plays a role in killing Terry's father.
Jake decides to use equipment from his old job in order to fight crime as a vigilante known as Vigilante. When Terry finds out what Jake did to his father, he nearly beats him to death, but Terry is under the influence of fear gas. Later, he saves Jake from a gang after the man is injected with a specialized venom, and even saves Jake from being murdered by the Phantasm. However, Jake eventually succumbs to his injuries, but Terry was crucial in helping the man redeem himself for his prior sins and leave a legacy of do-gooding.
Terry McGinnis eventually made the transition from appearing only in the Justice League animated universe to appearing in canonical DC comics, but he followed a pretty strange road. We first get a glimpse of what might be him in an issue of Superman/Batman in which Bizarro has been transported to an alternate reality. However, the Batman character is referred to as “Tim” instead of “Terry.” This was later confirmed to be Tim Drake, which left Terry McGinnis fans really confused.
It turned out that past really was prologue in this case. In the Batman Beyond comics that followed the New 52: Future's End, Terry is missing and presumed dead, and a time-displaced Tim Drake ends up taking his place as Batman. He ends up working with Terry's brother, Matt, and have many adventures. They eventually discover Terry is alive and restore the mantle of the bat to our favorite future vigilante.
Some of the scariest foes that we ever see in the Justice League animated universe are the Justice Lords. These are super-powered beings from another reality, and the short story is that they are an evil version of the Justice League. The Justice League from our reality have a run-in with them and eventually triumph, though they are all left with sobering reminders of what could happen to them if they lost their way and went rogue. In a Batman Beyond comic, Terry ends up facing these foes that are way above his weight class.
In this alternate reality, Terry teams up with his other world duplicate, a gang member known as “T.” The Bruce Wayne of this world was killed years ago for defying the Justice Lords, but Terry is able to retrieve an enhanced batsuit from what is left of the mansion. The suit has synthetic Kryptonite built into it, and he helps the future Justice League from his reality defeat the evil Superman and the rest of the Justice Lords.
The tale has a happy ending, with Terry getting to meet his father in this separate dimension; meanwhile, “T” decides to start training to become Batman.
When it comes to Robins, most of Terry's interactions have been with Tim Drake and Dick Grayson. However, in one Batman comic, he has a surprising interaction with one of the most controversial characters to be Robin: Damian Wayne! The plot of the comic involved Two-Face kidnapping an infant Terry and using some Joker venom to make Terry look like Batman's old nemesis.
This comic followed different adventures of different characters who have (or will) wear the cape and cowl of Batman. At this point, Damian Wayne has taken over as Batman, and he is able to successfully rescue Terry and administer the antidote to Joker's toxin.
This comic also gives us a glimpse of what is presumably an alternate future, one in which Damian Wayne is the mentor to Terry McGinnis rather than Bruce Wayne. While this future likely will not happen, it is reassuring to know that Gotham will always have a Batman.
Know some Terry McGinnis secrets we missed in Batman Beyond? Be sure to transmit them to Oracle on a coded frequency...or just leave us a comment!