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[[wikipedia:Image:DCAU.jpg|thumb|270px|An image of many of the DCAU heroes, as seen in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Dark Heart."|]]
The DC animated universe (DCAU) is a fan term for a series of popular animated television series and related spin-offs produced by Warner Bros. Animation which share the same continuity. Most of these series are adapted from DC Comics properties. This continuity is also sometimes referred to as the Timmverse (after producer Bruce Timm, the continuity's most consistent creative influence) and in the past, the Diniverse (after writer Paul Dini, who had mostly departed from Warner Bros. Animation when Justice League was in production).
In-continuity in the DCAU
While there have been several animated series based upon DC Comics characters over the decades, what is commonly accepted as the "DC animated universe" refers to the stable of shows and films that spin off from Batman: The Animated Series, the original show in this universe. The first series to indicate a shared universe, however, was the subsequent series, Superman: The Animated Series, in which the title character had encounters with heroes such as Flash and Green Lantern. Older shows such as Super Friends and newer shows such as Teen Titans, The Batman, and Legion of Super Heroes are not part of this continuity. Other productions, like the 2006 Direct-to-video film Superman: Brainiac Attacks, as well as the DC Universe Animated Original Movies such as Superman: Doomsday and Justice League: The New Frontier, are not considered part of the DCAU, despite utilizing similar character designs and much of the same voice cast as previous DCAU series.
The DC animated universe primarily consists of these animated series (and their related films; see below):
- Batman: The Animated Series (September 5, 1992 – 1995 on Fox) (later renamed The Adventures of Batman and Robin)
- Superman: The Animated Series (September 6, 1996 – 2000 on The WB) (later compiled into The New Batman/Superman Adventures)
- The New Batman Adventures (September 13, 1997 – 1999 on The WB) (compiled into The New Batman/Superman Adventures)
- Batman Beyond (January 10, 1999 – 2001 on The WB)
- Static Shock (September 23, 2000 – 2004 on The WB)
- The Zeta Project (January 27, 2001 – 2002 on The WB)
- Justice League (November 17, 2001 – 2004 on Cartoon Network)
- Justice League Unlimited (July 31, 2004 – 2006 on Cartoon Network)
The following spin-off films, theatrical feature films and direct-to-video, also are part of the DCAU continuity:
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
- The Batman Superman Movie: World's Finest (1997) (also released as a 3-part episode of Superman: The Animated Series.
- Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998)
- Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
- Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003)
- Chase Me (2003) – A short film with no dialogue based on The New Batman Adventures.
- Gotham Girls (2000–2002) – A Macromedia Flash web cartoon series, this was downloadable from the WB website, and featured DCAU versions of characters voiced by their original actors. A DC Comics miniseries inspired by the web series was released in 2004. All three seasons of Gotham Girls were released on the Birds of Prey DVD box set in 2008.
- Lobo (2000) – A Flash cartoon series starring Lobo, the galactic bounty hunter, the web-series is a spin-off of the Superman episode "The Main Man". A wax statue with the same character design as Lobo in this series appeared in an episode of Gotham Girls and he also made a reappearance in the Justice League episode "Hereafter" briefly becoming a member of the Justice League. Both of these examples somewhat support that the webseries is part of the official DCAU, although this is still disputed.
- Main article: DC animated universe (comics)
Many of the DCAU productions have also had comic books created based on the characters of the various series, though their canonicity is disputable. The comics are:
- Adventures in the DC Universe (#1–19)
- The Batman Adventures (vol. 1) (#1–36)
- Batman Adventures (vol. 2) (#1–17)
- The Batman Adventures Annual (#1–2)
- The Batman Adventures Holiday Special
- The Batman Adventures: The Lost Years (#1–5)
- The Batman Adventures: Mad Love
- Batman and Robin Adventures (#1–25)
- Batman Beyond (vol. 1) (#1–6)
- Batman Beyond (vol. 2) (#1–24)
- Batman: Gotham Adventures (#1–60)
- Batman: Harley and Ivy (#1–3)
- Batman and Robin Adventures Annual (#1–2)
- Gotham Girls (#1–5)
- Justice League Adventures (#1–34)
- Justice League Unlimited (#1–46)
- Superman Adventures (#1–66)
- Superman Adventures Annual (#1)
- Superman Adventures Special: Superman VS Lobo (#1)
There have also been a number of DCAU tie-in video games released to correspond with the various animated television series and films. Some of these games have original plots, while others follow previous stories; their status in DCAU canon is not yet known. The games are:
|1993||Batman: The Animated Series||Game Boy|
|1994||The Adventures of Batman & Robin||Super NES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Mega-CD/Sega CD, Game Gear|
|1997||Superman ||Game Boy|
|2000||Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker||Game Boy Color, PlayStation, Nintendo 64|
|2001||Batman: Chaos in Gotham||Game Boy Color|
|Batman: Gotham City Racer||PlayStation|
|Batman: Vengeance||PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Xbox, Microsoft Windows|
|2002||Justice League: Injustice for All||Game Boy Advance|
|Static Shock (canceled game) |
|Superman: Shadow of Apokolips||PlayStation 2, GameCube|
|2003||Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu||Xbox, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, GameCube|
|Justice League: Chronicles||Game Boy Advance|
|Superman: Countdown to Apokolips|
Five of these games feature voice acting from the casts of the original shows. These are: The Adventures of Batman and Robin (SEGA CD/Mega CD version), Superman, Batman Vengeance, Superman: Shadow of Apokolips, and Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu. The SEGA CD/Mega CD game, The Adventures of Batman and Robin, also features animation from one of the studios that animated Batman: The Animated Series.
Characters adapted from the DCAU
Though the DCAU is an off-shoot of the mainstream DC comics universe, it has also affected the DC universe in return. The following characters were originally created for their respective series in the DCAU, but were eventually adapted into the mainstream DC comic continuity:
- Nora Fries (Batman: The Animated Series)
- Harley Quinn (Batman: The Animated Series)
- Renee Montoya (Batman: The Animated Series)
- Lock-Up (Batman: The Animated Series)
- Sewer King (Batman: The Animated Series)
- Mercy Graves (Superman: The Animated Series)
- Livewire (Superman: The Animated Series)
- Roxy Rocket (The New Batman Adventures)
- Terry McGinnis/Batman (Batman Beyond)
- Gray Ghost (Batman: The Animated Series)
In addition, the backstory of Mr. Freeze was adapted from his portrayal in Batman: The Animated Series, and the visuals and/or characterization of Green Lantern, Tim Drake, Supergirl, Toyman, Two-Face, Parasite, Metallo, Clayface, and many others have been applied to their comic counterparts. On a different note, issue #22 of DC Comics' Superman/Batman series, which explores alternate realities, had Bizarro transported to an alternate version of Gotham City patrolled by a Batman using the Batman Beyond version of the costume. The future of Batman Beyond made an appearance in Countdown to Final Crisis #21, as part of the new Multiverse in the wake of the Infinite Crisis and 52. A Batman Beyond-inspired universe is currently being labeled as Earth-12 and a Batman Beyond series is planned.
The future of the DCAU
With the conclusion of the Justice League Unlimited animated series, Warner Bros has moved on to adapting new versions of the various DC comics properties, rather than reviving the DCAU counterparts.
The last script written for DCAU continuity was titled Justice League: Worlds Collide. This screenplay was created to bridge the several month gap between Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. The draft was eventually adapted into the February 2010 film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, with the removal of any references specific to DCAU continuity, replacing Green Lantern John Stewart with Hal Jordan, and the casting of celebrities rather than the voice actors of the DCAU.
The latest update on the DCAU:
I very much appreciate that so many of you guys have so much love for the old series, from BTAS through JLU (I do too) -- but frankly, I doubt that we'll be formally, "officially" doing another movie or TV series set in that continuity (...) anything is possible, so conceivably that could change someday -- instead of saying "THE DCAU IS DEAD", maybe we can just say it's in a state of suspended animation until further notice...?— Bruce Timm, 2009
The Batman Beyond comic series is a continuation of the Batman Beyond franchise. However, it does not follow continuity of the DCAU but instead some amalgam of the universe and mainstream comics. The miniseries began in June 2010, under the title Future Evil. In August 2010, the series was announced to continue following the completion of the first arc as an on-going series. Though the series has since been cancelled, the door has been left open to future work on the universe in the comic book medium. Superman Beyond, a one-shot comic set in the same universe as Batman Beyond, was released in 2011. Batman Beyond Unlimited, a title chronicling the adventures of the future Justice League introduced in the DCAU, was released in February 2012.
- "Batman Beyond Press Release". Tfaw.com. 2010-07-28. http://www.tfaw.com/Profile/___369171?qt=new_releases_rss. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- "Batman Beyond To Receive An Ongoing Series". Inside Pulse. 2010-08-28. http://insidepulse.com/2010/08/28/batman-beyond-to-receive-an-ongoing-series/. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- Dc Comics Launches Batman Beyond Unlimited | DC Comics
- DC Comics official site
- World's Finest
- DC Animated Universe Wiki
- World's Finest Podcast
- DCAU Resource - The Timeline