DC animated universe

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An image of many of the DCAU heroes, as seen in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Dark Heart".
An image of many of the DCAU heroes, as seen in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Dark Heart".

The DC animated universe (aka DCAU) is a fan term that refers to a series of animated television series and related spin-offs produced by Warner Bros. Animation which share the same continuity. The World's Finest first coined the term DCAU [1] [2]. Most of these animated 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).

Contents

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. Older shows such as Super Friends and newer shows such as The Batman, Krypto the Superdog and Legion of Super-Heroes are not part of this continuity. Other productions, like the straight-to-video film Superman: Brainiac Attacks, are not to be considered part of the DC animated universe, despite utilizing the same character designs and much of the same cast as previous DCAU series.


TV series

The DC animated universe primarily consists of these animated series (and their related films; see below):


Films

The following spin-off films, theatrical feature films and direct-to-video, also are part of the continuity:


Web cartoons

Gotham Girls, a Macromedia Flash web cartoon series was downloadable from the WB website, and featured DCAU versions of characters voiced by their original actors. A DC comics mini-series inspired by the series was released in 2004. Thanks to fan interest, all three seasons of Gotham Girls will be released on the Birds of Prey DVD later this year.

There was a second web 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, which strongly supports that it is part of the official DCAU, although this is still heavily disputed.

Comic books

Many of the DCAU productions have also had comic books created based on the characters of the various series. The comics are:

Video games

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 unknown as of yet. The games are:

Four 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), 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.

Chronology in the DC animated universe

See Chronology in the DC animated universe

Characters adapted from the DCAU

Though the DCAU is an off-shoot of the mainstream DC comics universe, it has also impacted 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:

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 on Countdown to Final Crisis #21, as part of the new Multiverse in the wake of the Infinite Crisis and 52. A Batman Beyond is currently being labeled as Earth-12.

Inconsistencies within the DCAU

Many prior inconsistencies within the DC animated universe continuity have been cleared up via retroactive continuity. However, the following inconsistencies are still present:

  • In the series Static Shock, Virgil Hawkins once said that "even Clark Kent had a day job." He would later meet Superman and not be aware of his secret identity, so it is now unclear what Static meant. Static's comment once made sense, as his series was originally separate from the other shows just as the original Static comics were, until a crossover episode with Batman began to link them. However, Static co-creator Dwayne McDuffie's philosophy of comic crossover continuity is "don't worry about it."
  • In the Batman Beyond/Static Shock crossover, "Future Shock", Terry McGinnis refers to an answering machine as something no longer used in the future but in the Batman Beyond movie Return of the Joker after he and his girlfriend, Dana, had been attacked by Jokerz, Terry calls Bruce and uses an answering machine to leave a message. However, Bruce is older and does tend to keep many older things in the Manor. One could even suggest Terry was leaving a message on Bruce's voicemail.
  • Forager first appeared alongside the other New Gods in "Apokolips... Now!" against Darkseid. But this is inconsistent with his appearance later in the episode "Twilight", as a bug, considering himself unworthy of the presence of the New Gods. In the commentary for Superman: The Animated Series, the episode "Apokolips...Now!" was discussed and this was mentioned as being a mistake.

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.

It was rumored at one point that there were several straight-to-DVD movies set in the DCAU continuity in various stages of pre-production, especially the mention of a Justice League Unlimited movie. These projects may result from confusion with similar animated projects that Warner Bros is working on, such as the Justice League: The New Frontier movie, which was not set in the DCAU continuity.

In May, 2008, the comic book series for Justice League Unlimited was officially canceled, ending the last DCAU production. As of San-Diego Comic-Con 2008 Bruce Timm has stated that he's looking into to more DCAU DTV projects and that the chances of seeing the Justice League: Worlds Collide DTV are 50/50.

DVD releases

  • Batman: The Animated Series, Volumes 1-4 (contains all episodes of Batman: TAS and The New Batman Adventures)
  • Superman: The Animated Series, Volumes 1-3 (complete series)
  • Batman Beyond, Seasons 1-3 (complete series)
  • Justice League, Seasons 1 and 2 (complete series)
  • Justice League Unlimited, Seasons 1 and 2 (complete series)
  • Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (full-length movie)
  • Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (full-length movie)
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (full-length movie)
  • Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (full-length movie)


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