10 ways Bat-Embargo impacted DC animation


Warner Bros has a policy regarding its DC properties – characters are discouraged from being used in multiple productions (with separate continuities) simultaneously. The most infamous case was the “bat embargo” of the 2000s, when a confluence of films and television starring the Dark Knight restricted some associated characters.

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The Bat-Embargo limited what DC could and couldn’t show on television, severely limiting the Batman adaptations of the time. DC’s animated storytelling had to take a step back from the Caped Crusader legacy just to stay on air.


ten The Joker couldn’t be a part of the Legion Of Doom

Legion of Destiny

A prelude to the Bat embargo can be seen in the 1970s, when Filmation and Hanna-Barbera ran DC’s animated shows. Hanna barbera Super Friends Challenge presented the Legion Of Doom, a collection of 13 DC Villains. Among their ranks were the Scarecrow and the Riddler.

The writers planned to include the Joker and the Penguin on the team, but these characters appeared in the contemporary. New adventures of Batman, created by Filmation. So the Super friends settled for Scarecrow and Riddler.

9 No Batfamily in Justice League

DCAU Batfamille

The New Adventures of Batman saw the formation of a real Batfamily. Dick Grayson had become Nightwing, Barbara Gordon was a full-time Batgirl, and Tim Drake became the second Robin. Due to the Bat-Embargo, none of these characters could appear on Justice League. An alternate reality version of Cassandra Cain also made an appearance in Justice League episode, “The Savage Time,” but was banned from making its formal debut. The only hero adjacent to Bat who could appear on JLU was the Huntress, but her connection to Batman was non-existent.

8 No Joker on Justice League Unlimited

The DCAU was the first time Mark Hamill was able to voice the Joker. Widely regarded as the final voice of the villain, Hamill was able to appear twice on Justice League, as a member of the Injustice Gang in “Injustice For All” and solo in “Wild Cards”. Due to the embargo, his appearances once ceased JLU rolled.

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A new version of the Joker, voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson, featured on The Batman. With the Joker overexposed in modern media, however, some fans might count on his later absences. JLU like a blessing in disguise.

7 No more Harley Quinn either

Harley quinn the batman

With the Joker forbidden to appear on JLU, that meant his sidekick Harley Quinn was also missing. It was even more shocking considering that Harley was from Batman: The Animated Series as an original creation of the DCAU team. However, she eventually found her way on The batman during the fourth season of this show. Its debut, including a reimagined origin story, was even scripted by its creator Paul Dini.

6 No Ra’s Al Ghul in “Wake The Dead”

Ra's Al Ghul in Batman: The Animated Series

With his immortality, menacing worldview, and leadership over the League Of Assassins, Ra’s Al Ghul is one of the few Batman villains who can threaten the entire Justice League. One of Justice League’s most iconic comic stories, The Tower of Babel, presents him as the main antagonist. However, the embargo meant that Ra’s and the DCAU Justice League never clashed, even though there were considerations to feature it in the JLU episode “Wake up the dead”.

5 A story featuring Oracle and the birds of prey has been scrapped

Birds of prey Comic book writer Gail Simone has been asked to write JLU episode “Double Date”, starring two of the main characters from his comic book – Black Canary and the Huntress. However, the episode had been billed as a Birds of prey tribute. Simone’s original pitch caused Barbara Gordon to get injured during a case investigation.

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Unable to see things through herself, Barb becomes Oracle and contacts Black Canary and Huntress to complete the case, all without revealing her true identity. The bat embargo prevented Barbara from appearing in the episode, so the premise had to be rewritten – the completed episode has Huntress as the protagonist instead, with her attempting to kill her parents’ murderer.

4 Hugo Strange disappears from Cadmus

Dr. Hugo Strange was a unique villain on Batman: The Animated Series. It took a while before the character returned to the DCAU, in JLU Season 2 episode “The Doomsday Sanction”. The Worst Doctor had become a member of Project Cadmus – it’s even possible he was the one who gave Amanda Waller the secret to Batman’s true identity. Strange was destined to reappear in “Question Authority” as the one questioning the question, but suddenly became unavailable due to the bat embargo. In the finished episode, Dr. Moon is the interrogator instead.

3 Scarecrow and Riddler were kicked out of the Legion Of Doom

Scarecrow Riddler DCAU

When JLU unexpectedly received a third season, the writers decided to present the Legion Of Doom. The Legion has been redesigned as the villains’ answer to the expanded Justice League – rather than just 13 as in The super-friends challenge, the DCAU Legion had at least 100. Bruce Timm made a conscious effort to include as many classic players as possible, but there were still some absences. Two of them were Scarecrow and Riddler, again because of the Bat-Embargo.

2 Several villains were missing from the Batman

It wasn’t just the animation projects that were taken into account in the Bat-Embargo. The batman created just a year before Batman begins, and as a result, Ra’s Al Ghul and Scarecrow have been banned from appearing in the series. Given its subsequent appearance in The black Knight and his absence of The batman, it is likely that Two-Face also fell under embargo. The batman invented a new version of Clayface (real name Ethan Bennett) to fill the “former friend of Bruce Wayne turned super-villain” void that Two-Face usually filled.

1 Batgirl debuted before Robin on Batman

Batgirl Robin The Batman

Teen Titans didn’t feature Batman, but Robin was one of the five main characters. As a result, Robin was not allowed to appear on The batman while Teen Titans broadcast. When the writers featured a sidekick for Batman in Season 3, they used Batgirl / Barbara Gordon. After Teen Titans completed, the following fourth season of The batman finally introduced Robin in the season premiere. Batgirl and Robin debuted in reverse order of what they did in the comics and DCAU.

NEXT: 10 Ways Robin And Batgirl’s Relationship Evolved Through DC History


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