The DC Animated Universe (aka DCAU) is a fan term that refers to 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 with the DCAUEdit
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 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 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 (1992–1995)
- Superman: The Animated Series (1996–2000)
- The New Batman Adventures (1997–1999)
- The New Batman/Superman Adventures (1997–2000)
- Batman Beyond (1999–2001)
- Static Shock (2000–2004)
- The Zeta Project (2001–2002)
- Justice League (2001–2004)
- Justice League Unlimited (2004–2006)
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)
- Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998)
- Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
- Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003)
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. All three seasons of Gotham Girls were released on the Birds of Prey DVD box set in 2008.
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.
Many of the DCAU productions have also had comic books created based on the characters of the various series. The comics are:
- The Batman Adventures (vol. 1) (#1–36)
- The Batman Adventures Annual (#1–2)
- The Batman Adventures: Mad Love
- The Batman Adventures Holiday Special
- Batman and Robin Adventures (#1–25)
- Batman and Robin Adventures Annual (#1–2)
- Superman Adventures (#1–66)
- The Batman Adventures: The Lost Years (#1–5)
- Batman: Gotham Adventures (#1–60)
- Adventures in the DC Universe (#1–19)
- Batman Beyond (vol. 1) (#1–6)
- Batman Beyond (vol. 2) (#1–24)
- Gotham Girls (#1–5)
- Justice League Adventures (#1–34)
- Batman Adventures (vol. 2) (#1–17)
- Batman: Harley and Ivy (#1–3)
- Justice League Unlimited (#1–46)
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:
- Batman: The Animated Series
- The Adventures of Batman & Robin
- Superman 64
- Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
- Batman: Chaos in Gotham
- Batman: Gotham City Racer
- Batman Vengeance
- Superman: Shadow of Apokolips
- Justice League: Injustice for All
- Superman: Countdown to Apokolips
- Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu
- Justice League: Chronicles
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 UniverseEdit
Characters Adapted from the DCAUEdit
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/Future Batman (Batman Beyond)
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-inspired universe is currently being labeled as Earth-12.
The Future of the DCAUEdit
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 release of Justice League: Worlds Collide are 50/50.
It has been confirmed by Bruce Timm that this movie will be made but will not be set in the DCAU continuity.
The latest update from Bruce Timm on the DCAU:
"I doubt that we'll be formally, "officially" doing another movie or TV series set in that continuity."
"At the moment, I'm thoroughly enjoying making these "one-off" DCU movies, and don't have any burning desire to re-visit the old continuity—again, anything is possible, so concievably 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...?"
In August, 2009, a new Batman Beyond comic book was announced. This may or may not take place in the DCAU continuity.