On paper it was a good idea. Bringing back actors, casting them in their most famous roles for an epic crossover event. However this was the CW and the Berlanti-verse. A set of shows that we suspect aren’t just made by people that don’t really like themselves very much, but that aren’t too keen on you and me, either!
So as a result it was always going to end in tears, especially for the most beloved, yet most complex of DC’s hero roster, Batman.
While Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, Christian Bale, George Clooney, Ben Affleck and Robert Pattinson have all worn, or will wear, the cape and cowl on a screen there is one man who has played Batman more than all of them combined. Yet he is rarely seen himself. Voice actor Kevin Conroy.
From the acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, through Batman Beyond, the Arkham games and even into Justice League: Unlimited, he has been the voice of Bruce Wayne and the Batman for decades.
Finally, Conroy got to play Batman / Bruce Wayne on screen in the The CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover. How would they treat this titan of DC being portrayed by the titan of voice-acting? How do you think!? You’ve seen Batwoman, right?
Bruce Wayne was broken, dark, defeated. He had killed many people and eventually was stopped by Superman breaking his back. Now he skulks alone around Wayne Manor wearing a mech suit with external spine.
Unsurprisingly fans were upset. On the Michael Rosenbaum podcast, Conroy admits he didn’t read the script before signing on:
“The fans were not happy about that. They didn’t like seeing that version of Bruce Wayne. But for me it was fun, it was a lot of fun to sort of stretch my acting chops a little bit. They didn’t tell me anything about the Batman.
They just said he was the Batman in the future, an old Bruce Wayne. I said, ‘You mean like in Batman Beyond old Bruce Wayne?’ They said, ‘No, he’s not 80. But he’s older and he’s in bad shape.’
They’re so guarded with their scripts, the studios, they don’t give them out. So they didn’t give me anything. I got the script basically when I was about to get on a plane to fly to Vancouver to do the show, I hadn’t seen anything.
I said yes because I was so excited to do something on camera again [after] 25 years… I didn’t know that was going to happen. So it was full of surprises. I didn’t know I was going to try and kill Supergirl. He was dark. He was dark.”
Conroy did say however, that he was very grateful he got the chance to play any version of Batman on screen.
Still, at least we all have season 2 of Batwoman to look forward to… right? Right? Where are you going? Come back!!