In the late 1990s, there were originally plans for a feature-length spinoff film of ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ set around Arkham Asylum – here’s what is known about the project and why it was never made. Intended as a follow-up to ‘Batman’ and ‘Mr. Freeze: SubZero’ (1998), the film would have been the third chronologically in the DC Animated Universe. Although the project was abandoned, concept art teases the story and characters involved.
The Emmy-winning ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ (1992-1995) is commonly regarded as one of the finest depictions of the ‘Dark Knight’. Kevin Conroy starred as Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker, both of whom have since voiced the characters in numerous animated shows, films, and video games. The show was heavily influenced by the Gothic world of Tim Burton's live-action Batman films and is commended for its empathetic approach to its villains and the creation of Harley Quinn. The show's first spinoff film, ‘Batman: Mask of the Phantasm’ (1993), was released theatrically to critical acclaim.
Numerous villains were seen incarcerated in Arkham Asylum throughout ‘Batman: The Animated Series’, but the psychiatric institute and its inhabitants were supposed to receive greater focus in the canceled animated movie. Titled ‘Batman: Arkham’, many of the show’s voice performers had signed on to return, while Angie Harmon was cast as a new love interest for the Caped Crusader. Unfortunately, the film was aborted during pre-production in favor of another film, instead connected to the sequel series ‘Batman Beyond’ (1999-2001).
The finer details of the project remain undisclosed, but the premise dealt with Batman and Dick Grayson's Robin tracking down several escaped criminals from Arkham. Boyd Kirkland, who previously helmed SubZero and worked on the original show, was to write and direct Batman: Arkham. Meanwhile, Steven E. Gordon designed concept art for several characters, with the Joker, Poison Ivy and Bane teased as the main villains. Meanwhile, Batman’s new love interest was the dark-haired Elizabeth, seen wearing a black suit with an accompanying briefcase in one sketch and cozying up to Bruce Wayne in another. Her attire implies she would have been a figure of authority, possibly connected to Arkham. The art doesn’t reveal many plot points but still boasts a thrilling tease of Bane strangling Robin. Interestingly, the art deviates from ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ regarding some characters, most notably the Joker's redesign. -Collider