Catwoman stands by an open window in 'Batman: Caped Crusader'.
(Prime Video)

Here’s a First Look at Matt Reeves’ ‘Batman: Caped Crusader’

Fans of Batman: The Animated Series will find a lot to love in these new images from Batman: Caped Crusader. Matt Reeves’ upcoming Amazon animated series is heavily influenced by the beloved ’90s show as well as his gritty take on the Batman mythos in The Batman (2022).

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Reeves described the new series as “more Batman: The Animated Series than Batman: The Animated Series,” and if these first images are any indication, it’s clear that the production team is going all-in on the film noir vibes, setting the series in the 1940s (so don’t expect any computers or smart phones).

Reeves produces the series, along with J.J. Abrams, and BTAS co-creator Bruce Timm. The synopsis for the series reads,

“Welcome to Gotham City, where the corrupt outnumber the good, criminals run rampant and law-abiding citizens live in a constant state of fear. Forged in the fire of tragedy, wealthy socialite Bruce Wayne becomes something both more and less than human—the Batman. His one-man crusade for justice attracts unexpected allies within the GCPD and City Hall, but his heroic actions spawn deadly, unforeseen ramifications.”

The series was originally made for Max, but due to scheduling and regime changes, was dropped from the schedule. Amazon Prime Video was quick to pick up Caped Crusader, ordering two seasons of the show. Amazon also shared some character breakdowns for the upcoming series, as well as some new images.

(L-R) Batman in a burning building, Bruce Wayne in a suit.
(Prime Video)

In Batman: Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight is described as “A cold, remorseless avenger of evil, seemingly more machine than man. Forged in the fire of tragedy, every fiber of his being is dedicated to the eradication of crime.”

Meanwhile, “To the public at large, Bruce Wayne is a shallow dilettante, apparently wasting his parents’ vast fortune on frivolous pursuits and hedonistic pleasures. In fact, he’s an elaborate facade, carefully constructed to divert attention from his activities as Batman.”

(L-R) Dr. Harleen Quinzel sits in an office chair. Harley Quinn looks scary in a new green and yellow suit.
(Prime Video)

 Fan-favorite baddie Harley Quinn has been reimagined as an Asian-American character without ties to the Joker. Her character description reads, “Despite a personable and bubbly demeanor, Dr. Harleen Quinzel is a brilliant psychiatrist who treats some of Gotham’s elite. However, as Harley Quinn, she is a different person, entirely. A creepy, quiet, calculating menace who secretly dispenses her twisted justice to the truly despicable among her elite clientele.”

Timm told Entertainment Weekly, “I co-created the character, so I have a lot of love and affection for her, but I thought there might be something interesting about bringing her on the show, just not as Joker’s girlfriend, … So how do we do that? A big part was just doing a basic flip. The original Dr. Quinzel was a little bit more serious, and then when she became Harley, she got really goofy and weird. So we thought, what if we reverse that? When she’s Dr. Quinzel, she’s a little bit more whimsical and fun, and then when she’s Harley Quinn, she’s scary.”

Harley is no longer an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist but now operates a private practice in Gotham, where she counts Bruce Wayne as one of her clients.

(L-R) Selina Kyle wears a dress, Catwoman in uniform facing a window.
(Prime Video)

Selina Kyle/Catwoman is described as a“Blithe and pampered heiress whose family lost their fortune after her father was imprisoned for embezzlement. Despite having the silver spoon yanked from her mouth, Selina refuses to quit living in the lap of luxury and becomes Catwoman as a “fun” way to maintain her lavish lifestyle.”

Character designer James Tucker said that this version of Catwoman was inspired by Barbara Stanwyck’s performance in The Lady Eve, where she plays a beguiling con artist. Visually, there’s plenty of femme fatale in this rendering of Selina Kyle.

Clayface wears a black hat and a red bandana across his face, and holds a knife.
(Prime Video)

Unlike his hilariously preening counterpart in Harley Quinn, Caped Crusader‘s Clayface is a throwback to classic film monsters. There’s no shape-shifting mud man here: this incarnation of Clayface has more in common with the Phantom of the Opera (think Lon Chaney, not Andrew Lloyd Webber).

“Thanks to his “unique” facial features, screen actor Basil Karlo has been forever typecast as a B-movie heavy. Frustrated by the limitations his appearance put on both his career and personal life (he fell hopelessly in love with his co-star), Karlo turned to an experimental serum that promised to change his face. However, not only does this serum ultimately disfigure his face, but it ruptures the last of his sanity — creating the tragic, vengeance-seeking villain, Clayface.”

There’s a lot to like about Reeves’ vision, and with Batman all-stars like Timm involved, the series is sure to be a exciting new entry to the canon.

Batman: Caped Crusader premieres on August 1, 2024, on Amazon Prime Video.

(featured image: Prime Video)


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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.