Tim Curry was initially cast as the voice of the Joker. After he recorded four episodes, his take on the role was deemed to be too scary, so the decision was made to re-cast, and eventually the role went to Mark Hamill.
When establishing Two-Face, the writers took the time to first show his alter-ego, Harvey Dent, in several episodes, so the audience could get to know him better. That way, they were more shocked at his transformation from the upstanding Dent to the monstrous Two-Face. The writers believed this made him into one of the show's best characters, and his origin one of the show's best episodes.
To create the eerie nighttime feeling, the background painters used dark paper instead of the traditional white. This also allowed them to save time from painting large portions of black color as most of the scenes are set at night. The animators coined the term "Dark Deco" for this art style.
All voice acting was, unlike most voice-over work, performed ensemble. This means that all the voice actors performed their lines in a room together, rather than at separate times in different locations. Mark Hamill was the only cast member allowed to perform his Joker voice while standing, to make it easier to infuse the character with the manic energy the role required. All the other actors did their voices sitting down.
The characters of Gotham City Police Officer Renee Montoya and Joker's girlfriend and henchwoman Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, a.k.a. Harley Quinn, were created for the animated series, and later incorporated into the comic books.
Since the debut of this series, various elements have been adapted into the regular continuity of the Batman comics. These include the series' most popular original character, Harley Quinn, and the show's origin for Mr. Freeze.
Commissioner James Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth, two of the most important characters in the Batman mythos, never exchange a word with each other throughout the entire series, even if they do appear next to each other in the same scene.
For a long time, the producers wanted to use Firefly, a character that uses fire as a weapon, but FOX said no completely, because they did not allow any character to be threatened or harmed by fire. It wasn't until Batman moved to the WB, that Firefly was able to be used.
Harley Quinn's relationship with The Joker was intended as a Punch and Judy coupling, but with the roles reversed. She was initially a one-shot character, but audiences took to her. She was brought back for more, and the writers even took the time to sketch a comic-book origin for Harley, to make her seem more real.
Harley Quinn was initially created for one episode, and was added to it almost at the last minute. In season one, episode seven, "Batman: The Animated Series: Joker's Favor (1992)", Joker was initially to disguise himself as a female model to serve as bait for a trap he was setting. Writers determined that posing as a woman would be below the Joker's ego, so they created Harley Quinn as his henchwoman for the episode to keep the disguise.
After every single storyboard, FOX would send the producers a long single-spaced list of restrictions about five pages in length, on things they could not do, for example: no child endangerment, no open wounds, no blood, no heavy gun violence, no strangling or neck grabs, no alcohol references, and no smoking. The FOX network was really picky, not just about the censorship, but just in terms of content and story. The network had many opinions on what the producers should and shouldn't be doing. Nobody bothered them like that on WB (with The New Batman Adventures (1997)), where they usually got about two paragraphs of stuff they couldn't do.
The show's first opening sequence is essentially a remake of the pilot used to sell the show to Warner Brothers. In the pilot, Batman foils a jewelry heist on a rooftop, and leaves the robbers tied up for the Police. The pilot can be seen as a special feature on Volume 1 of the DVD collection.
The FOX Network, on the false assumption that kids won't watch a kids' show unless kids are in it, soon began insisting that Robin be prominently featured in every episode. When FOX changed the title to "The Adventures of Batman and Robin" for season three, they laid down the law. No story premise was to be considered, unless it was either a Robin story, or one in which he played a key role.
When it came time to bring the Penguin into the show, Batman Returns (1992) had just gone into production. Warner Brothers insisted the animated version should reflect the one in the film, but they weren't allowed to release any pictures. Bruce Timm had to draw sketches on the set of the film, and then adjust the design accordingly for the cartoon.
A potential story involving a Catwoman and Black Canary team-up was interrupted in mid-pitch to the FOX network by their demand, "Where's Robin?" When the writers asked if they could omit Robin from just this one episode, FOX obliged by omitting the entire story.
Robin's costume was modeled after Neal Adams's redesigned Robin costume that Tim Drake wore in the comics, though the Robin symbol was changed to a regular non-italicized "R", to make sure people would know he's Dick Grayson. However, when Tim Drake was used (in The New Batman Adventures (1997)), his costume was redesigned with a red, yellow, and black color scheme.
This series debuted only three months after the release of Batman Returns (1992). It borrowed several elements from the Tim Burton films, including: Jack Napier as the name of the Joker's alter ego, the look of the Penguin, the Penguin's duck vehicle, Danny Elfman's theme, and the design of Gotham City as a clash of styles and trends (for example, modern technology but retro clothing).
In terms of overall tone and style, this series is principally based on the very-late '60s and 1970s Batman comics, which returned to the "grim avenger of the night" approach. This era most notably took off from contributions by writer Denny O'Neil and artist Neal Adams, who brought back the style from the first year of Detective Comics Batman stories with a more realistic approach. Robin's role was significantly reduced, with Dick Grayson attending college, just like this animated series. In fact, a number of episodes in this series are direct adaptations of acclaimed Batman comics from the 1970s, and one episode was actually written by O'Neil.
Mark Hamill auditioned for the role of The Joker thinking he wouldn't get the part because fans of his role of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movies, an icon of heroism and virtue, would be against him playing a villain like The Joker. Because he didn't think he'd get the part, he was very calm in his audition and got the part anyway.
Michael Ansara, who voices Mister Freeze in the iconic, Emmy-winning episode Batman: The Animated Series: Heart of Ice (1992), utters the words, "Revenge is a dish best served cold." This line has been called an "Old Klingon proverb" in Star Trek (1966), where Ansara once portrayed Klingon Commander Kang. He even threatened the Enterprise crew with the line, "You will die in the icy cold of space."
Clayface, in this series, is Matt Hagen, but instead of being a treasure hunter, he's an actor, which is the occupational background of Basil Karlo, the original character to use the name Clayface in the comics.
After fourteen years, The Dark Knight's First Night (1992), the rarely-seen pilot promo reel developed for Warner Brothers by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski, was included on the first DVD boxed set. Versions of the promo had surfaced in degraded bootleg form at comic conventions over the years, but it was never intended for public viewing. Unfortunately, the actual Warner Brothers reel was not kept in the best condition either, appearing at around one minute and forty-five seconds in length, and having been converted from VHS. The original audio track was lost over time, and replaced with the show's main theme for the DVD.
Paul Dini has said that Harley Quinn was partly inspired by seeing Arleen Sorkin wearing a harlequin's costume in her role as Calliope Jones on an episode of Days of Our Lives (1965). As a result, Dini was subsequently inspired to cast Sorkin as the voice of Harley Quinn. In addition, Dini and Sorkin were college classmates together.
While the Tim Burton Batman movies influenced much of the show, an updated Batman animated series had been in development for almost a decade prior to the show's debut. One proposed pilot came to be adapted as an episode of The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1985). It was largely the success of Burton's Batman (1989) which inspired the green-lighting and subsequent launch of the series.
The 1992-1995 time period of Batman is also known as the "Radomski Era", because of director and producer Eric Radomski's involvement with this show and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993). According to the HBO First Look (1992) documentary "Behind the Mask: The Making of 'Batman: Mask of the Phantasm'" (1993), it was Radomski who started using black papers, opposed to traditional white papers.
Originally, Shirley Walker's Batman theme was going to be the theme music for the show, because Danny Elfman didn't want his Batman theme used for a cartoon. However, Elfman changed his mind once he learned the show would debut in primetime. Walker's Batman theme became the DC Animated Universe's Batman's music, and was eventually used as the show's theme in the last twenty FOX shows, when the title was changed to "The Adventures of Batman & Robin".
In the episode Batman: The Animated Series: Trial (1994), The Riddler has no lines, but is seen presiding on the Arkham jury. When the episode returns, and Mad Hatter is about to announce the verdict, Riddler has vanished. Interestingly, though, when Batman and Janet Van Dorn attempt to escape the Asylum, Riddler's theme from his debut in Batman: The Animated Series: If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich? (1992) can be heard when Two-Face and the inmates corner Batman and Janet. This may imply that the Riddler predicted Batman would escape, and left the proceeding early to be able to orchestrate a riot to stop Batman should he be able to escape. Seeing how strategic Edward Nygma can be, this is not unlikely of Riddler. It can be inferred that Riddler was apprehended when the G.C.P.D. stormed Arkham Asylum.
While working in this show, Bruce Timm and story editor Sean Catherine Derek strongly disagreed with each other. According to the book "Batman: Animated" page twelve, Derek felt that directors and storyboard artists of this show were taking too many liberties with the scripts. Jules Dennis, Richard Mueller, and Derek wrote the original script of Batman: The Animated Series: The Forgotten (1992), but Timm made several changes to the script. According to Animato Magazine Issue #26, Timm put in the dream sequence with Bruce Wayne in the barracks, where multitudes of people are looking to Bruce for a hand-out, and he doesn't have enough money for them all, and they're surrounding him and suffocating him. Timm also completely changed the villain in the script, to a fat and revolting character who constantly eats.
Andrea Romano had originally wanted Christopher Lee for the role of Ra's Al Ghul. However, she said it would have been too difficult to have him play a recurring role due to him living in England. They then thought of casting Michael York, who ended up playing another character called Vertigo. The role eventually went to David Warner, whom Romano is a fan of.
At no point in any of the episodes is the title, "Batman: The Animated Series", displayed. However, in episodes from latter seasons, the re-branded title "The Adventures of Batman & Robin" is displayed.
Debated was the inspiration for The Joker: in the original comic book, The Joker was almost identical in appearance to the main character in The Man Who Laughs (1928). Almost all episodes featuring The Joker are taken from the film.
Originally, Catwoman/Selina Kyle was to appear in this series with black or dark hair as she had throughout most of her history in mainline DC Comics. However, after Michelle Pfeiffer appeared in Batman Returns (1992) with blonde hair, the studio instructed producers to depict their Catwoman with blonde hair as well.
There are two characters who share the same first name: Harvey Dent and Harvey Bullock. Harvey Dent is the former District Attorney of Gotham City who becomes Two-Face when half his face is left disfigured, and Detective Harvey Bullock is a gruff, tough Gotham cop who works under Commissioner Gordon and does not trust or like Batman and opposes him.