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Terry McGinnis ([personal profile] battothefuture) wrote2011-03-21 11:15 am

In which I ramble about when this show and stuff is supposed to be set anyway

As far as DC is concerned, Batman Beyond appears to exist in a somewhat amorphous 40-50ish years ahead of whenever the current timeline is. Which good for them, I guess one has to become accustomed to things like that in comics, where characters have aged maybe 10 years or so in the past almost 80 years of publication, but that doesn't do me much good. Best policy for roleplaying someone seems to know when the stuff is supposed to be. Especially if that someone is from the future, as about 90% of the time the question you get first is "What year are you from?"

So I took the dates from the shows and stuff and came up with a few answers.

Now, Batman Beyond first aired in 1999, and afair (and from a few things I've seen around) it was designed to be set 40 years into the future. So the very first scene, with young!old!Bruce, would have been 2019, and the '20 years later' portion of the show proper would be set in 2039. Seems simple enough, right? And well it SHOULD be. Problem is that there's also a bunch that says that the show is supposed to be set about 50 years into the future, not 40, and there's more timelines than even the two. Which is right? All of them. Thanks for that, DC.

In DCAU there's only two shows that are actively set in the future: Batman Beyond and its spinoff, The Zeta Project. However, Justice League Unlimited and Static Shock both timeskip into Beyond!time for a little while. This provides a few different places where canon is presented to work with.

So let's start off with the shows that are actually set in the future, BB and ZP. To the best of my knowledge, specific dates are never mentioned in Batman Beyond, merely subjective dates -- '20 years later', '5 days ago'; that sort of thing. However, in the Zeta Project episode Quality Time, a casefile mentions that "Unit Zeta went renegade August 5, 2041", and in the BB episode Zeta, a character tells us that "six days ago [Zeta] went renegade", which means that the current date (according to that timeline) was Aug 11, 2041. The timing seems a little weird, unless you assume the schoolyear is different in the future, but YOU KNOW WHAT OH WELL.

Due to the timing of Beyond, Terry's character progression, and related clues, each season of Beyond seems to take place in aboooout a year - maybe more maybe less. All three seasons are unlikely to have taken place in less than two years. Anyway, if you take this assumption and run with it, you get season 1 of Batman Beyond beginning some time in 2039 or 2040, season 2 in 2040/1, and season 3 in 2041/2. RotJ, which is most likely post-series but set during s3 at the earliest, seems to either be taking place some time in the summer or after Terry has graduated from High School, possibly both. Either way, he does not have class. This would set it in 2041/2.

All of this math and guessing is supported by Tim's statement in RotJ, that what the Joker had done to him had happened "almost 40 years ago". As near as I can figure, Joker got Tim some time in 2004 or maybe early 2005, so if RotJ was set in 41/2, it would have been somewhere around 37 years ago.

So. There's one (or two if you wanna be nitpicky, but there's a difference of a few months) timeline that Beyond takes place in. It is not the only one.

JLU fast-forwards into the future a few times, and since Epilogue is the one with the solid date I'll start with it. According to that, Epilogue is set 65 years into the future. Now, in that episode, Dana says that she and Terry have been dating for 15 years, which means it is 14/5 years after season 1, probably 15. Epilogue was aired in 2005, and thus one assumes that the 65 years later bit is meant to be counted from 2005. Doing the math this way, Epilogue is set in 2070, and Beyond starts in 2055. This timeline pans with the other JLU crossover; The Once and Future Thing, parts 1 and 2. In that episode, Batman, Wonderwoman, and Green Lantern get sent time traveling and wind up about 50 years in the future, where they meet and fight alongside Terry and what remains of the future Justice League. I never much liked that episode, as Terry neither looks nor acts 25/6, but if you take this timeline into consideration, it makes sense. Terry is not 20-something -- in fact, he only just barely picked up the suit. OaFT takes place in an alternate reality that came about as the result of meddling with the timeline, and apparently Terry ended up joining the JLU almost as soon as he touched the suit here. Which explains, at least, his attitude and how easily he was apparently killed. It doesn't quite explain Bruce, but then what does? Bruce's attitude in Batman Beyond just in general is somewhat perplexing.

The last applicable crossover and episode that needs to be worried about is a crossover with Static Shock, the episode Future Shock. In this episode, which was aired in 2004, Static gets sent "over 40 years" into the future. Now, Static seems to have the same problems with aging that comic characters in general have, that thing where they can stay the same age for years upon end, so you could argue that this episode is supposed to be set as far back as 2001/2. That's as far as it's possible to go back, due to a line that Static says in another episode that pretty clearly marks the year as being past 2000. Still, odds are that we're supposed to be counting from 2004 and just ignoring ages in that way that one does. I mean if you tried to count so that the ages made sense in realtime, the Batman comics would still be set back in like 1950-something and THEN where would that leave you when somebody pulled out an ipod or the like?


So, according to Bruce, there's been a timeskip of "over 40 years." This means that the very earliest you could reasonably go would be 2042 (if you assume Bruce's statement to mean "40 years and a few months"), with 2045/6/7 or so being the most likely guess. It is not 2055 in this particular version of reality, because that would be over 50 years, and if Bruce was going to say anything you have to figure he wasn't purposely misleading the kid by dropping a decade. If we stick this episode in the first timeline it doesn't quite fit either. According to that, Terry would be post-RotJ by this time, and in the episode he's just... not. The Terry that appears in Future Shock is incredibly green, and still very much a punk kid with attitude problems. His characterization seems to most closely match s1, as well as his comment that they don't have visitors in the Batcave, not ever. In one of the last episodes of s1, Babs comes to visit. If she'd already come, that'd be contradictory to events as they were. In addition, Terry has apparently not memorized the batcomputer's files yet and has not seen any old pictures of Static (proven as he does not recognize him).

So there's a fourth timeline, that starts somewhere around 2045 or possibly a bit later.

The comics probably do their own thing, but afaik there hasn't been any solid dates, or even subjective dates, to work with yet, so they can go on doing it.

tl;dr: there are (at least) 4 distinct timelines, all of which are arguably canon. Personally I go with the show proper starting in the year 2039, but that's just me. Clearly, there's more than one valid option here.

[identity profile] 2011-08-22 12:17 am (UTC)(link)
Not sure if you've ever seen this, but I've found this DCAU resource timeline fairly accurate and creates one single timeline.

Herpderp forgot the link

[identity profile] 2011-08-22 12:17 am (UTC)(link)

--you have a bat on your face. Right- there. Under your schnozzle.

[identity profile] 2011-08-22 02:28 am (UTC)(link)
*nodnod* That's one of the perks/downsides of having such a massive Universe with so many variables and 'canonlical' events. Even with careful planning there's bound to be things that get screwy once you try to combine individual (if linked) series together. That's one of the reasons I think many Marvel and DC writers like to be so vague regarding when things are happening; that way they have slightly less of a chance to overlook something and cause a major timeline whoops (though they do still clearly manage to do so anyway). It's fun to dig around and find the inconsistencies though, so I suppose it helps to keep us busy.

Then we've got all the series reboots (alternate timelines?) to ponder and scratch our heads at. It's so much easier and simpler to try and stick with the individual implied or written timelines and let the DC heads break their brains over the mess they create, but it's always nice to have some sort of reference to start with. I do like their justification for some of the mind screwery though- what with all the alternate universes/numbered earths. Still so mind boggling!

Anyway, trying to plot a series out on some form of timeline has always been a favorite way of mine to really 'get to know' the history of a character/fandom. It always helps put things into a different perspective when you suddenly realize 'Oh, woah, hey- each episode didn't just happen immediately after the last one! Uneventful normal life happens between them!' In some cases it really is the next day, or is just a day or two later. In others it can be weeks, months, maybe even years that have passed between the Giant Betzhian Lobster Attack, Steve breaking up with Velma and the Invasion of the Martian Ninjas.

Either way regardless of BB and DCAU errors, in the end Bruce is always old, kicking Jokerz and lecturing Terry, while Terry is snarky and wising up and maturing into a better Batman... Even if his Mom can't decide on her race anymore. >.>

Oh my goodness you appear to be right. HI SAME MUN DIFFERENT ACCOUNT

[identity profile] 2011-08-22 03:02 am (UTC)(link)
sobbing that freakin miniseries. NOTHING MAKES SENSE IN THAT MINI. NOTHING!!!

Anyway I know this is just me but as to my personal canon everything up until the mini is pretty much canon - all of the episodes of Batman Beyond (.... except Plague but that episode is stupid and makes no sense anyway okay shut up), as well as a good number of the DCAU Batman Beyond comics that were published in 1999, the first mini and ongoing series. Then RotJ happened, and Terry went away for a while before showing up in the Superman/Batman Annual which was FABULOUS and AMAZING and works beautifully.

Then the Mini happened, and suddenly nothing makes sense ever again.

Okay that's a lie, the ongoing is alternately fabulous and just terrible (so typical comic pretty much) but doesn't quite seem to mesh with the established universe as-is, even if we discount the time paradoxes that the mini (which it builds off of) creates so um.



[identity profile] 2011-08-27 04:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Okay well technically some things do- I just try to smooth over the fugly continuity 'wtfs' and sweep them into the background.

Even though I'm only now technically getting into the series and Batman in general and OHGOD WHY IS THERE SO MUCH FOR ME TO CATCH UPON? /Has only read the new miniseries and seen a few BTAS and BB eps.

I've found that comics are silly in that way... along with the alternating QUALITY ANIMATION (Srsly drawing peeps mid-frame and making it all that is seen ≠ DYNAMIC and EYE PLEASING images omgstop drawing Old!Bruce with fishkissinglips).

Sometimes I have to wonder if they do it on purpose just to fuck with us.:|

---OMG takingamomenttodigestitall

[identity profile] 2011-08-27 09:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Batman: Under the Red Hood was one of the first Batman related things I watched actually (well discounting the new LiveAction movies and the random few eps of BB and TAS during childhood, but I never was able to really appreciate it then. Oh and Teen Titians). It was sooo good and I was like 'fuck yeah!' and what do you mean it's not DCAU canon? Wait YJ and TT and others arent eithe--FFFFF.

No. Noooo Bruce just has epically bad luck with sidekicks in my smoothie of a headcanon so far. Dick? Parents Killed then bitchfit breakup. Barbra? FFF Joker Legs. Jason?? FFFFF Joker Crowbar. Tim? FFFF Joker Loltastic and ohgosh what about the comics and batgirls and now Damiasdfasd-

Thank you DC for the Giant Mind Fuck.

Just whoa. So much to do, so hard to keep separate. I just know a good deal will end up blended up in my head anyway- it doesnt help that YJ brought back the whole Cadmus thing and OHHEY SUPERBOY WHERE'S YOUR OTHER PROJECT FRIEND TERRY? Wait they already have a robin so wait what?

Beechan? Well i've seen stranger nicknames (sorta not really). If that's the case we just need to keep our fingers crossed that she keeps the decency up, or at the very least makes the story semi-comprehensible.

sob blame DC not me

[identity profile] 2011-08-27 10:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Yuuup. UTRH isn't dcau canon, it's an animated version of Under the Hood I think the title was called. Spoilers Jason isn't dcau canon either.

In comics canon Bruce has had Too Many Robins. It goes like this.

Dick's parents die, so Bruce adopts him and then starts dressing him in scaly green panties and sending him out every night to fight the criminally insane. After a while FOR SOME BIZARRE REASON he starts thinking that this is maybe not the best way to treat a child and so fires him. That doesn't last that long though, because not long after he runs into this street kid trying to boost the wheels of the batmobile and is like OH HEEEEEY and takes him home and then he (Jason) becomes the next Robin! Who is then beaten to death with a crowbar and blown up, whoops. So Bruce is like NO NEVER AGAIN for a while, until the biggest little Robin fanboy - Tim - who'd figured out who Batman and Robin were went and tracked down Dick and was like HE NEEDS YOU YOU HAVE TO GO BA- and Dick said no and then Tim ended up being Robin. Then Tim's dad found out (because his parents were still alive for a while gasp) and made him retire, so for like 2 weeks Tim's girlfriend Stephanie was Robin, then she got fired, then Tim came back and was Robin some more.


After this Dick became Batman and Bruce's son from that one time Tahlia al'Ghul raped him, Damian, came and was Robin, and Tim went and became Red Robin.

In millerverse there's ANOTHER Robin, Carrie Kelly, who pretty much shoved herself into the position and that was that.

DCAU is much simpler, because it goes Dick > Tim > that's it. DCAU Tim isn't the same Tim as comicsTim though, being more equal parts Jason and Tim blended together and then baked into one delicious whole.

Also, just to make things more confusing, there's also been 3 batgirls. Just so you know.

WAIT WHAT IS THIS ABOUT CADMUS AND TERRY AND YJ :O I haven't been watching that show! Keep on meaning to, haven't started yet, but if Terry is in it....

And no that's his real name - Adam Beechen. Also known as that dude who managed to completely ruin Cassandra Cain's entire character (Cass being the second batgirl) in 6 volumes or less. Most of the fans hate the miniseries he did for her.

[identity profile] 2011-08-27 10:17 pm (UTC)(link)

Barbara Gordon > Cassandra Cain > Stephanie Brown

[identity profile] 2011-08-28 12:36 am (UTC)(link)
Ohlol Bruce just is a klepto for kids. *nodnod*

My friend lent me 'The Return of Bruce Wayne', and almost the entire time I was 'what is this I dont even--'. He explained to me that not even he was sure wth was going on. So we went to Wiki it.

Oh Wiki. You are so very very helpful.

And yeah- having Bruce swoop up just two Robins really does make it easier on the mind.

Oh well in YJ they have Robin and Aqualad and Speedy break into a Cadmus facility and OH HAI THERE'S SUPERBOY (aka Project Kr). Superman turns out be rather 'DO NOT WANT' towards him when they bring him back, and I just can't help but think 'Y u no have a BatClone 2 cadmus dis perfect for tha- oh wait u have Robinpants :\'.

[identity profile] 2011-08-28 12:42 am (UTC)(link)
Batman has already practically adopted all of Young Justice as his kids.

[identity profile] 2011-08-28 12:56 am (UTC)(link)
Bruce collects kids, it is true!

Although the kid he collects most have black hair and blue eyes.