In 1997, two years after Batman: The Animated Series was canceled by Fox Kids!, DC fans young and old were able to return to this continuity through Kids WB’s The New Batman Adventures. In addition to boasting a radically new animation style, this follow-up also brought in a handful of new voice actors, including Tara Strong taking over as Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl, from Melissa Gilbert. This provided her the opportunity to work alongside folks like Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, a.k.a. the DC Animated Universe’s Batman and Joker, respectively, and Strong reflected on that period in her career while speaking with CinemaBlend.
These days, Tara Strong voices a comedic version of Batgirl in the DC TV show DC Super Hero Girls, but while chatting with me about the recently-released tie-in movie Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse (as well as sharing her thoughts on the upcoming Batgirl movie), the actress expressed interest in someday reprising a more serious version of the superheroine. She then talked about what it was like working on The New Batman Adventures, saying:
Following The New Batman Adventures concluding in 1999, Tara Strong reprised the DCAU’s version of Barbara Gordon in the Gotham Girls web series. Then, as the actress pointed out, she played a different version of Barbara in the 2016 animated movie Batman: The Killing Joke, which faithfully adapted the same-named storyline by Alan Moore and Bolland that saw Barbara being shot and paralyzed by The Joker. While Strong made it clear to me that she’s been having a blast playing DC Super Hero Girls’ version of Batgirl, she’s also game to revisit serious territory with the character, particularly if it meant reuniting with Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill.
Like Tara Strong, those two have been able to keep their respective Batman and Joker runs going in various DC projects over the years, including joining the actress in Batman: The Killing Joke. As far as the DCAU goes, although the continuity has been revisited in the animated movies Batman and Harley Quinn and Justice League vs. The Fatal Five (as well as multiple comic book tie-ins and an upcoming podcast starring Conroy and John Glover), its TV run wrapped up in 2006 with the conclusion of Justice League Unlimited. Alas, it doesn’t appear that there are any plans to launch another DCAU series, despite what Strong wants. Still, just like how she, Conroy and Hamill all starred in The Killing Joke, there may be another opportunity down the road for these three to reunite for a DC project set in a different continuity. Personally, even if they’re not playing Batgirl, Batman and Joker again, I’d like to see Strong, Conroy and Hamill be looped into the upcoming HBO Max series Batman: Caped Crusader somehow.
For those of you wanting to take a stroll down memory lane with The New Batman Adventures, it can be streamed with an HBO Max subscription along with all the other DCAU shows and tie-in movies. HBO Max will also be the streaming home for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse starting June 28, although you can purchase it now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital.
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