• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


Farm-Fresh balance.pngYMMVTransmit blue.pngRadarWikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotes • (Emoticon happy.pngFunnyHeart.pngHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3.pngAwesome) • Refridgerator.pngFridgeGroup.pngCharactersScript edit.pngFanfic RecsSkull0.pngNightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out icon.pngShout OutMagnifier.pngPlotGota icono.pngTear JerkerBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersHelp.pngTriviaWMGFilmRoll-small.pngRecapRainbow.pngHo YayPhoto link.pngImage LinksNyan-Cat-Original.pngMemesHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconicLibrary science symbol .svg SourceSetting
File:BBROTJ 5956 resized 8321.jpg

Terry McGinnis: "It's funny, I know about all your other major enemies but you never mentioned him. He was the biggest, wasn't he?"
Bruce Wayne: "It wasn't a popularity contest. He was a psychopath, a monster."


A feature-length adaptation of Batman Beyond, the DCAU series focusing on Terry McGinnis, Batman of a future Gotham who is being mentored by the original. Terry must battle the original Dark Knight's newly-returned Arch Enemy, The Joker.

Puzzling both Terry and Bruce is the fact that Joker seems not to have aged at all over the years. As Terry strives to solve this new mystery, he is forced to dive into his predecessor's dark past, unraveling the long-kept secret of what exactly split apart the bat-family, and how the conclusion of the rivalry between Joker and the Dark Knight occurred all those years ago.

The movie had the unfortunate timing of being made right after the Columbine Shooting and was hastily changed to lessen the violence. Thankfully Warner Bros held onto the original print and later distributed it as the uncut version.

Tropes used in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker include:


Terry: "[Bruce] wouldn't know a good joke if it bit him in the cape. Not that you ever had a good joke. ... I mean, joy buzzers, squirting flowers - lame! Where's the "A" material? Make a face, drop your pants, something!"

  • Bowdlerise: The frenzy surrounding Columbine in 2000 resulted in extensive debates on media influences, which put some pressure on Warner Brothers. Despite having a completed film, executives feared backlash on releasing a particularly violent animated movie and had certain scenes reanimated (which is different than normal, as it resulted in new material being written instead of simply cutting material). The original film was released later under a PG-13 rating but even the edited version isn't particularly "kid-friendly," the only real difference is the absence of blood and some of the more bone-crunching violence.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Tim.
  • Call Back: The "HAHA"s spray-painted in the Batcave call back to when the same "HAHA"s were found at the crime scene of Warren McGinnis which probably adds an even higher traumatic tension for Terry.
    • A subtler instance occurs when Tim Drake really Joker in control of Tim’s body tells Bruce he wants Bruce to watch as he transforms Tim’s body into his own, “it’s a killer,” echoing Dick Grayson’s advice to Tim the first time they met way back in the TNBA episode, Sins of the Father.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: When Terry quits being Batman out of anger at Bruce, Joker sends his gang to attack him and Dana whilst out at a club. Whilst this is going on, Joker makes a personal house call to Wayne Manor. Dana is hospitalized, Ace is injured, and Bruce is poisoned by Joker toxin and almost killed.
  • Cast as a Mask: Joker (Mark Hamill) is actually revealed to be Tim Drake (Dean Stockwell) being possessed by Joker. To make it more surprising, there is a Red Herring suspect who both looks a lot like Joker and is also voiced by Mark Hamill.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Terry in his Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Continuity Nod: Commissioner Jim Gordon and Dick Grayson/Nightwing were mentioned, but not seen. Also, in the uncut version, Bruce was practicing his batarang-throwing against replica statues of some of his old Rogues Gallery.
    • Terry's affectionate nickname for Ace, "Good Bat Dog", came from an earlier episode also featuring Ace.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Jordan Pryce.
  • Creepy Circus Music
  • Creepy Twins: Dee Dee.
  • Criminal Doppelganger: Jordan Pryce is introduced as a Red Herring in determining Joker's real identity. Implying that Pryce has deduced Bruce's secret, he also physically resembles the Joker in build, hair and facial expressions (yet obviously not with the clown coloring) and is voiced by Mark Hamill. However, while not actually Joker, Pryce did work in connection with him and is turned in to Gotham PD by Terry.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Andrea Romano plays Young Tim Drake during his fits of laughter and is actually credited as "Laughing Boy" in the film. Matthew Valencia couldn't pull off the maniacal, Joker-like giggle that the producers wanted because his voice had changed too much.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Terry's final fight against Joker gang consisted of one move on each of them: crashing the damaged batmobile underneath Chucko's high perch, getting the DeeDees to knock each other out, sicking Ace on Woof and finishing with a Batman classic on Ghoul, an Offhand Backhand.
    • Also Terry vs. the Joker started out like this until Terry decided to go psychological.
  • Cute Bruiser: The Dee-Dee twins.
  • Darker and Edgier: In comparison to both the series (although it certainly had its moments) and previous DCAU series.
  • Death by Irony: Oh, if only Joker had not been so thorough in shattering that little mind, things might have turned out quite differently for him.
    • And again in the finale. Joker finally dies, by his own joybuzzer.
  • Decoy Damsel: Harley Quinn, in order to capture Tim Drake.
  • Deface of the Moon: Joker plans to use his hijacked Kill Sat to carve a giant smiley-face into Gotham City (taking out Terry's family, Wayne Manor and the hospital Dana is staying at along the way) as a way of showing everyone once and for all that "this is Joker territory."
  • Designated Girl Fight: Harley vs. Batgirl. Ends up tragically as Harley plummets to her death while Batgirl looks in horror. Or so we think.
  • Development Gag: The producers had always wanted to get Joker into the Bat Cave, but couldn't figure out any way to logically do so without a movie as big as this.
  • Electric Joy Buzzer
  • Electric Torture
  • Engineered Public Confession: "I gave you the security codes..."
  • Epileptic Trees: in-universe, Terry's suggested "theories" about how Joker is still alive and kicking.
  • Eureka Moment: "Nothing against your old partners, but I'm a completely different Batman. I was never a Robin, I never--" Terry notices the Robin costume is the only one out of all the other suits that was trashed.
  • Evil Laugh: One of the originals.
  • Flash Back: The sequence with what happened in Bruce's last confrontation with the Joker.
  • The Family That Slays Together: Joker and Harley's intentions when they kidnap, Brainwashed and torture Tim Drake for the sake of modeling him as their own son, dubbed "Joker, Jr.," would have allowed them to effectively become one of these families. Only it didn't work.
  • Foreshadowing: Or rather "Backshadowing." Joker's "that's how they did it in my day" and one of the Dee Dee's almost dying the way her grandma supposedly died.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Joker, in both the cut and uncut versions.
  • Famous Last Words: The Joker's final words, as seen in the flashback, were: "That's not funny."
  • Fat Bastard: Chucko
  • Fetish Fuel Station Attendant: The Dee-Dee twins.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: The Dee Dee twins do this occasionally.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The edited version of Joker's death involving water, wires, and a lot of electricity. Because the camera cuts away as he's dying, all we hear is his scream. For this reason, some people consider it worse than the uncut version, as it leaves more to the imagination.
  • Grand Theft Me: How the Joker survived his death.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Terry received one from one of the Dee Dee twins when the Jokerz ambush him. This was cut in the televised airings, because it could be considered an "imitatable act".
    • Terry pulls one on the Joker, the first sign that the Joker's drastically misjudged his new foe.
  • Hannibal Lecture: "Don't play psychoanalyst with me, boy!" "Oh, I don't need a degree to figure you out..."
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: The resurrected Joker.
  • The Hyena: Woof actually is part hyena.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Terry at first assumes this when Bruce says that he's pretty sure the Joker is dead. He's not wrong.

"You killed him, didn't you? He was gonna do something so terrible that you had no other choice."


Batman: I'll break you in two.
Joker: *laughs* Oh Batman, if you had the guts for that kind of fun you would have done it years ago. I, on the other hand...


Joker to Batman (Bruce): "It'd be funny if it weren't so pathetic. [beat] Oh, what the heck, I'll laugh anyway."
Batman (Terry) to Joker: "You make me laugh... but only because I think you're kinda pathetic."

  • Joker Immunity: Finally averted. The Joker actually dies for good twice in the film (first time is when he's killed by Tim Drake in modern day, second time is when Terry fries the chip containing Joker's consciousness and DNA coding attached to Tim Drake's neck in the future).
    • Played straight with Harley Quinn, though. Word of God says it's because Paul Dini couldn't bear to kill off his favorite creation. Word of God also attributes her in-universe survival with the injection she got from Poison Ivy in the episode they met.
  • Karma Houdini: Harley, as revealed in The Stinger, ended up getting to live a fairly normal life.
  • Karmic Death: Joker's first death.
  • Kick the Dog: When Joker breaks into the Batcave, he attacks Ace. He does so again near the end of the movie.
    • And in another sense, in the flashback scene, Joker shows Batman a video of him torturing Tim Drake and then reveals that, after a few weeks, his mind snapped and he revealed Batman's identity to Joker. Joker then proceeds to mock Batman over the death of his parents. Bodily injury soon followed.
  • Killed Off for Real: Joker--first his body was destroyed in flashback, then the chip containing a copy of his DNA and memories was burned out. He won't be coming back.
  • Kill Sat: Government issued Hyperion class defense satellite.
  • Large Ham: Joker, as ever.
  • Laughing Mad: It's The Joker! What did you expect?
    • Also, J.J. (a.k.a., Robin/Tim Drake) suffered from it to the extent that the only vocabulary he could give was maniacal laughter. Given what he had to go through, it's not surprising.
  • Lean and Mean: Ghoul
  • Made of Explodium: Everything explodes in this movie. In the opening battle Chuckles fired a laser at Terry, which at first melted the construction hook he was just sitting on and then it explodes. But there is nothing really to complain about since the explosions are animated gorgeously.
  • Mind Rape: Poor Tim.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the flashback, after Batman busts in on them at Arkham, we see Joker and Harley pretty much acting out a cheesy 50s sitcom. The announce their intention was to start a family, and the mood is quite goofy. Then Joker peels back a curtain, revealing what he did to Tim Drake.
  • Monster Clown: This is Joker we're talking about, but his gang of Jokerz all deserve special mention. Dee Dee is/are done up to look like ragdolls, Ghoul is dressed as a ghastly scarecrow for Halloween, Woof spliced himself with hyena DNA, Bonk is giant rage case, and Chucko wears a creepy mask.
  • My Biological Clock Is Ticking: From Harley, no less: "That old clock's a-ticking!"
  • Mythology Gag: The shredded Robin costume was a reference to the "Death In The Family" arc in the 80's, where readers could call a 1-800 number to decide whether Jason Todd (the current Robin) would survive a story arc.
    • Barbara also name drops Nightwing to Terry and indicates that he might even still be operating as a superhero.
  • Never Found the Body: Harley Quinn falls into a crevasse during the fight between her and Batgirl. Barbara mentions this trope by name, but immediately follows up with savviness by adding, "But I doubt she'd be stirring up trouble now." The ending shows she's right: Harley settled down for a quiet life, even though her relatives didn't.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Batman had always followed the Thou Shalt Not Kill rule anytime Joker got into the game, and even saved his life sometimes. Now he sees where his mercy had led to.
  • Offhand Backhand: It's Batman. He practically invented this trope.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Played straight depending on your point of view. Joker wanted JJ (Tim Drake) to physically be the one to kill Batman, but it was Joker that masterminded the whole situation.
    • Also played straight in that Joker wanted Bruce's Batman to be the only one to defeat him, or the only one he'd seek to make laugh.
  • The Other Darrin: Angie Harmon replaces Stockard Channing as Barbara Gordon.
  • Papa Wolf: Seeing what Joker had done to Tim Drake was the one thing that seemed to convince Bruce to finally try and kill him in the flashback (course, being mocked over his parents' deaths probably didn't help either).
  • Petting Zoo People: Woof
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Ha. Ha."
  • Pretty Spry for a Dead Guy
  • Pygmalion Snapback
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: A rather epic one, delivered by Terry to The Joker.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Joker in both the future and the flashback.
  • Red Herring: Jordan Pryce's voice, physical features and motive against Bruce Wayne seem to exist to make you (and Batman) assume he's the "new" Joker.
  • Save the Villain:
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Tim Drake. Considering what happened to him, it's no wonder that he still has some effects 40 years later. It Got Worse when Joker hijacks him through an DNA chip on his neck and commits crimes through his body, while Drake's mind believes he is reliving a nightmare.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Word of God explicitly states the orbital satellite laser was inspired by Akira.
    • One of Terry's wild guesses on how the Joker survived is that he was frozen in a block of ice for decades.
    • Word of God admitted that as they talked about the novel, Hannibal, one night, after the book came out but while the movie was being made, elements inspired by the novel description of Hannibal Lecter made their way into the Joker designs for the movie--the slicked-back hair on the future Joker and the red eyes on both the future and flashback/Justice League/Static Shock Joker designs.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: "YOU'RE NOT BATMAN!" *BOOM*
  • Single-Minded Twins: Dee Dee (they provide the page image for the trope).
  • Slasher Smile: With Joker and his venom around, this was pretty much inevitable. This time, they had made his smiles into horror Up to Eleven.
  • Smug Snake: Joker every time he interacts with Terry. He regards Terry as nothing more than Bruce's lackey and takes constant amusement in taunting him, thinking him incapable of succeeding against him (oh, how wrong he was). Perhaps the best example in the film, is after Joker reveals his Kill Sat plans to Terry.

Joker: "You're welcome to try and stop us, but I'm not taking bets on that happening anytime soon. Toodles."

  • The Stool Pigeon: Robin was of the Lacerated Larry type.
  • Stealth Hi Bye: It's Batman.
  • Strapped to An Operating Table: Tim. Easily the most disturbing moment in DCAU history.
  • Stripperiffic: The Dee Dee twins. Do we even have to mention the yacht scene?
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Or laughing him to death. The Joker isn't really fond of either.
  • Ten-Minute Retirement: Terry.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Joker.
  • Theme Twin Naming
  • That Man Is Dead
  • Throw It In: The bit at the end with Nanna Harley wasn't originally in the script, but Dini didn't want to let the character go. Timm agreed to leave it in because the funny moment served as a good release after the climax.
    • Ghoul came about because Michael Rosenbaum's impression of Christopher Walken was never used in previous collaborations.
    • The salute the police officer gives Batman wasn't in any storyboard given to the animators. Everyone was surprised to see it in the final print, and found it too hilarious to be upset.
  • Took a Level In Badass: The Joker upon his return is suddenly an even match for Batman in hand-to-hand combat. This return and his unaged face in comparison to Wayne are clues that this is a subversion, and a second Joker.
  • Too Soon: The reason there is both a cut and uncut version of this movie - the original release date came shortly after the Columbine shootings.
  • Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: Terry, to hilarious and "Did he just do that?" extents.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Bruce to Terry. He does it out of fear of what Joker might do to him, but doesn't do the best job of getting it across.

Bruce: "Stupid kid. You don't know what you want. None of you ever did."

  • Unstoppable Rage: Joker hit Bruce's Papa Wolf instincts and Berserk Button one time too many in the flashback, as it convinced Bruce to attempt to kill him for good. He didn't succeed. But Tim did.
  • Villain Exit Stage Left: Joker is so used to this trope that, when he loses control of the Kill Sat, he seems to think he can just walk away (although that may also have been due to his lack of respect for Terry).

Joker: "Oh, good, the beam's headed here! Now I'll have to start all over again. Thanks for wrecking everything, kid. See ya round."
Terry: "Hold it!"
Joker: "Oh, wise up, junior - GAME'S OVER!"

  • Villainous Breakdown: Terry is perhaps the second person in the DCAU to make the Joker completely lose his cool.
  • Watch Where You're Going: Terry gets the Dee Dees to knock each other out using this.
  • When I Was Your Age: The Joker explains why he was not only superior to the current Jokerz, but he had a better Batman, too.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Terry gives the revived Joker a taste of his own medicine.
  • World of Cardboard Speech: Terry gets one in by understanding he has to be his own Batman, so he laughs at Joker.
  • Worthy Opponent: "I guess I should salute you as a 'worthy adversary' and all that, but the truth is I really did hate your guts". * Raspberry*
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Played straight with the Dee-Dee twins, Terry largely just grapples and tosses them around rather than the rather intense beating he would give the other Jokerz. Terry somehow got them to beat each other up.
  • Wronski Feint: How Terry beat the Deedees: his jet boots got him out of the way so they crashed into one another.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Joker