The Batmobile’s On-Screen History

What would Batman be without his finest gadget? The Batmobile is as iconic as the Caped Crusader himself and is inseparable from the character. Here’s a look back at the different Batmobiles throughout Batman’s on-screen history. This is by no means an exhaustive look, but I want to highlight some of his most noteworthy (and notorious) cars.

1966-Batmobile1966 Batmobile (with Adam West as Batman)
The 1966 Batmobile was created by Barris Custom City for the TV series Batman. Unbeknownst to a lot of fans, Batman was actually a parody of the comic book character. This Batmobile was originally built in 1965 from a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car. In January 2013, the car sold at an auction for $4,200,000.

1989 Batmobile (with Michael Keaton as Batman)
1989-BatmobileIn 1989, Batman was released, much to the excitement of comic book fans who had grown weary of the camp that had come to define the character. Batman was finally returning to his roots as a dark, mysterious character, and the 1989 film marked the beginning of that resurgence.

Anton Furst, the film’s production designer, wanted to design a Batmobile that reflected this return to the character’s roots. The car was based on a 1970 Corvette and was the first Batmobile to actually use a jet turbine. (No, the 1966 Batmobile did not actually have a turbine engine, despite Robin’s famous line, “Turbines to speed.”)

1993-Batmobile1993 Batmobile (with Kevin Conroy as Batman)
In 1993, after the success of Batman and Batman Returns, a new cartoon series featuring the Dark Knight was commissioned. The series featured a dark, gothic tone, capitalizing on what made the two films so attractive to fans. The series was era-ambiguous, incorporating a lot of art elements from the 1940s while still using technology from the 1980s and 90s.

The Batmobile was designed to fit into that world. Employing that same style the new Batmobile, though not as iconic as its 1966 and 1989 predecessors, cemented its place in Batman history.

1995 Batmobile (with Val Kilmer as Batman)
1995-BatmobileThe 1995 film Batman Forever took the character back towards its campy, parody-esque time period while still keeping one foot in his darker origins. The Batmobile, designed by Barbara Ling, was flashy but not very practical. The car had an exposed, backlit engine and a tail that split into a V shape when traveling at high speeds. The “batsymbols” on the tires were also backlight and were designed to remain upright even as the tires were spinning.

1997 Batmobile (with George Clooney as Batman)
1997-BatmobileThe sequel to 1995’s Batman ForeverBatman & Robin—featured an all-new Batmobile that was just as flashy as its predecessor. The car was also designed by Barbara Ling and featured even more lights and colors. The car was thirty feet long and had treads that were shaped like the “batsymbol” so that the car would leave little imprints of Batman’s logo whenever it drove through mud, wet roads, and snow.

2005 Batmobile (with Christian Bale as Batman)
2005-Tumbler2005 marked a complete reboot of the Batman franchise with the film Batman Begins, a return to the character’s dark and sordid roots. The film was much more grounded in reality than its predecessors and the featured Batmobile was a reflection of that. Opting to move away from the sports-car style of previous Batmobiles, Christopher Nolan designed a Batmobile that operated and looked more like a tank.

2009 Batmobile (with Kevin Conroy as Batman)
2009-BatmobileUntil 2009, Batman didn’t have a great relationship with video games. Rocksteady Studios changed that when they released Batman: Arkham Asylum, a game that many fans hail as the definitive vision of the character as put forth in the comic books.

The Batmobile wasn’t featured prominently in that game, but it exists, and it fits within our collective consciousness of what the Batmobile should look like, bridging the gap between the sports-car look of the early 1990s and the tank look of the Nolan films.

2015 Batmobile (with Kevin Conroy as Batman)
2015-BatmobileRocksteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum was so well-received that it spawned a critically acclaimed sequel in Batman: Arkham City and a prequel in Batman: Arkham Origins. The final chapter in the trilogy, Batman: Arkham Knight, featured a completely redesigned Batmobile. The new Batmobile was heavily inspired by Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and even had a “battle mode” in which the Batmobile would convert into a tank-like vehicle that could maneuver more easily in combat environments.

2016 Batmobile (with Ben Affleck as Batman)
2016-BatmobileThe upcoming film Batman V Superman will include yet another Batmobile. The car appears to take design cues from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy as well as Batman: Arkham Knight. It leans heavily in the “tank-style” direction and is reminiscent of the Batmobile from Frank Miller’s comic book The Dark Knight Returns.

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A different approach to Batman: The Animated Series.

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One of the best things about Batman: The Animated Series is the show’s “mini-movie” format wherein each episode works as its own full, three-act play. It’s naturally episodic, so it’s easy to sit down and watch a handful of episodes in any order.

But what if the show had a more serialized progression? That’s the question fellow geek Kevin Rusley set out to answer with his Batman: The Animated Series viewing order project.

I’ve decided to take a look at the series in a similar way, going in this order (minus any pieces from episodes or movies that he takes out of their contexts and places them elsewhere, in order to create a more “accessible” viewing experience).

The viewing order ignores production and airing order, and instead attempts to create an escalating story arc over the course of the series. It’s not perfect by any means, but it does a pretty good job of building the story of Batman, his villains, and his teammates.

So, without further ado, here’s the Batman: The Animated Series progressive story viewing order. (The Season/Episode numbers [xx.xx] refer to DVD grouping order, not necessarily airing or production order.)

Chapter 1.1: Streets of Gotham
01.07 P.O.V.
02.03 The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy
01.06 The Underdwellers
01.12 It’s Never Too Late
01.26 Appointment in Crime Alley

Chapter 1.2: Gotham’s Roguesthe-cat-and-the-claw-pt-1-batman-the-animated-series-16815880-540-405
03.08 Read My Lips
01.03 Nothing to Fear
01.15 The Cat and the Claw, Pt. I
01.16 The Cat and the Claw, Pt. II
01.13 I’ve Got Batman in My Basement
01.04 The Last Laugh
02.07 Night of the Ninja
01.01 On Leather Wings
01.05 Pretty Poison

Chapter 2: Gotham Growing Stranger
01.18 Beware the Gray Ghost
01.22 The Joker’s Favor
01.19 Prophecy of Doom
01.08 The Forgotten
01.10 Two-Face, Pt. I
01.09 Be a Clown
02.08 Cat Scratch Fever
02.06 The Laughing Fish
01.23 Vendetta
01.17 See No Evil
02.15 Moon of the Wolf
01.11 Two-Face, Pt. II
03.03 Blind as a Bat
02.26 Zatanna
02.12 If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?
01.02 Christmas with the Joker
02.16 Day of the Samurai
02.23 The Man Who Killed Batman
02.09 The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne
01.25 The Clock King
02.28 Harley and Ivy

Feature: Mask of the PhantasmDummies51

Chapter 3: Gotham’s Darkest
01.24 Fear of Victory
01.14 Heart of Ice
01.20 Feat of Clay, Pt. I
01.21 Feat of Clay, Pt. II
01.27 Mad as a Hatter
01.28 Dreams in Darkness
02.13 The Joker’s Wild
02.01 Eternal Youth
02.14 Tyger, Tyger
02.04 Robin’s Reckoning, Pt. I
02.05 Robin’s Reckoning, Pt. II
02.02 Perchance to Dream
02.18 Almost Got ‘Im
02.10 Heart of Steel, Pt. I
02.11 Heart of Steel, Pt. II
02.17 Terror in the Sky
02.19 Birds of a Feather
02.20 What is Reality?
03.07 Fire from Olympus
02.21 I Am the Night
02.22 Off Balance
02.25 Paging the Crime Doctor
03.12 The Trial
03.04 The Demon’s Quest, Pt. I
03.05 The Demon’s Quest, Pt. II

Chapter 3: Gotham’s Finesthqdefault
03.01 Shadow of the Bat, Pt. I
03.02 Shadow of the Bat, Pt. II
03.06 His Silicon Soul
03.16 Harlequinade
02.24 Mudslide
03.19 Bane
03.09 The Worry Men
03.10 Sideshow
03.11 A Bullet for Bullock
03.13 Avatar
03.14 House & Garden
03.15 The Terrible Trio
03.17 Time Out of Joint
03.20 Baby-Doll
03.21 The Lion and the Unicorn
03.22 Showdown
03.18 Catwalk
03.23 Riddler’s Reform
03.24 Second Chance
03.25 Harley’s Holiday
03.26 Lock-Up
03.27 Make ‘Em Laugh
02.27 The Mechanic
03.28 Deep Freeze
03.29 Batgirl Returns

Feature: Sub Zero

Chapter 4: The New Batman Adventures, Pt. 1
04.02 Sins of the Father
04.03 Cold Comfort
04.06 Never Fear
04.05 You Scratch My Back
04.04 Double Talk
04.07 Joker’s Millions
04.08 Growing Pains
04.13 Mean Seasons
04.18 The Demon Within
04.12 Over the Edge
04.10 Torch Song
04.09 Love Is a Croc
04.01 Holiday Knights

Chapter 5: The New Batman Adventures, Pt. 2691
Superman 02.16 World’s Finest, Pt. I
Superman 02.17 World’s Finest, Pt. II
04.11 The Ultimate Thrill
04.14 Critters
04.15 Cult of the Cat
04.16 Animal Act
04.17 Old Wounds
04.19 Legends of the Dark Knight
04.20 Girls’ Night Out
04.22 Chemistry
04.24 Judgment Day
04.23 Beware the Creeper
04.21 Mad Love

Feature: Mystery of the Batwoman