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"Epilogue"

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Justice League Unlimited episode
Epilogue
"Epilogue"
Airdate: July 23, 2005
Production Number: 26
Airdate Order: 26
Animation Services by: Dong Woo Animation Co., LTD.
Teleplay by: Dwayne McDuffie
Story by: Bruce Timm &
Dwayne McDuffie
Directed by: Dan Riba
Episode images (14)

"Epilogue" is the second season finale of Justice League Unlimited. In addition, this episode also tied together and continued some plot points from Batman Beyond. This episode focuses around Batman, revealing a dark secret.

Plot

65 years from now:

Terry McGinnis (now in his early 30s) breaks into the high-security home of Amanda Waller (now a very old woman in her 90s). He confronts her and demands answers. She seems unsurprised to see him, and insists on telling the story at her own pace.

Months earlier, when Bruce (also now in his 90s) was suffering kidney failure and needed a tissue donor to clone new organs, Terry was tested and found to be perfectly compatible. Surprised, Terry had his DNA checked and was found to be Bruce's genetic son.

Terry is at first angry, believing that Bruce masterminded the whole thing in order to ensure that he had a successor. In his mind, Terry imagines himself storming into the Batcave and confronting Bruce, who doesn't deny the accusation and insists that the world will always need a Batman. Terry is even more angry to learn that Bruce never told him that Warren McGinnis was not his real father. He also imagines himself breaking up with Dana, whom he has continued dating since high school and now knows his secret identity, and withdrawing from the JLU.

To prove he's wrong about Bruce, Waller tells Terry a story of a crisis that occurred before he was born:

Ace, the last member of the Royal Flush Gang, began causing havoc when her powers developed beyond causing hallucinations to being able to alter the fabric of reality itself. Waller warned the League that Ace was on the verge of dying from a brain aneurysm, and the resulting psychic backlash would cause massive destruction and loss of life.
Ace's demise

Ace being carried away by Batman.

At some point, Cadmus retrieved a special weapon to kill her and prevent the disaster, which Batman volunteered to use. However, when he reached her, he wouldn't use the weapon. Instead, he asked Ace to reverse the changes she had made, and comforted her over her lost childhood. With him by her side, she died peacefully, and the world returned to normal.

Waller tells Terry the truth: she was the mastermind, not Bruce. After the Cadmus Crisis, Waller went from being the Justice League's chief antagonist to its ally. In her role as the Government Liaison to the League, she came to know Batman very well, gaining a great deal of respect for him. She also met a lot of interesting people but none of them were comparable to Batman as he saved the day using his wits, body and will, as opposed to others and their gained superpowers.

The incident with Ace demonstrated to Waller that Batman's greatest attributes were his compassion, and his iron refusal to never take a life. But as time went on, Waller saw him age, and realized he wouldn't be around forever or might eventually be killed. However, in her mind, the world would always need a Batman.

Waller used her old Project Cadmus contacts to launch "Project Batman Beyond". Bruce's DNA was obtained years previously during one of his exploits. She found a young couple, Warren and Mary McGinnis, that was almost an identical psychological match for Dr. Thomas and Martha Wayne. When Warren went in for what he thought was a flu shot, his reproductive DNA was overwritten by that of Bruce Wayne's by nanobots. A year later, Terry was born, genetically the son of Mary McGinnis and Bruce Wayne.

Genetics, however, do not alone make a Batman, so Waller hired an assassin to kill Terry's parents when he was eight years old as the three of them were leaving a movie theater showing The Grey Ghost Strikes hoping that the same tragedy would cause the same response. However, the assassin couldn't bring herself to kill them, as Batman would never resort to murder because it would destroy everything he stood for. Waller was forced to agree, and the project was effectively scrapped. With the McGinnises spared, Matt would be born.

However, nine years later, due to a cruel twist of fate, Terry's father was killed,[1] which set a chain of events in motion that turned Terry into Batman.[2]

Terry is not soothed, believing that, whether Bruce or Waller was the real mastermind, he is still "cursed", in that his identity of Batman was written before he was even born. Waller implies that she believes it was a form of divine intervention which led to the death of his father. Why Terry became Batman was a mystery, but she still says he is free to choose his own path in his own way. He is Bruce's son, not his clone. In her assessment, Terry may not be as smart as the old Batman, but he is every bit as devoted to helping others, and, she adds, he could have worse role models than Bruce Wayne.

In parting, she gives him some last advice: "You want to have a little better life than the old man's? Take care of the people who love you. Or don't. It's your choice".

Taking this advice to heart, Terry returns to the Wayne Manor, prepares to propose to Dana, shares a moment of mostly unspoken reconciliation with Bruce, and takes off to speak with Superman on a case.

In the skies of Gotham, something winged flies past a police hovercraft, causing one of the pilots to ask "Did you see that?"

Continuity

Background information

Home video releases

Production notes

  • This episode used story elements from a Batman Beyond movie that would have had Catwoman (Selina Kyle) as the person responsible for the cloning process. But due to the dark tones of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the second movie was rejected so the creative team decided to tie it in with the Cadmus arc. [2]
  • Ace's appearance in this episode has a couple of redesigned details: her boots are now gray instead of black, and her club-shaped hairpin is now on the left side of her head as opposed to the right.
  • There was a cut scene that explained there had conducted more experiments in the past but only stopped after Phantasm refused to kill Terry McGinnis's parents.

Production inconsistencies

  • When Waller first confronts Terry in her home, Terry is standing by the desk and Waller is standing in the doorway. After the opening credits, they have switched places.
  • During one of the B&W scenes, the Batsuit from The New Batman Adventures in the display is replaced with Terry's Batsuit, despite Terry still wearing it.
  • In the B&W fighting scene, after Shriek falls down and his helmet is shattered, he can be seen not wearing his headphones in the Batman Beyond episodes "Babel" and "Where's Terry?" to overcome his deafness. Either he has recovered his hearing (or was using the helmet to hear) or this is an oversight on behalf of the animators.
  • When Ace says "I'm dying very soon, aren't I?", Batman responds "Yes. I'm sorry...", but his lip movements read the words "You are" in place of "yes".

Trivia

  • This episode's final scene features Batman (Terry McGinnis) flying silhouetted against buildings and startling an airborne police craft, a reversed version of the opening scene with Man-Bat (Kirk Langstrom) in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "On Leather Wings" (the DCAU's very first episode). Likewise, one of the officers (voiced by Kevin Conroy) on board the police craft says "Did you see that?" is mirrored as this episode's last line. [3]
  • This episode marks the first time that the Batman: The Animated Series theme has been officially adapted for Terry.
  • The place where Andrea Beaumont almost goes through with the assassination of Warren and Mary McGinnis is in a parking garage. This was also a place where she successfully killed Chuckie Sol, her first victim.
  • Terry's outfit and hairstyle mirrors Batman's out of costume appearance in the Justice League episode "Starcrossed".
  • This episode was written and produced before Justice League Unlimited was renewed for an additional season, thus this episode was intended as an epilogue for the entire DC Animated Universe started in Batman: The Animated Series, all the way to Justice League Unlimited. [4]
  • Although it is ambiguous on-screen, producer/writer Dwayne McDuffie confirmed that the black-and-white sequences are Terry's imagination of what will happen if he resigns as Batman, not flashbacks. There are several clues that support this:
    • In the black and white sequence, Terry smashes the clock down. By the end of the episode, the clock is intact.
    • In the black and white sequence, Bruce was uncharacteristically forthcoming in his exchange with Terry. Also, in the final scene, he speaks casually with Terry. If such stern spat had taken place, it would be unlikely of him to dismiss it.
    • Terry breaks up with Dana in a black and white scene, but later on, he calls her over the phone and she reacts too casually for someone who had just been dumped.
  • According to Bruce Timm, Bruce Wayne is also Matt McGinnis's biological father. [5]
  • According to writer Dwayne McDuffie, Bruce, the world's greatest detective, was aware that Terry and Matt are his genetic offspring some point after Terry assumed the Batman mantle and realized Waller's machination, but would never bring it up as he wanted Terry to be his own man, and out of respect for Warren McGinnis as well since he was the one who raised him since birth. [6]
  • Bruce Timm stated that at this point, Bruce Wayne has effectively retired from crime-fighting.[3]
  • Ace's Fantasy, including the Queen, resembles many of the illustrations and movie adaptations from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
  • The new Royal Flush Gang bear specific in-joking in each of their identities:
  • Amanda Waller's quip about the Royal Flush Gang being the group's second or third incarnation alludes to the fact that production-wise this is the third one. It also contradicts the group's reportedly to be century-old existence established in the Batman Beyond episode "Dead Man's Hand".
  • Throughout Batman Beyond, Terry refers to Bruce as "old man", a general term used for one's father. Before leaving, Bruce comments that Terry's "a stubborn piece of work" to which Terry quietly replies "Just like my old man".
  • "Project Batman Beyond" marks the first and only time the term "Batman Beyond" is used in-universe.
  • Kai-Ro's new uniform resembles the costume John Stewart and Katma Tui took when Green Lanterns began customizing their costumes after the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Cast

Actor Role
Will Friedle Terry McGinnis/Batman
Kevin Conroy Bruce Wayne/Batman
Sky Patrol Officer (uncredited)
CCH Pounder Amanda Waller
Queen (uncredited)
Lauren Tom Dana Tan
Kai-Ro (uncredited)
Doctor Light (uncredited)
Hynden Walch Ace
Aquagirl (uncredited)
Ten (uncredited)
Marc Worden Parasite
Warhawk (uncredited)

Uncredited appearances

Quotes

Terry McGinnis: I've got some questions I need you to answer.
Amanda Waller: Of course you do, boy. Why else go to all the trouble of breaking into the lair of the great and powerful Amanda Waller. You want some green tea? I do.


Terry McGinnis: How could you do it to me, Bruce?
Bruce Wayne: The only thing that matters is the mission. You know that.
Terry: What about people, Bruce? Dick, Barbara, Tim, Selina. They all loved you, but eventually every single one of them left you. Ever wonder why?
Bruce: Not for an instant. They quit because when it came down to it, they didn't have the heart for the mission. Are you about to quit too? It doesn't really surprise me.


Amanda: Look at all this. (gestures to a tray full of pills in her lap) A pill for blood pressure. A pill for my diabetes. A pill to replace my pituitary function. (picks up one pill and looks at it thoughtfully) I don't even know what this one's for. (beat) Oh, yeah. Alzheimer's.


Amanda: It's been many a year since I had a handsome gentleman caller. Why is it that superheroes are always... so good-looking?


Terry McGinnis: You know why I can't marry you. If-
Dana Tan: "If the bad guys ever found out I was Batman, they'd try to get to me by hurting you", blah blah blah.
Terry: It's nothing to joke about.
Dana: You're right! There could be supervillains hiding in the tall grass!


Parasite: Ruined, I tell you!
Kai-Ro: I would offer my condolences... but that would be insincere.


Kai-Ro: Good of you to drop in, considering that three quarters of the Iniquity Collective are from your rogue's gallery.


Terry: You know what, old man? All those years, turn's out everybody was right. You are insane. Being Batman's no honor. It's a curse.


Amanda: The Justice League found themselves cleaning up one of my old messes. The second group of villains to call themselves the Royal Flush Gang. Or the third—who can keep it all straight?


Amanda: Bruce's DNA was easy enough to obtain. He left it all over town. (Terry raises an eyebrow) Not remotely what I meant.


Amanda: You're not Bruce's clone, you're his son. There are similarities, mind you, but more than a few differences too. You don't quite have his magnificent brain, for instance. You do have his heart, though, and for all that fierce exterior, I've never met anyone who cared as deeply about his fellow man as Bruce Wayne, except maybe you. You want to have a little better life than the old man's? Take care of the people who love you. Or don't. It's your choice.


Bruce: You're a stubborn piece of work—you know that?
Terry: (sotto) Just like my old man....


(Batman flies past a police hovercar)
Pilot: Did you see that?



Previously produced episode:
"Divided We Fall"
Episodes of
Justice League Unlimited
Next produced episode:
"I Am Legion"
Previously aired episode:
"Divided We Fall"
Next aired episode:
"I Am Legion"


Footnotes

  1. In Batman Beyond, "Rebirth, Part I"
  2. Idem, "Rebirth, Part II"
  3. Especially once you realize the 'flashbacks' never, in fact, happen, it's clear that Bruce has willingly 'retired' completely from Batman, confident that Terry will carry on his tradition, and his beloved Gotham will always be protected. Note that he says Superman called, wanting Terry's opinion on a case, not Bruce's. The idea being that Bruce doesn't actively participate in crime-fighting anymore, not even in an advisory capacity—he probably doesn't even monitor Terry on the com-link anymore [...]. The 'soup' bit implies that he's taken on the 'Alfred' role, and though he nags Terry about the soup going cold, he seems pretty confident with his lot overall.

    — Bruce Timm, [1]

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