|Justice League Unlimited episode|
|Airdate:||July 23, 2005|
|Animation Services by:||Dong Woo Animation Co., LTD.|
|Teleplay by:||Dwayne McDuffie|
|Story by:|| Bruce Timm & |
|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.
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.
- 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.
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?"
- When the Cadmus procedures that could have altered someone's DNA came into question, Bruce Wayne says that those procedures have been illegal for decades but Terry McGinnis responds "Didn't stop the Joker from using them on Tim Drake", referencing the film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
- Terry mentions Mr. Freeze, possibly referring to his predecessor's showdown in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Heart of Ice" and The New Batman Adventures episode "Cold Comfort", his own encounter in the Batman Beyond episode "Meltdown", or even a combination of all the encounters.
- Terry continues dating Dana Tan since high school, and she now knows his secret identity.
- The JLU members who appear (Kai-Ro, Warhawk and Aquagirl) were introduced in the Batman Beyond episode "The Call" (and Warhawk likewise appeared in the episode "The Once and Future Thing Part Two: Time, Warped").
- Likewise, the rogues who appear as members of the Iniquity Collective consist of three rogues from Batman Beyond: Inque, Shriek and Stalker (introduced in the Batman Beyond episodes "Black Out", "Shriek" and "Bloodsport", respectively).
- Ace previously appeared in the Justice League episode "Wild Cards".
- Amanda Waller serves as a government liaison, possibly replacing King Faraday.
- It's possible that Bruce named his dog after Ace from the Royal Flush Gang.
- The movie Terry exits out of with his mother and father is titled The Grey Ghost Strikes Back a nod to Bruce's childhood hero.
- Andrea Beaumont was last seen in the film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.
- Despite Waller scrapping Project Batman Beyond, Terry points out that his father was still murdered during the Batman Beyond premiere "Rebirth".
- Bruce tells Terry to meet Superman in the Metro Tower. Apparently Terry hasn't become an official member since the Batman Beyond episode "The Call", but only a part-timer much like his predecessor.
Home video releases
- Justice League Unlimited - Season One (DVD)
- Justice League - The Complete Series (DVD)
- The Best of Warner Bros. – DC Comics Collection (DVD)
- 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. 
- 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.
- 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".
- 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. 
- 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 gangster 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, and was thus intended the be the epilogue, hence the episode's title, for the entire DC Animated Universe starting with Batman: The Animated Series, all the way to Justice League Unlimited. 
- 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 in the sequences that support this:
- Terry smashes the clock down. By the end of the episode, the clock is intact.
- 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, 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. 
- 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. 
- Bruce Timm stated that at this point, Bruce Wayne has effectively retired from crime-fighting.
- 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:
- Ten has a white swimsuit and blond cornrows just like Bo Derek in the movie 10.
- Jack is a samurai, thus putting a spin on the Cartoon Network character Samurai Jack. When this character is returned to normal, he bears a resemblance to Phil LaMarr, the voice of Samurai Jack.
- Queen is revealed to be a man, thus a "drag queen".
- King looks like MODOK, a Marvel Comics character created by Jack "The King" Kirby.
- 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.
|Will Friedle||Terry McGinnis/Batman|
|Kevin Conroy|| Bruce Wayne/Batman|
Sky Patrol Officer (uncredited)
|CCH Pounder|| Amanda Waller|
|Lauren Tom|| Dana Tan|
Doctor Light (uncredited)
|Hynden Walch|| Ace|
|Marc Worden|| Parasite|
Terry McGinnis: How could you do it to me, Bruce?
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: 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: 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?
(Batman flies past a police hovercar)
| 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"
- ↑ In Batman Beyond, "Rebirth, Part I"
- ↑ Idem, "Rebirth, Part II"
“ 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,