During Waller's encounters with the Justice League, both hostile and friendly, she developed a great admiration for Batman and came to believe that someone like him would always be needed. As she watched Batman age, she realized he wouldn't be around forever. Drawing on her old Cadmus contacts, Waller devised a scheme to give Batman a genetic "son" who would likewise be compelled to take up a life as a crime fighter.
To begin the project, Waller found a young couple that were almost identical psychological matches to Batman's father and mother: Warren McGinnis and Mary McGinnis. Using nanotechnology and a sample of Batman's DNA, she created a retrovirus that was administered to Warren during a routine flu inoculation, which over-wrote Warren's reproductive DNA with Batman's DNA. A year later, Terry McGinnis was born with half of Mary's genetics and half of Batman's.
Knowing that genetics were not the only factor in creating Batman, Waller later hired an assassin to murder Terry's parents at the same age and under very similar circumstances as his predecessor, trying to recreate these conditions. However, the plan did not work as Waller's hired assassin knew what the murder of his parents had done to Batman and realizing that she would be dishonoring everything he stood for, she refused to subject another child to the same horrors. When Waller realized she had crossed a line, she scrapped the project.
Shortly after the failed assassination, Matt McGinnis was born as an unexpected addition to the project. Despite Waller's abandonment, Project Batman Beyond was ultimately successful. When Terry was sixteen, Warren was murdered on the orders of Derek Powers, a chance meeting between Terry and Bruce Wayne did the rest, and a new Batman was created.
At some point after Terry became Batman, Bruce became aware of their genetic relationship. He concealed it from Terry, feeling that Warren had raised Terry, and so deserved to be remembered as his true father. He also wanted Terry to be his own man, and not to feel that his fate had been ordained by his birth.
Bruce's decision to conceal the truth from Terry led to conflict years later. When Bruce, in his eightites, began to suffer from kidney failure, Terry, in his early thirties, was checked for compatibility of being a tissue donor to clone the organs needed and was found to be a perfect match. Surprised, Terry ran a DNA test and found that he was Bruce's genetic son.
Initially believing that Bruce had been behind the scheme, Terry sought out Waller for answers. Waller then explained the truth to him, and told him that he was not Bruce's clone, but his son - his own man, free to choose his own path in life, although she advised him not to distance himself from his friends and loved ones as Bruce had done. Armed with this reassurance, Terry freely chose to carry on as Batman.
Background Information Edit
- The fact that Bruce became aware of Waller's plot but chose to keep it secret was explained in background by Dwayne McDuffie.
- The project's plan is a good example of the dichotomy of Waller's character: she is willing to use the most terrible and unscrupulous means but in pursuit of goals which she considers right and for the greatest good.
- There are strong similarities between Project Batman Beyond and the scheme formed by the fictional version of Dr. Josef Mengele in Ira Levin's novel The Boys From Brazil. In that novel, Mengele attempts to create a new world leader like Adolf Hitler by creating multiple genetic clones of Hitler, then trying to influence them in the same direction by placing them as infants with foster families of similar backgrounds, and arranging for their fathers to be killed at the same age Hitler's died. In what is probably a nod to this, one of the headings in Project Cadmus's computer files stolen by Question in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Question Authority" was titled "Brazilboyz".