Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (also known as Batman of the Future: Return of the Joker in some regions) is an animated feature film based on the series Batman Beyond.
Batman's greatest enemy from the past, The Joker has returned even deadlier than ever with another villainess scheme to bring Gotham City to it's knees and now it is up to Terry, Bruce Wayne's successor who has become Gotham's new protector to stop the psychopathic Clown Prince of Crime once and for all.
In 21st century Gotham City, the new Batman (Terry McGinnis) is busy fighting crime. This time he stops a small group of Jokerz from stealing a system scanner from Gotham shipping. Though he stops them, they get away. Meanwhile in the Batcave, Terry's mentor and former Batman, Bruce Wayne and Ace are practicing throwing the batarang when Terry returns to the cave. Terry asks Bruce if he'll have time for Batman when he is back in charge of his company, despite objection from company manager, Jordan Price. Bruce refuses to step down from his return to his family's company. After that Terry joins up with his girlfriend, Dana at a club.
Meanwhile the small gang of Jokerz, meet up with someone who claims to be the real Joker. There the Joker is doubted by Bonk, who doesn't believe this man to be the actual Joker. When Bonk tells the Joker that he wants out the villain pulls out a flag gun. At first it's just a joke, but then the Joker kills Bonk, leaving him smiling. This convinces the rest of the Jokerz to go along with his plan. Joker, despite the other Jokerz, plans to steal one from Wayne Enterprises, saying it will be "fun".
At the party to welcome Wayne back, The Jokerz attacks Bruce, where they reveal their leader, The Joker, which astonishes everyone including Bruce. The Joker gets what he was after, and escapes. When Terry and Bruce drive home, Terry asks if this 80-year old Joker could be a clone, a robot, or has been in suspended animation, but Bruce doesn't answer his questions. Tim Drake watches it and is surprised to see the Joker alive on the news. Terry then goes to see Barbara Gordon, but she warns him not to underestimate the real Joker, since he was one of the most dangerous villains Batman had faced, and hopes he never runs afoul of the real one.
Back at the Batcave, Bruce analyzes the voice of the Joker with an old voice record, and it checks out as the real Joker. Bruce tells Terry that it could not possibly be the real Joker, because he says that he was there when the Joker died many years ago. Terry presses Bruce for details, but he wouldn't give any. Bruce asks for Terry to turn over his Batsuit and says that he has done all he can do, and it is time to shut everything down. Terry storms out and returns to his home.
The next night Terry is attacked at a club by the Jokerz. At the same time, Batman is attacked in the Batcave by the Joker. While fighting, Terry realizes that there would be no reason to be attacked unless they knew who he was. After taking care of the Jokerz, Terry speeds off to Wayne manor and calls Bruce on his way, with no answer. When he arrives, he finds the Batcave spray painted with Joker graffiti and Bruce laying on the ground with a "smile" frozen on his face. Terry uses some Joker-venom anti-toxin that Bruce had been working on to help him.
The next day, Terry confronts Commissioner Barbara Gordon. After some convincing, Barbara tells Terry the story of what happened when the Joker died 40 years ago:
After Nightwing (Dick Grayson) had left to establish himself in another city, Robin (Tim Drake) was on patrol when he came to the aid of an old woman, who turned out to be Harley Quinn, who hit him with a mallet and dragged him away.
There was no sign of Robin for three weeks, until a clue led Batman and Batgirl to the original Arkham Asylum which was deserted now. There the Joker and Harley introduce their "son" Joker Jr. - Tim Drake, but with a "Joker Smile" frozen into his face. After seeing Tim, brainwashed and drugged, Batman rushes to attack the Joker, while Batgirl goes after Harley. While trying to escape Batgirl, Harley falls off a cliff, to her apparent death.
Meanwhile, the Joker leads Batman to a room where he shows Batman a "home movie" of Tim being tortured and turned into Joker Jr. During this torture, Tim reveals to the Joker the real identities of the Batman Family. Blazing with anger, Batman attacks the Joker again and after a long struggle, the Joker stabs Batman in the leg with a knife. Tim, still very deranged, picks up a flag gun and points it at Batman, urged by the Joker to shoot. At the last minute he turns and shoots the Joker, into his chest with his dying breath says in a weakened voice, "That's not funny." Tim begins to break down into maniacal laughter, which soon turns to tears, and is comforted by Barbara, who tells him it is okay. The team then went on to bury the Joker underneath Arkham Asylum, and the only person they ever told was Barbara's father, the original Commissioner Gordon.
Tim was in rehab for a year with Leslie Thompkins who was able to cure him of his insanity. Tim never put on the Robin suit again after Bruce forbade Tim from being Robin again, blaming himself for what happened and swore that he will never endanger another young partner, and moved away to become a successful communications engineer.
Terry dons the Batsuit and pays a visit to Tim. Tim claims to know nothing of the recent return of the Joker, that he was as surprised as well and swears that he has put those days behind him. Tim also tells Batman that he would tear up his own costume.
Terry then looked into Jordan Price on his private yacht. There Jordan is confronted by the Jokerz and reveals that he helped them get what they wanted. Unfortunately they came to silence Price. Terry was then able to save Price, but turned him over to the police. Terry then goes back to the Batcave trying to put the pieces together. Bruce walks in a tells him that things are not always obvious. Terry notices that during the Joker's attack in the Batcave, he destroyed all of the display cases of the old Batman & family's suits. But, only Robin's suit is all torn up. Terry looks at all of the items that the Jokerz had stolen and realizes that they could be used to make a large satellite controlling device, like a government defense satellite. Tim could have been the one that provided all of the knowledge for it. Terry suits up and goes off to investigate.
Batman (Terry) tracks down Tim, who happens to be in Gotham. He discovers that he is only a hologram. With this discovery Batman tracks down the Jokerz hideout. After fighting off the Joker's pawns, Batman goes inside to find Tim working. Tim relives that fateful day, and then attacks Batman. After a struggle, Tim transforms into the Joker. The Joker brags that during the process of "making" Joker Jr. he implanted a DNA microchip in Tim. So, even after his death he could still live on, in Tim's body. Tim had no idea that the Joker was using him.
Batman and the Joker start to fight, but the Clown Prince of Crime knows every move of the original Batman family and proves more than a match for him. Batman separates himself and hides in the rafters. There he taunts the Joker in the same style that the Joker himself always used. Irritated and frustrated, the Joker launches bombs at the ceiling causing damage to his machine and directing the satellite's laser toward them. Batman falls down and the Joker pins him down with his hands ready to strangle, only he wants to hear Batman laugh before he dies. Reaching around Terry grabs one of the Joker's "joy buzzers", and slaps it on the back of his neck, saying "HA-Ha" while zapping the micro chip, shorting it out and bringing Tim back to form. Batman and Tim escape just before the laser destroys the whole building with the help of a Joker-bomb and Ace.
Bruce visits Tim in the hospital to make amends, finally overcoming his own problems. Terry, with a better understanding of being Batman, vows to wear the Batsuit and continue the Batman legacy.
- Will Friedle as Terry McGinnis/Batman II
- Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/Batman
- Mark Hamill as The Joker and Jordan Price
- Angie Harmon as Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon
- Tara Strong as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl (young)
- Dean Stockwell as Tim Drake
- Mathew Valencia as Tim Drake/Robin (young)
- Teri Garr as Mary McGinnis
- Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn
- Melissa Joan Hart as Delia & Deidre Dennis/Dee-Dee
- Don Harvey as Charles Buntz/Chucko
- Michael Rosenbaum as Stewart Carter Winthrop III/Ghoul
- Henry Rollins as Benjamin Knox/Bonk
- Rachael Leigh Cook as Chelsea Cunningham
- Frank Welker as Woof the Hyena-Man and Ace the Bat-Hound
- Lauren Tom as Dana Tan
- Mary Scheer as Mrs. Drake
- Vernee Watson-Johnson as Ms. Joyce Carr
The movie was released after the school shooting at Columbine. They toned down the violence and suggestive references for the original VHS and DVD. Batman fans were not happy with the changes, so they rereleased the Uncut Edition in 2002.
- Batman/Bruce Wayne
- Batman/Terry McGinnis
- The Joker
- Commissioner Barbara Gordon
- Tim Drake
- Mary McGinnis
- Matt McGinnis
- Dana Tan
- Harley Quinn
- Dee Dee
- Mrs. Drake
- Joyce Carr
- Joker, Jr. (flashback)