The DC Multiverse is a concept I have always found fascinating.
Most other series like say Star Trek will often just explore the multiverse concept for a single episode. Giving us a fleeting glimpse of a “what if” world where the heroes are badguys or the badguys won etc.
DC however I feel were really able to take us deeper into the idea of other universe, having our main heroes regularly interact with their counterparts whose lives were shown in full. Though at the same time it is also true that the DC multiverse did become more convoluted in later years.
Still I think it was a great concept and I’d like to see it get adapted outside of the comic books properly. A lot of television series, both live action and animated based on DC Comics have already touched on the idea of parallel universes like Smallville and the DCAU, but again its more like Star Trek where they will explore it for one episode and then that’s that.
I’d like to see an animated franchise like the DCAU that features the Multiverse as its focus and explores all the different versions of Batman and Superman and Wonder Woman and also adapts big stories like Crisis on Infinite Earths.
I think animation would be the best format to adapt the Multiverse too. It would probably be too big a thing to adapt to live action. I don’t know if mainstream audiences are ready for a shared Multiverse on the big screen. Shared universe yes, shared Multiverse, maybe not for a few decades. Also animation could allow them to adapt stories like Crisis on Infinite Earth’s that would take years to adapt to the big screen relatively easily.
In this article I am going to explore the history of the DC multiverse, state why I like it and why I think it should be adapted, and who I think should be cast as the different versions of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and other characters.
The History of the DC Multiverse
The idea of the DC Multiverse really originated in the story “The Flash of Two Worlds” in 1961.
Prior to this story a few DC Comics had explored the idea of other realities, but they had never played a major part in the overall narrative of DC Comics prior this adventure. Also any of the parallel earth’s featured would always be forgotten about after just one appearance anyway.
This story revealed that all the DC adventures from the 30’s to the mid 50’s took place in another universe to those from the mid 50’s to the then present.
The reason DC did this was to clear up several continuity issues that had developed over the years.
First and foremost Batman, the Joker, Lois Lane, Robin and many other characters despite being ordinary human beings had not aged in over 30 years.
Superman’s powers meanwhile had also changed. He had gone from being able to merely leap tall buildings in a single bound to being able to fly through the air. His name had even changed from Kal L to Kal EL. Lex Luthor his archenemy even had a full head of red hair in the original comics, whilst later comics had established him as having been bald since he was a child.
A bigger continuity issue however concerned the Justice Society of America and the Justice League of America. The Justice Society of America were a super hero team that had been established in the 1940’s. Among its members included the then current Flash Jay Garrick as well as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.
Later in the 1950’s the popularity of superheroes began to wane and as a result many DC comics characters like the Flash’s ongoing series were cancelled. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman were among the few superheroes who continued to run throughout this decade
Towards the end of the 50’s and the early 60’s however as superheroes began to regain their popularity, DC revived many of their characters such as the Flash.
This version of the Flash however was completely different. He had an entirely new costume, a whole new identity and name, Barry Allen and a whole new origin.
The original 1940’s Flash, Jay Garrick.
The 1960’s Flash, Barry Allen.
Other heroes were revived in a similar fashion such as Hawkman who was also given an entirely new origin and identity to the original version.
These new heroes later formed the team, the Justice League of America of which Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were also members.
Naturally this led to a problem as Superman, Batman and Wonder Women were all canonical characters to both the original Flash and the reboot Flash as well as many other old and new heroes.
Thus DC decided to reveal that all of the stories from the 30’s to the mid 50’s involving the original Flash and the JSA took place in another universe to the stories featuring the JLA and the new Flash.
This also meant that there were now two Batman’s, Superman’s and Wonder Woman’s, those who had worked with the JSA and those who worked with the JLA. This also got round the other continuity blips like Luthors hair and Batman, the Joker and Catwoman not ageing too, as it was established that the Luthor on the alternate earth with the JSA did have hair, whilst the Batman from the 30’s who had worked with the JSA had aged accordingly.
“Flash of Two Worlds” had Barry catapulted into an alternate earth after he tries to use his speed to make himself invisible.
It is established that these different universes occupy the same space but run on different vibrations and the Flash whilst experimenting with his super speed tuned himself into the vibration of an alternate earth.
On this alternate earth Barry Allen meets Jay Garrick who has aged accordingly and is now retired, though Barry manages to bring him out of retirement to help defeat a group of his enemies such as the Shade and the Thinker.
Jaw Garricks earth was christened Earth 2 whilst Barry Allen’s was called Earth 1. Its quite confusing the way the earlier earth was called Earth 2, but that was simply because it was discovered by the people on Earth 1 first. The Earth 2 heroes were too polite to point out that they came first.
Following the success of Flash of Two Earth’s crossovers between the current DC characters and their predecessors on Earth 2 would become common. There was at least one annual crossover between the JSA and the JLA for 20 years. Even the villains would get a chance to meet their alternate counterparts. The original flame haired Lex Luthor called Alexie Luthor teamed up with the bald modern day Earth 1 version to try and conquer Earth 3 for instance.
The Multiverse concept not only allowed the writers to explain away continuity goofs, but it also enabled them to explore different types of stories with the older versions of heroes like Batman and Superman that they couldn’t with the regular versions, and also bring the original versions stories to a close.
The original Batman from Earth Two for instance was shown to have retired and eventually married a reformed Catwoman.
Earth Two Batman and Catwoman finally admit their love for each other and marry.
The two even had a daughter named Helena Wayne. Sadly Selina would later be forced back into crime and was killed in an accident caused by Batman himself.
Afterwards whilst Bruce burned his costume and vowed to never become the Batman again, his daughter later became the hero known as the Huntress and managed to catch the criminal that had forced her mother into crime again and thus had caused her death.
The Huntress is born!
Bruce Wayne despite his vow would later be forced into becoming Batman one last time, when he was dying of cancer in order to battle the evil sorcerer Frederick Vaux. Batman ultimately died in this battle, and thus the story of the original Batman was finally brought to an end. Still his legacy would continue through the Huntress his superhero daughter.
Sadly Earth Two Batman never got a chance to meet his Earth 1 counterpart, but The Huntress would later travel to Earth 1 many times and worked alongside its version of Batman whom she even came to refer to as her “Uncle Bruce”.
Superman meanwhile revealed his secret identity to Lois Lane who he also married whilst Wonder Woman similarly married her long time love interest Steve Trevor.
The two versions of Wonder Woman developed arguably the closest relationship, regularly working together and even having dinner together! Imagine crossing whole universes just to hang out with your friends.
The Wonder Women of Earth 1 and 2 say their goodbyes after an adventure together.
Over the years the writers expanded the Multiverse concept and included many other parallel earth’s, with arguably the most prominent being Earth 3.
Earth 3 was a classic reverse alternate earth. In this world, the Justice League were evil villains called the Crime Syndicate who had conquered the world Batman was known as Owlman, Superman was Ultraman, Wonder Woman was Superwoman, the Flash was Johnny Quick and Green Lantern wa Power Ring.
The Crime Syndicate of America, the Justice League’s dark twins.
Many villains on other worlds such as Lex Luthor were heroes on earth 3.
Whilst the multiverse concept proved popular for many years, by the mid 80’s DC’s sales began to slump and the company began to feel that the multiverse concept was putting new readers off as it was confusing to people who didn’t know the full history of DC.
I must admit when I first read the comic where the Earth Two Catwoman is killed as a child I was confused? I thought “did they really kill Catwoman off?” and then I saw her alive again in a future issue on Earth one and I assumed I must have missed an issue that explained her survival. I didn’t know that it was in fact a totally different Catwoman.
Thus Crisis on Infinite Earths a 1985 crossover event, originally meant to simply celebrate DC’s 50th Anniversary, it was decided instead would remove the multiverse concept from DC and prevent its continuity from becoming too overbearing.
Its premise saw an ancient vastly powerful evil called the Anti Monitor destroy all but 5 realities. It is revealed that originally there was only one universe, and that a scientist named Krona from the planet Oa created the Multiverse by tampering with the creation of the universe itself.
Unfortunately this also created two living embodiments of the Multiverse, The Monitor and its dark twin the Anti Monitor. Both the Anti Monitor and the Monitor fought each other to a standstill and the Anti Monitor was imprisoned, but many millions of years later the Anti Monitor returns after he is accidently awoken from his deep sleep by a scientist named Pariah.
Though the Monitor with the aid of many DC heroes and later villains manages to spare 5 universes, Earth’s 1, 2, Earth 4, Earth S and Earth X from the Anti Monitor and his demons, ultimately all of these universes are merged into one earth whose people have no knowledge of the other universes. Some of the heroes from the previous earth’s do still exist however such as those who were present at a battle at the dawn of time and therefore were not affected by their earth’s being erased. These include The Huntress, Earth 2 Robin, the Barry Allen Flash, Alexander Luthor JR the heroic Lex from Earth 3 and Kal L the original Earth 2 Superman.
These heroes prevent the Anti Monitor and his Demons from destroying the single surviving universe. Though they are successful many of them are killed including the Barry Allen Flash and the Huntress who is crushed under rubble whilst trying to save several children from the Anti Monitors demons.
Kal L manages to finally kill the Anti Monitor after which he and his wife Lois Lane Kent and Alexander Luthor JR and Superboy from earth prime go and live in a paradise dimension as no one on the new earth, which has its own version of Superman now knows who they are. Thus they feel they don’t belong on the new earth and as their earth’s are all gone they decide to make this paradise universe their new home.
Thus the multiverse concept was completely erased and all of DC’s characters were rebooted. From this point on for the next 20 years, virtually all of DC’s stories would take place in this single universe, which became known as New Earth.
Eventually in 2005 the Multiverse would return in another huge crossover event called Infinite Crisis.
In this story Alexander Luthor JR and Kal L decide to recreate the multiverse. Escaping from their paradise dimension the two do manage to create a new multiverse briefly but it is too unstable and threatens to collapse and take New Earth with it. They are forced to undo it, though the energy taken back into the earth is too much and threatens to destroy it. Some of it therefore is released which creates 51 new universes.
From this point on it was established that there were just 52 universes in the DC Multiverse. Some of these were re creations of previous universes including Earth 2.
Though they were not actually the same versions as the original. For instance in this version of Earth 2 the Joker killed Batman instead of Frederick Vaux.
The timeline of New Earth would later be changed in the Flashpoint crossover in drastic ways and though the revived Barry Allen was able to undo this, the current timeline of New Earth still has some differences to the earlier one.
Eventually thanks to a god like incarnation of Brainiac from another universe the events of Crisis on Infinite Earth’s were erased and every universe was restored, though bizarrely New Earth still remains.
Thus the Multiverse has now been restored in all its glory.
Why I Love the Multiverse
Superman from the 30’s vs Superman of the 21st century in Infinite Crisis
I have always much preferred the multiverse approach to the floating timeline utilized by Marvel comics.
In Marvel their characters simply don’t age or rather they do age, but very slowly. Spider-Man has been a young man since the 60’s.
I don’t like this approach in a serious work of fiction as to me it makes it seem a bit too silly. Its fine in a comedy like the Simpsons, but in something serious I feel it undermines it somewhat. Even more so if its supposed to be set in a world that is meant to be like our own.
Stan Lee said that he felt the appeal of Marvel comics was that they were more grounded in reality than DC. He said that Spider-Man lived in New York a real city and not Gotham or Metropolis and thus readers could relate to him more as he was surrounded by every day familiar buildings.
Sadly however I find the floating timeline has undermined this aspect of Marvel’s stories.
Its quite funny reading Spider-Man comics in the 60’s that are set in modern day and then issues in the 2010’s that are set in modern day and thinking that in universe at most 10 years have passed as Spider-Man has gone from a guy in his late teens to his late twenties, even though things like the Vietnam war, Beatlemania, Watergate, 911, the cold war, the end of the Cold war, the Berlin Wall coming down, President Obama being elected have all happened in the Marvel universe.
You don’t run into this problem with the DC Multiverse. Earth Two Batman aged realistically. He was young in the 30’s and by the 70’s he was an old man with an adult daughter.
Also I feel that the Multiverse concept allowed the writers to end their characters storylines too.
I don’t like it when a story just goes on and on with no end in sight. I’m someone who very much likes an ending to a story, which is again why as much as I love the characters why I can get a little bit bored with Marvel at times.
Who cares if a popular character dies in Marvel? You just know he or she is going to come back at some point. Okay granted there a very few exceptions, namely the Stacy family and Uncle Ben, but still with most major villains and heroes who cares?
You know it has to be reset at some point even if there is just a major development like say Spider-Man revealing his identity to the rest of the world. They also can’t have Spider-Man settle down for too long, have a child or anything like that as it ages him. This was why his marriage to Mary Jane was written out, and why Gwen Stacey died and why his infant child was also killed off.
With the multiverse story however DC were actually able to make a big change in Batman from Earth Two’s story and not have to reverse it back to the status quo like Spider-Man.
They actually had Batman marry Catwoman, retire, have a daughter and die!
I understand that its difficult for Marvel to kill characters off or make long term changes to them as these characters are so popular people are always going to want to see new stories with them. You can come up with the best ending for a villain like the Green Goblin (and they did!) but sooner or later, and it can be several decades later, someone will bring him back simply because he is so iconic and beloved.
But that is why the Multiverse is such a good compromise as it allows you to end characters stories, change them in any way you want to and then do new stories with them in another universe. DC did actually kill Batman, and this wasn’t any old Batman. This was the Batman who had been in every issue from the 30’s-mid 50’s, a whole generation’s Batman, but obviously thanks to the Multiverse they didn’t need to stop making Batman comics. Marvel however have killed Captain America about 5 times and always have to bring him back.
Finally another reason I like the Multiverse is like I said before I feel it allows us to explore the idea of alternate universes to a somewhat greater extent than in other works of fiction.
It was really a stroke of genius to make the older versions of Batman and Superman alternate universe versions of the then current versions. That meant that when we visited these alternate versions of the main characters, in some ways we were just as attached to them as the main versions.
These alternate Superman and Batman had been the main characters in hundreds of comic books from the 30’s and 40’s. Thus whilst they may no longer be the current versions, they still aren’t just one off’s from another universe that we don’t really care about. When Batman of Earth Two dies or when Kal L dies in Infinite Crisis that’s a hero for a whole generation kicking the bucket. Its not like the evil Captain Kirk we see for one episode and that’s that.
Thus to me the DC Multiverse is certainly one of the most interesting takes on the idea of parallel universes I have seen in any work of fiction and a much preferable format to the floating time line used by Marvel and adopted by DC after Crisis on Infinite Earth’s.
Why the Multiverse Would Work in Animated Form
I think that the Multiverse could serve as the basis for a new animated franchise similar to the DCAU.
I see it going like this. You would have a Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman and Flash animated series set on earth 2 that are each a single season of say 22 episodes. Then you would follow it up with an animated series based on the Justice Society of America.
After this you could then have feature length specials either shown on TV or straight to DVD that explored the end of these versions of the characters. You could have an adaptation of the Huntress’s origin (which is easily one of my favourite stories), Superman revealing his identity to Lois, Wonder Woman’s last adventure before she and Steve Trevor marry.
Following this you would then have a Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Flash animated series based on their Earth one series followed by a Justice League series. You could have crossover episodes between the old and the new animated series. Barry Allen would meet Jay Garrick and the Huntress would appear in some episodes of Batman, and then you could have big crossover episodes with the Justice League and the Justice Society.
Following this you could have an animatedmini series based on Crisis on Infinite Earth’s that would end with the destruction of previous universes.
You would then have an animated series based on the New Earth Stories which could be followed by an adaptation of Final Crisis which would have a different ending and see the full restoration of the multiverse. You could try adapting the other Crisis stories, but that perhaps might be a bit too much. I think it would be better to have the multiverse restored at the end of Infinite Crisis though you could still have Alexander Luthor and Super boy Prime go evil, but it would have a happier ending with the original universe’s being restored.
I think this would be interesting as it would be the next step on from the DCAU. The DCAU was quite revolutionary as it marked the first time that someone attempted to create a shared universe based on DC outside of the comic books. Of course nowadays shared universes are all the rage. Hollywood has caught on to the idea with the MCU. This would be something different. We’d have completely different interpretations of the same character meet. It would be like having Michael Keaton meet Christian Bale.
Also I think you could exploit the different takes on Batman and Superman there have been over the years. The Earth Two Batman could be drawn like the original and evoke the styles of the old 30’s and 40’s comics. They could be campy but also quite scary.
You could adapt dozens of classic stories from throughout the entire history of DC.
To me it would allow for a lot of interesting different art styles and characterisations across the different animated series.
In the Crisis on Infinite Earth’s you could even have other animated versions of the characters take part. You could have the DCAU Justice League take part in Crisis for instance, and even the filmation version and versions from DC original Animated movies.
I think if done right this could be an amazing animated franchise and a new form of story telling on television.
Earth Two Batman/ Bruce Campell
I think Bruce Campbell would be a good choice to voice the earth two Batman. Remember this version of the character would have to be more camp and ridiculous ala Adam West, though not quite as over the top as that, but still a bit more outrageous at and I think Bruce Campbell would be perfect as does kind of excel at playing cheesy heroes like Ash from the Evil Dead Franchise. He is also a great voice actor and would be able I think to give this version of Batman a lot of personality. At the same time he is a good enough actor that I am sure he would also be able to cope with the more dramatic scenes such as Catwomans death.
Earth Two Joker/ John Hurt
Now this might sound like an odd choice but hear me out here. John Hurt is excellent at playing psychopath’s. Check out his performance as Caligula, the deranged Roman Emperor who thinks he is a god in the classic series I Claudius.
Hurt’s Caligula is one of the vilest villains in the history of television. We’re talking about a man who sleeps with his sister, impregnates her, cuts her pregnant stomach open and eats the fetus, murders his father as a child, torments and sexually assaults his great Grand Mother whilst she is dying and gasping for air, has his step father smothered to death, orders the deaths of countless innocent people, makes his horse a senator and casually chops a young boys head off because his cough bothers him!
If you haven’t seen Hurt as Caligula go and track it down now. I’ll provide some clips below but you should watch all of it. Its as good a performance as Ledger, Hamill and Nicholson as the Joker in terms of being a batshit mental villain.
I could easily see Hurt voicing the Joker in an animated series. His horrible cackle that he used for Caligula would be perfect for the Joker. Hurt is also an accomplished voice actor too so he would be able to project his voice. Whilst the Batman of Earth two would be light, the Joker would be like his original appearances. Darker and more mysterious. They could make his first episode a straight adaptation of the Joker’s debut in the comics. I think it would be better if they didn’t ever reveal this Joker’s origin as we never really found out his origins until the 50’s by which point it was most likely the Earth One Joker, though to be fair they never said when we stopped seeing the adventures of the Earth Two Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman characters.
Still for me John Hurt’s Joker would be scarier if they didn’t reveal his true name or origins. He just shows up and we are left to wonder what could have created this horror.
I think they should also have this Joker kill Batman and Catwoman. Okay it wasn’t the Joker that killed the original Earth 2 Batman but to be fair the villain who did kill him was a bit more forgettable. I think it would be good to have the Joker show up years later like the Dark Knight Returns and finally kill Batman and Catwoman. After he has killed them Helena becomes the Huntress and the Joker is delighted as after killing Batman he would be upset at having lost the only person he felt could keep up with him. That’s the Joker’s dilemma he hates Batman and therefore wants to be the one who wins. He can’t bare the thought that he would die before Batman, but at the same time if he kills Batman he has no real focus left in his life any more.
The Huntress he would view as someone who might be able to keep up with him and would enjoy their fight whilst she would be determined to get him. In the end he would underestimate the Huntress who would be able to best him and the Joker would die by accident when trying to escape the Huntress.
I think this would be a good ending to the Joker to have him triumph over Batman for once and it would also set up the Huntress as a legitimate hero for the next Earth 1 series by having her triumph over her parents killers who weren’t just random thugs, but Batman’s archenemy.
It would be good to have Hurt’s Joker go out with a bang and kill Bruce Campbell!
Earth Two Catwoman/ Michelle Gomez
Now I wasn’t too sure about this at first as Gomez is normally known for playing more insane characters and Catwoman isn’t actually insane. Indeed that’s why Earth Two Catwoman ends up with Batman as she is not truly evil. She doesn’t kill, her crimes aren’t serious (by supervillain standards at least), and she is a good person underneath. She is really more of a mischief maker.
Still I think Gomez would be a good choice for the character as I think she could capture the cheesy campy fun nature of this version of Catwoman. I think for the earth 2 characters you need actors who can really throw themselves into the role, but at the same time have a good enough sense of humour that they wont look too silly doing some of the campier elements so I think Gomez would be a good choice for voicing Catwoman.
Earth Two Clayface/ Matt Berry
Matt would be the perfect choice for this version of Clayface. The original Clay face was an awful ham actor who starred in horror movies who later went crazy and began killing people in the style of his old horror movies.
Really this clay face is like an insane, make that more insane version of Berry’s character from Toast of London, a hilarious British comedy that again if you haven’t seen check it out.
Berry’s Clayface character would be like Vincent Price as Edward Lionheart in Theatre of Blood.
Earth Two Penguin/ Toby Jones
Toby Jones would actually be a not bad choice for the Penguin in a live action series or film, but still I think he would be a good choice for the villain in an animated series. I can imagine him bringing a somewhat light touch to the character, but also being able to inject some moments of menace too, much like his performance as the Dream Lord in Doctor Who.
Doctor Hugo Strange/ Frederic Lehne
Best known for playing Azazel the yellow eyed Demon in Supernatural. It was a show stealing performance and I think he could bring a similar unnerving, sinister quality to Strange. Doctor Hugo Strange was Batman’s original nemesis in the comic books.
Earth Two Superman/ Bruce Boxleitner
Now this character is by far and away the most well developed, complex and interesting of all the earth two heroes. You would need someone who could start out as a cheesy, straight forward all American hero but later has a complete break down after the tragic events of Crisis on Infinite Earth’s and even turns to villainy during the events of Infinite Crisis.
Boxleitner I think could easily capture the likability and the gravitas of the character superbly. Anyone who has seen him as “Nuke em” Sheridan in Babylon 5 will know what a fantastic actor he is.
Earth Two Lois Lane/ Charisma Carpenter
I think Charisma would be a good choice for Lois Lane for many reasons. To start with for Lois I think you need someone who can be a bit sarcastic, a bit cutting, but not ever in a way where you actively dislike her. Charisma played a similar role Cordelia Chase in the Buffy/Angel franchise. Also as seen with her role as Cordelia in various episodes of Angel she can easily cope with the more dramatic and serious aspects of Lois’s character. Earth Two Lois is again much like her Superman arguably the most tragic version of the character and I would love to see Charisma who I feel is sadly somewhat wasted cope with the scenes of Lois losing her world and her final goodbye to Superman.
Alexie Luthor, Earth 2 Lex Luthor/ Peter Capaldi
Alexei Luthor is somewhat more bloodthirsty, vicious and rough around the edges than his successors.
To be fair Lex Luthor is always pretty hardcore. He’s the daddy of all modern day supervillains. Still later Lex’s are obviously more debonair, charming, and sophisticated villains who at least put up a front of being decent guys, even if they are anything but.
This Lex however with his fiery red hair was a more openly vicious character and I would love to see Peter voice him.
I can see him playing him kind of like Malcolm Tucker. We’d probably have to have less swearing but still imagine Lex flipping out at one of his lackeys like this.
You could keep his Scots accent too as after all in Smallville Lex is of Scottish descent, plus that might go with Alexei’s fiery red hair.
This would be a role that would go throughout many different versions rather than just the Earth 2 series. We would see him work alongside the Earth 1 Lex Luthor and Ultraman, the evil earth 3 version of Superman to try and take control of earth 3. That’s a brilliant team up, two generations of Lex Luthor’s trying to rule over Earth 3 with an evil version of their worst enemy and being opposed by a heroic version of themselves.
Also they’d just have to have his death scene in the animated Crisis on Infinite Earth’s. Alexei meets his end when he is gathered by Brainiac alongside a whole host of other DC super villains. Brainiac chooses Lex from Earth 1 to lead them and Alexei gets pissed at the idea of having to be the second rate Luthors lackey. He then goes on a big rant about how his superior and how they don’t need two Luthors only for Brainiac to agree that they don’t need two Luthors and zap him to dust.
Its funny this is how the original version of one of the most iconic supervillains of all time died. The main Lex from the 30’s and 40’s, just zapped by Brainiac and that’s that!
I’d love to see Peter act out this scene. Go on a big Malcolm Tuckeresque rant before just being zapped it’d be brilliant.
Ultra Humanite/ Richard E Grant
Superman’s original archenemy until he was surpassed by Luthor. I think Grant would be great at playing a wittier, more cultured and urbane version of Humanite like that seen in the Justice League animated series. He’s great at playing villains, bullies and generally all around nasty bastards and he has a great voice too so I think he’d be a good choice for any cartoon baddie.
Earth Two Mister Mxlypitlik/ Sylvester McCoy
Might sound like an odd choice at first but when you think about it McCoy does have a reputation for playing oddball, quirky weird almost impish characters. I could easily see him capture Mxyptlik’s crazy mischevious sense of humour.
Earth Two Wonder Woman/ Ingrid Oliver
Ingrid Oliver would be an excellent choice for a live action Wonder Woman too, but that ship has sailed with Gil Gadot who I am sure will be fabulous. Ingrid is a very talented voice actress and she really has one of the most gorgeous voices of all time. I could listen to her speak for years on end. Her voice is just so sensual, pleasing, and sexy. I think that Ingrid would be a good choice for Wonder Woman in particular as she could play the shy, timid and vulnerable Diana Prince, Wonder Woman’s civilian identity and the strong, brave, dashing Wonder Woman no problem.
I admit I am little bit in love with Ingrid Oliver so I might be a bit biased, but still honestly I think she’d be great.
Earth Two Ares/ Clancy Brown
Who better to play a villain than Clancy Brown? I could see his Ares having the calm, scheming nature of Lex Luthor and the savageness of the Kurgan. Really Brown could play a part like this in his sleep.
Earth Two Cheetah Priscilla Rich/ Gina Torres
Gina Torres is quite an effective villain. Check out her performance as Superwoman in the animated movie Justice League Crisis on Two Earth’s.
I think the Earth Two Cheetah would be quite an interesting character for her to play, as she is somewhat more tormented and down trodden than other villains such as the Joker or Lex Luthor, thus she wouldn’t just be another evil dominatrix like Superwoman.
Paula Von Gunther/Miranda Richardson
Wonder Woman’s original recurring adversary, Baroness Von Gunther who is an evil Nazi agent I think would not only be a good adversary for Wonder Woman, but also for the Justice Society of America too. Miranda Richardson has hammed it up brilliantly as a villain many times such as in Sleepy Hollow and I’m sure she could give a suitably crazy performance as Wonder Woman’s Nazi archenemy.
The Flash: Jay Garrick/ James Marsters
James Marsters is a much more versatile actor than people give him credit for. People often think all he can play is just the sarcastic, sexy villain in the black coat, and to be fair thanks to his enduring popularity as Spike he has been somewhat typecast as this type of character.
Still I feel even with his type casting problem he has often managed to make the most of the roles he has been typecast in. Brainiac for instance on paper seems like Spike. Another badass in a long coat, but they are actually polar opposites. Brainiac is a cold emotionless creature that looks down on emotion and even chastises Bizarro for falling in love! It would be harder to find a more emotional villain than Spike, a villain who started out as a terrible, emo poet and a momma’s boy, a villain who regularly sobs, who’s always in love with someone and even calls himself love’s bitch! What would Brainiac think of Spike!
Thus I think James could easily play this very different character superbly too. I can see him bringing both a seriousness and a maturity to the character like Brainiac with a hint of bravado and cockiness that he is known for.
Marsters is also a talented voice actor too remember having already voiced Lex Luthor in Superman: Brainiac Attacks.
Earth Two The Shade/ John Glover
John Glover’s a good choice for a villain. His rich strong, commanding voice would I think be perfect for the Earth two version of the Shade.
The Huntress/ Allison Mack
I really like Allison Mack. I think she has an excellent voice and is very likable and an all around great actress. I can see her capturing the strength and the vulnerability of the Huntress beautifully.
The Huntress has always been a big favourite of mine because she is such a tragic character. Her origin story is very sad the way her mother is not only killed but her reputation is damaged too. Catwoman is forced back into crime by an old henchman who doctors a picture of her attacking someone to make it look like she killed them. Catwoman herself believes it and is racked with guilt, but still agrees to help him so as not to be exposed. After her death Batman her husband discovers the truth, and though the Huntress is eventually able to prove that the picture was a fake, her mother still died believing she had killed an innocent man.
Her story also comes to a heartbreaking end too in Crisis on Infinite Earths. She is among the few heroes from earth two who is not wiped from existence when it is merged into New Earth as she was in a battle at the dawn of time when it happened.
When she returns to the present on New Earth she discovers that no one knows who she is, that everyone she ever knew has been wiped from history.
Later she dies whilst trying to save several children. Her death is so low key, even though its in the middle of something as cosmic as Crisis on Infinite Earth’s. She is knocked unconscious, and along with her Robin, crushed and burned to death by the Anti Monitor’s minions. No one mourns her because no one remembers her. Its such a sad end for her to die at the hands of some anonymous Demon in a world where she doesn’t belong, but at the very least her last act is to help innocent bystanders who were caught in the middle of this ultimate battle between good and evil.
Thus you would need an actress with a lot of gravitas to do the Huntress’s tragic story justicee and I think Allison Mack has demonstrated throughout her career that she can cope with scenes with extreme emotional content.
Earth One Batman/ David Boreanaz
Now this actor who is best known (to genre fans at least) as Angel is once again I think a much better actor than people give him credit for. Take a look at his performances as Angel and Angelous. Two such drastically different characters, its like literally playing Batman and the Joker at the same time! Indeed it could be argued that he gave the best performance in the series as I feel he was given the hardest task of playing two such drastically different characters more so than anybody else.
He is also a good voice actor too having provided voice work for the DC Universe Animated movie range. Also I think his most famous character Angel is somewhat similar to Batman anyway.
He is tall, dark, brooding, sits alone in the dark most of the time, is a detective, prowls the streets fighting crime (and monsters). Really I think David could be a brilliant Batman.
Earth One Batman I think would tend to draw on the 70’s stories more and be a much darker character as a result.
Earth One Joker/ Tim Curry
Now not the most original choice. Curry was up for the role of the clown prince of crime twice. First in 1989 he was their second choice if Jack Nicholson had said no and for the 90’s animated series he was actually cast as the Joker and recorded about 7 episodes worth of dialogue before they recast him with Mark Hamill. Different reasons have been given as to why Curry was replaced. Paul Dini states that although Curry was excellent, his interpretation was too dark and frightening, whilst Bruce Timm later said that Curry couldn’t sustain the laugh for long periods as his smoking habit made him cough and gag.
Whatever the case I say it should be third time lucky for Tim and he should be cast as the Earth One Joker.
I think that his Joker could become one of the all time greats. He’s already had experience playing an evil psychopathic clown in Stephen King’s IT.
As terrifying as Tim Curry can be I think it would be great to see the Earth One Joker start out as more light hearted character.
After all this is how the character started out in the comics. The Earth One Joker started appearing when the Comics Code Authority stamped down hard on Batman, blaming it for causing violent behaviour among youngsters, the Joker thus who had previously been a vicious psychopath was re-imagined as a silly, camp, harmless buffoon.
Later during the 70’s DC were finally able to restore the Joker to his roots again in the story Joker’s Five Way Revenge, which featured him try and murder his former henchman who had betrayed him one by one.
I think you could work this into the story of the show. The Earth one Joker would start out as a camp character. Whilst Curry is a menacing villain I think its safe to say he can also play camp characters quite well.
Thus Curry’s Joker would start off as a more silly character and the audience would think that the show was going for a more old school take on the clown prince of crime. As time went on however we would see him gradually descend into darkness. His fixation with Batman would start out relatively harmless. He’d simply enjoy matching wits with Batman but the more he lost and was humiliated the more, hateful and bitter he’d become to the point where he was obsessed with not only destroying Batman but making him suffer in general.
I think this would be an interesting new take on the Joker outside of the comics and it would allow the writers to adapt some of the earlier campier stories and the later darker 70’s strips such as Joker’s Five Way Revenge or my favourite This One’ll Kill You Batman, which featured the Joker poisoning Batman with a special brand of Smilex (Joker Venom) which not only causes him to laugh at terrible things (such as murders, crime and even bad jokes) uncontrollably but it will also cause him to laugh himself to death in 24 hours. The Joker plans to kill the only man who has a cure for this poison using a guillotine.
I’d just love to see this scene animated with Tim Curry voicing the Joker.
You could also have Tim’s Joker pop up on the Justice League animated series by adapting the Snapper Carr Super Traitor story which saw the Joker expose the whereabouts of the Justice League’s base.
I think you’d need to give Tim Curry’s Joker a suitably big exit too. In the comic books the Earth one Joker and the Earth one Batman never had a final showdown.
In the animated version I’d like to see them adapt the Joker and Batman’s final showdown from The Nail as the final battle between the animated Earth One Joker and Batman.
For those of you who haven’t read The Nail its an Elseworlds story, part of a series of DC comics that are set in an alternate universe.
In this story Jimmy Olsen is a villain having become infected with Kryptonian DNA. Jimmy gives the Joker super powered Kryptonian gauntlets which he uses to cause havoc. He succeeds in capturing Batman and forces him to watch as he tortures Batgirl and Robin to death.
Thankfully we don’t see exactly what it is the Joker does to Batgirl and Robin, but based on the Joker’s comments and Catwoman who sees their bodies afterwards it was a very nasty and messy way Robin and Batgirl died.
Its also disturbing the way Batgirl and Robin beg Batman for help whilst being tortured. Normally you don’t expect the heroes to beg even when they are faced with certain death, but clearly what the Joker does to them is so horrible it breaks them in a matter of seconds.
Imagine this scene with Tim Curry voicing the Joker. It would be terrifying!
Naturally after escaping the Jokers clutches, thanks to Catwoman who attacks the Joker in rage, Batman is really pissed. So much so he actually kills the Joker after giving him the beating of a life time by snapping his neck like a twig.
You’d need to change the rest of the story of course. You couldn’t have Jimmy Olsen become a villain. Perhaps this story could come at the end of the Justice League series and would lead into Crisis on Infinite Earth’s with the villain being one of the Anti Monitors demons that makes its way into our earth and grants the Joker powers.
You could even adapt the sequel Another Nail. In that story a rip in Dimensions allows the Clown Prince of Crime’s spirit to escape from Hell itself! The Joker drags Batman’s soul to hell and starts torturing him with several Demons, though Batman manages to escape and kicks the Joker back into hell before being rescued by the spirits of Batgirl and Robin allowing him to finally move on from their deaths.
You could have this be included in the first part of the animated Crisis on Infinite Earth’s itself with the rip in realities being caused by the Anti Monitor instead. Batman would go missing before the Anti Monitor showed up after which once he had beaten the Joker he would rejoin the other members of the Justice League for the final battle against the Anti Monitor (for all the good it would do).
I’ve always loved the way the Joker and Batman actually had a rematch in Hell, and once again it would be brilliant to see it animated with Tim Curry!
A feud like this never ends. Seriously as if a silly little thing like death would end a feud this intense!
Whilst Tim Curry would be a brilliant choice for the Joker, sadly he recently suffered a stroke and has been confined to a wheelchair. Fortunately he is still able to speak and has even done some voice over work since. Sadly his health and his age mean that he could no longer play the Joker (except for possibly the version in The Dark Knight Returns) in live action any more, but he could still provide the voice for the character.
Like I said it would be third time lucky and the Earth one Joker who ends like The Nail Joker would be a brilliant version for him to play.
Earth One Catwoman/ Katie McGrath
Katie is an actress I rate very highly. She has had a number of high profile roles such as Morgana in Merlin and most recently as the ill fated Zara in Jurassic World.
Okay make that VERY ill fated.
I must be the only person who liked this scene? As a fan of Katie I was sad when I saw her role was so small, but when I saw this scene I was happy as I realized that she has the one scene in this film that EVERYONE will always remember.
I think Katie would be good as the earth one Catwoman as this version of Catwoman is a somewhat darker character. We see this when the Huntress, the Earth 2 Catwoman’s daughter meets her and wonders if she can be redeemed like her mother.
I think Katie would be able to capture the darker elements of this character, but at the same time still make her sympathetic enough that you could have this Catwoman still ultimately redeem herself. Once again just like the Joker you’d use the Nail ending where Catwoman joins Batman’s side after she see’s what the Joker does to Batgirl and Robin. Their slow, agonizing, gory deaths horrify her to such an extent that she decides to turn her back on crime and help Batman fight people like the Joker. She even becomes Batman’s new partner and the two enter into a relationship. I think this would make a good ending to the Earth One Batman and Catwoman, having them both get together just as the universe is about to end in the Crisis on Infinite Earth’s saga.
Katie is a massive comic book and sci fi fan so i think she would really throw herself into the role too.
The Riddler/ Matt Smith
I think Matt could easily capture the quirkiness and mad sense of humour of this character superbly. I would see his Riddler as being more of a mischief maker than a true figure of evil like the Joker.
Earth One Superman/ Jensen Ackles
I think Jensen would be an excellent choice for Supes as he does have a very strong, heroic, cheesy (in a good way) voice that would suit the character fine. He is also a great voice actor too as seen in his brilliant work in Under the Red Hood when he voiced Jason Todd.
Superman would be a more traditional hero for him to play. Normally Jensen’s characters like Dean Winchester or Jason Todd tend to be flawed characters so it would be quite a nice change to see Ackles play a straight down the middle good guy.
Earth One Lex Luthor/ David Warner
David Warner is probably one of the most acclaimed voice actors of all time. Indeed along with Mark Hamill, Clancy Brown and Tim Curry he is really the voice of 90’s villainy. A role like Lex Luthor would be easy for him and he could really capture the characters charm and ruthlessness.
Earth One Mr Mxylpitlik/ Mark Shephard
Mark Sheppard is a brilliant actor who I think would be a good choice for this version of Mxypltilik as he would capture the characters humour and sense of mischief, yet at the same time I think he would also give us a much darker portrayal of the character. The earth one version of the character after all was shown to be more willing to kill people than his predecessor and thus you’d need an actor who could seem likable at first but culd become sinister later on.
Brainiac/ Simon Templeman
Yeah big surprise! In all fairness though I think Templeman would be a great choice for Brainiac as his voice is strong, yet somewhat unnerving and menacing at the same time.
Earth One Wonder Woman/ Eliza Dushku
An obvious choice that I am not the first to suggest as the photoshopped picture above shows. Still I think Eliza would be a good choice for Earth One Wonder Woman. I think you could make this version of Wonder Woman a bit more arrogant much like the incarnation seen in the Justice League cartoons which would be quite a nice contrast with Ingrid’s that I would see as being more laid back. Eliza has recently begun voice acting having already played as high profile roles as Catwoman and She Hulk. Added to that the fact that she is a big comic book and sci fi fan and I think you’ve got the perfect fit for Wonder Woman.
Doctor Psycho/ Mark Hamill
Now obviously I think Mark was amazing as the Joker, but the reason I am not suggesting him as the Joker is because Mark has said that he will not be reprising the role of the Clown Prince of Crime ever again, apart for an animated version of the Killing Joke. So there is no point in suggesting him for The Joker again. For what its worth though I would love to see him and Clancy Brown reprise their roles as the Joker and Luthor for an animated adaptation of Salvation Run, but hey if that’s Hamill’s choice that’s that and we should all respect his decision as he has already given us twenty years of excellent Joker performances.
Fortunately Mark has not ruled out playing supervillains in general and thus I think he would be a good choice for Doctor Psycho. Psycho is one of Wonder Woman’s vilest villains. A twisted misogynist he is a natural enemy for one of the most iconic female heroes and I think if done right he could be a really effective villain.
Barry Allen/ The Flash/ Nathan Fillion
In live action Fillion would obviously be a much better choice for Hal Jordan, but in animation I think he could also be a good choice for Barry Allen too. He’s a good leading man and a talented voice actor too and a comic book fan.
The Anti Monitor/ Michael Sheen
I think Sheen would be a good choice for the Anti Monitor based on his performance as House the evil entity in the Doctor Who episode The Doctors Wife. Based on that performance he can clearly project his voice in an effective way and he also makes a brilliant villain. Imagine The Anti Monitor with House’s voice!
New Earth Batman/ Peter Serafincowicz
Peter’s a great voice actor who has an extensive career across many different mediums. I think he would be a great choice for Batman as he has quite a deep voice naturally and being quite a gifted mimic who can pull many different voices and accents I’d imagine he’d be able to come up with a totally different voice for both Bruce Wayne and Batman.
New Earth Joker/ David Tennant
Now I have suggested this in the past so I wont go into too much detail again here. Tennant I think is an excellent choice for the Joker for a number of reasons. To start with he is excellent at playing psychopaths. Check out his performances as Barty Crouch JR in the Harry Potter films (his mannerisms particularly the horrible little tongue flick he does remind me slightly of Heath Ledger as the Joker) and also as Kilgrave in the Jessica Jones tv series.
Also as he is best known as a sci fi hero to millions of people around the world (much like Mark Hamill was) so I think it would be a wonderful case of going against type.
I would love to see Tennant acting out many of the New Earth Joker’s vilest moments. We’d have to leave out the Killing Joke as they are already doing an animated version of it starring Mark Hamill. Though we could always have a flashback too it. Still it would be great watching him murder Sarah Essen, torture President Luthor, (and beat him up in Salvation Run) and during I would love to see an adaptation of Emperor Joker too. Tennant would be excellent in that. They could make that an animated movie that was part of this canon. Ditto Salvation Run.
Whilst Tennant would be excellent in a live action series as he looks the part, he could still play the role in animation and I would love to see him get a crack at it.
New Earth Catwoman/ Naomie Harris
One of my favourite actresses, I think Naomie would be a great choice for Catwoman. She’d treat the role very seriously which would match the more serious tone of the new earth comics. I think she would also bring a lot of gravitas to the role too.
New Earth Penguin/ Jason Watkins
Again much like Harris and Tennant Watkins would actually be a good choice for a live action version of the Penguin. His role as the Penguin would not be too dissimilar to his performance as Herrick the Vampire king in Being Human as Herrick is a sort of crime lord like the Penguin.
Ra’s Al Ghul/ Ralph Fiennes
He is excellent at playing villains and if he did take on the role he could say that he has been Harry Potter and Batman’s archenemy.
New Earth Superman/ Tom Ellis
Again he wouldn’t be a bad choice for a live action Superman as he does look the part, but still he could also be a good choice to play the character in animation too. Even though he is British he can do a good American accent. I think Superman always has to be played by someone who can do a good American accent. You can’t have someone say “truth justice the American way” in a British accent after all.
New Earth Lois Lane/ Jenna Coleman
Okay maybe not everybody likes Clara, but I think most people would agree that Jenna Coleman was a great actress. Once again she is someone who would be perfect for a live action Lois as she looks the part.
Still whether she plays the role in animation or live action I can definitely see Jenna being great at Lois’s snappy one liners, capturing her confidence and her sass perfectly.
New Earth Lex Luthor/ Ken Bones
Yet again another actor who would be great for a live action version of the character. Ken Bones is best known for playing the General in the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who episode. Sadly his character or rather his version of the character was killed off in the season 9 finale.
Ken Bones is a truly gifted actor with a very strong, powerful voice and just like he did with the General in Doctor Who I’m sure he would be able to bring a lot of gravitas and depth to the new earth version of Luthor.
Darkseid/ Charles Dance
One of the best villain actors of all time Dance would certainly be menacing as Superman, and really DC’s most evil and twisted villain.
New Earth Wonder Woman/ Lucy Lawless
Now technically Lucy has already played Wonder Woman in an animated movie, Justice League Final Frontier, but I think it would be good if she got a chance to play it in a series as I think there is more she could bring to the role as it really is the perfect part for her.
Its just such a shame that they never made a Wonder Woman movie in the eaarly 00’s and cast Lucy then.
I mean really I can’t think of anyone who looks like Wonder Woman more than Lawless. She’d still be perfect for the role, but again Gadot has been cast. Its only fair I suppose as Lucy has Xena an iconic female character anyway, but still I cannot believe that DC never bothered to cast Lucy in the early 00’s.
The biggest missed opportunity in the history of comic book movies.
Circe/ Katey Sagal
Katey Sagal is a brilliant actress and a voice actress, but incredibly enough throughout her long and varied career she has never really been given an out and out villain to play. She’s come close mind and played some unsympathetic characters like Peggy Bundy, but still I think it would be nice to see her play a totally villainous character and as Wonder Woman’s nemesis she’d certainly give Lucy Lawless a strong personality to play off.
New Earth Cheetah/ Michelle Gomez
Okay I know I have already said she should be Catwoman but she can be two parts across two whole universes. Whilst Catwoman would give her a chance to play a more sympathetic character, Cheetah would be a chance for a more classic Michelle type of a character, a real psychopath. Once again she’d give Lawless’s Wonder Woman a very strong and charismatic villain to play off of. I’d also love to see the Injustice League episode that has Gomez’s Cheetah, Tennant’s Joker and Bones’s Luthor team up too.
Wally West/ The Flash/ Chris Pratt
I tend to imagine Wally West as being a more cocky, confident character as I grew up with the Justice League animated series where he was always portrayed this way. Thus I can easily imagine Chris Pratt bringing a similar swagger to the character.
Gorilla Grodd/ Brian Blessed
I’d love to see Brian Blessed voice Grodd. He’d really bring the character ALIVE! I’d love to see him voice the scene where Grodd murders Brain and Monsieur Mallah in particular.
Read that scene with Grodd’s voice sounding like Brian Blessed and its better.
Thank you for reading. I am aware that I obviously haven’t given suggestions for all of the characters as that would take too long. If you have any suggestions for other characters let me know in the comments and obviously let me know what you think of my choices too.
Until next time.