Kevin Conroy Almost Played Batman in ‘Gotham Knights,’ Showrunners Reveal!

Kevin Conroy Almost Played Batman in 'Gotham Knights,' Showrunners Reveal!
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To many Batman fans, the ultimate version of the character on the screen was the voice interpretation by the late Kevin Conroy. Conroy played Batman in numerous adaptations, but it all started with Batman: The Animated Series, arguably the best animated series in history. Conroy passed away in 2022 due to cancer and his last performance as The Dark Knight will be in Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Three, which is a posthumous appearance that will once again reunite Conroy’s Batman with Mark Hamill’s Joker.

Although Conroy actually got the chance to appear as a live-action version of Batman in the Batwoman episode “Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two,” which was part of a major Arrowverse crossover, he was supposed to make another live-action appearance in the canceled one-season show, Gotham Knights, according to the series’ showrunners.

Gotham Knights co-showrunners, James Stoteraux and Chad Fiveash, appeared in the latest episode of The Showrunner Whisperer, an original podcast hosted by the Multiverse of Color portal, and they revealed some exclusive information about the Gotham Knights series, including who their first choice for Batman in an unfilmed episode was.

Namely, fans of the series will know that Batman does have a brief cameo in the series; he was portrayed by David Miller (uncredited), as the character is actually found murdered in the series. Stoteraux and Fiveash actually explained that they were given permission by DC to use a fully-suited Batman for one episode, and they revealed that they wanted to adapt a scene from The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller’s pivotal graphic novel:

James Stoteraux: One of the things that I don’t know if we’ve quite exactly talked about [is that] we were given permission for one episode to be able to use Batman for Gotham Knights. 

Chad Fiveash: Like a full-suited Batman.

James Stoteraux: There was a scene from The Dark Knight Returns that we wanted to do. It was Robin’s audition sides; the interaction between her and Batman. Everyone loved the scene, and we felt it was important to Robin’s backstory to show this meeting. It was one of those things where, initially, there was a bit of reluctance for that. But our executives really fought and said, ‘Look, I think that this is the perfect setup and way to do this. You get this one scene you can do.’

Source: Multiverse of Color

When asked about who their choice for Batman was – as Jensen Ackles had been pushed by the media at the time – they revealed, surprisingly, that they actually wanted legendary Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy in the role! Here is what they said:

Chad Fiveash: We were also very clear about the fact that this is a flashback, and Bruce Wayne/Batman is dead in our universe. But Carrie talks about it in the show, or at least alludes to it. We were very clear that this is not going to become the Carrie/Batman show. We weren’t trying to do an inrun or anything. It was very much part of our history, but it’s gonna stay there in history.

James Stoteraux: It’s one of those things where they gave us permission, and then unfortunately, who would have played that role – it’s just sort of devastating – was Kevin Conroy. [He] was too sick at that point. He was always my favorite Batman, and we were dealing with an older Batman. You can still see in some of the DNA of things, like for the pilot, [we] used a photo double, and it’s not quite an accident that the photo double looks a lot like Kevin. That was very much intentional, and it was one of those things where we just weren’t able to, but we wanted to do it. 

We didn’t want to just do this with a random person. We felt like it was important [to have] somebody of Kevin’s stature and somebody that had this gravitas and obviously, he was the right age for that. That was initially the plan, and it was obviously very sad that he died, but we didn’t want to do it just by slotting somebody in there. And then [laughs] Misha [Collins] was trying to bring in Jensen [Ackles], which would have been awesome. But ultimately, it was one of those things where we wanted it to be impactful, and we wanted [it] to be someone that had a lot of gravitas. If we weren’t able to pull that off, we didn’t want to do it [just] to do it. That’s why that never ended up happening, but DC was really terrific about trying to help us make that happen.

Chad Fiveash: We had the scene, that was the audition side as you mentioned, and I was like, ‘It’s never gonna happen. It’s never gonna happen.’ Unfortunately it didn’t, but not because DC wasn’t onboard because they loved the scene and everything. It was just a lot of things that I wish we could have [made happen].

Source: Multiverse of Color

As you can see, the story is both epic and heartbreaking at the same time, as the showrunners explained. We have no doubt that Conroy would have done an amazing job with the role, and we’re just sad that we never got to see it.

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