"Rebirth" is the two-part premiere of Batman Beyond. It depicts Batman's retirement when Bruce Wayne steps down, and later rebirth as Terry McGinnis years afterward. After Bruce becomes aware of his declining health and lays down his mantle, Gotham City is without its protector for twenty years until Terry discovers the secret then takes the Batsuit to avenge his father's murder, which revives Batman in Gotham City.
In an airplane hangar just outside of Gotham City, a group of kidnappers watch a news report about a failed attempt by Derek Powers to take over Wayne Enterprises. The news also states that the kidnappers have failed to release their hostage Bunny Vreeland in spite of being paid five million dollars in ransom. As it turns out, they plan to execute Bunny and make a getaway with the money. Fortunately for her, Batman arrives, wearing a new suit that lacks a cape but features retractable wings and jet boots along with increased strength, flexibility, propulsion, agility and other abilities.
Batman manages to subdue most of the kidnappers with limited effort, although he does get a brief crippling chest pain afterwards. However, just as he is about to untie Bunny, the thug leader ends up ambushing him with a wrench (with Bunny attempting to warn Batman of the oncoming attack by gasping). As the Caped Crusader is engaging the last thug, he is suddenly struck by crippling chest pain severe enough to bring him to the floor. The last kidnapper, wielding an oversized wrench, unleashes a savage attack. As he continues his vicious battering, he smugly comments how Batman had been getting in the way of people like him since he was a kid. Unable to defend himself and in serious danger, Batman snatches up a weapon dropped by one of the other kidnappers in desperation... a handgun. As surprised as Batman is to see what he has done, his attacker runs off fearfully, before being intercepted by the arriving police.
Injured, Batman limps outside the hangar. He removes his mask and reveals a gray-haired, older appearance. Upon realizing he was wielding a handgun, something he had sworn he would never do, Bruce is enveloped in absolute horror and revulsion; it was that very class of weapon that violently ended the lives of his parents, and what drove him to become Batman. He then drops the gun and walked away in shame.
Back at the Batcave, he puts the Batsuit in the costume display gallery alongside his other crime fighter costumes and his original batsuit that he used to wear as Batman. Realizing that he has grown too old for crimefighting anymore, he takes one last look at the Batcave from the top of the stairs and solemnly vows...
He then shuts off the lights, and leaves his past in the darkness.
Twenty years pass and Gotham City has changed much in this time, according to a current newscast. Derek Powers has managed to take control of Wayne-Powers, and has been increasing his power and wealth by gobbling up smaller businesses.
A teenager dressed as a clown climbs onto a public elevator and starts making trouble. Just then, Terry McGinnis deals with the clown and grumbles "Jokerz". At school, he gets into a fight with Nelson Nash which gets him into trouble.
Back at Terry's house, his father Warren McGinnis gets a desperate message from his co-worker Harry Tully. He meets with his co-worker who has several dark patches on his skin. Tully gives Warren a disk and is dragged off by Mr. Fixx, a large man who works for Powers.
Powers summons Warren to "clear up" any misunderstanding. He explains that Tully simply had an accident, but he's going to be fine. Powers also asks if Warren has anything Tully gave to him, which Warren denies.
Upon returning home, Warren reviews the data on the disk and becomes distressed and shocked at the information on the disk. Terry tells him that he's leaving but Warren forbids it as Terry's grounded, despite the fact that he didn't start the fight. After a brief argument Terry leaves in anger. As he leaves, Powers's hit man Fixx watches and grins, seeing that Warren is now alone.
Terry heads out to a nightclub and meets up with his girlfriend Dana Tan. While he talks to her, Nelson arrives but before any trouble can start, a whole gang of clowns known as the Jokerz arrive and start wreaking havoc. One of the Jokerz goes on top of Nelson's car. J-Man briefly grabs Dana on his motorcycle before getting a punch from Terry. Terry starts fighting them but when reinforcements arrive, Terry is forced to flee on one of their motorcycles.
The gang chases Terry down a seldom-used road and Terry swerves to avoid hitting an old man, which causes him to fall. The Jokerz catch up with him. Just then, the old man reveals himself as Bruce Wayne, and demands that the Jokerz leave, but they attack instead. Together, he and Terry manage to fight off the gang but Bruce suffers from his weak heart. Terry takes him inside and gives him his medicine but the old man falls asleep and his dog Ace prevents Terry from leaving, so Terry decides to call his father so he can pick him up. While trying to call his father, Terry notices a bat trapped in Bruce's clock and frees it. However, as he does so, he discovers a secret passage that leads into the Batcave. Upon seeing the costumes, Terry learns Bruce's secret but Bruce attacks him from behind and angrily throws him out.
Upon returning home, Terry finds his house in shambles and the words "ha, ha, ha" written in graffiti all over the house. The police are there as is his mother. Terry asks what happened and where's his father. They inform Terry that Warren has been killed, and the Jokerz are apparently responsible.
After the funeral, a grief-stricken Terry moves into his mother's house and tearfully expresses his regret for not being there to help his father, especially since he was grounded in the first place and refused to listen and realized that he should've been there and could've done something. However, Terry discovers the disk among his stuff, and after reviewing the data, he begins to suspect that the Jokerz may not have been responsible, and runs off, but Powers' people are watching and see that they have found the disc they're looking for. Terry goes to Wayne Manor after Dana drops him off there and tells Bruce what's happening over the gate intercom. Bruce pretends to ignore him, but eventually lets Terry in to investigate.
Bruce reviews the data on the disk and discovers that Wayne-Powers is making a nerve gas that can completely destroy healthy cells. As he fumes over this information, Terry assesses the final Batsuit. Bruce tells him to not touch the suit and leave the suit alone and tells him to take the disk to Commissioner Barbara Gordon. Terry wants Bruce to do something about it but he refuses, saying that Batman is no more, and Terry leaves.
As Terry walks away distraught, Derek Powers and his henchman Mr. Fixx nearly run him down with their limo and demand the disk back. Terry tells Powers that his dad told him to never take rides from strangers, but Powers tells Terry that his dad is gone and tells him that he just wants the disk. Terry initially gives it to Powers, but Terry gives back the disk and manages to escape with his life, knowing now that Powers will be looking for him.
Later that day, Kaznian Minister of Commerce Vilmos Egans arrives in Gotham and is greeted by Powers. At Wayne Manor, Bruce is watching this on TV, when he hears Ace barking and finds that he's been tied up. Bruce releases Ace, then follows him to the Batcave, revealing that the power suit has been stolen.
Terry, in the suit, clumsily flies towards the Wayne-Powers tower and eavesdrops on a conversation between Powers and Egans. As evidence of the gas's lethality, Powers shows Egans footage of the gas being tested on plants, then on a calf, and then photographs of Tully after his accident. Egans is impressed, and Powers assures him that the gas will be shipped out that very night; his assistant Mr. Fixx will personally see to it. After Egans leaves, however, Powers is concerned that Terry is still alive. Fixx tells him not to worry, revealing that he is the one who killed Warren.
Security guards discover Terry and attack. The guards also proceed to call Derek and inform him of Batman's arrival, or at the very least the arrival of someone wearing a similar outfit, causing Derek, who was already on his way to the docks, to express some concern to Fixx. With the power of the suit, Terry is able to evade them with ease but he receives a call from Bruce, who demands the suit to be returned but Terry refuses. Angered, Bruce activates a kill switch on the suit, paralyzing Terry. The guards now find that he can no longer fight back and pummel him. One of them then aims a gun. Bruce shows mercy on Terry and reactivates the suit. With his power back, Terry manages to fight off and evade the guards again.Bruce tells Terry of an escape route he had built into the building, allowing him to evade the guards. He still demands the return of his suit, while Terry wants to go to the transport pad to stop the shipment. Bruce threatens to shut off the suit again, this time, permanently. Terry pleads, reminding Bruce of his parents' death and saying that this is his one chance to catch his father's killer. Bruce gives in. Terry makes his way to the hover docks and discovers Powers and Fixx supervising the loading of the gas. He is attacked by more security guards. On Powers's orders, Fixx gets into the hovercraft and takes off, while Powers stays behind to deal with Terry. Terry throws a Batarang, which Powers shoots out of the air with ease. Terry then throws a gas canister, which Powers shoots without thinking, exposing himself to the gas. Terry flies after the hovercraft. Boarding the hovercraft, Terry confronts the pilot, only to find that the vehicle is on autopilot, and is ambushed by Fixx, armed with electrified knuckle dusters. Terry, now officially declaring himself Batman, manages to fight him off and knocks him into the ships controls. The hovercraft falls into the ocean, burying its cargo and Fixx together.
That morning, Terry's mother wakes him and tells him that Bruce is there to see him. Bruce tells Terry's mother that Terry saved his life and defended him from the Jokerz and he tried to reward him, but Terry refused. Bruce offers Terry a job as a part-time assistant, which Terry accepts, knowing that the offer is really to become the new Batman.
Back at Wayne-Powers, Powers is exposed to intense radiation to eliminate the gas. The radiation succeeded in saving his life. However, the radiation therapy, combined with the gas's mutagenic properties, radically altered Powers's body. He is now emitting radiation so powerful that his skin is now translucent, and he appears as a glowing green skeleton. Seeing himself in the mirror, Powers begins laughing maniacally.
- This is chronologically the second time that Bruce uses a gun in the DC Animated Universe after the Justice League Unlimited episode "Dead Reckoning" when Deadman briefly takes over his body.
- Terry believes something happened to Bruce besides getting old, alluding to various reasons.
- Warren tells Terry that they will meet with Terry's school counselor, later introduced in the episode "Spellbound" as Dr. Ira Billings, who is secretly the supervillain Spellbinder.
- Kaznia continues to remain a source of considerable political unrest.
- Terry using the secret passage in the broom closet of Wayne-Powers' building calls back to when Bruce used a similar passage in Wayne Enterprises' building in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Heart of Steel, Part I".
- Mr. Fixx's electric knuckle dusters used against Terry are similar to Bruce's in the Justice League episodes "Secret Origins, Part II" and "Starcrossed, Part I" and the Justice League Unlimited episodes "Clash" and "Destroyer".
- Terry's showdown with Mr. Fixx is similar to Bruce's showdowns with Mister Freeze and the Scarecrow in the The New Batman Adventures episodes "Cold Comfort" and "Never Fear" respectively.
- Bruce later uses the kill switch for the Batsuit in "Lost Soul" to try to temporarily stop Robert Vance but it then gets destroyed.
- Derek Powers' radiation therapy altered his appearance into the villainous metahuman Blight that Terry later confronts in "Meltdown" and "Ascension".
- Bruce probably figured the day would come when someone would become a successor, having encountered Terry in an alternate timeline in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Once and Future Thing Part Two: Time, Warped".
- Many of the events that occurred in this episode are alluded upon in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. Also, Terry discovers a similar scene to Warren McGinnis's murder after discovering that the Joker had gassed Bruce.
Home video releases
- Batman Beyond The Movie (VHS)
- Batman Beyond The Movie (DVD)
- Batman Beyond - Season One (DVD)
- Batman Beyond - The Complete Series (DVD)
- DC Comics Super-Villains: The Joker's Last Laugh (DVD)
- In the commentary, Bruce Timm stated he voiced the Jokerz Leader because the actor originally cast for the part just didn't have it, and Timm showed him how he imagined the character. Though Timm never stated who was originally cast, Rino Romano's (outdated) official site still has him credited as the Jokerz Leader. Romano is credited on the episode as "Kidnapper", and only has a couple of lines ("Hey kid, you're on TV"), suggesting it was a bit part at first.
- Ace's barks and growls are that of an actual dog unlike in subsequent appearances.
- Derek Powers' security guards' uniforms are similar to the Kryptonian soldiers' battlesuits in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Blasts From the Past".
- Harry Tully gives Warren McGinnis a mini-disc containing incriminating evidence. But in the end of Part I, the disc is a full size one. Yet in Part II, the disc changes back to its original size.
- Part I was nominated for an Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Television Production.
- Though it is not directly stated, Bruce Wayne's final fight takes place twenty years after Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures (and ten years after Justice League and Justice League Unlimited).
- Bruce's vow "Never again" comes from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns.
- The Club 54 Level that Terry McGinnis and Dana Tan are waiting in line for is possibly an allusion to Studio 54, Manhattan's famous 1970s nightclub.
- The Jokerz motorcycle chase with Terry is reminiscent of that featured in the anime film AKIRA, a chase which ended when the character Tetsuo Shima nearly crashed into a wrinkled-up little boy named Takashi.
- Smirk's threat ("Let's put a smile on his face") to Terry is later said by the Joker in the 2008 film The Dark Knight.
- Terry's comment ("Back off, Scooby, it's me.") to Ace at the end of Part I is an obvious reference to iconic cartoon character Scooby-Doo. Frank Welker (Ace's voice actor in all subsequent appearances) took over the role of Scooby-Doo following Don Messick's death.
- As the hovercraft sinks, the front window can be seen shattering. Whether this was to leave an opening for Mr. Fixx to return if the writers decided to bring him back or not is unknown.
- Batman (Terry McGinnis) indirectly turning Derek Powers into Blight with a chemical accident mirrors how Batman (Bruce Wayne) caused the Joker's origin of being turned into his disfigured self by falling into a vat of chemicals. Also, Blight's laughter when after seeing his new appearance resembles Joker's reaction in Batman: The Killing Joke to seeing himself for the first time. Lastly, the disfigurement in both cases leads to a villain mirroring Batman (black and white and light and dark), and both archenemies turning each other into their respective alter-egos mirrored Batman and Joker in the 1989 film Batman.
- The abducted girl is Veronica Vreeland's daughter.
|Will Friedle|| Terry McGinnis / Batman|
|Kevin Conroy||Bruce Wayne / Batman|
|Lauren Tom|| Dana Tan|
|Sherman Howard||Derek Powers|
|Ryan O'Donohue||Matt McGinnis|
|Michael Gross||Warren McGinnis|
|Teri Garr||Mary McGinnis|
|Seth Green||Nelson Nash|
|Bruce Timm||Jokerz Leader|
|George Takei||Mr. Fixx|
|Yvette Lowenthal||Chelsea Cunningham|
|Sam McMurray||Harry Tully|
|Jack Roth||Virtual Newsman|
|CCH Pounder||Anchor Woman|
|Marc Worden||Joker on Monorail|
|Corey Burton||Vilmos Egans|
Bruce Wayne: Never again.
Terry: (pushes intercom button) Come on, I know you're in there! (no answer) Listen to me! Something stinks in your company! I think it cost my old man his life! (pulls out disk) The answer's on this! I'd take it to the cops but you know how cozy they are with Powers! How about you taking a look? (still no answer) Yeah, I should've known you wouldn't care. You're no Batman, ya whacked out old fraud!
Terry: You have to do something! You're Batman!
Terry: Something happened to you, didn't it? And wasn't just that you got old.
Mr. Fixx: You're pretty strong, for some clown who thinks he's Batman.
Bruce: I should warn you, I can be a difficult taskmaster. I accept nothing short of excellence in all who work for me.