DC Animated Universe

"The Once and Future Thing Part Two: Time, Warped" is the 13th episode of the first season of Justice League Unlimited, and the 13th of the overall series. It first aired on January 29, 2005.


See Part One: Weird Western Tales

The Jokerz have been "upgraded" with cybernetic weapons that are advanced even for that time, and the combined Justice League and JLU have no choice but to retreat, but they refuse to do that except for Terry because they wanted to fight the Jokerz. The futuristic Batman tries to open up a boom tube, but his Mother Box is destroyed. Static creates a blinding light, followed by John Stewart creating a maze to distract the Jokerz.

They return to the ruins of Hamilton Hill High School, which serves as headquarters for what is left of the League—the three who have already appeared, plus the aged Bruce Wayne, surprising his younger self at seeing how he lived long enough to reach a ripe old age. Warhawk introduces himself as Rex Stewart. John asks who his mother was; regarding his winged suit, he replies "Kind of obvious, don't you think?".

They explain that Clinton has decided to emulate Tobias Manning, and made himself a warlord in his own time, now calling himself "Lord Chronos". His previous time travels had been careful about not disrupting history. Now he has abandoned that restraint, poaching technology from the future and historical monuments from the past, all to transform Gotham into his personal kingdom. Years ago, the Watchtower and the Batcave were destroyed, and most of the Justice League, including John and Wonder Woman, were killed, in an attack by Chronos' cybernetically enhanced army of Jokerz. Static finds hope in the fact that the elderly Bruce is still alive; logically, that means that whatever the younger self is there to assist them with, they already know they'll win. Unfortunately, Bruce has no memory of traveling through time, which means that history itself has become fluid, and their future is still far from certain.

Meanwhile, in the salon of the Titanic, Chronos wonders aloud how the JLU were able to intercept the Jokerz. He fixes Chucko with a glare and then opens up a time window, showing Chucko accepting a bribe from the futuristic Batman in exchange for information of when and where the Justice Leaguers would arrive. He punishes Chucko by sending him back to the time of the dinosaurs, just before the cataclysmic event that killed them off.

Returning to the future, Chronos orders the remaining Jokerz to track down the League. Alone with Enid, Chronos crows that he's proven her wrong, and "amounted to something" after all—rich, powerful, and the undisputed master of space and time. Timorously, Enid reminds him of his earlier warnings about interfering with the time stream, and he irritably snaps at her that he can handle it. Then, Enid gingerly asks him to release her mother (his mother-in-law) from "the thing", like he promised earlier. Chronos' mood blackens, saying that it is no more than her mother deserves, for calling him a failure for so many years—and he rants, Enid always said the same, when all he wanted was for her to love him. Now openly terrified, Enid begs him to forgive her, but he coldly turns his back on her.

As a result of Chronos' recklessness, serious disruptions in the space-time continuum have begun. To the modern Batman and older Bruce's horror, Wonder Woman fades away just as she is suggesting that they could prevent everything from happening in the first place; now she never left Themyscira—or worse, was never even born. There are even signs that the universe itself is moving towards entropy.

The modern Batman is able to write a program to shut down Chronos' time belt, but they need to find him first. He figures that the old ways are best and heads out to track down a snitch. The futuristic Batman warns him that Gotham has changed, but he simply asks his older self if criminals are still a superstitious, cowardly lot; the answer is yes.

The combined League captures Ghoul and Batman interrogates him. Ghoul is initially defiant, and Bruce, disgusted that he was ever "that green", shows his younger self how it's really done—and the scene fades to a short while later—as Ghoul is spilling everything he knows in a rapid voice. He says Chronos moves around each night, never staying in the same place but Ghoul knows where his wife is.

In the middle of their search, John phases out and is replaced by Hal Jordan who calmly assures them that "I'm up to speed. Carry on." The League confronts Enid, staying in a pyramid (poached either from ancient Egypt or Las Vegas). She is as contemptuous of her husband as before, though now she is also afraid of him. She says that his moving around is a myth, and he always stays in the same place. That place is the Elkhorn town jail, which he has poached and planted in the middle of the Coliseum as it's the place where he feels safest. Hal then fades away and John comes back.

Before they can grab Chronos's time-belt, however, Enid rousts him awake, spoiling their ambush. Chronos summons the Jokerz; in the ensuing battle, Static is sucked into a suddenly appearing time portal.

Another time-shift occurs where a group of soldiers appear, they believe everyone to be monsters and shoots at the futuristic Batman, he is injured but soon becomes captured and tied together by four clones of Dee Dee. They proceed to electrocute him, and he screams in agony. Bruce hears his screams and calls out to his protege, however the screaming ends; Bruce is devastated and mourns the loss of his successor. As the universe itself starts to collapse, Chronos declares that it's time for "another approach". Then he gives Enid a farewell peck on the cheek, yells "you'll love me next time!" and disappears into another time portal.

John and the modern Batman follow, and see he is now heading to the beginning of time, which will enable him to re-write the history of the entire universe and become a god. As they hurtle towards the source, they catch up with Chronos and the modern Batman uploads the debugging program into the belt. They are still heading towards the source... when Batman and John open their eyes and find themselves in the Watchtower cafeteria. Wonder Woman joins them, having no memory of what they've done. John and Batman are the only ones who remember what happened. John sees Shayera Hol and remembers Warhawk.

John asks about what happened to Chronos. Batman, smiling, says he re-programmed the belt to ensure that Chronos would never come to exist...

In the future, Enid delivers the same scolding she did before; as before, Clinton angrily activates his belt to get away from her—and unknowingly jumps back in time to a few seconds ago, at the beginning of Enid's scolding, over and over again.


Background information[]

Home video releases[]

Production notes[]

  • Part One's end credits show Wonder Woman in the group that interrogates Ghoul. However, she was removed from the shot in this episode.

Production inconsistencies[]

  • The animators seem to have overlooked the fact that Batman (Terry McGinnis) needs to use his retractable wings to steer his flying.
  • Bruce Wayne's elderly self has black eyes in this episode, which is inconsistent with Batman Beyond where he's depicted as having blue eyes. Curiously, in part one of the two-part episode, Bruce Wayne's younger self does have blue eyes.
  • After the timeline is restored, Wonder Woman arrives at the table before Shayera Hol is seen leaving the cafeteria. But in part one, Shayera left first (though this may be a result of the time-line resetting).


  • The title is a pun on The Once and Future King by T.H. White.
  • This episode is one of two Justice League Unlimited episodes where the Batman Beyond era is revisited. The other is "Epilogue".
  • The Dee Dee's make reference to killing a Green Lantern. This is likely referring to Kai-Ro, as he was the Lantern for the Earth sector during the time of Batman Beyond.
  • When Batman (Terry McGinnis) gets shot by the redcoats, one of them shouts "fire at will," an old phrase used in the military. Amusingly, Terry McGinnis's voice actor is named Will Friedle.
  • John Stewart stating that the Green Lantern Corps prohibit anyone from seeing the beginning of time is a reference to Krona looking into the beginning of time and creating the multiverse. The image Krona sees is of a giant hand with cosmic energies swirling all over it like Batman (Bruce Wayne's younger self) and John saw at the end of the last time tunnel.
  • The Jokerz's prosthetic enhancements resemble those of the April Moon Gang from the Batman Beyond episode "April Moon".
  • This story has a strong similarity to the 1994 DC Comics miniseries called "Zero Hour". There are also slight similarities to the 1986 maxiseries Crisis On Infinite Earths, in particular the encroaching "white out" effect that heralds the destruction of the universe.
  • Both episodes are thematically very similar to the Justice League episode "The Savage Time". In that episode, the League travels back in time to World War II, and finds history altered because of technology contributed from the future, and also finds itself assisted by a host of DC Comics heroes created for that era.
  • Chucko's chief weapon is similar to Darth Maul's double-bladed lightsaber in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace. It even has the same sound effects.
  • This episode's conclusion is similar to the original Star Trek episode "I, Mudd" when scoundrel Harry Mudd is punished by being surrounded by 500 android copies of his nagging wife.
  • It is also similar to All in the Timing, a collection of one-act plays by David Ives, several of which are based on the humorous premise of time being re-wound over and over again by only a few seconds or minutes.
  • The graphics on the Bruce Wayne's elderly self's computer screen resembles a reversed Matrix digital rain seen in The Matrix series.
  • The monuments stolen by Chronos seen during the episode are:
  • One of Warhawk's comments implies that both Wonder Woman and J'onn J'onzz were still active members of the Justice League in the Batman Beyond era. However, both were killed during the Watchtower's destruction, along with Superman. After Chronos was stopped, this fate for them ceased to be and they're presumably still active in the restored timeline.
  • Although they are from different timelines in this episode, this is the second time in the DCAU where Bruce and Terry fight together side-by-side, this was first shown in the Batman Beyond episode "Out of the Past" where after Bruce was rejuvenated, they fought off Ra's' henchmen together briefly. This is however the first time Terry fights alongside Bruce, while the latter is in costume.
  • This is Hal Jordan's only appearance in the DC Animated Universe. Per the opinion of Dwayne McDuffie, Hal Jordan never became a Green Lantern in the DCAU (appearing here only in an alternate timeline).[1]
  • According to Dwayne McDuffie, Batman's resolution to this episode was an extension of his no kill rule. "Batman looped Chronos because it was the only non-lethal way to protect the timestream."[2]
  • There was a deleted scene in which Batman, with help from old Bruce, took advantage of a time machine's need to be able to communicate with itself achronally, by retroactively programming the belt to instead of carrying Chronos to the Watchtower as it did in part one, put itself in an infinite loop of about 10 seconds duration.[3]
  • Despite the episode being penned by his creator, Dwayne McDuffie, Static's inclusion was Bruce Timm's idea.[4]
  • The script to this episode refers to Bonk as "Bonk II".[5]
  • The script to this episode refers to Chucko's unicycle as "Kirbyesque".[5]
  • One of the drafts for this episode didn't include Wonder Woman. The line about the fallen Justice Leaguers was delivered by Green Lantern instead and included Diana rather than J'onn J'onnz.[6]


Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Batman / Bruce Wayne
Phil LaMarr John Stewart
Susan Eisenberg Wonder Woman
Michael Rosenbaum Ghoul
Redcoat #2 (uncredited)
Will Friedle Batman (Terry McGinnis)
Redcoat #3 (uncredited)
Peter Onorati Warhawk
Peter MacNicol Chronos
Mindy Sterling Enid Clinton
Adam Baldwin Bonk
Hal Jordan (uncredited)
Melissa Joan Hart Dee Dee
Dee Bradley Baker Woof
Redcoat #1 (uncredited)
Don Harvey Chucko

Uncredited appearances[]


Bruce Wayne: Surprised to see me?
Modern Batman: A little. I'm more surprised that I lived so long.
Future Batman: Batman, Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne, Batman. Or have you met?
Batman and Bruce: (in unison) Not now!
Future Batman: Great. What did they used to call it? Stereo?

Static: Shayera was one cranky pregnant lady. Although to be fair, if I'd laid an egg that size...
Warhawk: He's kidding, Dad. Not that I see why you think this is anything to joke about.
Static: Because we already won. Think about it: If old Bruce is here, that means he already lived through this as Batman.
Bruce: Flawless logic. Except that I have no memory of ever going to the future and meeting my older self or of anything else that's happening today.

Chronos: Do you know what killed the dinosaurs?
(Jokerz think about this)
Bonk: Uh... no, sir?
Chronos: Well, Chucko does. And unless you wanna find out firsthand, you'll go finish off the Justice League. Skedaddle! Time is money!
Chronos: (to Enid) Actually, time is the non-spacial continuum in which events occur linearly, usually in the direction of increased entropy. But the clowns seemed to relate better to the money thing.

Future Batman: We need to find Chronos.
Static: How? He could be anywhere.
Modern Batman: Sometime, the best ways are the old ones.
Future Batman: It's not gonna work. You don't know your way around here. A lot of things have changed.
Modern Batman: Are criminals still superstitious and cowardly?
Bruce: Yep.
Modern Batman: Good enough for me.

Modern Batman: (dangles Ghoul over the side of the building by his ankle) Where's Chronos? My arm's getting tired.
Bruce: I can't believe I was ever that green. (grabs Ghoul and throws him back on the rooftop before advancing on him slowly) THIS is how you interrogate someone!

Static: Wow. Batman playing good cop.
John: Everything's relative...

John: I don't get it. Of all the places in the city he could stay, why here?
Enid Clinton: Because a loser with a kingdom is still just a loser! See for yourself!

John: The Green Lanterns have a legend—no one can see the beginning of time. It's a universal law!
Batman: Write him a ticket.


  1. Dwayne McDuffie forum quote (Ask the Maestro, 2006)
  2. Dwayne McDuffie on the ToonZone forums (Jan 31, 2005)
  3. Dwayne McDuffie on the ToonZone forums (Feb. 1, 2005)
  4. Dwayne's World - Ask The Maestro (Nov. 7, 2005)
  5. 5.0 5.1 "The Dwayne McDuffie Interview" Conducted March 2005 by Danny Fingeroth via e-mail and phone segments transcribed by Steven Tice Copy-edited by Dwayne McDuffie and Danny Fingeroth - Write Now! Magazine #10 July, 2009
  6. "The Dwayne McDuffie Interview" Conducted March 2005 by Danny Fingeroth via e-mail and phone segments transcribed by Steven Tice Copy-edited by Dwayne McDuffie and Danny Fingeroth - Write Now! Magazine #10 July, 2009