With the highly anticipated release of Batman and Harley Quinn finally upon us, we can all happily return to the epic universe of Bruce Timm's iconic Batman: The Animated Series. With Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester reprising their roles from the show, you could be forgiven for thinking you were right back in the '90s watching an episode of the classic animated show or sequel series The New Batman Adventures.
As the film is animated in the exact style of the legendary DCAU, with some of the creative team and voice cast back, the whole movie felt like one giant episode of #TheNewBatmanAdventures.
However, amidst all the action scenes, unusual circumstances and downright hilarity, you may have noticed one or two awesome references to the other Batman adaptations that came before. Whether they were blatantly obvious or subtly sewn into the background, the film was overflowing with references to many of the Dark Knight's previous adventures.
With that in mind, let's take a look at all the Easter Eggs hidden within Batman and Harley Quinn.
Gotham City And The Batmobile
- Reference To: Batman: The Animated Series
While the characters were drawn in their New Adventures style, the vast majority of the film pays tribute to that series' parent show #BatmanTheAnimatedSeries. From the Gotham City architecture to the vehicles that speed through the streets, the film seems to match the 1930s-like aesthetic of the original series, despite the tone seemingly matching the more modern tone of the sequel show, with USB sticks and rock songs.
This was made clearer when the Batmobile was revealed to be the original 1992 animated one instead of the 1997 revamp for the spinoff sequel. Moreover, Batman also used the Animated Series' Batwing instead of the New Adventures' Batplane.
While there are a lot of anachronisms that make it hard to decipher when it's supposed to take place in the DCAU's continuity (Batman didn't have that Batmobile when he wore that outfit or when he teamed with the Justice League), the nods are extremely welcome. And it was amazing to see the iconic Batmobile back in action.
A.R.G.U.S. And Nanda Parbat
- Reference To: Arrow
It seems like the creators of Batman and Harley Quinn were happy to pay tribute to some of the beloved #DC shows of today. In the opening moments, Batman pays a visit to the government agency A.R.G.U.S to get some information. While that agency is a creation of the New 52 comic books, it's become renowned for is presence on the CW's TV series #Arrow.
Moreover, one of the agents thanks Batman for his assistance in Nanda Parbat — another somewhat lesser known DC location that Arrow made much more famous. While the film could have name-dropped any location in the DC Universe, the pairing of these two locations suggest that this was a subtle nod to the show. It's hard not to think about Arrow when Nanda Parbat and A.R.G.U.S. are referenced in the same scene.
Harley's Superbabes Outfit
- Reference To: DC Comics' New 52 Reboot.
While Harley Quinn is best known for her original bodysuit (or to more recent audiences for her #SuicideSquad look), the brand new film paid tribute to one of her more famous comic book iterations: the New 52 look.
As Harley served customers in Superbabes, she dressed up as herself, hiding in plain sight. But instead of wearing her traditional outfit, she wore a skimpy, more revealing version, complete with padded shoulders, a choker, and black and red pigtails.
- Reference To: Batman: The Animated Series (Season 2, Episode 7 "Harlequinade)
If the concept of Harley Quinn singing against a maroon background to a club full of barstools, snooker tables and supervillains sounds familiar to you, that's because you've already seen it before. In fact, you've seen it in the same universe, with the same Batman and the same Dick Grayson (although he was Robin the first time) watching her.
Harley's performance of Blondie's "Hanging On The Telephone" was a tribute to the character's performance of "Say That We're Sweethearts Again" in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Harlequinade". In fact, there are a lot of similarities between the film and that particular episode, as the plots are nearly identical.
Familiar Faces In Bludhaven
- Reference To: Batman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Batman (1966 TV Series)
When Batman, Nightwing and Harley reached their destination in Bludhaven, they entered the bar with the intention of finding Harley's contact, Shrubby. But what they didn't expect to see was an absolute truck-load of familiar faces from different Batman adaptations over the years. As a Batman fan, it was an absolute joy to see the return of some of The Animated Series's best supporting characters.
Things must have worked out okay for Two-Face's twin henchmen Min and Max, who belted out a powerful rendition of "Don't Pull Your Love" as some familiar muscle boogied on the dancefloor.
Captain Clown was having a great time with Randa Duane, while Ubu was having a little too much fun with Veronica Vreeland. And in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, you can see Rupert Thorne's ruthless secretary, Candice Leopold, showing off her moves too. But can somebody please tell me what Selina Kyle's kind-hearted assistant, Maven, was doing in a club full of supervillains?
However, in amongst the Animated Series regulars, there were also some New Adventures characters. One of Mr. Freeze's henchwomen was shaking her hips like there was no tomorrow as she partied with Shrubby (complete with her fur-lined hood) while an Iceberg Lounge regular/Penguin henchwoman was busy serving guests. Meanwhile, two of the Joker's mime henchmen (either Mo, Lar or Cur) were having fun together, and strongwoman Emmylou Brown was boogying the night away.
I believe this is the first time we have ever seen characters from the original series interact with characters from the spinoff show. But this wasn't the only crossover in the bar...
In a positively joyful moment, the bar scene paid tribute to the classic #Batman 1966 TV series. Among the animated villains, Catwomen's henchmen were enjoying a quiet drink together, wearing the classic tiger print outfits and cat-ears that would make Julie Newmar proud. In fact, one of them not-so-kindly orders Batman a glass of milk, before walking up to him and hilariously performing the Batusi behind his back.
But the references didn't stop there, as Batman caught Nightwing boogieing with a woman who looked very like Jill St. Johns' Molly, who led Batman astray with a dance in the pilot of the classic series. And to cap the scene off, a fight ensued between the #superheroes and the villains with cheesy background music and large onomatopoeic words popping up on the screen.
Without a doubt, the bar scene was like the huge Batman gift that just kept on giving. And it was amazing to see all these different staples interacting together for the first time ever.
Shirley Walker's Classic Score
- Reference To: Batman: The Animated Series
As far as music goes, the film very much did its own thing. However, when Batman, Nightwing and Harley rip through the skies in the Batwing, you can briefly hear Shirley Walker's classic Batman theme from the original animated series. While it has been heavily edited to match the more electronic boisterous sound of the film's score, it was still epic to hear that theme one more time.
Harley Quinn, The TV Doctor
- Reference To: The Batman (Season 4, Episode 10: "Two Of A Kind")
After the credits roll on Batman and Harley Quinn, the former villain reappears on screen, wearing her old doctor's uniform (the same one seen in The New Batman Adventures) as she sits down with a patient. However, it's soon revealed that while she has indeed found a life after crime, all is not what is seems — she's a reality TV doctor who puts her patients through obstacle courses to help them overcome their demons.
But as this isn't the first time we've seen Harley as a #TV personality, it's highly likely that this was a tribute to the 2004 animated series #TheBatman. In that show, Harley hosts her own talk show "Heart 2 Heart with Harley" in which she advises worried callers about their love lives. When the show is cancelled, she is sought out by the Joker and becomes Harley Quinn.
Whether or not you were a fan of Batman and Harley Quinn, its countless Easter Eggs are enough to make any Bat-fan smile. Moreover, while it was awesome that the film continually referenced both previous animated series and #JusticeLeague, reminding us that it takes place in the same universe, it was also nice that it made time to pay tribute to Adam West's legendary Batman TV Series.
After so many original animated films, returning to the world of the #DCAU was more than welcome. Now, let's hope that this isn't the last we see of this legendary universe.
Did you spot any other Easter Eggs in Batman and Harley Quinn? Let us know in the comments below!