Batman Beyond was a popular animated television show that aired from 1999 to 2001. The show was set in the future, where an aged Bruce Wayne mentored a young boy named Terry McGinnis, who became the new Batman. The series was praised for its dark and mature themes, as well as its exploration of the Batman mythos.
One of the most memorable characters from the original Batman animated series, and a major villain in Batman Beyond, was the Joker. However, many fans were left wondering how the Joker could have possibly returned after he seemingly died in an earlier episode of Batman: The Animated Series.
The answer to this question is revealed in the two-part episode “The Return of the Joker.” In this episode, Terry McGinnis discovers that a group of criminals have been using technology to brainwash people into becoming their henchmen. Among these brainwashed individuals is none other than Tim Drake, who had previously been Robin and had disappeared several years earlier.
As Terry delves deeper into this mystery, he discovers that these criminals are being led by someone claiming to be the Joker. However, this Joker is different from the one that Bruce Wayne faced years ago. This Joker is more sadistic and violent than ever before.
Eventually, it is revealed that this “new” Joker is actually Tim Drake himself. He had been captured by the original Joker years ago and subjected to intense psychological torture until he finally broke and became his protégé. The original Joker had intended for Tim Drake to be his heir and continue his legacy after he died.
Although Tim Drake eventually managed to break free from his brainwashing and return to his former self, the trauma he endured left him with a split personality disorder. His alter ego became an insane version of the Joker who would occasionally resurface and wreak havoc.
In conclusion, while it may have seemed impossible for the Joker to return after his death in Batman: The Animated Series, the writers of Batman Beyond found a creative way to bring him back. By introducing Tim Drake as a new version of the Joker, they were able to explore the character in a new and exciting way, while also tying into the larger Batman mythos. The result was one of the most memorable episodes of the entire series.