Batman / Batman Joker

Where Does Return of the Joker Fit Into Batman Beyond?

Batman Beyond fans were treated to a movie-length adventure with “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker” in 2000. The film was praised for its darker tone, mature themes, and the return of the legendary villain, the Joker.

However, some fans were left wondering where this film fit into the Batman Beyond canon. Did it take place before or after the series? And what impact did it have on Terry McGinnis, the new Batman?

Let’s dive into where “Return of the Joker” fits in with the Batman Beyond timeline.

The Setting

“Batman Beyond” takes place in a future Gotham City where Bruce Wayne has retired from crime-fighting and passed on the mantle of Batman to a teenager named Terry McGinnis. The show ran for three seasons from 1999 to 2001 and was well-received by both fans and critics.

The Movie

“Return of the Joker” was released in December 2000, between the second and third seasons of “Batman Beyond.” The film is set several years after Terry became Batman and introduces a new villain: a resurrected Joker.

The movie explores how Bruce Wayne’s past comes back to haunt him when he discovers that the Joker has somehow returned from beyond the grave. As Terry investigates how this is possible, he uncovers dark secrets about Bruce’s past as well as his own family.

Where Does It Fit In?

So where does “Return of the Joker” fit into the Batman Beyond timeline? The film takes place after season two but before season three. This is evident by some changes in character dynamics that occur between seasons two and three.

For example, in “Return of the Joker,” Barbara Gordon (formerly Batgirl) is now Commissioner Gordon while her father has retired. However, when season three begins, Jim Gordon is back as commissioner while Barbara has moved on to a new role. This indicates that “Return of the Joker” took place in between these two seasons.

The Impact

While “Return of the Joker” is not essential viewing for fans of Batman Beyond, it does have a significant impact on the show’s overall narrative. The film delves into Bruce Wayne’s past and reveals some dark secrets about his relationship with the Joker. It also explores Terry McGinnis’ family history and how it connects to the larger Batman mythos.

The events of “Return of the Joker” also have lasting consequences for Terry and Bruce’s relationship. The film forces them to confront some unresolved issues from their past and brings them closer together as mentor and protege.


In conclusion, “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker” takes place in between seasons two and three of the show. While it is not necessary viewing for fans, it does have a significant impact on the overall narrative and character development. The film is an excellent addition to the Batman Beyond canon and a must-watch for fans of the series or just superhero movies in general.