Adam West’s final appearance as Batman finds the Caped Crusader facing off against William Shatner’s Two-Face!
Being a lifelong fan of Adam West’s incarnation of Batman, I was absolutely devastated by his sudden death from Leukaemia just a few short months ago. His iconic Batman series, was an instrumental part of my childhood and was my very first introduction to the Caped Crusader of Gotham City. The series, has secured a special place in my heart and I have taken a great deal of pleasure in passing the torch of nostalgia to my young son, whom now adores it just as much as I.
Adam West’s loss has come at a time when his classic Batman series is enjoying a resurgence in our collective culture with new films, comics strips and toys all hitting the market. But with his tragic death looming over us, it is almost certain that his incarnation of the Caped Crusader will now face retirement once and for all.
However, despite this heart-breaking news…the great Adam West has left us one final gift to enjoy…one final adventure with his beloved Caped Crusader.
Within our culture, many actors have slipped into the cowl of the greatest detective to ever grace the silver screen, but none have ever come close to Adam West’s nostalgia driven fan favourite. The character of Batman, exploded into our pop culture in the DC publication of detective comics and was an overnight success, but it wasn’t until the late great Adam West slipped into the tights that it transcended from the page to the screen.
The classic Batman series was born. With Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin, the world was introduced to a new breed of superhero that was as camp and goofy as they came. The series was fantastic quintessential sixties television. It was created much in the same vein as the original series of Star Trek, where the unbelievable screenplays hindered a visual spectacle, leaving the shoulder of burden upon the actors to produce something memorable.
Thankfully, both Star Trek: The Original Series and Batman had cast fantastic actors in their titular roles which proved to be a recipe for success. The cheesy, playful approach was an instant hit with fans of all ages and ensured that Batman: The Original Series would be regarded as a cult phenomenon. Its success made both Adam West and Burt Ward, cult heroes amongst the Hollywood greats despite a lack of established work in the aftermath of its cancellation.
In the years that followed, Adam West remained a cult icon. Even with the production of a big budget Tim Burton Batman movie, West continued to be regarded as the definitive Batman, a benchmark that all other incarnations would be compared too. So, when the news broke that Adam West would be returning to the role of Batman at the age of 87, the fans were sent into euphoria.
“Holy Here We Go Again” Robin — Batman: The Classic Series
The all-new Warner Bros. Animation movie, would reunite Adam West, Burt Ward and the original Catwoman, Julie Newmar on the screen for the first time since 1967. The movie was titled Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and was designed as modernisation of the classic 1966 incarnation of the character whilst maintaining the quintessential elements that made the original series so successful. The costumes were the same, the weapons were the same and the Batmobile looked better than ever.
With the nostalgia of the sixties series preserved, the movie provided the fans with a contemporary take on the vintage character and finally opened the door to new heights. A state of the art Bat-Rocket was designed for the Dynamic Duo to facilitate their travel into space and foil the dastardly plans of the reunited cohorts in criminality The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler and Catwoman.
“Holy Homecoming” Robin — Batman: The Classic Series
The movie was released to rave reviews and went on to accumulate a domestic revenue of $1.1 million dollars. Despite being a home video release, the movie was afforded an exclusive one-night only theatrical release which drew fans of all ages, all of whom would enjoy a fantastic night of nostalgia driven Batman action! Its subsequent release on DVD and Blu-Ray Hi-Def, was well received and a general release for the movies soundtrack proved popular eluding to a resurgence of the classic Batman brand.
Considering this resurgence, an all-new Batman ’66 comic series was commissioned for publication and toy manufacturer Funko, were contacted to produce a new line of action figures and vehicles based upon the characters and vehicles of the classic series.
If that wasn’t enough to whet the appetites of classic Batman fans, Warner Bros. Animation announced its intention to produce a sequel to the popular Return of the Caped Crusaders, and in doing so would pit the great Adam West against the only comic book antagonist he hadn’t faced amongst the narratives of the classic series.
Harvey Dent, aka “Two-Face”
Viewed as a character too intense and graphic for the audience at the time, Two-Face was omitted from the narratives of the original series and replaced with the Silver Age incarnation of False Face, a similar character that boasted a latex mask. With the commission of Batman vs Two-Face, a fifty-one-year wait will conclude. But who, could portray the iconic comic book character for the nostalgia driven sequel?
None other than Captain Kirk himself, the great William Shatner.
“Holy Unlikelihood” Robin — Batman: The Classic Series
Having William Shatner, the main character from one sixties juggernaut series facing off against the other in Adam West, is a masterstroke by the incredible team at Warner Bros. Animation and they deserve all the credit for it. His casting alone, makes for an incredible spectacle and the fans will be looking forward to the release of Batman vs Two-Face with renewed excitement.
However, the shocking and heart-breaking loss of the great Adam West threatened to derail the project in its infancy. After a short battle with Leukaemia, the world’s favourite Batman passed away and the world mourned their cultural icon. The city streets of downtown Los Angeles became Gotham City for one night, as the vintage Bat-Signal was projected onto the cityscape in the ultimate display of respect for our fallen hero. The world mourned, and the tributes came flooding in, all eager to share their fondness for the greatest incarnation of the Caped Crusader.
For a while, the future of Batman vs Two-Face hung in the balance…
“Holy Special Delivery” Robin – Batman: The Classic Series
However, just when the fans thought the project would have to be scrapped, Warner Bros. Animation announced to the world, that Adam West had completed his voiceover work for the project and the movie was scheduled to be released later in the year.
We have now been given an insight into what we can expect from the movie, with the release of the spectacular theatrical trailer.
Check it out here…same Bat-time, same Bat-channel:
“Holy Action-Packed Trailer Batman!” Robin — Batman: The Classic Series
Batman vs Two-Face looks incredible, and a worthy sequel to Return of the Caped Crusaders. And yet, it’s guaranteed to be a bittersweet nostalgia ride of Batman action. This will be Adam West’s farewell appearance as Batman, which promises to be an emotional event for us all and our subsequent viewings will be encumbered by his profound loss.
Myself, alongside millions of other devoted fans will be hoping for another one-night only theatrical release for the movie, like that afforded to its predecessor. It was an incredible event, where friends and fans of all ages came together to share a moment of true nostalgia and elation.
What better way to say an emotional farewell to our beloved Adam West than with a final big screen outing for his incredible, lavish and much adored incarnation of Batman. Prepare yourselves for an emotional roller-coaster ride citizens.
It’s time to light the Bat Signal and slide down the Bat-Poles one last time and yell “To the Batmobile” as loud as your lungs will allow.
The great Adam West deserves nothing less…Rest in Peace Bright Knight!
Batman vs Two-Face, is due for release on Warner Bros. Animation DVD and Blu-Ray Hi-Def on October 17th in the U.S and October 30th in the UK.
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Source: Warner Bros Animation