Before the hit-and-miss inconsistency and wild tonal variation of the DC Extended Universe, before the bright and not quite high enough budget Arrowverse on the CW, before even the mega-blockbuster success of the rival Marvel Cinematic Universe, one set of TV shows and movies already had the whole interconnected shared DC universe thing down.
From the start of Batman: The Animated Series in 1992 to the end of Justice League Unlimited in 2006, the eight TV series and four movies (along with a bunch of shorts, webseries, video games and comics) of the DC Animated Universe created what remains for many the definitive screen adaptation of the world of colourful heroes and villains, science, magic, and a millionaire playboy dressed in a bat costume, of DC comics.
Of course, across that fourteen years and hundreds of hours of super-heroics there are plenty of fascinating stories that went on behind the scenes.
Did you know, for example, that executives at Fox, which originally aired Batman: The Animated Series, vetoed a scene in which Alfred gets bat guano on his jacket because "it is not the network's practice to show animal excrement hitting anyone on a children's show"?
So, come this way for more executive meddling, along with alternative castings, failed projects and surprise cameos that you might not have heard from the DCAU...
10. The DCAU Is Still Going
Those who remember Superman and Batman teaming up to defeat Darkseid in Justice League Unlimited's 2006 finale Destroyer as the end of the DCAU may be surprised to know that it the series is still alive and well.
It might be easy to miss, given the abundance of films in the DC Animated Movie Universe (the latest shared cartoon continuity), that there have also been a couple of releases that could very well fall into the confusingly similarly titled category of DC Animated Universe movies (i.e. movies from the DCAU, like the classic Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm).
Both 2017's Batman And Harley Quinn and this year's Justice League Vs. The Fatal Five come from DCAU creator/producer Bruce Timm, use many of the same voice actors (including Kevin Conroy's Batman, George Newbern's Superman, and Susan Eisenberg's Wonder Woman), and the same art style and character models and therefore may well be seen as continuing the stories of the DCAU.
Their official canonical status within the DCAU is a little unclear (all of these talents have worked on plenty of non-DCAU projects too, after all) with Batman And Harley Quinn writer Jim Krieg calling it "a strange, red-headed nephew" of the DCAU, but Timm stating that he viewed Fatal Five as a genuine continuation.
Sam Liu, the director of both films, along with several other non-DCAU DC properties, has suggested that "the internet can discuss and make its own conclusions" on whether to include these in the DCAU canon. And, so far, "the internet" seems largely to come down on the side of "yes" regardless of the lack of an official stance from DC.