EXCLUSIVE Gotham Knights Showrunners Reveal Kevin Conroy Almost Played Live-Action Batman For Pivotal Episode

EXCLUSIVE: Gotham Knights Showrunners Reveal Kevin Conroy Almost Played Live-Action Batman For Pivotal Episode

By Andy Behbakht and Vanessa Young

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Over a year ago, Multiverse of Color broke the story that The CW’s Gotham Knights TV show was very close to landing none other than Supernatural and The Boys’ own Jensen Ackles as Batman, Misha Collins revealed in an exclusive interview to us how he had attempted to bring on his former co-star as the Caped Crusader. While Gotham Knights sadly only ran for a season in the midst of many changes at The CW, there was almost a reality where another iconic actor could have portrayed Batman in the series, and it’s one who is no stranger to the Dark Knight.

On the latest episode of The Showrunner Whisperer (an MoC original,) the featured guests for this installment were none other than Gotham Knights co-showrunners, James Stoteraux and Chad Fiveash, who revealed some of the plans that they weren’t able to get to for a number of reasons. One of them was the fact that DC had allowed them to use Batman for a single episode, as they had plans to adapt one of the most iconic storylines related to Bruce Wayne: The Dark Knight Returns.

James Stoteraux: One of the things that I don’t know if we’ve quite exactly talked about [is that] we were given permission for one episode to be able to use Batman for Gotham Knights. 

Chad Fiveash: Like a full-suited Batman.

James Stoteraux: There was a scene from The Dark Knight Returns that we wanted to do. It was Robin’s audition sides; the interaction between her and Batman. Everyone loved the scene, and we felt it was important to Robin’s backstory to show this meeting. It was one of those things where, initially, there was a bit of reluctance for that. But our executives really fought and said, ‘Look, I think that this is the perfect setup and way to do this. You get this one scene you can do.’

However, who would have played their version of Batman in the Gotham Knights episode, had they gone forward? That is when Stoteraux and Fiveash revealed that their original plan was to have none other than iconic voice actor Kevin Conroy, who has voiced and portrayed the DC icon for decades prior to his tragic passing in 2022. After having also played a version of Bruce in Arrowverse’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, marking the first time he got to jump into the world of live-action, the Gotham Knights duo had plans to feature Conroy as an older Batman in this continuity, as the co-showrunners, being passionate fans themselves, saw the beloved actor as a perfect fit for their take on the superhero.

Kevin Conroy Was Gotham Knights’ Choice For Batman

Chad Fiveash: We were also very clear about the fact that this is a flashback, and Bruce Wayne/Batman is dead in our universe. But Carrie talks about it in the show, or at least alludes to it. We were very clear that this is not going to become the Carrie/Batman show. We weren’t trying to do an inrun or anything. It was very much part of our history, but it’s gonna stay there in history.

James Stoteraux: It’s one of those things where they gave us permission, and then unfortunately, who would have played that role – it’s just sort of devastating – was Kevin Conroy. [He] was too sick at that point. He was always my favorite Batman, and we were dealing with an older Batman. You can still see in some of the DNA of things, like for the pilot, [we] used a photo double, and it’s not quite an accident that the photo double looks a lot like Kevin. That was very much intentional, and it was one of those things where we just weren’t able to, but we wanted to do it. 

We didn’t want to just do this with a random person. We felt like it was important [to have] somebody of Kevin’s stature and somebody that had this gravitas and obviously, he was the right age for that. That was initially the plan, and it was obviously very sad that he died, but we didn’t want to do it just by slotting somebody in there. And then [laughs] Misha [Collins] was trying to bring in Jensen [Ackles], which would have been awesome. But ultimately, it was one of those things where we wanted it to be impactful, and we wanted [it] to be someone that had a lot of gravitas. If we weren’t able to pull that off, we didn’t want to do it [just] to do it. That’s why that never ended up happening, but DC was really terrific about trying to help us make that happen.

Chad Fiveash: We had the scene, that was the audition side as you mentioned, and I was like, ‘It’s never gonna happen. It’s never gonna happen.’ Unfortunately it didn’t, but not because DC wasn’t onboard because they loved the scene and everything. It was just a lot of things that I wish we could have [made happen].

It goes without saying that Conroy has and will always be one of the biggest hearts of the Batman legacy, from his unforgettable journey in Batman: The Animated Series, the larger Bruce Timm DC Universe, the Batman: Arkham video games, as well as countless of DC stories that he took part in, becoming the definitive voice of Batman for millions of people around the world, as he was crucial in being part of building Batman’s status as one of fiction’s most beloved characters. 

When you read the pages of a comic book, it’s likely many of you out there are hearing Conroy’s voice as you explore Batman’s adventures in Gotham City and the wider DC Universe. Many of us were likely introduced to the world of Batman through Conroy’s work, and as the next generation comes after us, will likely be how many new fans get to discover the character for the first time.

As it has been reported previously, Conroy sadly passed away after a battle with intestinal cancer, and to this day, our hearts go out to Conroy’s family and loved ones. The battle against cancer affects many of us worldwide every day, and if you want to help and support the medical field in any way possible, please visit and donate to the American Cancer Fund, the Color Cancer Foundation, and the Colon Cancer Coalition.  

American Cancer Fund—Official Mission Statement: The American Cancer Fund(ACF)/American Cancer Association(ACA) is a 60+ year-old organization dedicated to the education, support, and empowerment of those diagnosed with Cancer by organizing and clarifying information. We elevate the level of understanding of Cancer.

ACF provides free, clear, independent information and research to enable patients and their families to make smarter choices for Cancer treatment with an emphasis on dignity, functionality and cure.

Colon Cancer Foundation – Official Mission Statement: The Colon Cancer Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization registered in New York State and listed by the Federal IRS as a public charity dedicated to reducing colorectal cancer incidence and death.

OUR MISSION: To lead the fight against colorectal cancer (CRC) by supporting research that will lead to the prevention of, therapy for, and eradication of CRC in our lifetime, educating the public and the healthcare community about CRC and the most effective strategies for preventing the disease and advocating for equal access to quality of life-affirming, fertility-preserving treatment for all patients and caregivers. 

Colon Cancer Coalition – Official Mission Statement: In 2004, Kristin Lindquist started planning for the very first Get Your Rear in Gear® run after losing her best friend and sister, Susie Lindquist Mjelde, to colon cancer. What started as one woman’s vision has since grown into a national coalition of people determined to end colorectal cancer deaths by increasing screening and educating others about the signs and symptoms of this treatable disease. We want all people to understand their risk factors and get the right screening at the right time.

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