Ethan Hawke will play Batman in Batwheels, a new animated series geared for preschool-aged children. The cartoon series follows anthropomorphized Bat-vehicles who serve to assist the human superhero characters. This marks the first animated show from DC to be developed for preschoolers. WarnerMedia Kids & Family have also announced the full voice cast, led by Hawke.
Ethan Hawke’s version of Batman is described as “Gotham City’s greatest protector who keeps the streets safe from any and all threats. Even though Batman doesn’t communicate directly with the Batwheels, he acts as a father figure. They absolutely seek his approval and trust while they fight alongside him.”
Other voice cast members include Jacob Bertrand (Cobra Kai) as Bam the Batmobile; Jordan Reed (Chuggington) as Redbird, Robin’s zippy sports car; Madigan Kacmar (Chuggington) as Bibi, Batgirl’s brave and bold motorcycle; Noah Bentley (Elliott from Earth) as Buff, the Bat-styled monster truck; Lilimar (Cleopatra in Space) as Batwing; Kimberly D. Brooks (DC Super Hero Girls) as The Batcomputer; and Mick Wingert (What If…?) as Moe, Batman’s robot repairman. Also featured are AJ Hudson (The Good Place) as Robin and Leah Lewis (Nancy Drew) as Batgirl.
“They are a team of incredible crimefighters who have banded together to oppose evil, combat crime and clean up the streets of Gotham City,” the studio states. “They are…okay, they’re NOT Batman and Robin. They’re the Batwheels – an awesome group of sentient super-powered crime-fighting vehicles defending Gotham City alongside Batman, Robin, Batgirl and a host of DC Super Heroes.”
“Having just been created by the Batcomputer, our heroes are essentially kids with little to no life experience. Led by Bam (The Batmobile), the Batwheels – Bibi (The Batgirl Cycle), Redbird (Robin’s Sports Car), The Batwing and Buff (The Bat Truck) – must navigate the growing pains of being a newly formed super team as well as the growing pains that come with just being a kid. This relatable and aspirational series will follow the journey of this dynamic team as they thrill and entertain with their heroic adventures as well as demonstrate to kids the value of self-confidence, friendship and teamwork.”
Ethan Hawke’s casting as Batman is interesting considering how close he’s come to playing the character in the past. When Michael Keaton left the role following Batman Returns, Ethan Hawke was one of the names in consideration for Batman Forever before Val Kilmer got the part. Hawke later came to regret turning down the role, feeling that it could have led to greater success for him as an actor.
“I just didn’t want to go to the Knicks game and have everybody go, ‘Wow, you were a great Batman!’ That wasn’t my f**king goal in life,” Hawke told Details Magazine. “Now I wish I’d done it, because I could have used it to do other things.”
Batwheels is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Sam Register (Looney Tunes Cartoons) executive produces with Michael G. Stern (Doc McStuffins) co-executive producing. Simon J. Smith (Baymax Dreams) is supervising producer and Steven Fink of Bang Zoom Ltd. is serving as producer. The project is set to debut on Cartoon Network and HBO Max, but an official release date hasn’t yet been set.