Max as Batgirl Beyond or aiding Terry in the field would not have been cool.
Bruce Timm wanted, Timm himself wasn't outright opposed. I half recall the disagreements stemmed from forcing a black female on the developers just for racial diversity where I think they had another direction in mind or at least would have preferred perusing another direction.
Personally, I didn't have a problem with Max, I had a problem with the fact it seemed like they always stopped short of doing anything REALLY cool with her. I think it would have been cool to finally see Max get some real training. There were several points in the story that lent itself to that being the logical conclusion that never happened.
Max as Batgirl Beyond or aiding Terry in the field would not have been cool.
Being a superhero isn't a "little bit of this and a little bit of that" profession. No way would Bruce allow someone to join the Bat-family halfway.
I wasn't wholly saying I felt we should have seen Max as a full on masked vigilantly, but we never got to the point of seeing her really wholly commit to being a member of the bat family; which seemed like something that was kind of happening.
I would have been nice to see Max start to learn some defensive physical skills by Terry or be provided some ways to really advance her knowledge and be a better support team member through help from Bruce.
I would have liked to see her dawn a cape and cowl for an episode or two knowing she wasn't REALLY up to the challenge physically but because the situation called for her to be in the field in that manor; further encouraging her to REALLY get up to speed physically in the long run (but not in the scope of the show, but down the road, perhaps, in the franchise).
They could have done a lot more with Max making her a little more "officially" Terry's partner (or maybe second partner after Bruce) and gave her a direction to work towards becoming that without ever directly a side kick in the scope of this series.
At the rate they used Max, she was more of a special class groupy then anything else =(.
To quote Mr. Bruce Timm circa March 15, 2007 on Max Gibson:
the exact phrasing of the wb executive was : "the shows needs a female entry point"....and no, i'm not making this up...
can't speak for alan and paul but murakami-san and i actually thought it wasn't a bad idea to give terry his very own "willow", someone his own age to hang out with and confide in, to counterpoint the more curmudgeonly bruce....i liked the design glen came up with, and we all adored cree summer...but no, i don't think she was ever written particularly well, and i can easily understand why most people find her annoying and unnecessary....
part of me still suspects that there wouldn't have been so much resistance from the fans if she'd been male....i think there's still a bit of the old "he-man woman-haters club" mentality in action, even if its only sub-conscious...
bottom-line, i doubt very much that max's presence ever increased our ratings with girl viewers and she only served to alienate young boys..."
Although I didn't want Max in the field for 2 reasons. One is the obvious in personal bias like a lot of BB fans but the other was one that I found out when I revisited the series on DVD. I liked that they could have gone the obvious route with making her a Robin or Batgirl for Terry but instead they went in the Alfred direction for a lack of a better partner name .
I found it more refreshing and somewhat realistic, they can't all be fighters but that doesn't make them any less useful. I'm reminded of when she was cornered but Curare and all she could do was cower in fear in a bath tub. That's a realistic action that 99% of people would do that you don't always get to see from one of your main characters. Not sure how intentional that was from the producers but I liked the end result of that.
Batman Beyond before Max became part of the cast. Although, most of the shows I watched when I was little, and still watch for that matter, are aimed more at boys with only a few gender neutral shows in there, so female characters having a dominate role in the cast wouldn't necessarily grab me more than the show itself.
I always liked Max personally. I liked that Terry had a proper friend to confide in, and I dug that Max never moved towards becoming a superhero and played tech support when needed. I thought she was a good support character. Not quite sure what there was about her to dislike.
She never would have became Batgirl because she was the Beyond's version of Oracle: the computer geek helping from the sidelines. She didn't have any training or fighting skills for that matter
-What the hell are you?!
- I'm the batmat
Thank god they never made Terry and Max into a romantic relationship. They could have had Terry break up with Dana for good and have him move on to Max, I believe even Bruce Timm said he hated this idea on one of the commentaries.
The problem I have with Max becoming a full-fledged field partner is that most of the times when she tried to get in on the action, she wound up in danger and Terry had to bail her out. It felt like she had a higher assessment of her field skills than she actually possessed, and she never showed much interest in improving those skills. Max was very useful providing tech and info support, but in the field, she was a liability more often than not.
Re: Max's role of confidante... I don't see why Dana couldn't have done the same for Terry. She is his girlfriend, after all, it's expected that she'd act as his emotional support. She also knows more about Terry's past and his less savory side than Max or even Bruce (unless the old man went through everything on file about Terry, including the sealed stuff). She acted as his emotional support in Season 1 and early on in Season 2, but after that, she was just treated as a complication. Terry's reasons for not telling her always seemed weak, and "Unmasked", the episode that was supposed to justify them, only undermined them (unless Terry really thinks that Dana has the judgment of a little boy and might announce on the news that she's seen Batman's face).
You know I'm actually surprised the character of Dana existed in the show in the first place. In most shows the hero is usually a "loveable loser" like Peter Parker who is always trying to get a girlfriend but doesn't quite win her over until the end of the show.
With Dana she was Terry's girlfriend right from episode one, and aside from some minor fights/breakups that only last one episode, they pretty much stay together for the entire run of the show. So we never had a romance plot with Terry and Dana falling for each other...because they were already a couple at the start of the show.
That's probably why the writers couldn't do much else with Dana. She was a love interest before the show even began and then just stayed that way. I do think she could have found out that Terry was Batman around the last episodes of the show though, but oh well.
Dana finding out about Terry being Batman could have been interesting. Based on the what-if moments during Epilogue, she eventually did find out and was still supportive of Terry, so using that discovery as a way to explore their relationship a bit more might have been nice.
That's one of the reasons I was drawn to Dana from the start - that she wasn't the usual love interest who the hero only won over after he became a hero, but was Terry's steady girlfriend from the start. The fact that her relationship with Terry predates him becoming Batman could've added extra layers to his reluctance to give her up, because which takes precedence? His older promises to his girlfriend, or his newer resolve to protect the entire city? There are shades of that conflict in the series as it is, because even when things are strained, he can't bring himself to break it off with her, but other than that, it's not touched on. Unless you count the times he tried to explain his behavior with "But my job is important and Wayne needs me" (which I wish she would have retorted by asking him why Wayne needed him so much and on such little notice, and why he wouldn't stand up to the old man and demand more time to himself).
I don't think Terry and Dana already being in a relationship meant that the writers couldn't do much with her. They could have had an arc about her getting suspicious of Terry's excuses and starting to figure things out on her own, and another where she has to adjust to Terry's new life, but this time with full knowledge of why he keeps ditching her, and trying to decide if it's worth it. But those aren't typical plots for a love interest, especially a Batman love interest, and maybe without more precedent to fall back on, the writers floundered with her. It's something that I'd hope would be done better if Batman Beyond got a reboot, along with doing more with Terry's family, sorting out whether Max is a new friend or not and how close she really was to Terry before the reveal, and fine-tuning Terry's Rogues Gallery. Batman Beyond gets flack for not having as interesting a cast as Bruce did, but Bruce's cast was built over decades, and Terry's over only a couple of years. Even with that short a time, with how much potential a lot of them had, they deserve the same chance Bruce's cast did, to be tweaked and polished until they become classics.
Re: Max. I feel she covered much of the same ground as Richie on Static Shock. Black female characters have become frequent code for gay characters. Not exclusively, mind you- she equally creates the impression of a girl that doesn't hit off it romantically with Terry or threaten Dana with all. Chelsea, with her Maggie Sawyer hairdo and similar background to the modern Batwoman that was introduced years later, is much more overt,
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