Batman:The Animated Series Wiki

"Perchance to Dream" is an episode of the first season of Batman: The Animated Series. It features the return of The Mad Hatter for the second time as the main antagonist since his first appearance in Mad As A Hatter. The episode was heavily inspired by the story "Identity Crisis"; from Detective Comics #633 (1991); written by Peter Milligan.

"Perchance to Dream" is the 30th produced episode and the 26th episode aired.


Batman is knocked unconsicous while chasing some crooks, only to wake up in an alternate existence that's seen Bruce Wayne lead a fulfilled life with family and fiancée Selina Kyle. But Wayne's inability to live the dream reveals his mind to be in the thrall of The Mad Hatter.


Batman is chasing some crooks in the Batmobile, and when they enter a warehouse, Batman steps out and enters the building through the window. Upon entering, Batman is shocked by a flashing light and then a big metallic object dropped on top of him.

When Bruce wakes up, he realizes that he's on the safety of Wayne Manor and when Alfred Pennyworth comes into his bedroom to serve the breakfast, Bruce complains about falling into a trap so easily and then asks him about last night events. Bruce thought that Robin had saved him, but Alfred doesn't know anyone under that name and suggests that maybe it is some girl Bruce met the last night. Bruce tells Alfred to stop joking and Alfred replies that the joke must be on him as he leaves Bruce to eat his breakfast.

PtD 04 - Thomas and Martha Wayne

The Waynes are alive

Later, Bruce tries to open the grandfather's clock entrance to the Batcave and realizes that it is not there. Bruce asks about the entrance to Alfred, who doesn't understand what Bruce is talking about and when Bruce starts to lose his temper, someone comes into the room and asks what was going on. It is Thomas and Martha Wayne; Bruce's parents and the two of them are alive. Bruce is in shock and he runs out of the room to wash his face. His father, Thomas, goes to see if he is alright and Bruce, who is still in disbelief, tells him that it was all fine.

After that, Bruce talks to Alfred and asks him to tell him about his own life. Alfred tells him about Wayne Enterprises and his commitment to Selina Kyle. Bruce then goes to Wayne Enterprises to keep working as he supposedly does, when he receives a visit from Selina, her future wife. She is there on behalf of Bruce's mother, who was worried for him and asked for Selina to cheer him up. Bruce tells Selina that he is feeling like he's living someone else's life. Selina then screams "Batman" and Bruce is shocked by the name, thinking that Selina might know his secret, but he realizes that she screamed because she saw Batman outside the window crossing the sky with his Batrope. Bruce also saw the Batman and runs outside to get a better glimpse of him, with Selina following him. Outside, they witnes the Batman's combat prowess as he stops a robbery and catches all of the thieves. Bruce is shocked to see was has happened and in an attempt to understand better, he asks Selina if the name Catwoman is familiar to her, but she just worries further for Bruce.

Later, Bruce goes to the only doctor he trusts, Leslie Thompkins and tells her about his situation. Thompkins just clears up that Bruce is simply identifying with Batman, because he feels as though he's been given everything his whole life and the lack of real accomplishment is manifesting the fantasy that he is Batman, who has worked for everything he has and every deed is of great value.

PtD 17 - Letters


Relieved, Bruce determines that the nightmare is over.

When Bruce returns home, in a much better mood, he hugs his father and even plays a joke on Alfred, who is happy to see Bruce acting normal again. Bruce then grabs a newspaper and tries to read it but all the letters and words were scrambled and don't make any sense. Bruce tries to read a book but the book had the same problem as the newspaper and he begins to understand that something is very wrong. Thomas and Martha try to calm Bruce down but he knows that they are not real. Bruce then hears the name of Batman over the TV and knows that he was the source of the troubles. Bruce leaves home in what appeared to be a very angry and unstable condition.

PtD 34 - Bruce and Batman fight

Bruce confronts Batman

Bruce goes to buy a rope, a grappling hook and flares as the police find him and try to take him back to his parent's home, but he refuses and escapes by climbing to the rooftops. After escaping the police, Bruce goes to the Gotham Cemetery and climbs all the way to the top of the belltower. The police find him and call him from the ground but Bruce is waiting for Batman to show up. Finally, Batman appears and tries to reason with Bruce, but Bruce tells him that he had deduced that it is all a dream and that it was all Batman's fault. Batman asks Bruce how did he realize it was a dream and Bruce tells him that he knew it when he couldn't read anything. The reading is a function controlled by the right side of the brain and dreams were a function of the left side, so he figured that it is impossible to read something in a dream. Batman and Bruce start to fight each other and Bruce unmasks Batman to find that it is Jervis Tetch, The Mad Hatter under the mask.

Hatter tells Bruce that it is a dream indeed, induced by him in order to create a perfect world for Bruce.

PtD 55 - Hatter and Batman

Batman confronts the Mad Hatter

Bruce thinks that Hatter knew all about him, but Tetch tells Bruce that only in the dream he knows it, but in the real world, none of it is known. The police are about to reach the top of the belltower and Bruce wants to wake up, but Hatter tells him that it would not be possible. Bruce proves him wrong when he jumps from the belltower to his certain death. In that moment, Batman wakes up in the same warehouse in which he entered through the window. He knocks the crooks down and then faces Mad Hatter, who is controlling the dream inducing machine. Batman asks Tetch why did he do it to him and Tetch tells him that he wanted to give him the life of his dreams in order to keep Batman out of his own life.

Tetch finally surrenders and as the police takes him into custody, Commissioner Gordon asks Batman if he knew what the machine was and Batman replied: The stuff that dreams are made of as he leaves the place, hurt by the loss of his dream life.


Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Batman/Bruce Wayne
Bob Hastings Commissioner Gordon
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Alfred
Adrienne Barbeau Selina Kyle
Brian Cummings Reporter
Roddy McDowall Mad Hatter
Diana Muldaur Dr. Leslie Thompkins