NYCC 2010: Young Justice Animated
“Fans were given their first glimpse of Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis this past July at Comic-Con International: San Diego. But this panel will offer far more than just a glimpse as producers Brandon Vietti (Batman: Under the Red Hood) and Greg Weisman (Gargoyles) answer questions from fans and show footage from this highly anticipated series. Young Justice, which premieres this November on Cartoon Network, is produced by Warner Bros. Animation and is based upon characters from DC Comics.”
The animated series is set to premiere on Cartoon Network on November 26th with a 1-hour special episode. The series then debuts with new episodes in January of 2011. The producers also prepared a teaser clip for the panel, which thrilledthe con-goers.
The clips starts as Batman and Robin (Dick Grayson) face off against Mr. Freeze. Robin seems particularly excited that “today’s the day.” Next, Green Arrow and Speedy (Roy Harper) stop Icicle Jr. from causing havok in Star City. On a freighter ship, Aquaman and Aqualad stop Killer Frost. And finally, Flash and Kid Flash (Wally West) put a stop to Captain Cold. Each sidekick excited that “today’s the day.”
The “day” is the first day of training for Young Justice, it seems. Batman and Aquaman stand beside their sidekicks, Robin and Aqualad, in front of the Hall of Justice. Just then, Flash and Kid Flash race to the scene, and Kid Flash remarks, “I knew we’d be the last ones here!”
The clip continues, as the Leaguers take a case referred to as “Project: Cadmus.” They tell the sidekicks to stay out of it, but that doesn’t stop them from investigating on their own. Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad break into Cadmus, which is protected by Dubbilex, Guardian and a gaggle of goblin-like Cadmus creatures. The trio eventually locates a stasis chamber containing Superboy, as Aqualad remarks, “Uuuh, guys, you’ll want to see this.” The Teen of Steel awakens and races toward the screen. End clip.
The producers talked a bit about the show. Some of this was covered back on the San Diego panel, and some of it was new information. The series takes place on “Earth-16”, so it’s in-continuity with the DC Comics Universe as its own earth. The comic book series will tie closely to the animated series, as Producers Greg Weisman and Staff Writer Kevin Hopps will write a zero issue of the new YOUNG JUSTICE comic book series. Following that, TINY TITANS team Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani will write the series, but Weisman will return to write another issue down the line. The comic will tie in with the animated series, as some issues take place between episodes, or even during episodes to show events from a different perspective.
On this earth, Wesiman explains, things are a little more “grounded” and “realistic.” The Justice League hasn’t been active long, and in their universe, they’ve become fast celebrities. Because they’re in the spotlight so much, they need to develop a covert ops team. Which is why “Young Justice” is formed. Superman has been active for about 10 years, and Robin (the first sidekick) has been active for 4 years.
Weisman described it as a “New Age of Heroes,” as the League itself is even a fairly new entity in this world. In response to these organized heroes, the villains are also becoming more organized. As such, they will not be a bumbling bunch – they’ll be deadly and decisive in their actions.
Tonally, the producers said it falls somewhere between Bruce Timm’s JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED and TEEN TITANS. We will see a lot of the teens in their downtime, and some of their missions will even be done in plainclothes. Weisman mentioned he’s a big fan of Joss Whedon, and emulated a little bit of that style for the show. A little comedy to offset the drama, a lot of romance, some angst, but a lot of humor as well.
The Leaguers (pictured above) will be featured regularly, with Bruce Greenwood as Batman, Alan Tudyk as Green Arrow, Phil Lemarr as Aquaman and Rob Lowe as Captain Marvel. Other Leaguers include Flash, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Martian Manhunter, Red Tornado, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Zatara, Captain Atom, Black Canary and Green Lantern (John Stewart).
Batman will often be doling out missions. Black Canary is the designated combat trainer. And Red Tornado will be a “sort of live-in den mother,” according to Wesiman. This is similar to Red Tornado’s role in the YOUNG JUSTICE comic book series. The rest of the Leaguers will be around as-needed.
Captain Marvel will start hanging around with the Young Justice team, because he’s secretly a 10-year old kid in an older body. One fan asked why they used Zatara rather than Zatanna, and the producers noted “the answer will become obvious halfway through the season.” (I’m guessing we’ll see a teenaged Zatanna perhaps?) Weisman also mentioned that he would like to use Captain Atom (Wesiman was the former writer of his comic book series), but there hasn’t been a place for him yet.
When opened up to Q&A, fans began to ask questions like, “Will we see (XX) character in the series?” The producers wanted to keep those kinds of surprises under wraps, so viewers can experience it while watching. Weisman said, “We’re not going to come up here and spoil a ton about a show that’ll premiere in a month and a half. My short answer is we have over 150 existing DC Universe characters in the first 18 episodes alone.” “A metric ton” of DC characters, was the exact phrase.
Fans still found playful ways to ask about certain comic book characters like the Legion of Doom and the Wonder Twins. Weisman didn’t answer directly, and said he always mixes up those villainy-groups like Secret Society, Legion of Doom and Injustice League because they are all fairly similar. His response to the Wonder Twins was “150 characters,” and added, “We’re including the Superfriends as part of the DC Universe,” which seemed like a pretty good indication we may see a certain brother-sister team from Exxor.
One fan asked about the previous “Bat Embargo” placed on JUSTICE LEAGUE, where the series was unable to use certain Batman-related characters due to licensing issues (the same thing happened with Wonder Girl during the TEEN TITANS animated series). Weisman said that there was a few characters they didn’t have access to in the beginning, but now there were no restrictions on any of the characters. “We no longer have an embargo on any chracaters as far as I know,” noted Weisman. He mentioned they would have used one character in the beginning if they could, so we may see that character in season two if there is an order for a season two (I’m guessing he’s referring to Wonder Girl). “If we don’t see them in season one, we’ll see them later,” the producers assured.
The producers mentioned that the theme of “Secrets and Lies” permeates the first 26 episodes. The villains are keeping secrets. The League is keeping secrets from the sidekicks. Young Justice is keeping secrets from each other, and even themselves.
The cast itself is a mash-up of the original Teen Titans and Young Justice members from various eras. The producers said they “wanted to start over,” so they used Dick Grayson and Wally West versions of the characters. Weisman mentioned that if you are using Robin, starting with Tim Drake made less sense than starting with Dick Grayson, the original sidekick.
The team said they referenced and reread a lot of old comics, including YOUNG JUSTICE, TEEN TITANS from the 60s and 70s and the NEW TEEN TITANS from the 80s. “We’re adpating from all over,” noted Weisman, “We’re basically adapting the entire DC Universe.”
Robin: Voiced by Jesse McCarthy. In this series, he’s a 13 year old Dick Grayson, but he’s been Robin for 4 years time, so he’s been Robin since he was 9 years old. He’s the most experienced of the team. Robin also keeps his identity secret, even from his teammates, and wears sunglasses when he’s hanging around with them in downtime. Robin has revealed his secret identity to best friend Wally West (Kid Flash), and if Batman knew, he wouldn’t be happy about that.
Kid Flash: Voiced by Jason Spizak. He’s Wally West and he’s 15 years old. Not quite as fast as the Flash, so he has to accelerate and decelerate to use his powers. He’ll also use his powers a little differently than traditional speedsters, using momentum to launch himself as a human cannonball of sorts. His goggles also have some high-tech tricks, like seeing different light spectrums.
Aqualad: Voiced by Khary Payton (who also provided the voice for Cyborg). His name is Kaldur’ahm (which differs from the BRIGHTEST DAY version, whose name is Jackson). His friends sometimes shorten that to Kaldur. His father is Black Manta, which is something he isn’t even aware of. Kaldur’ahm’s powers are a mix of Atlantean sorcery and science, which are channeled through the mystic eel tattoos on his arms. In the series, Kaldur’ahm is best friends with Garth (no word on whether Garth would be Aqualad or Tempest, if either), and there would be stories revolving around both of them.
One fan asked why the comic book version in BRIGHTEST DAY differed from the YOUNG JUSTICE animated version, and the producers said that Geoff Johns came by and fell in love with the character, so he ended up using him. But the producers clarified the Aqualad in BRIGHTEST DAY is “Earth-0” while their universe is “Earth-16” anyway.
Superboy: Voiced by Nolan North (who also provides the voice of Superman). He’s a 16-week old clone who appears to be 16, and he’ll eventually assume the Conner Kent secret identity. Weisman noted that this is “a new interpretation of Superboy,” but he thinks Superboy will be the breakout star of the show.
Miss Martian: Voiced by Danica McKellar. Martian Manhunter’s 16-year old niece. The producers mentioned she’s actually 48 years old, but it works out to be 15-16 by earth standards. She’s very new to the hero game, and especially new to combat. A naive girl, Miss Martian has a somewhat warped view of the world because she’s gleaned most of her knowledge by watching earth tv shows to study its culture.
Artemis: Voiced by Stephanie Lemelin. This 16-year old heroine is neither Arrowette, nor Wonder Girl nor Speedy, not an Amazon and she’s not from Apokolips. But she is an existing character in the DCU! The panel refused to reveal who, however. Weisman thought her identity should be “fairly obvious,” though.
Speedy: Not part of the team, but Speedy (the Roy Harper version) was seen in the trailer. One fan asked why Speedy wasn’t in Young Justice, since he appeared in the teaser clip, but doesn’t join the team. Producer Vietti said it will be apparent after the first episode. Keep in mind, another video preview of the show revealed a “Red Arrow” design in the background.
For more information on the series, just click on the “Young Justice Animated” tag in this post!
Visit the Young Justice Animated Series Guide for more information.
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