This weekend at the WonderCon convention in Anaheim, California, we were fortunate to have the chance to speak with some of the architects of the Cartoon Network’s new Saturday DC Nation block, and on the list of people we spoke to were Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti, creators of the very popular (and very awesome) series Young Justice.
Young Justice is speeding along toward its first season finale in the coming weeks, so this is a very exciting time to be a YJ fan. Greg Weisman tells us that he believes that the show will be repeat-free through the finale. “It’s not up to us, but now as part of DC Nation, I think we’re going to play out the first season through Episode 26. Episode 21 aired this morning [March 17]. As far as I know, the plan is to go right through 26, and then continue right into Season 2. That’s what we’ve been told,” he says, seemingly aware of fan complaints about long hiatuses.
As for what to look forward to in the finale, Brandon Vietti promises a satisfying climax to Season 1. “We worked pretty hard to wrap up all of the major plotlines, with leaving a few mysteries just to tease people into the second season. But starting from ‘Image,’ [the most recent episode to air] each episode really builds to the conclusion of the first season.”
Important plotlines leading into the finale were all planned out before the first episode was even written. “When we planned out the entire arc of 26 episodes, we knew the basic outline of every one of those episodes before we even started writing episode one,” Weisman reveals.
Toy packaging art recently surfaced that included the DC characters Blue Beetle and Lagoon Boy. Might we see them in Season 2 as a part of the team? “You’ll definitely be seeing them in Season 2, but I never said they were a part of the team,” Weisman says. He did, however, confirm some more characters, some that we have only seen in brief glimpses, will be seen more.”You’ll be seeing more of Rocket in Season 1. Absolutely. She’s a really fun character, and we had a great time with that character,” he says.
“I think across both seasons, we have 241 characters from DC Comics. I did the math last night. And Season 2, we’ll have somewhere around 70 new characters that didn’t already appear in Season 1,” Weisman says, pointing out that they’re not always necessarily Teen Titans or Young Justice characters, but instead coming from all over the DC Universe. “Sometimes we work really hard to find a truly obscure character to put in a certain role. There’s an episode that we mixed yesterday that had an incredibly obscure character from my run on Captain Atom back in the 80’s. No, not Death. Way more obscure than Death. So, we will give the audience, the fans in particular, a little bit of work to do to identify everyone who’s in there. But obviously, we’ve got some really famous characters. You’ll be seeing Lobo in Season 2, and a lot of other really significant DC characters, from all across the universe.”
Saturday’s episode, “Agendas,” will feature Wonder Woman, and she will be voiced by Maggie Q. The producers won’t tell us if Wonder Girl will show up at any point. “I’m not saying yes, but I’m not saying no,” Weisman says. (You can, however, find Wonder Girl on the Super Best Friends Forever shorts)
So many characters, especially considering the recent additions of Sphere, Wolf, and Zatanna to the team, mean that we might not see every member of Young Justice on very mission. “When you’re trying to do a covert op, bringing 50 people with you is not necessarily going to make it all covert, so some of our missions towards the end of the season, we’re going to break the team up into smaller groups to handle certain objectives. But rest assured that by episodes 25 and 26, as we bring it home, they’re all going to be there. They’re all going to be playing the game,” Weisman reveals. “Episode 26, our final episode of Season One, really brings to a head the confrontation between The Light and the Justice League, and of course our team as well. If we’ve done our job right, it should knock everyone out. We answer a lot of questions, but we leave one very specific question mark at the end, that doesn’t just tease Season 2; it launches us into Season 2.” He also tells us that if we watch the timestamps on the show, Season 1 ends on December 31st and Season 2 begins on January 1st.
Season 2, which is given the subtitle of “Invasion,” will feature “at least nine alien races from the DCU,” according to Vietti. “That’s not even counting Kryptonians or Martians that you’ve already seen,” he teases. Both producers noted that it’s interesting that YJ is in a programming block with Green Lantern, in that while GL has a man going out into space, YJ Season 2 has characters from space coming to Earth.
One final question to come up regarded whether or not DC requested changes to the characters’ designs following their recent “New 52” revamp. Weisman and Vietti reveal that no such requests have been made. “Our show is our show. And the truth is, we were so far along in production anyway, [that] it wasn’t pragmatic. Even if someone had wanted that, and no one ever asked for it, but even if someone had wanted that, it just wouldn’t have been practical, because we were so pregnant already,” Weisman says.
Vietti adds that the classic look of the Justice League, in particular, was important to the sensibility of the show, and that the “Young Justice” team itself faced more tinkering. “We changed costumes here and there on our younger characters, to make them feel new, so that they would contrast from the classic Justice League costumes. There’s a real art direction choice there to stick with the classics,” he says.
Don’t miss a new Young Justice on Saturday morning on the Cartoon Network! Thanks to Mr. Weisman and Mr. Vietti for speaking with us. You can talk YJ with fans of the show on our forum!