At long last, the Justice League is set to reassemble in animated form in ‘Justice League Action’ premiering on December 16th on the Cartoon Network. The previous ‘Justice League’ animated series ended in 2006, so it’s been a good ten years since they’ve had a proper cartoon series, although there have been direct-to-video movies and the team has popped up on other shows. ‘Justice League Action’ focuses on Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman with a rotating cast of other do-gooders, but this nearly wasn’t the case. It was originally supposed to be another solo ‘Batman’ series, yet somehow it ballooned from that concept to include 152 different DC characters!
Producer Butch Lukic stated:
“Originally, we were supposed to be doing another Batman series. But me and Alan [Burnett] got together with the whole team and then eventually, a week later, it was suggested we do a Justice League show instead. There was a gap between a new series [and the last one], plus the new movie is coming out, so we got the go-ahead to do a Justice League series.”
Whew! That was close. No offense to Batman and his fans, but for those of us that are fans of the ENTIRE DC Universe, it’s been frustrating to see the Dark Knight star in series after series, while the thousands of other DC characters go neglected.
Not only did the creators get permission to change their solo Batman cartoon into ‘Justice League Action’, it looks as though this one will mimic ‘Justice League Unlimited’ by teaming the members of DC’s trinity with a huge number of guest stars, over FIFTY!
Once the change in direction was made, DC Entertainment came to the creators with a list of characters that they wanted to be included on the show.
As Lukic said:
“They gave us a list at first. That was based originally on the [New] 52 comics. The list of characters in there were what they wanted, and it was pretty much the ones everyone wants, plus some odd ones. We definitely got most of those in, plus a few that we thought of that would fit.”
It must have been quite a list as the show’s first season includes 152 guest stars! Of that number, about 60 are heroes, 40 are villains and the rest supporting characters — “sub-villains and all that.”
The first episode, ‘Shazam Slam’ obviously features Shazam, voiced by Sean Astin, who has voiced the character in various animated movies.
The producers also discussed a few of the other characters fans can expect to see, including the oddest choice of all, Space Cabbie!
But first, expect John Constantine and Etrigan the Demon to appear in “quite a few early episodes“
Another guest star is Booster Gold, voiced by Diedrich Bader, who previously voiced Green Lantern/Guy Gardner in various projects as well as Batman on ‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’. Of course, on ‘Justice League Action’ Batman’s voice will be provided by Kevin Conroy, the “definitive” Batman in most fans’ estimation.
Luckily, Bader is among those fans, saying:
“All I do is a poor imitation of Kevin, so to be in a session with him was really, really great. I totally geeked out on him!”
Who else can fans expect? So far, besides the ones mentioned, we know the following heroes appear:
- Big Barda
- Blue Beetle
- Cyborg (voiced by Khary Payton)
- Doctor Fate
- Doctor Light/Kimiyo Hoshi
- Firestorm (voiced by P.J. Byrne)
- The Flash
- Green Arrow
- Green Lantern/Hal Jordan (voiced by Josh Keaton)
- Martian Manhunter
- Mister Terrific (voiced by Hannibal Buress)
- Plastic Man (voiced by Dana Snyder)
- Supergirl (voiced by Joanne Spracklen)
(NOTE: Josh Keaton voices both Green Lantern and The Flash on ‘DC Super Hero Girls’ and other projects, so it’s very likely he will provide The Flash’s voice here as well, but it hasn’t been confirmed.)
- Atrocitus (voiced by Michael Dorn)
- Brainiac (voiced by John de Lancie)
- The Brothers D’jinn [known in the comics as the Demons Three]
- Darkseid (voiced by John DiMaggio)
- Harley Quinn (voiced by Tara Strong)
- The Joker (voiced y Mark Hamill)
- Killer Croc
- Lex Luthor (voiced by James Woods)
- Mister Mind (voiced by Oliver Vaquer)
- Ra’s Al-Ghul
- The Riddler (voiced by Brent Spiner)
- Satan Girl
- Toyman (voiced by Ken Jeong)
- Zilius Zox (voiced by Armin Shimerman)
And then there’s Lobo (voiced by John DiMaggio), whatever you consider him. But what about the most obscure inclusion, Space Cabbie?
“DC wanted him involved in the series, and he turned out to be a good choice. We definitely can go a lot of places with Space Cabbie.”
Patton Oswalt provides the voice of this odd figure who appeared in ‘Mystery In Space’ from 1954-58. And the character is exactly what he sounds like, a cab driver in outer space. How does he fit into the Justice League story? We’ll have to wait and see.
If the sometime off-kilter guest stars and the very cartoon-y animation style make you unsure of what to make of this new show (based on the very cartoon-y animation style), Kevin Conroy said:
“It’s definitely a Justice League action show. It’s got all the action and the drama of a ‘Justice League’ episode. But those characters — all those characters, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman — there’s always that sort of temptation to tweak them a little bit.”
Added producer Alan Burnett:
“We wanted to do a show for kids, to appeal to boys in particular. At first, the show was a lot more action-y than it turned out to be, because as we got more into it, we found that the action played better with some comedy, some character quirks. So it is, in a way, an action show with comedy. But the action’s always serious, the fighting’s always serious. We ended up producing a show that I think is going to get a lot of kid attention. It’s a show that parents can watch along with their kids.”
‘Justice League Action’ premieres on Friday December 16 at 6pm EST before switching to its regular Saturday morning time slot on December 24th. Each 30 minute episode consists of two 11-minute shorts.
Source: Comic Book Resources