Cartoon Network on Season Three #1: “The heroes of the Justice League return in August with a new series, Justice League Unlimited, which incorporates a bold new look and a much larger scope. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern continue to lead the universe's most powerful superheroes in an effort to stop criminal plots and alien threats that endanger the universe. Now, in Justice League Unlimited, they are joined by an even greater collection of heroes, some of whom are well-known—like Supergirl, Green Arrow, and the Atom—as well as some that are less familiar, like Booster Gold, Hawk and Dove, Elongated Man, the Question, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, and Zatanna. Each half-hour will tell a power-packed story, combining some of the original heroes with new ones as they band together to battle alien invasions, powerful sorcerers, vast shadowy conspiracies, and even ancient gods (courtesy of [website name removed]).”
Cartoon Network on Season Three #2: “As the season begins, Superman addresses an awesome assemblage of heroes. He and the rest of the Justice League, which in the past included the Flash, Green Lantern, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl; have come to realize that the universe might be best served by enlarging the group, being more proactive, and coordinating more effectively. The group assembles an awesome collection of superheroes and brings them together aboard the Watchtower, the orbiting space station. It's from this perch that Martian Manhunter monitors goings-on across the galaxies and assigns teams of superheroes to tackle problems.
“But it isn't always smooth sailing for the members of the expanded Justice League. Superheroes usually work alone and have powerful, idiosyncratic personalities, so conflicts inevitably arise. Like any co-workers, these people don't always agree on the best way to solve a problem, but in the case of the new Justice League, these superheroes are dealing with civil wars, rogue criminals, and rampaging monsters, so they must learn to work together.
“The new roster of Justice League Unlimited
includes some of the most famous superheroes around, like Green Arrow, Supergirl,
and Captain Atom. Other members may
be a bit more obscure. Hawk and Dove
are siblings with a very different take on conflict resolution techniques.
B'wana Beast is a jungle man-turned-superhero, a combination of the
Cartoon Network on Season Four: “The Justice League—led by Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern—has grown much larger because the threats are even greater. This season Black Canary, Shayera [Hol], Vigilante, Vixen, and the Question step up to face such villains as Lex Luthor, Felix Faust, and Tobias Whale. And Superman takes on Cadmus in a battle that will determine the future of the League (courtesy of [website name removed]).”
Bruce Timm on Justice League Unlimited #1: “When we finished Season Two, we honestly didn't know if it was going to be our last season or not. We thought it was a 50 / 50 chance it could be our last season of Justice League, but they did come to us and say, 'We would like to pick up Seasons Three and Four of Justice League.'
“They did have a couple of stipulations: one of them was that they didn't want two-part stories any more; they wanted us to do half-hour, self-contained stories. At first, we were like, 'Yeah, we really liked two-part, hour-long stories; we liked having that elbow room to stretch out,' but we did Batman and Superman and Batman Beyond as half-hour shows, so it would just take a little bit of a learning curve to go back and figure out how to tell Justice League stories in a half an hour. But we thought we could do it.
“The second thing is that they asked us to re-brand the show somehow, and they were very vague about that. They just wanted to do something to differentiate Season Three from Seasons One and Two, to let the audience know it's a fresher show. Honestly, in retrospect, I think they would have been happy if we just changed the title of the show, and maybe some kind of superficial change with the line-up of the show. And you can blame it all on me; anybody who doesn't like what's going on with Season Three with all the guest-stars, you can blame it all on me. It was my idea. We could have one rotating cast member; we could have easily just added Aquaman to the show…that would have been enough to re-brand the show.
“Instead, I had this crazy notion: instead of having just one guest star, why don't we go whole hog and go crazy? Fortunately, everyone on staff liked the idea, even though it meant designing and writing and developing all these new characters. It's really been a blast—to me, every episode of Justice League Unlimited is really exciting because we get to play with new characters that we never got to play with before.
“Even though every episode will feature new characters and some episodes will have almost no characters from Seasons One and Two in it—[‘Fearful Symmetry’] prominently features Green Arrow and Supergirl and the Question and J'onn J'onzz is a supporting character and Batman's not in it, Superman's not in it, and Wonder Woman's not in it, and it's one of my favorite episodes of the season. It's called having your cake and eat it, too. There's going to be some episodes that feel like the first two seasons, there's going to be some episodes that feel radically different, and some episodes will feel half and half. So if we really play our cards right, it's going to be a really satisfying show.
“Not to be pessimistic, but I have no idea how much longer the Dini / Timm / Burnett version of the DC Animated Universe is going to continue and this may be like my last chance to go play in the DC Comics backyard, so this is my chance to do a Mr. Miracle story; this is my last chance to do a Wildcat story. So, it's going to be really fun (courtesy of [website name removed]).”
Cartoon Network’s Tramm Wigzell on Justice League Unlimited: “’Starcrossed’ is being done basically to build everything up to a crescendo so that when we do the switch to the new way the show is going to work—it would feel like the right kind of ending and set up for Justice League Unlimited—but it's also for a couple of other reasons. In the bigger sense, multi-part storylines are great, but they are exactly that—multi-parts. Multi-parts are bad for people who missed a few parts and wonder what's going on when randomly tuning in to an episode. Also, a few years from now, if a network is airing reruns and not doing so in order, you risk someone seeing one part of something and never seeing what happens next or how it all began. It would be frustrating to never get that next part.
“On the creative end, [multi-parts are] limiting ourselves to doing these big storylines where we have to put so much time and effort into this one idea. We had huge arcs and storylines which limited us to the kind of stories we can tell and limited us from giving fans something new all the time and / or making it more exciting. Also, since we were basically dealing with seven characters, eventually there were only so many stories to tell, without getting in danger of making stories long just for long's sake. With Justice League Unlimited we can spotlight the characters and give everyone a moment in the sun in one episode as opposed to doing giant arcs where lots [of things] happen and there's so much to keep track of.
“One of the ideas behind this [new series] is [that] the Justice League realizes they can only do so much as who they are. They don't have time to concentrate on every single problem or the resources to deal with everything that happens. Superman is great and, if a nuclear missile were heading towards a country, he could knock it out of the way or use force to do something; but Captain Atom could change it and do so much more to the missile.
“At the beginning of Justice League Unlimited, there's a hole in the roster [with Hawkgirl gone] and, [meanwhile], all these other heroes are out there in the world running around with no rhyme or rhythm. Captain Atom, Green Arrow, Supergirl—the Justice League opens up an invitation for heroes to try to come into the group. Think of the [current] Justice League as the senior members of the student council, [with] freshman heroes like Supergirl and sophomore / junior heroes like Green Arrow and Captain Atom [around]. This is a way to get them all together and share experiences, powers, and approaches to problem-solving under the guidance of the main heroes of the Justice League.
“This won't really be like a bunch of heroes you've never heard of before, like in the original Superfriends where a different hero would show up each week that not a lot of viewers may have been familiar with; in every episode that we have a new character in, we'll also have a gateway character that viewers know. So, if we introduce Green Arrow, he'll be with Green Lantern […] We will have heroes spanning the entire history of the Justice League; additionally, we will see heroes that may not ever have been a member of the Justice League, but are associated with them, like some other DC teams. [Also], not necessarily every character you see in Justice League will be in the spotlight; there will be a lot of background glimpses at different characters that you just see for a few seconds on the screen. I think there will be a lot of people going, 'Oh my God! Was that just [insert name here]?' There are certain characters we all love and hate and we manage to put a good deal of them in here. This is sort of like a reward to fans, because they will see all sorts of characters and all sorts of cool stories and things they wanted to see for so long, but it's also an opening to new people who can take in the Justice League in an easier way.
“We might see one or two two-part episodes; there will be a couple of episodes that are just the core Justice League and no guests—it's not necessary to have new heroes in every episode. Just have it be known that there's a new world order and regime in [the] Justice League now. We'll never just have a character there doing something that any of the core could do—we won't have Supergirl and Green Arrow doing something Wonder Woman and Batman could tackle. There will be a reason a guest star is important and integral to the story. There's no point in having guests just to have guests!
“With Justice League we have the freedom to grab characters from its entire history and DC [Comics] has been great to work with. The first episode introduces the new plan in Justice League. I will say there's a great splash page type shot of dozens of new heroes that we're going to see in this series; everyone should get their TiVO ready for this because they will want to really see which heroes are there. It sets up the story and sets up the idea that, yes, there will be conflicting personalities and everyone will have to get used to new heroes and situations. This is going to be a really good intro to the JLU's world. We have a lot of comic book writers doing scripts for us this year; some stories are based on stories from comics and others are originals. [Finally], I won't say much about if Mr. Miracle or the New Gods will have roles here, but I will say we're all big Jack Kirby fans.
“We're also certainly not dismissing anything that happened before in all the animated offerings from Justice League to all the Superman and Batman animated series’; the Bruce Timm timeline and continuity are a definite part of this, but history provokes new changes (courtesy of The Pulse).”
Joaquim Dos Santos on the Justice League’s expanded roster: “I flipped out; I didn't think they were able to pull it off. Just logistically, for a production coordinator to handle 60 characters from the get-go, it's a huge undertaking. Not should it be more fun for the viewers, but for us, too. I think it keeps it interesting because we're not just handling the same characters every episode. For us it's fun…one show will be Captain Atom with Supergirl and Green Lantern and another show will be Superman with Hawk or whomever.
“We've got a heckuva lot more characters, pretty much a full roster of DC heroes. It's pretty much going to be bigger and badder. It's going to be huge…The opening teaser a huge shot of the interior of the Watchtower and it's literally just packed with every character you can imagine. I know it's going to be a pause-fest going on, where people are picking out heroes.
“From the get-go, there's huge consequences—people will be taken out of the game; stuff will matter. When a character's injured, he's injured; he's out for a while (courtesy of [website name removed]).”
Bruce Timm on the Justice League’s expanded roster: “Who gives a crap whether kids know these characters or not? Kids today do not, I repeat, do not read comics, anyway. They don’t know Green Arrow from Dr. Fate or the Atom from Mr. Miracle, either. Should they not be in the series [because] kids don’t know who they are? Seriously, whether kids are familiar with the characters or not is not a criteria for our choosing who goes in the show.
“A lot of these guys are red-shirts, pure and simple. They’re ‘extras’ in the background. We chose some of these guys because they had a kinda cool look (Obsidian and Aztek, for example), some we chose because they’re different types, not just guys in spandex (like Shining Knight and Vigilante), and some because, frankly, we just plain needed warm bodies to fill up the space (Nemesis, Crimson Fox, Waverider, etc.). Some, like Mr. Terrific, Stargirl, and S.T.R.I.P.E., we’re actually going to do something with someday (hell, they might even get to speak).
“Also, yeah, James [Tucker] and I do have a bizarre, geeky attachment to Shining Knight and Vigilante. Besides the Frazetta Shining Knight stories, and the amazing Mort Meskin-drawn Vigilante stories (not to mention Tony Salmons’ smokin’ Vigilante mini-series), they were both members of an early super-team, the Seven Soldiers of Victory, and since we saw the JLU as being an amalgamation of all the DC superteams (the JLA, the JSA, etc.), we felt they were worthy of inclusion for that reason as well.
“Besides, it’s a freakin’ knight and a freakin’ cowboy riding a freakin’ motorcycle! Maybe that dates me, but personally I think they’re cool as hell. I’ve had three or four people tell me (completely unsolicited, mind you) that their kids loved the Vigilante bit in ‘Dark Heart.’ They may never have seen a cowboy movie or TV show in their life, but I guess something about the iconography just has a built-in appeal.
“As for Nemesis, yeah, he was way down on our wish list. In fact, I don’t think he was even on our wish list; I think he was on a list of 'rights-available' guys that DC gave to us. And he is a unique 'type,' so we said, 'What the hell, put him in the show, we need bodies.' I would much rather have had Phantom Stranger, Blue Beetle, etc, but they were off-limits for whatever reason (courtesy of DrawingBoard.org).”
Dwayne McDuffie on the Justice League’s expanded roster: “We asked [DC Comics] for permission to use a whole pile of characters at the beginning of the season. We occasionally think of something new as we go along, and ask on a case-by-case basis. Likewise, occasionally we’ll sit on something too long, and they’ll tell us we can’t use the character any more. Considering the complexity of DC’s many licenses, they’re pretty much sweethearts, bending over backwards when they can (which doesn’t stop me from bitching at me on the rare occasion when they don’t let us do something).
“In addition, they get outlines of every script we intend to do, and they’ll let us know if they have any problem with who we’re using, or how we’re using them. […] Certain characters are approved [for use on the show] but this can change at any time. We have to ask every episode. […] Sometimes there are other deals with the characters, sometimes there are rights issues, [and] sometimes DC doesn’t want to do anything with a character at the moment.
“[For example], I’d love to use Swamp Thing but he’s Vertigo. We were talking about doing Tefe [Swamp Thing’s daughter] at one point, but we were told Vertigo was off-limits. […] We don’t have the rights to Animal Man [and] Black Lightning isn’t available to us. […] I was going to use the Phantom Stranger in an episode, but we couldn’t get the rights. It was probably a Vertigo thing […and] I’d love to do the Spectre, but I think we got a no-go on him early on, so I never bothered to try and come up with something for him. Maybe someday […Finally, with Blue Beetle] we were told it was a potential issue with the radio show rights owners. It just wasn’t worth opening the can of worms.
“Bruce [Timm] likes to use characters who are visually unusual; anybody who isn’t in skintight spandex has a leg up. [Finally], JLU members don’t know each other’s identities except where directly indicated in stories (courtesy of DwayneMcDuffie.com).”
Bruce Timm on the JLU's cast: "Even though all of these characters have comic book history as long as your arm, we still had to sift through that and redefine for ourselves what we want those characters to be. Each one of them has radically different personalities, depending on who's writing the book. Kind of what we did with Batman when we did the series: what is it about Batman that we like out of all the different versions? What says Batman to us? So the same thing happens whenever we're dealing with one of these other heroes. Who is Green Arrow? If we bring something new, we want to make sure that it's something true to the spirit of the character. It's fun; It's like starting with a palette of seven colors and now it's a palette of unlimited colors (courtesy of RetroVision CD-ROM Magazine).”
Paul Dini on Season Three (circa 2003): “[It’s currently in the planning stages, but] you may not see all the members in every episode; they won't be the unit of seven as much. You might see different members interacting, kind of off on their own, or you might see different characters from the DC Universe coming in and out of the show. They're looking at broadening the League, and perhaps bringing in some other characters (courtesy of Comic Book Resources).”
Stan Berkowitz on Justice League Unlimited (circa 2004): “Truthfully, some episodes of Justice League in the previous seasons were harder because we were trying to juggle seven. In the new season, seldom are there seven major heroes in one episode. How could you give their due to seven characters in half an hour? Or more than that? That would be impossible (courtesy of [website name removed]).”
Bruce Timm on the JLU format: "For the most part, the standard format is that the main body of the story will involve at least three and usually four or five of the heroes. The episode roster changes from episode to episode. Some of the episodes will have a lot of the 'old school' Justice Leaguers from the big seven, and some of them have maybe two of them and a bunch of new characters. Every episode's kind of a grab bag. For instance, ['Initiation'] features Green Lantern, Captain Atom, Green Arrow, and Supergirl. There's interesting changing dynamics in almost every show (courtesy of RetroVision CD-ROM Magazine).”
Joaquim Dos Santos on the JLU format: “They've done away with the two-part format. It's just 30-minute episodes. The way it works out there's a core group, and they'll take a team of two or three other heroes on an adventure with them. There's basically a team leader and then the new guys on the team, the rookies. Other than that, there's no real format. It can kind of go anyway in wants (courtesy of [website name removed]).”
Dwayne McDuffie on JLU character dynamics: "We know how Superman and Batman are going to react to each other. We don't know how Superman and Green Arrow are going to react to each other, so you get to see a different piece of the characters that you think you know real well. That's an advantage. Also, sending the team off in different groups means we can use different kinds of villains and have different kinds of threats. It doesn't always have to be the end of the world, it can be smaller problems with much bigger personal stakes for the characters. And it gives us a chance to bring the life in animation characters who we otherwise probably would never see. I will say that half-hour storytelling feels a little cramped, but it does force you to be more efficient and take out the stuff that you don't really need (courtesy of RetroVision CD-ROM Magazine).”
Bruce Timm on creating JLU: “If anything, Justice League Unlimited is harder than the first two seasons of Justice League. Since the old shows were all two-parters, we had less design work to do, overall (much of the design work—character, backgrounds, etc.—generated for Part One could be carried over for Part Two). We have to generate new backgrounds and character designs for practically every episode. I’m not complaining, mind you, just explaining how it is (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Bruce Timm on JLU series design: “CGI vehicles are here to stay, so sorry but you’re just gonna have to live with it. I avoided it as long as I could, but at a certain point I got tired of beating my head against the wall. Bottom-line is, nobody wants to be animating vehicles by hand, and the overseas companies had been begging us to switch to 3D vehicles for years. Ultimately I realized the writing was on the wall, that it was gonna happen sooner or later. I won’t claim that I’m 100% happy with the 3D stuff yet, but we (and they) are never gonna get better at it unless we keep at it, so even though we’re still on the learning curve, they are getting better, much [better]. The new digital Javelin looks pretty damn sweet.
“Funny you should mention the backgrounds: we’ve actually dusted off the old Superman and The New Batman Adventures Metropolis and Gotham City designs for Justice League Unlimited (I missed them too; courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Bruce Timm on the Bat-Embargo: “I don’t see the Bat-Embargo lifting anytime soon but, to tell you the truth, as much as I […] love those characters, I don’t really miss [them] all that much. It’s not like we don’t have tons of other interesting characters to play with. If I were doing an actual Batman show, and not allowed to use those characters, yeah, that’d be pretty galling, but Batman’s only one ingredient in the Justice League’s brew. The Bat-clan aren’t really essential in any way to the current show […] I mean, did you guys miss Ra’s [Al Ghul] in ‘Wake the Dead?’ Would ‘The Return’ have been a better episode if Nightwing were in it?
“So, let’s all just take a deep breath and move on, shall we? There’s a [bunch] of mind-blowing superhero goodness coming soon on Justice League Unlimited; just keep saying, ‘The glass is half-full’ (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Dwayne McDuffie on the Bat-Embargo: “All I know is [that the Batman characters] they’re off-limits for the foreseeable future. If it changes we’ll use some of them but I wouldn’t count on it happening soon (courtesy of DwayneMcDuffie.com).”
Bruce Timm on Justice League Unlimited #2: “The bottom line is that it's two shows in one—some shows feel very much like the old show, while others are anthology shows […] we have to write much tighter. That's the tricky part (courtesy of the Birmingham News).”
Bruce Timm on future plans: “We’re just starting post-production on Season Three and starting scripts for Season Four. A direct-to-video feature is still a possibility, and I have been—and will continue to be—involved in the ongoing DCAU DVD releases, doing commentaries and such. Spare time? What’s that (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Bruce Timm on the Cadmus arc (circa 2004): "We didn't think the shows were going to connect in a season-long story arc, and we got to [‘Fearful Symmetry’], and we realized we already had a story arc in place. We realized that there were all these plot threads that we had going quite a ways in the past that we could connect into a bigger, broader story arc, so now we're focusing all our energy on that. And, by the time you get to Season Four, it's going to be quite the epic story arc (courtesy of [website name removed]).”
Dwayne McDuffie on the Cadmus arc: "The storyline was so complex and convoluted [that] we knew we would have to do most of it on staff. A combination of short deadlines and the loss of story editor Stan Berkowitz late in the season [...] pretty much left me as the only person who had a chance of hitting the deadlines. In retrospect, I'm glad I did, but I really missed Stan and our ace freelancers like Bob Goodman and Mark DeMatteis. When you have guys that good, you want to use them on the big stories (courtesy of Comic Buyers Guide Magazine)."
Dwayne McDuffie on planning the Cadmus arc:
“Warren [Ellis] brought Eiling to the table, which dovetailed with our
need to have a new military black ops guy to replace Hardcastle, who we had
recently killed. I wanted to add a
sequence of the military dropping a nuke on the Dark Heart as a complication for
“I don’t remember any major difficulties with [Broadcast Standards and Practices] over this story line, except an insistence that we say no one was killed or seriously injured during the BFG attack. I could have forgotten something though; it’s been over a year.
“As you can see from this example, the particulars of which I’m surely misremembering, all of this stuff bounces back and forth from story editors, to Bruce, to writers, and back again several time (courtesy of DwayneMcDuffie.com).”
Dwayne McDuffie on Broadcast Standards and Practices: “Broadcast Standards and Practices [are] a department […] at every network that makes sure that each episode’s contents are appropriate to their internal standards, as well as to the rating that each series gets. It’s slightly different for each network; for instance Kids’ WB is generally more strict about ‘fantasy violence’ than Cartoon Network.
“And the line did add something: the assurance to every viewer that no innocents were killed. I tried to be cute about it at first, by having Waller say no one was harmed (but she was only answering a specific question about Cadmus personnel). I thought we could skate on that, but I didn’t get away with it. They wanted to be crystal clear: no one was injured (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Bruce Timm on DCAU continuity: “Here’s the thing: first of all, as I’ve said many, many times, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited are their own shows, not just continuations of BTAS or STAS or whatever. To expect us to give satisfying conclusions to all the dangling storylines from all the previous series is frankly unrealistic. Hell, we get enough accusations of ‘blatant fan-service’ as it is.
“Also, if we gave ‘closure’ to all these story elements, going on the assumption that JLU is for all intents and purposes ‘the last DCAU’ show, what if—by some chance—Cartoon Network or Kids’ WB wants us to do a Green Lantern or Flash or whatever spin-off series when JLU is finished? I never expected to be doing more Batman shows after BTAS, and ended up doing twenty-some-odd TNBA episodes several years later. Good thing we didn’t kill everybody off at the end of BTAS, eh?
“Chances are, the season we’re working on now might just be the ‘last hurrah’ of the DCAU but, then again, it might not. The last thing we wanna do ourselves is paint ourselves into a corner (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Bruce Timm on JLU’s opening titles: “Believe it or not, our original inspiration for the new title intro [for early episodes of Justice League Unlimited] was the Space: 1999 main title sequence. We then remembered a lot of old TV shows [that] used to do ‘episode-specific’ titles, like Mission Impossible and all the Quinn Martin shows. Also, as someone else mentioned, we realized it is like the old ‘Justice League roll call’ in the Silver Age comics, so we thought that was kinda cool. It’s a whole lot of extra work—just finding exciting, but ‘spoiler-free,’ clips is a major pain in the butt—so whether it was worth it or not, I don’t know. Whatever, we just wanted to try something different. […] Going into a standardized title sequence [later] had absolutely nothing to do with ‘catering to fanboys.’ It had everything to do with the fact that it’s extremely difficult to find spectacular but ‘non-spoilerific’ shots for each 22-minute cartoon.
“Hey, I kinda liked the teaser titles myself, and thought we did a pretty good job of not spoiling important plot points for the most part, so we basically disregarded the fan complaints about them. […] The “old school” Space: 1999-esque title sequence seemed like a neat idea at the time, but right out of the gate, cutting the ‘Initiation’ teaser was bloody hard, and then the one for ‘For the Man Who Has Everything’ was even harder. It just became a huge pain in the ass—putting the show together is hard enough, week in / week out, without having to spend several hours putting together what amounts to a brand-new title sequence each episode. Going to a standardized title sequence makes it one less thing we have to sweat about.
“We had always planned on permanently inserting the Shayera ‘portrait’ shot into the title sequence in this episode anyway, so it seemed like as good a time as any to debut the ‘permanent / standardized’ titles. The teaser end-titles are staying, though, as per Cartoon Network’s request (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Dwayne McDuffie on character usage: "[The Justice League doesn’t send every hero on every mission for] the same [reasons] the Fire Department doesn’t send every truck and ladder in town every time they get an alarm. Too many firemen get in each other’s way, not to mention all the other potential fires you have to be ready for. [Do] the police send every man they’ve got every time somebody robs a liquor store, or even when there’s a homicide? Neither does the Justice League (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Bruce Timm on character usage: “We figured it was pretty self-explanatory that the JLU has multiple missions happening simultaneously all over the planet…sometimes even off-planet. Not only are reserve members not even available to be called in sometimes, because they’re already occupied (except in the dreaded ‘Omega Level’ emergency situations) but, also, dramatically, we really wanted to restrict the usage of our guys calling for back-up too often, as it kinda punks them out a bit (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Bruce Timm on Joss Whedon influences: “Buffyverse comparisons? Besides ‘The Greatest Story Never Told’ being kind of similar to ‘The Zeppo,’ and casting Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres, Amy Acker, Nathan Fillon, Morena Bacarin, Juliet Landau, and Armin Shimmerman, I just don’t see it.
“Seriously, I’m on-record as being a Fan of All Things Joss—even his comics rule—over the last year or two, we’ve definitely become increasingly inspired by his work but, at the same time, when we realize certain stories or bits are going down a somewhat ‘Whedonesque’ path, we try real hard to put our own spin on them, so we’re not just repeating his stuff verbatim (it’s tough to resist, [because] he gets things right the first time, quite often). When we were breaking the Booster Gold story, we did realize that it was becoming structurally similar to ‘The Zeppo’ (and also similar to ‘Rozencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead’) and made sure to find ways to make it different from those two pieces. Batman singing in ‘This Little Piggy’ was inspired, in part, by the running karaoke gags on Angel but, whereas their joke was that Angel sang goofy songs like ‘Mandy’ (and not too well), our gag was that Batman’s choice of song was entirely in character, and he nails it. In the same episode, the bullets and bracelets gag was inspired by a bit they didn’t do on Buffy: in the episode (I don’t remember the title) where Buffy was turned into a rat, being chased by a hungry feline, I kept waiting for the Buffy-rat to kick the cat’s ass!
“Certainly, the current ‘Cadmus’ storyline is the closest we’ve ever come to an on-going season-long Whedon-style ‘big bad’ arc, but the particulars aren’t very Whedon-esque at all. Cadmus isn’t actually all that similar to Wolfram and Hart, they’re definitely not like the Watcher’s council (!?), and Amanda Waller sure as hell ain’t no Lilah Morgan!
“I think the thing we’re most inspired by is he and his team’s ballsiness in trying unusual story structures, violating status quo TV formulae, and just plain taking chances. I remember Joss saying (I paraphrase) that he was terrified while making ‘Hush,’ that it could have been an embarrassing disaster if he couldn’t pull it off, and that ultimately, it’s good to stretch beyond one’s reach. I found that attitude particularly inspiring. There’s some stuff coming up that we probably wouldn’t have had the stones to attempt without Joss and company’s example (nothing as ambitious as ‘Hush’ or ‘Once More With Feeling’ or ‘The Body’ or ‘Restless’ but, relatively speaking, fairly ambitious for us; courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Bruce Timm on JLU’s ratings (circa 2004): “The ratings I’ve seen say we’ve had major gains in ‘kid’ demographics this season, all across the board. Maybe it’s the rock music, maybe it’s all the multi-colored new characters (‘new toys’), maybe it’s the stand-alone self-contained story format…whatever it is, more kids are watching Justice League Unlimited than ever watched Justice League (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Paul Dini on Justice League Unlimited (circa 2004): I was sorry I couldn’t stick around and do another Justice League Unlimited—Dwayne told me he and Bruce had tossed around the idea of me writing a darker, ‘Over the Edge’-style tragedy for next season. I certainly would have been up for it, but my new gig [on the ABC series Lost] kicked in before we could talk, so I lost out.
“Anytime [Bruce Timm wants] me to do another I’m up for it […] if Season Five [or more] come to pass, I’m definitely up for another trip to the Watchtower (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Justice League Unlimited Image #1 | Justice League Unlimited Image #2
Commentary coming soon!
Images courtesy of Toon Zone, The World's Finest, [website name removed], and The Cartoon Factory.
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