Name: Kanjar Ro
Voiced by Rene Auberjonois
A Dhorian criminal operating in the fields of smuggling and piracy, Kanjar Ro was involved in the Manhunter's plot to frame Green Lantern John Stewart and bring shame to the Green Lantern Corps. Presumably, he is currently serving time for perjury and conspiracy in regards to this affair.
Cartoon Network on Kanjar Ro: "A petty space pirate and smuggler, Kanjar Ro was hired by the Manhunters to help frame Green Lantern John Stewart and to draw the Guardians away from Oa (courtesy of Cartoon Network).”
Excerpts from the Justice League Panel at the 2001
Bruce Timm: A lot
of you are wondering, “Who’s Kanjar Ro?”
We haven’t seen him in the comics for a while, but for those of you
[who] don’t know he goes way back to the very early days of the Justice League
comics. One of the things that
we’re doing with this show is, when we started working out story ideas for the
show, we realized how some of these guys from the old comics are just a little
bit too silly for a modern audience to understand.
Like, everybody’s got an “O” at the end of their names—like Amazo
and Eclipso and Despero and Starro. So,
Kanjar Ro is one of those guys who we liked from the comics, but we looked at
him and [kind of went], “Well, he’s just kind of, like, this goofy bug-faced
guy and he’s not really a credible threat to these gods.”
So we gave him an interesting secondary villain role.
So, on the shows where we have a major villain versus the
Justice League, if there’s like a hench-villain—you know, like an Oddjob
type—we’ll try to pick out another character from the DC
Universe—especially from the JLA comics—to put in that part and
integrate him into the show. That’s
what Kanjar Ro is: he’s actually
in the big Green Lantern spotlight episode.
He’s a secondary villain in that show.
Courtesy of Revolution Science Fiction and Comics2Film.
on Kanjar Ro: “In this episode,
the informer…who sets up John Stewart’s downfall
could have just been any old space pirate, but we figured, ‘Well, wouldn’t
it be great if it was Kanjar Ro,’ who was a major Justice League villain from
back in the day. So, we try to do
that whenever we can (courtesy of the Justice League:
Justice on Trial DVD).”
Kanjar Ro Model Design Sheet #1 | Kanjar Ro Model Design Sheet #2
Kanjar Ro Image #1 | Kanjar Ro Image #2
"I figured he was going to try to stop me, so I shot first."
Kanjar Ro (to the Prosecutor) in "In Blackest Night"
Hard as it is to believe, this pink-skinned, bug-eyed alien was considered a world-conquering threat to the Justice League, and has made frequent appearances since his first appearance in Justice League of America #3 (February-March 1961). Following their initial encounter he was deposed as the dictator of his native planet Dhor, he became a frequent opponent of both the Justice League and Adam Strange, fighting them with goofy, Silver Age weapons such as the Energi-Rod (a magic wand-type weapon that, among other things, allowed him to levitate and communicate across hyperspace), the Gamma Metal Gong (a weapon capable of paralyzing people on a planetary scale) and his cosmic boat (an open-topped boat that, while able to fly through space, required a slave galley to propel it). Despite his inherent ridiculousness (or, due to nostalgia, because of it) he still makes appearances today in the post-Crisis DC Universe as a villain in the 1990 Hawkworld mini-series and, most recently, as the Minister of Defense for the planet Kylaq in the pages of JLA, during Joe Kelly's recent stint on the title.
Considering his presence in Justice League history, it's only natural that Kanjar Ro would make an appearance, but in what capacity? The Silver Age—where a you could could walk around with no pants on and still be considered a viable threat—is long gone and, as Bruce Timm correctly stated above, it would be hard to consider him to be a threat to the Justice League of today. Thus, Kanjar Ro was given the television equivalent of a walk-on role, allowing him the dignity of an appearance without the messiness of figuring out how to make him a threat on his own. In retrospect, his role as a pirate suits him, as something in his demeanor suggests "con man" or "mercenary" rather than "planetary conqueror." This portrayal was aided by the presence of Rene Auberjonois as his voice, giving him a gruff, weathered manner. Finally, his costume, while very similar to his Silver Age costume, features long pants, an absolute requirements for the villains of today.
Considering his new role in the Justice League series, I would hazard to say that it is extremely unlikely that Kanjar Ro will make any further appearances on Unlimited, but that isn't to say that it is impossible. As a space pirate he has some versatility, and could be used as a henchman for any number of cosmic villains. However, should he reappear somewhere down the line, I hope that he continues to leave his "Energi-Rod" and “Gamma Metal Gong” back in the Silver Age where they belong.
Images courtesy of Warner Bros. Online UK, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Toon Zone, DC Comics, and The World's Finest.
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