Voiced by Eric Roberts
The tyrannical ruler of a vast intergalactic empire,
Mongul amuses himself and his subjects with endless gladiatorial games staged on
a barren planet called War World
(courtesy of Cartoon Network press materials and Cartoon
Network’s Justice League Homepage).
Excerpts from the Justice League Panel at the 2001
Rich Fogel: He’s
the despotic ruler of War World. We
do a sort of gladiator story where Superman gets taken off to War World and has
to fight for his life. And we got
Eric Roberts to play Mongul—he’s very cool.
of Revolution Science Fiction
Bruce Timm on Mongul #1 (circa 2002): “Eric Roberts brought Mongul to life in a way that none of us expected. It’s a very off-beat performance—flamboyant, but menacing—definitely not a 'poor man’s Darkseid (courtesy of Toon Zone)!'”
on Mongul #2 (circa 2003):
“Honestly, Eric Roberts kind of made us nervous a little bit because he
had so many different ideas on how to play this character and we recorded every
single one of them. He’s not
consistent through the episode—he doesn’t sound like the same guy from the
beginning to the end. There are
times when he’s real suave, and there are other times where he’s really
brutish, and we thought, ‘Man, we don’t know if this is going to cut
together—if this is going to make a consistent character—or what.’
the storyboard artists really focused in on the acting that he had provided in
the vocal tracks and played up all these different facets of his personality in
the show. So, when we got the show
back, we thought, ‘Wow, this is great, this is better than if he was just the
mean bad guy.’ I mean, he’s
vain, he’s arrogant, he’s petty—I think that makes him an interesting
character and, unfortunately, that’s exactly what Eric brought out in his
performance (courtesy of the Justice League:
Paradise Lost DVD).”
on Mongul #3 (circa 2003):
“The Mongul character, again, appeared in the comics originally and he
was always kind of a second-string villain; from the very moment they started
using him…he was a second-rate Darkseid, I thought.
He’s a big, burly guy who, in fact…[is] probably twice as wide as he
is in the cartoon. I mean, he’s
really, really thick. We had to
reduce his bulk a little bit just so he could fit on the screen and, also—just
aesthetically—I just think it looks a little bit better to animate a character
[that's] not quite so blocky, so we slimmed him down a bit.
never very happy with the design of the character in the comics.
His costume is very, very basic—it’s very supervillainy—it’s
boots and shorts and a tunic and there’s not really anything terribly
interesting about his costume in the comics.
We had to find a way to kind of jazz him up—to give him a little more
production value; to make him look a little bit cooler than he looked in the
comics. His basic color scheme in
the comics is purple and yellow and really pale blue so, looking at the comics,
I thought, ‘Well, okay…what if all those things that are pale blue…were
metallic parts [on] his costume?’ So
we tricked him out a little bit with little silvery things here and there on his
costume, and that helped a lot. [Also],
we put Mongul in long pants; that helped automatically—you can take him a
little bit more seriously if the villain’s not walking around in Bermuda
shorts…I think it’s still very true to the way the character feels in the
comics, but the details are different.
“When we talked about using him in the Justice League show…again, he was not one of our favorite bad guys, but we thought that might actually make him an interesting villain: the fact that he’s not Darkseid. We already have Darkseid, so why do we need another one? We don’t need a clone of him. So, we decided to make him more of a Darkseid wannabe; we wanted to make him somebody who wants to be the baddest guy in the universe, but he’s never gonna get there (courtesy of the Justice League: Paradise Lost DVD).”
Mongul cToon Image
There’s not going to be any rebellion.
Not if I can keep giving them fights—good ones—enough to take their
minds off their troubles.
Mongul in War World
Spoken like a true politician,
Part Roman emperor, part game show
host; this version of Mongul is very different from the petty despot of the
comic books. It works
here—especially since he is pretty much a "Darkseid wannabe (as Bruce
Timm so elequoently put it, see above)."
In retooling the character, it also appears that the creative team
decided to stick to Modern DC continuity (Mongul dates back to the Silver Age,
but War World is a recent invention for the Superman comic books).
Despite his second-string status, Mongul’s presence in Justice League could prove beneficial for the series—it could lead to an adaptation of For the Man Who Has Everything, the classic Alan Moore Superman story from the mid-1980s. In addition, it could also mean a return appearance by Maxima, whose empire found conflict with Mongul’s in recent years.
Images courtesy of Warner Bros. Online UK, Bat13 from DCU Animated, and Cartoon Network.
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