The World’s Finest recently had to opportunity to ask a series of questions to Young Justice: Invasion Producer Brandon Vietti. Vietti, alongside Producer Greg Weisman, have been steering the acclaimed Young Justice animated series since its inception in 2010. The series follows a team of young heroes dealing with planet-wide threats and intergalactic dangers, amidst dealing with several complicated issues. In the following Q & A, Vietti touches upon the growing world of Young Justice and what we can expect to see in the latest batch of new episodes, now airing Saturdays at 10:30am (ET/PT) on Cartoon Network. Continue below for more.
The World’s Finest: In the coming season, it was revealed the Team would be both on the front line of defending Earth from invasion and be hunted themselves. Could things get any worse for our heroes? Any chance you could dive into these possible status quo changes a bit more?
Bradon Vietti: [We'll] continue to put pressure on the Team from within. Personality clashes, disagreements, new characters and, of course, more secrets and lies will further test our Team in already trying times.
WF: At the start of the season it was said more heroes would join the Team but some would not stay or not make the cut. When can we expect to start seeing alterations to the team? And will we be seeing this all in the show, or should we also check out the upcoming issues of the comic and the video game?
BV: Some of our other new heroes have already been seen on screen in the first 7 episodes of season 2 but they were basically background characters. You’ll see them step into the foreground within the next 7 episodes.
WF: The history of Earth-16 has become equally fascinating to fans as the present and the future. It feels like a lived-in place, with tangible history that feels real. Are we going to learn more about the past – such as Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron – be it in the show and/or the comic? How important was building a past for Young Justice?
BV: I don’t know how you can even tell a story without first building a past for the world and the characters inside the story. History informs all decisions for story, character development and art direction for our show. All of it! Knowing the history is that important. Fortunately for us we had the very deep and rich DC Universe to work with as a starting point. Every character in Young Justice and the world itself has a well fleshed out timeline that respects what’s been established in the comics but is presented in what is hopefully a new and exciting way. I’m glad to hear that sense of history is coming through the screen for our viewers. We worked hard to build that in.
WF: Overall, the show has leaned heavily on more of the B-list villains, with a few A-listers from time to time. Is there a conscious effort to explore bad guys that rarely get screen time? Why avoid the A-listers?
BV: [Our] notion of who qualifies as an A-Lister or a B-Lister may be different from some of our audiences’ notions. In any case, one thing to keep in mind is that we’re not focused on any one hero and his or her Rogue’s Gallery. We’re focused on story. And the villains are chosen from throughout the DCU based on the needs of story.
WF: Fans have not been too kind to Lagoon Boy so far this season, claiming his characterization has made him very off-putting. That, and his relationship to Miss Martian. Is it safe to assume that characterizations are chosen very specifically, and that there will be a pay-off?
BV: Characterizations are chosen very specifically. When putting together a show like this you have to create a broad range of personalities for your main characters to keep things interesting and realistic. I’m sure everyone can relate to being stuck on a team with someone they don’t connect with. I like what Lagoon Boy brings to the Team dynamic. By design, he’s an “unpolished” personality and I think that’s an important texture for the show.
WF: When starting the second season, were you were worried fans wouldn’t take to what basically seemed like a complete overhaul of the entire series? Many fans are missing the Team from season one … is it possible we’ll see that particular team and time frame again?
BV: The original six members of the Team from Season One are not gone, of course. They are still fundamentally our leads even in Season Two, and that will become even more evident as the season progresses.
WF: Also, was the five-year jump planned from the beginning? Could you go into your thought-process in implementing this massive change for the series?
BV: Yes, the five-year jump was indeed planned from the beginning. It was sometimes amusing, sometimes frustrating to read viewer complaints about us choosing, for example, Dick and Wally, over Tim and Bart, because we knew both were coming. As for the thought-process, the main thing was that we felt it was important in a series about growing up, that we show our characters actually GROW up. You can’t do that in the course of a few months or even one year of storytime.
WF: Can you provide any teasers in what fans can expect in the second half of season two? Is it safe to assume that things continue to hit the skids? Any details on when can we expect to see some new members (such as Static) and perhaps a new threat or two?
BV: You really won’t have to wait long for the new stuff. And also keep an eye open for some old enemies from season 1 to see how they evolved during the time jump to season 2. As for the rest of season 2 I’ll say that just when you think it can’t get worse… wait until the next episode.
Young Justice: Invasion airs Saturdays at 10:30am (ET/PT) as part of the DC Nation programming block on Cartoon Network. Special encore presentations air Sundays at 10:30am (ET/PT). The next new Young Justice: Invasion episode “Darkest” debuts October 6th, 2012.