Following up on yesterday’s Q & A with Producer Brandon Vietti, The World’s Finest has a new Q & A with Young Justice: Invasion Producer Greg Weisman now available. Weisman, alongside Vietti, 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, Weisman touches upon the growing world of Young Justice (now in its second season and subtitled Invasion) and what we can expect to see in the latest batch of new episodes, airing Saturdays at 10:30am (ET/PT) as part of the DC Nation programming block 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?
Greg Weisman: We were determined not to make life easy for the Team this season. The Justice League hasn’t vanished, though many of the heavy-hitters and mentor figures have headed to Rimbor to stand trial. But even the Leaguers who stayed behind aren’t going to provide the same safety net to our young heroes as they have in the past. Everyone’s stretched way to thin for that. And let’s just say that the bad guys are losing patience with these kids…
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?
GW: Well, by all means, check out the comic book!!! Please!!! And the video game too, when it comes out early next year. But of course, you’ll start to see changes come into play in the television series, as well. And soon. Obviously, Impulse has a role to play, but he’s just the tip of the iceberg.
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?
GW: Very important. We wanted to give this universe depth and heft. Given enough episodes and/or issues, we hope to cover all of it – as overly-ambitious as that obviously sounds. We definitely have stories in mind for the JSA and the A-SS, but the television series itself is more focused on the present for the time being.
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?
GW: In a show that features Ra’s al Ghul and Vandal Savage and Lex Luthor and has had appearances by the Joker and many, many others, we’re not feeling like A-listers are getting the short shrift. (And Brainiac is coming to the comic!) Admittedly, it’s kinda cool if you can take a guy like Sportsmaster and make him bad ass.
WF: Fans have noticed several unrevealed designations in the Team (B-12 to B-15), Justice League (22 to 25, one being Black Lightning), and the Authorized Guests (A-01, 02, and 05 to 09). Will we know all of them by the end of Invasion? Is it safe to assume some of the numbers hold potential spoilers or surprises?
GW: We don’t go out of our way to show designations. That would be too artificial. More will inevitably be revealed, but some may not be – though most can be figured out with a touch of logic, especially if preferential bias isn’t applied to the logic – which is a common problem we see with some fan theories when lurking on, say, Toonzone. Spoilers indeed exist though, so we won’t be giving anything away here. And more revelations will come in the comics or the video game.
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?
GW: Not sure what is meant by “pay-off” – but obviously there’s more to La’gaan’s story. Not everyone on a Team as large as this is going to fit in smoothly, and we wanted to show that. But we like the guy. He’s fun to write.
WF: This is a short question, because I have one fan begging me to ask it – did Jason Todd exist in this world? Is it possible he became Robin and was killed/made into Red Hood during the five-year gap?
GW: Spoiler Request. No comment.
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?
GW: The comic will bounce back and forth between seasons – and also venture in-between the seasons and even tread beyond both seasons (in both directions). But the television series is staying in the Season Two present.
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?
GW: Five years later seemed about right. And we’re trying to be true to our universe in terms of what other characters were introduced in the meantime.
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?
GW: “Hitting the skids” doesn’t begin to cover it. Things go from grim to worse rapidly in the episodes about to air. We have more aliens showing up, and more young heroes and, really, more of everything, including Despero and Deathstroke. (And that’s just the Ds.)
WF: Briefly moving on to the Young Justice: Legacy video game, due February 20113, tell us a little bit more about your role as consultants (i.e. Are you involved in it until the end? How many drafts has the game script gone through?). What are your expectations for this game?
GW: I’ve done some dialogue polishing on the game, and we’ve [Vietti and I] both reviewed the story and character. We’re trying to make sure that the continuity and our timeline remain consistent. And so far, so good. As for our expectations… we’re just looking forward to a cool game, lots of fun play and a story that matters to our continuity.
WF: This 12th villain that is being kept a secret was said to be new and created for the game. By new, this is a character created completely from scratch or new in the sense he/she/it is a DC Comics character but hasn’t appeared yet in the show and comic? Any teasers?
GW: Um… not sure we’re authorized to answer this one.
WF: And now – the Young Justice comic! What factors do you take into account when creating a story for the comic? Is it difficult to have it walk that line of being accessible to those who may not watch the show? And is the comic taken into consideration when working on stories for the show?
GW: Sometimes, it’s about timing. When DC made the decision to switch the comic over to the Invasion cast and era, it meant putting a couple of stories still set during Season One on the shelf – hopefully just for the time being. And we knew that when we rebranded the book as Young Justice: Invasion, we wanted to launch with a big story that would be both an entry point for potential new readers and something that would feel like it was a can’t miss tale. We try to be careful to keep the book its own thing. The goal should be that you don’t have to watch the show to enjoy the comic and vice versa. But without a doubt, you’ll get more out of both if you imbibe both. Finally, yes, some things from the comic have definitely shown up in the series. The Terror Twins, for example. Keep in mind, there’s only one timeline for the property. One timeline that covers T.V. series, comic and video game. All three are in service to the larger grand design.
WF: The Captain Atom arc in Issues #9 and 10 ended in a ‘To Be Continued’ bumper. Are there still plans to revisit this particular storyline after Issue #25?
GW: Yes, eventually.
WF: Are Issues #20-25 going to be one continuous six part story or is it something more loose like how Issues #11 to 17 were connected?
GW: Issues 20-25 are one single big story divided by five cliffhangers. Brainiac, Kylstar, Match and more. Plus more heroes than you can shake a stick at. Really, it’s pretty darn cool. You don’t want to miss it.
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.