With the season premiere of “Young Justice” hitting the small screen this Saturday during Cartoon Network’s “DC Nation,” we took the opportunity to chat with the show’s producers, Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti! The two talk about what we can expect in Season Two, tease about some interesting new characters, and lots more!
MTV Geek: What can you tell us about the second season of Young Justice? Other than “Invasion” being in the title, of course.
Brandon Vietti: Well, the big spoiler is, there’s an invasion. Season Two is very intense; we only have 20 episodes rather than 26, and so if you thought that Season One had a drive to it, we have fewer episodes to tell with a bigger story. Season Two exponentially raises the stakes on every level. We drive through episode one all the way to episode twenty in a very tight, cohesive form. Each episode still stands alone and tells a great story, but they’re also all part of this larger whole.
We’ve got multiple alien races coming to earth, we have the Justice League split in half… We’ve got our team of younger heroes having to step up and basically go on the front lines in a way that they didn’t have to be in Season One. There’s a bunch of new characters: adult heroes young heroes, villains, supporting characters. This show is a DC Universe show and it’s just huge!
Geek: All I’ve seen is the Season Two trailer so far, but it really seems to have an even darker tone than Season One.
Greg Weisman: The trailer may kind of show that, but the show itself is not darker. Ultimately we are dealing with a team of teenagers, and teenagers are in generally a very fun group. We’ve got a lot of lightness and fun carrying over just out of the interaction of our characters, and that sort of lightness will carry over from Season One over to Season Two. But I would not say that it’s a darker show. I would say that the stakes are larger in the second season with the Invasion that is happening.
Geek: The first season felt like very much about The Team coming out the shadow of The League. What would you say is the main driving force of Season Two?
BV: By the end of our first season, we felt that we really thoroughly explored the relationships between the team and their mentors. One of the big elements for the second season is just exploring the relationships between the senior members from the team, and the new recruits. We’ve got new characters who join the team, and we’ve got new characters that sort of guest-star. We’ve come up with a lot of new characters that bring something new to the table for our team to deal with, it created for us a lot of great new relationships to explore throughout the second season.
Geek: Let’s talk about the Freshmen for a little bit. There’s a whole bunch of new characters coming up like Blue Beetle, Batgirl, and Beast Boy… Was there somebody you are super excited to use that you finally got to use on the show in this Freshmen draft pick?
GW: It’s not like there were any characters we were forced to hold back… Any character we bring in helps jazz up the lot. We’ve got a lot of new characters this season, but we also have a lot of returning characters, and we’re “parentally fond” of all of them. It’s not like there’s one that leaps out to me like “finally!” We had a plan for Season Two back when we were making Season One, so we pretty much knew who we were bringing in.
I guess Wonder Girl, in a sense, was one of the very small handful of characters that we were told was off-limits at the very beginning of developing the series, and later when Geoff Johns came aboard, he was great and said “no, you can use her.” So we included her in Season Two. But when we got that news was so long ago that it was like old news to us… It didn’t feel like she was held back.
BV: I’ve been enjoying Blue Beetle, as a character…I as lucky enough to direct his appearance in Batman: The Brave And The Bold, and he was a very fun character in that series; I think it might have been his first time in animation. He got lots of new fans through that appearance, and it has been great to explore his character further in Young Justice.
Geek: I just wanted to take a step back and ask about the Freshmen/Team dynamic… Are we going to be seeing The Team stepping into more of a training role?
GW: To some degree.
BV: The Team is going to be a lot more self-governed in Season Two, rather than in Season One, when you saw a lot more influence from characters like Batman, Red Tornado, and Black Canary. In Season Two they really have to step up and take control of their own actions, their own destinies. And that includes training and everything else.
GW: It’s been interesting, because we’ve focused on our small team last season, and watched them make mistakes… And now they’ve got these new kids who make the same mistakes they’ve made in the first season, and how they deal with that has been fun and interesting to play out.
BV: I don’t think violence per se is our goal ever, we try to be true to the characters, and we try to be true to the story. I think he does some bad-ass stuff.
GW: He does… But it’s not like some of his comics, where it’s all gunplay and violence and blood and guts. I loved some of the older comics he was in… They were some of my favorite comics when I was younger. I think above all, my favorite thing about Lobo is that he’s chaos incarnate. Whether he’s with a gun shooting people, or he’s in a room without a gun, he’s chaos. As long as we’re playing him as chaos incarnate, we’re being true to the character. And that’s really what he brings to this series. His entrance in the first episode of the second season opens up a can of worms that will carry over through the rest of the second season. It’s hard for me to talk about because I really don’t want to spoil what he’s about in the first episode, but I think that by the end of the first episode, you’ll know what I mean.
Geek: We’ve gotten a couple of quick glimpses of how the aliens from the Invasion look like… But is this an alien race that DC readers might have encountered before?
BV: For starters, there’s not just one alien race in the invasion… I think at one point we counted nine different named alien races from the DC Universe. They’re all DC Universe races… I don’t think there are any we made up… Though we put our own unique spin on them.
Geek: Just the name “invasion” brings up the DC Comics event of the same title with the Dominators and everything… Is that something we might see here?
GW: We’re not going into what specific alien races we chose.
BV: We can neither confirm or deny any of that… We want our audience to discover these surprises for themselves. Just like we don’t announce every new character who is going to appear in the series, we are the same way with the alien races as well. Hopefully everybody will be really pleasantly surprised by our choices.
Geek: Okay, thirteen year old boy question: at the end of the last episode we saw a lot of smooching…. Will we see a lot of smooching in this new season?
GW: Some relationships will work out and some won’t… They’re teenagers, and you’re going to see a mix of successful and aborted relationships. There will be some more kissing, but it will be more like “romance in wartime,” as opposed to Season One where it was much more like teenagers in a clubhouse, boys and girls thrown together. Here, we’re on the front lines, so the tone of it shifts.
Geek: “Young Justice” is now part of the DC Nation block… Has that changed at all how you approach the show?
BV: it really hasn’t changed our content at all. With one exception, that our opening title got truncated to make room for the DC shorts. But in terms of the content of the show, we were so far along so it didn’t effect that. We think it’s really cool… “Young Justice” is, and was conceived as, a DC Universe show. We have over 200 characters from the DC Universe spanning over our two seasons. So being part of DC Nation feels really right.
One thing that we noticed was that in “Green Lantern”, one guy from Earth flies out to fight all these dangerous aliens, and in our show all these dangerous aliens come out to fight Earth; so we think it’s a really nice symmetry to how to the two shows play together I’ve been watching DC Nation every week since it came out, and I think “Green Lantern” is really great, and the shorts are fun. To me, it’s really a kick that there’s a place to go to see DC cartoon stuff.
Geek: Anything else you want to tease, anything coming up that you can’t wait for people to see in the upcoming season?
GW: Well, we’ve got a lot of great voice actors entering the stage in this new season, more than I want to reveal… But I’ll at least give you a trio: we have Mae Whitman as Wonder Girl, and we’ve got Michael Trucco from Battlestar Galactica as Adam Strange. And those two are great, but the one for me that was really fun was Tim Curry as G. Gordon Godfrey, he just really went to town in that role! And it was so much fun to write that character, and so much fun to go into the booth and hear Tim chew up the scenery.
DC Nation, and the season premiere of “Young Justice,” airs Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network