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Comic Legends: What Was the Surprising ORIGINAL Justice League Lineup?

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News Comment
Comic Legends: What Was the Surprising ORIGINAL Justice League Lineup?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and thirty-ninth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week’s legends.

COMIC LEGEND:

There was originally a much different lineup for the Justice League cartoon.

STATUS:

True

It’s funny, I held back on this week’s TV Legends Revealed because it was similar to what was going to be the second legend this week (they were both about major characters leaving a series possibly), but then I realized that the second legend this week actually made more sense to follow the third legend, so instead I’m just putting the second and third legend together today.

ANYhow, the development history of the Justice League cartoon is a fascinating one. Bruce Timm for years had no interest in doing a Justice League series, both because he didn’t know if he COULD pull it off but also because he wasn’t sure if they would be able to really do the scale that would be necessary for it to work.

This changed when a future version of the Justice League showed up in Batman Beyond‘s “The Call” in 2000 and Timm realized that the League COULD be done.

Amazingly enough, though, Timm’s initial view of the League was to essentially just do the classic Justice League that everyone was familiar with from the Super Powers team. Here is an early Timm drawing of the proposed Justice League – you’ll notice that it was the basic classic League, including Aquaman and Hal Jordan as Green Lantern…

Very soon into the development process, though, Timm realized that he needed more diversity. Plus, he did not want the Justice League show to really be seen as a continuation of Super Friends, so he replaced Aquaman with Hawkgirl to give the team another female member and he replaced Hal Jordan with John Stewart to give the team an African-American member.

This became the classic lineup for the Justice League, along with Flash, Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman.

However, before they had even worked out the designs for all of the characters (John Stewart wore a mask, for instance), Timm had animator James Tucker put together a quick pitch video for Warner Bros. At this point, they had decided to change the lineup once again! They knew that KidsWB were interested in younger heroes, so he had Robin, Impulse (who would be replacing the Flash) and a new teen female version of Cyborg join the roster, giving the team a nice mix of adults and teens!

As it turned out, though, WB approved the Justice League pitch over the phone, so Timm never had to use the Tucker-created pitch video, and thus they did not have to commit to using the young heroes, so they went back to an adults-only League (that sounds dirty).

My buddy Bill Walko has that original pitch video (“The First Mission”) here…


Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed – Was Mike Brady going to be killed off on The Brady Bunch if it returned for a sixth season?


Part 3 will be up very soon! It’s also about the Justice League cartoon!

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