How Lauren Faust & DC Super Hero Girls Mix Real Angst with Super Adventure

For series creator Lauren Faust and the voice cast of DC Super Hero Girls, the latest animated iteration of the popular brand is just getting started.

"We haven't aired a ton of episodes yet, soI feel like the kind of the bigger, heavier stuff is still to come – the kind of stuff that might really resonate with people," she explained as she and the cast spoke with CBR at Comic-Con International. "I think it's still a waiting game, to see exactly what kind of effect that that might have on people individually."

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Faust was joined by her cast Tara Strong (Batgirl), Kari Wahlgren (Zatanna), Nicole Sullivan (Supergirl), Kimberly Brooks (Bumblebee) and Grey Griffin (Wonder Woman) as well as storyboard artist and supervising director Natalie Wetzig, and the group teased that as more and more episodes air on Cartoon Network (as well as stream on Netflix), a bigger picture will build for Batgirl and the rest of the Super Hero Girls team.

"When we're sitting in the story room and figuring that stuff out together, it's actually something that is really fun for me is to have these larger arcs for these characters to follow, but to show those little steps as their own individual stories," Faust said. "Sometimes one story will will even address two different arcs at like one time. We have an episode [that just aired] with Green Lantern, and it introduces Poison Ivy. It's actually the beginning of a story between the two of them that's going to grow, but on its own, it's just a story."

"It's super fun when you do those fun little individual stories," Wetzig added, "and they kind of dovetail into the larger arc of the character."

Merging those classic DC characters with the big action of a cartoon show about teenagers has been at the forefront of Faust's mind since the beginning. "A big thing for me in developing the show was was trying to find a metaphor between being a teenager and being a superhero. That's exactly what we're going for: What is a teenager experience that is full of emotion or new experiences or confusion or all the things that we deal with when we're growing up? And then what's the super metaphor to that? Or what is a conflict that these characters could be going through that emotionally peaks with what they're going through at the same time. That's always been a goal of mine."

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Art by DC Super Hero Girls character designer Kat Hudson

The task of creating that vision is shared by a large voice cast, which includes many alums of Faust's previous series, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. The creator joked that wrangling the cast in a high-energy atmosphere came down to a simple action. "I yell a lot," she said, laughing. "I don't know. It's not hard. We sit down and we go through the script. And we've been working together a long time now. And it's actually pretty easy. I don't know. We just kind of fly through it and someone will deliver line, and I'll go, 'No! Wrong!' It's all it's all meshed together quite well."

Strong joked, "We are one person," adding, "We have so much fun working all together and playing off each other. And the fun thing is when Lauren says 'Let's do this all together,' and we haven't practiced. Sometimes don't even count down, and we will all be simpatico and say the line exactly the same cadence and exactly the same time. It's so fun. We're so in tune with each other."

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The cast shared in Faust's passion for the mission of the series, with Strong noting that from the pilot, the relatable nature of the characters has come through. "It's so great when Babs realizes she's not the only one like her. And she's in the room with other girls. It's a great monologue [Lauren] wrote. And she's like, 'Oh, my God, I thought I was the only one that's super, but everyone else is super, too!' It is like this moment of realization where you don't think you can sit at the table. But everybody's wanted to sit at the same table. And it's like that total High School angst all captured in this one moment of realizing, 'Hey, we can join forces and work together.'"

"I was thinking the same thing – that idea of finding your tribe because they just show so many different groups in this cartoon," Wahlgren added. "You've got the environmental chick, you've got the the drama club girl, you've got the the techie and all these different things. So it's kind of cool that they all sort of find each other. And then, that's what makes them stronger, is that they find their tribe."

Sullivan looks forward to an upcoming episode, specifically, that focused on Kara's teenage trials. "Someone someone is saying some bad stuff about Supergirl that's not true and starting rumors, and she's got to deal with that. And that's obviously a very high school thing, and it's a very grown up thing. It happens, and she has to navigate through that... there's stuff in life where you gotta look to the people that love you anyway... she doesn't handle it quite that sweetly."

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"I think she takes most of the city down," Faust said with a laugh. The creator noted that the merging of the DC Super Hero Girls' action adventures and their personal lives is a natural outgrowth of her storytelling staff. "It was a very natural. When we when we're looking to staff up the show with artists and writers, we look for people who have a voice that we feel like suits the show. And it so happens a lot of them are women. And we have a lot of our storyboard crew, most of them are young women. And that's been really exciting. Because we give them the script, but they're bringing even more to it because they understand. 'Oh, I went through that. Oh, I know how that feels. I had a friend who that happened to.' And so the stories become even more genuine, because they're not guessing."

DC Super Hero Girls is now available on Cartoon Network and Netflix.

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