In 2015, the super-popular DC Super Hero Girls franchise debuted with the release of toys, merchandise and a series of web shorts featuring the female superheroes of the DC Universe. The media blitz took fan-favorite characters like Supergirl, Batgirl, Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn and put them in a school setting as they worked to get along while juggling adolescence and superpowers.
As successful as the franchise has been for Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, it's looking for an even larger spotlight today with the release of "#SweetJustice," a special one-hour movie premiering on Cartoon Network that will serve as a reboot for the franchise as it transitions into a new animated series on the network.
CBR had the opportunity to speak with voice actors Tara Strong (Batgirl), Kimberly Brooks (Bumblebee) and Kari Wahlgren (Zatanna) about the fan reaction to the new Cartoon Network series, the change in tone, their quirky characters and what fans can expect from "#SweetJustice."
CBR: As you've done interviews and convention appearances, what has the reaction been to not only the animated shorts, but also to the announcement of a new series on Cartoon Network?
Tara Strong: Most people are pretty excited! They've been waiting a long time to see these girls in action together. Lauren Faust's designs on these girls are amazing. I just love that the girls are all different body sizes and shapes, and every ethnicity is represented. We're really kicking butt on this show, and it's not just, "Haha, let's get into trouble." These girls are kicking some pretty serious butt together.
Kari Wahlgreen: It's the cartoon I've been waiting for my entire life. It's the show I wanted when I was a kid, so I'm pretty excited about it too. It's finally arrived.
From what I've read, this is a complete reboot of the DC Super Hero Girls brand. What ways have you noticed a change in the style and theme of the show from the shorts to this new series?
Kimberly Brooks: I think it's more serious. The previous show was geared towards a younger audience, and this will appeal to adults and teenagers, and is a lot slicker and more stylized. It's a lot more than just the toys, which I'm sure will be awesome [Laughs].
Strong: The series is a lot more hardcore. And like you said before, the representation of different body types and ethnicities is amazing. I think that will make a big difference.
For those who may be new to the series, can you each describe the personalities of the heroes you're portraying: Batgirl, Bumblebee and Zatanna?
Wahlgren: So Zatanna is the Drama Club girl in high school; very theatrical, popular and very girly, but also loyal to her friends. Zatanna's big superpower is she uses magic. So that's fun for me in the recording process of the show and having to do all of the backward spells.
Brooks: Bumblebee is very shy. She's the smallest and the youngest of the group, but she has the biggest heart. She loves her friends so much and cares deeply about everyone. And even though there are a lot of things to fear, she's pretty fearless. There is a lot of adventure to look forward to and a lot of surprises, especially from Bumblebee.
Strong: So, Batgirl in this series is a whack-a-doo [Laughs]. When Lauren [Faust] first came to me, she said I want you to be Batgirl but you can't be Harley [Quinn], and I said, "Why?!" And she said, "We want Batgirl in Harley Land. We want her completely crazy." So Batgirl is crazy, high energy, she talks super fast and has a million ideas going on at the same time. She fashions herself as the leader of the group and is inclusive to everyone else, and that's one thing that's really beautiful about the show. It's all about sisterhood and working together, and that translates from the studio. We generally love each other and have a great time and are supportive of each other.
Batgirl's costume is so amazing, and she has great gadgets and weaponry, and there are throwbacks to the old Batman weaponry. Sometimes she'll be really hyper and then flip into "I'm Batman" mode.