After a four year absence, DC's fan favorite animated series Young Justice is making it's triumphant return with Young Justice: Outsiders, a third season set to premier on the (still ambiguously unnamed) DC-branded streaming service launching in 2018.
The cast and crew of Outsiders is taking the stage at Comic-Con International in San Diego to take a look back at the first two seasons and give attendees a first look at the future of the show.
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The panel opened with a sizzle reel of the first two seasons, as well as a promotion for DC Fan Updates, a website where fans are able to input their email address to receive direct updates about the future of the still unnamed DC digital service where the third season will premier.
Producer Greg Weisman sighted the importance of fans and the popularity of the show on Netflix for the show's revival. He specifically thanked the fans for talking so much about the show and starting petitions calling for it's return.
He then joked about how Young Justice was the perfect binge watching show, that dropped five years too early for binge watching to be a thing.
"The time jump between seasons one and two worked so well in the story, we wanted to do it in real life!"
The next question then went out about the difference between production for Cartoon Network and for DC's streaming service. The panel answered with a quick "absolutely."
"There's more creative room here for more adult themes and more sophisticated and challenging stories for our characters. We have a little more room to write for that now." Said Brandon Vietti.
Weisman then confirmed that the team has twelve episodes written, but it will "depend on who you ask."
"We're looking at 26 episodes for season 3," Weisman continued, "But the last few have not been written yet."
Weisman then took a moment to thank the fans again, asking the cosplayers in the audience to stand up for applause -- there were many of them, peppered through the audience. He immediately joked that the whole room's costumes are now out of date.
The panel then moved on to highlight some of the earliest, unseen production work for the show, starting with an early, brightly colored logo. "Obviously this is not our final logo," said art director "We ended up with something much edgier."
The next image was a still of Red Tornado and Batman supervising a training session between Connor and Dinah, where Connor is being handily thrown to the floor while Robin and Miss Martian look on laughing. "This is a great image that shows the whole feel of the show."
The next slide was a series of promotional posters for pitching purposes, featuring some of the main cast of the first two seasons. Superboy, mid flight with a caption that read "Leaving Home." Artemis, firing her bow, with a caption that read "No Curfews." And Robin, with his caption reading "License to Drive." The panel then spoke about how pitching the show involved leaning into the idea that the characters were teens who were going through "normal" teenage problems with a superhero bent.
The next slide featured the earliest character models where art director Phil Bourassa spoke to the importance of the visuals for the show. "I had just gotten off of a project with Bruce Timm with the Justice League, so my first pass was full of a lot of joy to get to draw teenage heroes."
The next slide was a surprise! A look at the concept art for Young Justice: Outsiders featuring Robin, Arsenal, Blue Beetle, Impulse, Static, Wonder Girl, and Beast Boy in their new and updated outfits.
"Do you want to see a little more?" Greg Weisman hyped before flipping to the next slide.
Arrowette, a new character named Thirteen, and Spoiler, in their new season 3 costumes, were featured. Thirteen is a new character for season 3 specifically, and was shown wearing what looked like army fatigue-style clothing, plain green pants, a black shirt, and some sort of armor on her top.
Weisman then spoke about how inspiration across generations is a central theme of the show, sighting Arrowette and Spoiler specifically as great examples of that. "One thing we've done well in the show is the sense of the passage of time. Some characters grow up, some join the team, some leave, some join the Justice League..." Weisman elaborated, "We built it into the DNA of the show. We move through time."
Vietti jumped in "We're telling these stories in a DC Universe, which doesn't mean that we will not see our early season character again, but it's important to show these characters in a growing DC Universe."
The floor was then opened for audience questions with one major caveat: no questions about season three would be allowed. The concept art would be the only "spoilers" given for Outsiders today.
That didn't seem to stop the flood of fans, rushing to the mic, however.
The first question came from a Nightwing cosplayer who lamented the fact that he couldn't ask about the future of Wally West. He changed gears to ask about the future of favorite characters in a more ambiguous sense. "Do you have any idea where these fan favorite characters are going to go?"
Vietti joked about how he was going to kill off everyone. Weisman quickly added in that the plans for character deaths are not planned too far in advance. "We do have a general sense of where characters are going, but what we mostly see is the characters growing up. It's the passage of time again."
"Sometimes the characters just take over," Vietti continued, "They start to write themselves."
Weisman teased that there were plans to write out a character for the majority of season three that suddenly became a major player -- even a lead -- in the series. He did not elaborate on who that character was.
The next fan insinuated that Teen Titans Go! played a part in the cancelation of Young Justice but Weisman was quick to shut that rumor down. "It was not a one-for-one exchange. TTG had nothing to do with the cancelation of Young Justice at all. I love Teen Titans Go, it was in production well before Young Justice was taken off the air."
Weisman continued passionately, pleading for YJ fans to stop "ragging on" TTG.
The next question came from a Wally West cosplayer, unsurprisingly, asking why Wally was chosen to enter the Speed Force rather than Barry.
"We thought about Barry, that came up!" Weisman said, "But it felt like it wouldn't have the same effect."
Vietti interjected, joking, "It wouldn't make enough fans cry!"
Weisman continued "We thought about building Barry up through the season, giving him a bunch of screen time, but it [...] seemed right, in an incredibly painful way." He explained that Wally dealt so much with insecurity through the seasons and it was the logical conclusion of the arc.
"We were all in tears at that recording session," Vietti said earnestly, and then related an anecdote about how the voice actor of Wally West actually thanked the crew for allowing him to really shoulder the dramatic weight of the finale of the show.
The next question asker wanted to get a sense of the panel's favorite moments. Weisman was quick to answer that the moment when Zatana took on the role of Dr. Fate to save Zatara is his favorite. Vietti was not as decisive. Bourassa was quick to sight the introduction of Artemis, episode 6, and the episode that featured Superboy and Miss Martian in the Bialyian desert.
The next fan asked about the process of selecting the villains for the show, specifically calling out the show's propensity to use left-of-center villains like Sportsmaster as featured players.
"I start every project by compiling lists," Weisman said, "So I made a list of villains who felt like they were powerful."
Vietti added that villains who had "a lot of resources they could bring in," like Queen Bee and Oceanmaster were early additions.
"Sportsmaster is like the blue-collar deathstroke," Weisman continued, "he's the guy who just gets the job done. If we can make Sportsmaster cool, we can make anybody cool."
Bourassa then spoke about the excitement of being able to redesign characters who "hadn't been dusted off in a while. It was a treat to discover who these characters were, because I had no idea who they were, and then to give them a redesign that spoke to their classic stuff."
Weisman then spoke about their design for Vandal Savage and how the scars on his face were added by Bourassa explaining he was attacked by a "cave bear" before he became immortal as an example of Bourassa's work.
Finally, a question about shipping hit the floor. "What was your planning for the romantic couples on the show?" Asked a fan.
Weisman sighted Artemis and Wally's insecurity as the ground zero of their chemistry. They're two characters who have a lot of insecurity that they hide behind a level of aggression. "It's very Sam and Diane," Weisman joked.
"Superboy and Miss Martian was very organic and very natural," He went on, "It was...pure, I guess?" (Awww.)
"My feeling is that Dick and Zatana probably dated for a while, but broke up. They're still friends. You don't always stay with your high school sweetheart."
A fan then asked about the difference between the line ups of Young Justice as a comic and as a cartoon.
"It started, of course with a list!" Weisman explained, "DC has four blonde female teenage archers," he joked, "We had a lot of characters to pick from."
Other than Wonder Girl, there were no legal restrictions on the team, but those restrictions were eventually lifted which made space for the inclusion of Cassie. "We wanted both Wonder Girls," Weisman confessed, "But we didn't have time."
"Secrets and lies was a huge theme in the show," Vietti explained, "So we did a lot of looking through character backstories."
The next question came from a Jason Todd fan, "Can we get ANY details at all about him?"
The panel laughed, "he's only been a hologram in the show! He...died. But not as a member of the team."
The final question came from a Deathstroke fan, but again tried to focus on the future of the show. The panel couldn't actually answer whether or not Slade will be a featured part of season 3.
"I mean, Deathstroke is just a white collar Sportsmaster, right?" Weisman joked.
The panel wrapped with a final reveal of some more art for Outsiders, feturing Artemis, Nightwing, Aqualad, and Superboy, in black stealth suit costumes.
Young Justice: Outsiders premiers in 2018.