On January 4, 2019, DC fans rejoiced as Young Justice returned to our screens on the DC Universe streaming platform. It took years for the widely popular show to make its comeback, but our voices were finally heard, and it stands as proof that creators do hear our suggestions, cries, and pleas. Even now, it's almost unfathomable to think how this animated series was canceled in the first place. It's not often that a fandom can agree on something, but it's unanimous that Young Justice was a show ahead of its time and deserved more credit than what it initially got.
"What's great about those characters is they're young characters who are now growing up in a world that is formed from our first two seasons. We really had a heck of an arc through our first two seasons," co-showrunner Brandon Vietti told Entertainment Weekly before the new season debuted. With Young Justice: Outsiders on our screens, now is a good time as any to explore the history of Young Justice. There are many juicy facts and tidbits of trivia about this show that even die-hard fans have no clue about. That's why we're here, to fill in the blanks.
20 KALDUR'AHM IS A YOUNG JUSTICE O.G.
Aqualad as a character existed since 1960, serving as a sidekick (or would that be sidesquid?) to Aquaman. In this instance, Aqualad's real name was Garth. For Young Justice, Greg Weisman, Brandon Vietti, and Phil Bourassa decided to introduce Kaldur'ahm (voiced by Khary Payton) as the new Aqualad and he became an instant hit with the audience.
A version of the character named Jackson Hyde debuted in comics in Brightest Day #4, by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis. The resultant popularity of this new Aqualad ensured that he became a beloved superhero at DC. In fact, many fans were outraged that he didn't exist in The New 52 continuity.
19 THE SUPERBOY AND SUPERMAN LINK
Hey, you know that meme of the two Spider-Men pointing at each other? Well, something similar happened in Young Justice. As every fan of the series should know, Superboy, aka Connor Kent, is a genomorph clone of Superman and shares many characteristics with the Man of Steel.
Another thing they have in common is that Nolan North voices both characters on the show. It's ingenious when you think about it, since it would make complete sense for them to sound similar. Superman does possess more of a country boy drawl than Superboy, but a keen ear will pick up on the similarities in no time.
18 DIFFERENT LINE-UP
While most people are familiar with the Young Justice TV show, not many people remember the original comic book series. Released in 1998 by the creative team of Todd DeZago, Todd Nauck, and Lary Stucker, the group was formed to fill a gap after DC's famous teen heroes, the Teen Titans, became adults and changed their name to the Titans.
The founding members of the Young Justice comic book team were different to the original ones on the TV show. For one, Superboy was Kon-El, Robin was Tim Drake, and Impulse appeared rather than Wally West. Recently, the comic book series was revived by Brian Michael Bendis and Patrick Gleason.
17 WHO'S TO BLAME FOR THE CANCELATION?
In the animation world, two seasons is nothing. However, if a show performs poorly, networks will have no other choice but to swing their ax. In the case of Young Justice, it didn't make any sense because the series actually had high ratings, so why did it suffer the fate of cancelation?
For years, rumors persisted about why it got the boot. Eventually, Greg Weisman confirmed in a podcast that it was because of low sales of the show's tie-in toyline at Mattel. Of course, in the days before streaming services, toylines were crucial to networks. Now that Young Justice is distributed solely by DC, this shouldn't be an issue.
16 GUARDIAN'S VENTURE OUTSIDE OF COMICS
One of the best things about Young Justice is how it put the spotlight on lesser-featured characters in the DC Universe. Instead of focusing on Batman and Superman for the bulk of the time, we got to meet some of the other heroes and villains.
In the first episode of the series, "Independence Day", we were introduced to Jim Harper, aka Guardian. It proved to be the character's first non-comic book appearance. Additionally, he was given an interesting arc that developed over time. This wasn't just a one-and-done deal for him and there was a lot of development, with the mantle changing hands by the time of his last appearance.
15 THE GARGOYLES LINK
Before blowing our minds with Young Justice, Greg Weisman was part of the team that produced the epic Gargoyles TV series in the '90s. It's cited as one of the best animated shows of all time and achieved cult status in the subsequent years after its cancelation.
The Gargoyles-Young Justice connection didn't end at Weisman, though, as he brought in numerous voice cast members from the Disney show. For example: Tim Curry, who voiced Sevarius, made an appearance as G. Gordon Godfrey, while Keith David, known for his work as Goliath, popped up to provide the pipes of Mongul. So, who else would like a Gargoyles-Young Justice crossover episode?
14 THE LOWE BROTHERS
In 2011 Captain Marvel, aka Shazam, wasn't really in the public consciousness. That's all set to change with the impending release of David F. Sandberg's Shazam!, which stars Zachary Levi as the titular hero. Levi, though, doesn't have the distinction of being the most famous person to portray the superhero.
That honor belongs to actor Rob Lowe, who voiced Captain Marvel for two episodes in Young Justice. When Lowe didn't return, his brother, Chad, replaced him on the show. It's not often that we see two brothers portraying the same character, but it happened here. Considering the series' revival, what do you think are the chances of the Lowe brothers returning?
13 TIM CURRY'S DEPARTURE
Tim Curry has quite the history with DC's animated shows. Before Mark Hamill was selected to be the voice of the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, the gig belonged to Curry. Obviously, he held no grudges about the switcheroo and continued to work with DC on future projects.
In Young Justice, Curry voiced the news host G. Gordon Godfrey. Many fans instantly picked up on Curry's distinctive voice and praised his performance. Unfortunately, Curry's stroke prevented him from returning to voice the character and he was replaced by James Arnold Taylor. The jury is still out on if Taylor's performance is on par with Curry's.
12 POOR DONNA TROY
Eagle-eyed fans would've instantly picked up how Young Justice included many members of the Teen Titans. It made sense, considering how popular the characters were both in animation and the comics. One Titan who got the short end of the stick was Donna Troy.
Donna was mostly absent from the first two seasons but made her speaking debut in the third season episode "Royal We" as an ambassador of Themyscira at the U.N. conference. There was an intention to introduce her earlier on in the show, but there were legal issues preventing it. Will we see more of her in Season 3? Anything is possible.
11 THE WONDER TWINS
Zan and Jayna, the Wonder Twins, are seminal to the history of DC. Although they only debuted in the comics in 1995, they've been part of continuity since 1977's The All-New Super Friends Hour TV show. Since then they've found their way onto other properties such as Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans Go!, and Smallville.
Unfortunately, the Twins weren't featured in the Young Justice TV series – even though they did make an appearance in the comic book series. There were plans to introduce them after Season 2, but the cancelation threw a spanner into the works. Maybe they'll be factored into Season 3's storyline or even later on.
10 THE NON-SPEAKING CHARACTERS
Considering the richness and depth of the DC Universe, it would be impossible to feature every single character. Maybe across multiple seasons, but somewhere down the line someone is going to be left out of the mix. That said, Young Justice did its best to accommodate a host of familiar (and unfamiliar) faces.
In some cases, though, these heroes and villains appeared, but failed to have any speaking parts. The reason for this, as revealed by Greg Weisman in subsequent interviews, was down to budgetary requirements. Quite simply, the showrunners didn't have the cash to pay the voice actors for those appearances, so they'd feature the characters in the background instead.
9 MISS MARTIAN'S TV DEBUT
We owe Geoff Johns and Tony S. Daniel our thanks for creating Miss Martian in 2006. She was created after DC wouldn't let the team utilize Supergirl in Teen Titans. Since then, M'gann M'orzz has become a fan-favorite of both Teen Titans and Young Justice teams.
Young Justice proved to be Miss Martian's DC TV debut and she was established as a lead character on the show. Voiced by Danica McKellar, of The Wonder Years fame, and introduced as the niece of Martian Manhunter, M'gann was also part of a romance with Superboy that delighted fans. In the latest season, the two lovebirds got engaged.
Needless to say, the cancelation of Young Justice surprised everyone. If the series had been dipping in the ratings or overall quality, it would've been expected. Instead, it continued to build on its outstanding animation and storyline with each passing episode. So, when time was called on it, the creators and even fans tried to find other ways to revive it.
The journey to the DC Universe streaming service wasn't an easy one. Greg Weisman admitted that he toyed with numerous ideas to revive the show, including a crossover with Scooby-Doo. If it had happened, it wouldn't have been the first time that DC characters teamed up with Mystery Inc.
7 KEVIN MICHAEL RICHARDSON'S MULTIPLE ROLES
It isn't unusual for voice actors to voice multiple characters on a show. After all, they're professionals and more than capable of adjusting and shifting their vocal performances depending on the character. In the case of Kevin Michael Richardson, forget double duty; he became the go-to guy for everyone.
Here's the list of heroes and villains that Richardson voiced: Mal Duncan, Martian Manhunter, John Stewart, Doctor Fate, Nabu, Bruno Mannheim, Magog, David Reid, Forever People, Vykin, Jim Daniels, Blackbriar Thorn, Two-Face, Paul Sloane, Thomas Kalmaku, and Otis. Catch your breath yet? Judging by this impressive list, they should've just called it Young Justice: The Kevin Michael Richardson Show.
6 NOT THAT HUNTRESS
Much like other animated shows, Young Justice was also guilty of taking artistic liberty by tweaking its characters and storylines to meet its needs. No one really complained, since the writers did a terrific job of making everything make sense – and, in some cases, improving the source material.
Most DC fans are familiar with Helena Bertinelli as the Huntress; however, they were introduced to an adaptation of the Golden Age Huntress in Young Justice. This version was a Vietnamese, wheelchair-bound woman named Paula Crock, née Nguyen (voiced by Kelly Hu). She was the mother of Artemis and revealed that she used to go by the name of Huntress years before.
5 THE VIDEO GAME TIE-IN
No one should be surprised to hear that Young Justice received its own video game adaptation. The game was titled Young Justice: Legacy and was released in 2013 for Nintendo 3DS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. It was meant to be released for Nintendo DS, Wii, and Wii U as well, but quality issues and the lack of interest from retailers resulted in it being scrapped.
Interestingly, the direction was taken to make Young Justice: Legacy an action role-playing game where the player creates a squad featuring members of Young Justice and the Justice League. Despite the different approach, the game received mostly negative reviews.
4 EMMY WINNER
When you look back at DC's animated series, it's usually the likes of Batman: The Animated Series, Teen Titans, and Justice League that receive the most attention and praise. Make no mistake, they were outstanding and pivotal shows, but Young Justice deserves to be mentioned in the same bracket as them.
For starters, even though its initial run was only two seasons, it was nominated for numerous awards, including the coveted Emmys. Proving that the creators knew what they wanted from the very beginning, Philip Bourassa won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual in Animation for his work on the first episode of the series, "Independence Day".
3 TEEN TITANS GO! APPEARANCE
It's taken a while for fans to warm up to Teen Titans Go!, considering it was the show that resulted in many of their favorite programs being canceled. At the end of the day, it was a business decision for Cartoon Network and the fact that the show is still a runaway hit even today justifies the network's decision.
Heck, Teen Titans Go! even provided some fan service by featuring Young Justice in the Season 2 episode "Let's Get Serious". In it, Young Justice battles H.I.V.E., while the Teen Titans continue to play the fool. Noticing this, Robin hopes to make the team a little more serious like Young Justice.
2 THE COMPOSERS' LINK TO THE DCAU
Much like other DC animated projects, Young Justice possesses a distinct and recognizable theme song as well as sound. You could close your eyes and immediately identify which series it is based on its unique score. Naturally, credit needs to go to the composers Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, and Lolita Ritmanis for their outstanding work here.
What's even more interesting is that Carter, McCuistion, and Ritmanis had met earlier on Superman: The Animated Series and forged a partnership since then. This meeting of great minds has seen them work on numerous WB/DC productions, including Batman Beyond, Teen Titans, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and The Zeta Project.
1 THE TIME JUMP EXPLAINS ALL
A striking quality about Young Justice is how the show embraces evolution and isn't content on regurgitating the same formula. As we've witnessed, there is a shake-up in the team between seasons, as newer heroes join and the older team members take up senior leadership roles.
The show doesn't spend a lot of time explaining how these heroes joined, rather emphasizing that there is a time jump between seasons. This time jump, though, also helps the creators navigate through tricky rights issues with certain characters and skip arcs altogether. For example: Young Justice jumped from Dick Grayson to Tim Drake as Robin, avoiding Jason Todd and his demise at the hands of the Joker.