"Justice League: Legacy"--The Animated Series
A fancast for an animated series based on the Robinson-era Justice League.
Right around 2008 or so, James Robinson and Mark Bagley took over as the creative team for volume two of Justice League of America. They radically changed the lineup (for the most part) after 2009's much-maligned "Cry for Justice" miniseries, and after the JLA/JSA crossover "The Dark Things" (a tie-in for Brightest Day), the lineup was squared down to Supergirl, Batman (Dick Grayson), Donna Troy, Jesse Quick, Jade, Congorilla, and Starman (Mikaal Tomas), with Cyborg and veteran member Red Tornado as support. This was the team that carried the book until its final issue, #60, in 2011.
Even though I'm not much of a fan of modern comics (despite me not getting into them until '08), I was curious when they announced the plotlines of issues 50-53 of the JLA book, as I happen to like the villains they picked. So, I followed (for the first time) a comic, for seven issues at least (beginning with #49, stopping after the Starman/Congorilla one-shot, then picking up #60). I actually liked the story (despite a gaffe in one of the issues), and what I really liked was the lineup of the team. It had a combination of some of the most unlikely elements in the DCU--you had two ex-Titans, a former Infinitor, a former JSA member, someone who hadn't been on any team before, and two obscure characters. It was a shame that a team that had so much potential was ended as DC launched the New 52. Some of you may find James Robinson hit-or-miss, but I thought he had great potential with this team--he just needed to get the story, and the characters, straightened out a bit more.
Therefore, I decided what my next fancast would be: an animated series based on this team roster (with one addition to level out the number of people), though with less of a Robinson influence (some of it, but not a whole lot). Here's how the background of this show would work:
-The team is formed not by the events of Cry For Justice, but by a new threat that emerges during a time where the JLA has disbanded, and our heroes are the ones in the area at the time to deal with it.
-The history of this world would resemble that of the pre-New 52 DCU--but not so incomprehensible that it would constantly reference itself. (No JL Elite, no Task Force, no, Extreme Justice, etc.)
-The overall theme of this show is the idea of legacy (an approach that made Robinson's biggest magnum opus, Starman, a hit), and what it takes for one or many to uphold it, while making themselves distinct. (Also, I'm not planning to make age a lot of an issue here.)
-Most episodes will follow the pattern Justice League did, with mostly two-parters.
As to how the show would look and be guided:
-The art/animation style would be the same as Green Lantern: The Animated series, but blended with Mark Bagley's signature style (I like how animated his stuff looks).
-Andrea Romano would be voice director.
-Greg Wiseman would be a writer/director, along with Lauren Montgomery, with some scripts done by Peter David, Marv Wolfman, Christy Marx, Simon Furman, and even one from Robinson himself.
-It would air both on Cartoon Network and G4, to give something kids could watch on that particular network.
We'll start things off with our main cast, beginning with the League itself:
Emma Roberts as the voice of Supergirl/Kara Zor-El/Linda Lang
Roberts I feel has the right voice for playing the girl of steel, and hey, she comes from a showbiz family.
In my take, Kara, in her Linda Lang ID, at the invitation of Lana Lang (posing as her aunt), has been interning at GBCS, the television station owned by the Daily Planet that her cousin once anchored at for a time.
Brandon Routh as the voice of Batman/Dick Grayson
Yeah, I went there--like a lot of people, I agree Routh could've made a decent Superman; he just had the wrong script given to him. I picked him to voice Dick Grayson for two reasons: A) He could play the guy in live-action, and B) He's had experience with the Bat-universe, voicing the one-shot villain Everywhere Man in an episode of "The Batman"--plus C) he could then say he's played Batman at one point in his life.
In this take, Bruce Wayne passes the mantle onto Dick after deciding to retire as Batman himself (instead of being blasted into the past during Final Crisis, which does not occur in this universe), but not after founding and running Batman Inc. Batman also begins training Bruce's son Damian (who yes is in this cartoon) as the current Robin (the Grant Morrison-written origin applies here). Dick, before very reluctant to don the mantle, as his years being Nightwing have given him a sense of distinction, warms to the role as he starts his career under the cowl. He acts as the team's best tactician.
Adrianne Palicki as the voice of Troia/Donna Troy
I felt bad that Palicki, who was pretty excited to play Wonder Woman, was disappointed that the WW pilot wasn't picked up. Yet at the same time, I though Palicki looked too 'young' to play Diana. Then it hit me that she would be qualified enough to play, let alone voice, the next best thing--the former Wonder Girl turned Darkstar turned keeper of the secrets of the multiverse, Diana's surprisingly popular sister, Donna Troy.
In this take, while Donna still has her history as of Infinite Crisis/Return of Donna Troy, she's now a professional photographer, and with Jade, opens a studio, "Olympic Eye". She's also elected by Dick and Kara to be team leader. (Also, her costume would have more of a Phil Jimenez feel to it, especially in the collar area. If you know what I mean.)
Allison Mack as the voice of Jesse Quick/Jesse Chambers-Tyler
I picked Mack based on her performance as Power Girl in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, and think she'd make a spunky speedster. She's got the right pipes for the former Liberty Belle II, in my opinion.
In this take, she honors both her parents' (Johnny Quick and the original Liberty Belle, who're still alive in this universe) legacies in her current role, while also being a part of Quick-Start (her father's company). She also sees herself as something of a Golden Age historian (a nod to Roy Thomas, who'd guest-write an episode). And of course, happily married to her former JSA teammate, Rick Tyler, the second Hourman. At the end of my show's first season, it'd be revealed that she's pregnant with their child, so she takes maternity leave for the second season, where Wally West as the Flash fills in for her.
Mila Kunis as the voice of Jade/Jennifer-Lyn Hayden/Scott
I just thought that Kunis could use a change of pace from a lot of the stuff she lends her voice to (in other words, give her a break from voicing the butt of everyone's jokes). In a recent statement, she's said she's always wanted to play a superhero, so I just thought, why not our favorite former Infinitor and female Green Lantern?
In my take, Jade starts the "Olympic Eye" photo studio with Donna, and finds herself dating the team's go-to magic experts other than Zatanna, Sebastian Faust--which is still taking some getting used-to by her father. Her past with Infinity Inc., Kyle Rayner, etc. is present here.
Kelsey Grammer as the voice of Congorilla/William Glenmorgan
I just thought, since Grammer played Beast, why not go further and cast him as a full simian? He could combine that with the wit he displays as Sideshow Bob on the Simpsons, and you'd get a pretty decent performance as Congorilla.
In my take, the former Congo Bill (whose history is present) for some time had been doing lecture tours (I just thought of what Moriarty was doing in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), teaching about what he found and learned while on safari throughout Africa. He's also a staunch activist for animal/nature preservation.
Elijah Wood as the voice of Starman/Mikaal Tomas
I got this idea from how Wood is currently voicing another (cyber-)spaceman, Beck on Tron: Legacy. I think he'd have the right voice for the second bearer of the Starman name, though there might be a guest appearance from Jack Knight (and Ted Knight in flashbacks).
Tomas, in this take, has for the past couple of years been rooming with former Global Guardian and former Justice League International member Tazmanian Devil (a nod to...you know...look, we know about the network censors, okay? This is partly a kids cartoon, remember?).
Daniel Dae Kim as the voice of Green Arrow/Connor Hawke
Yep, here's the one addition I mentioned earlier! I added Hawke to the team roster because A) a Justice League show with a member of the Arrow clan as an established founder would be different, and B) Connor's had no media exposure. I thought Kim would be great as the voice of one of Oliver Queen's pride n' joys.
Here, Hawke, like Dick Grayson, would help ground the team a bit, since those two are the only non-powered members of the League. Ollie's retired and become mayor of Star City, with Dinah Lance now his wife but still Black Canary. (You'll see why.)
Now that we've rounded up the League, here's some of their supporting cast members:
LL Cool J as the voice of Cyborg/Victor Stone
This idea was inspired by MaddMonkk's 1980's New Teen Titans film fancast, where he put LL Cool J as Cyborg. After seeing a few episodes of NCIS: LA, I thought Cool J would be a great voice for everyone's favorite techno-Titan.
In this take, Cyborg acts as part of the team's technical support unit, while also trying to fix up veteran Leaguer Red Tornado. Occasionally he gets called in to fight. Also acts as a liaison to the current Teen Titans.
Peter Jessop as the voice of Red Tornado
I picked Jessop as he's voiced two very familiar comic book robots: Brainiac (in the Justice League: Heroes video game) and the Vision (currently on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes). I think he would really nail a robot who's really become more human than he imaginged.
Reddy, in this take, gets nearly scrapped in the pilot episode, so a subplot is Cyborg's efforts to rebuild him. He's happily married to longtime love Kathy Sutton, and Traya is his formally adopted daughter, currently in junior high. While his body is rebuilt, he hooks himself into the League Watchtower's computer, making him, Cyborg, and the third person I'm revealing next the League's best cyber-defense.
Natalia Cigliuti as the voice of Oracle/Barbara Gordon
I picked Cigliuti out of inspiration for her having previously voiced another smart and kick-butt redhead, Scarlett on the greatly-missed G.I. Joe: Renegades. If any of you have seen that show, you'll know she could voice the former Batgirl in her sleep.
In this take, Oracle serves a similar role she played to the team during the heydey of the Morrison/Porter JLA run, while also running a team of her own--the Birds of Prey (who guest star in an episode).
Tara Platt as the voice of Starfire
Platt is a very talented VA, and she's had DC Comics experience--she voiced Dream Girl in the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon (where her husband and fellow VA, Yuri Lowenthal, voiced Superboy) and Wonder Woman in the Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe video game. Starfire would be a great character for her.
In this take, Kory recently joined the space-based hero team REBELS (if my show actually existed, this would be the first animated appearance of such an obscure team).
Liam O'Brien as the voice of Tempest/Garth
O'Brien's voiced comic book characters before, so Garth should be nothing new.
In this take, Garth is a reserve for the team but also helps manage the affairs in Atlantis, where Aquaman has taken his responsibilities as a king and father full-time. Garth also acts as ambassador of Atlantis to the U.N.
Ogie Banks as the voice of Mister Miracle/Shilo Norman
Banks is also a very talented VA, and his comic book media experience includes Patriot of the Young Avengers (in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 video game) and currently Luke Cage on Ultimate Spider-Man.
In this take, Norman, as the current Mister Miracle, acts as the team's security consultant from time to time, and can be called on to assist them if needed for a mission. Scott Free had retired to start up a locksmith business, while Barda opened a gym.
Scott Porter as the voice of Hourman/Rick Tyler
After seeing (well, hearing) his take on Cyclops in the X-Men anime, I think Porter has what it takes to play a superhero--and who better than Jesse Quick's hooded hubby?
Rick would be portrayed as not only Jesse's husband, but her confidant.
Jason Marsden as the voice of Sebastian Faust
Marsden is a veteran of many a DC Comics-based production, going all the way back to when he voiced the teenage Clark Kent in Superman: The Animated Series. I thought, with the addition of an Eastern European twinge in his accent, he'd do a great voice for a wily sorcerer like the son of Felix Faust.
Sebastian acts as the second go-to magic/supernatural specialist of the League, behind Zatanna and ahead of Madame Xanadu. At one point in the series he starts dating Jade.
Wil Wheaton as the voice of Lucas "Snapper" Carr
Wheaton has done a few DC shows here and there, voicing Aqualad on Teen Titans and the Ted Kord Blue Beetle on Batman: The Brave and the Bold. So who better for the former Wesley Crusher to play than the one-time 'mascot' of the Justice League?
Here, Snapper would be the caretaker for the Hall of Justice and the occasional maintenance man for the Watchtower--and sometimes his 'teleport at the snap of his fingers' power would work.
Ming-Na Wen as the voice of Doctor Light/Kimiyo Hoshi
Ming-Na's had experience with the DC Universe before, voicing Detective Ellen Yin for the first two seasons of "The Batman". Casting her as Kimiyo was inspired by her role on the recently-departed "Eureka", with her character's connections to the inventor-happy town in Oregon.
In this take, Hoshi has risen to be one of STAR Labs' top astronomers, and plays an advisory role to the team, much like Red Tornado.
Bruce Boxleitner as the voice of Green Lantern/Alan Scott
I thought it's about time someone of Boxleitner's caliber played a superhero, so why not the very first Green Lantern? He's no stranger to voiceovers either, since he currently voices Tron in the Tron: Legacy series.
Scott is still pretty much one of the elder statesmen of the superhero community, and passed on the title of CEO of Gotham Broadcasting to Obsidian, but still sits on the board of directors. AND of course he still acts as a mentor to the current members of the JSA.
Paul Michael Glaser as the voice of Commissioner James Gordon
Yep, you're looking at it, Starsky as Commissioner Gordon! This idea came to me after seeing a full Starsky and Hutch episode for the first time. I thought Glaser would make a great Gordon.
Gordon appears in a few episodes that take place in Gotham City. He has learned by now of his daughter's involvement in the superhero community.
Carrie Fisher as the voice of Queen Hippolyta
Like Mila Kunis, I though Fisher could use a change of pace from a role she usually voices, Peter Griffin's boss Angela on Family Guy. And hey, the former princess Leia is now a Queen!
The good queen appears in a couple of episodes dealing with threats that stem from ancient Greek mythology.
And then, there are the one-shot guests--the BIG ones (some reprisals for the majority of them):
James Denton as the voice of Superman
Using the site behindthevoiceactors.com, I listened to a byte of Denton playing the Man of Steel, and I thought he did a great job, so he's back again.
Superman would guest-star in a couple episodes.
William Baldwin as the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne
I thought Baldwin did a decent job voicing him in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, so he's back again under the cowl--briefly.
Batman would appear in two episodes--one under the cowl, one mainly as Bruce Wayne.
Lucy Lawless as the voice of Wonder Woman/Diana/Diana Prince
Lucy did an absolutely wonderful take on the Amazing Amazon in Justice League: The New Frontier, so I brought her back for this, albiet as a guest-starring role in two episodes.
In one episode, she appears on Themyscria, while in another, she appears in her Diana Prince ID alongside Nemesis and Amanda Waller.
And now...some actual episode ideas!!!
Episode 01: Past Nightmares
The plot for this episode is based on and expanded upon Justice League of America, vol. 2, #49. It opens with a brief montage of the history of the Justice League as a team and as a family up to now, narrated by Snapper Carr. The central story is the escape of the Bogeyman, an old foe of the original Teen Titans, who sets out to turn the worst nightmares of children and teen alike into reality and use them as his own army to conquer humanity, starting with New York (instead of Metropolis, Gotham, etc.). This is the catalyst that causes a lot of superhumans, including those who would form the new Justice League, to come together (Jesse comes with the JSA, Congorilla was at Columbia U., Jade and Donna were interrogating him in prison when he escaped, yadda yadda).
Villain(s): Rob Zombie as the voice of the Bogeyman
I picked Zombie to voice him based on two of his voiceover roles: Ichthulu in the Justice League episode "The Terror Beyond", and the Lizard in MTV's "Spider-Man: The New Animated Series". He'd be the right man to voice this creepy, twisted bad guy.
Episodes 2-4: Omega, Parts 1-3
Based on issues 50-53 plus the Starman/Congorilla one-shot, this sees the League encounter the Green Lantern of the Tangent Universe, who has fled aboard the Watchtower while being pursued by the Crime Syndicate of Amerika. The Crime Syndicate, with the aid of Dr. Impossible, also kidnaps former League member Bluejay and use him as part of a device the Syndicate thinks will save their world, but in reality what Dr. Impossible believes will bring Darkseid to them and under his control (remember, in my take the New Gods didn't die and Final Crisis never occurred). Instead, it unleashes a new danger upon the world: the Omega Man. In the process, it accidentally reawakens Supergirl's dark side.
Jonathan Frakes as the voice of Bluejay
I thought Frakes would be a decent enough voice for DC's homage to Hank Pym, and Frakes himself is no stranger to voice acting, as is our next actor...
Alyssa Milano as the voice of the Tangent Green Lantern
Milano has done voice work here and there, most recently Poison Ivy on Young Justice. I think she could play a mystic easily enough--'Charmed' gave her some experience with sorcery, so to speak...
+Sam Witwer as the voice of Dr. Impossible
Witwer is an actor I've seen fancasted as a number of cunning villains (Bullseye being a prominent one), so I thought he could do someone a tad more obscure--Mister Miracle on a bad day.
Impossible brings with him a quartet of henchmen modeled after some of the New Gods of New Genesis:
-James Sie as the voice of Chair (based on Metron)
-Travis Willingham as the voice of Hunter (based on Orion)
-Dawnn Lewis as the voice of Tender Mercy (a Bana-Mighdall Amazon modeling herself after Big Barda)
-Nolan North as the voice of Neon Black (modeled after Lightray)
+The Crime Syndicate of Amerika
This would be the animated debut of the Antimatter Universe version of the team, and as to who voices who, well....these might be the ideas that get you to call me crazy, or get the most critiques, but hey, I like them. So, as to who voices each of the Syndicators, it's a bit of a cast reunion, so to speak.
-Jerry Seinfeld as the voice of Ultraman
I just thought it would be so ironic that Seinfeld, a Superman fan, would be voicing the other evil Superman besides Bizarro. As to how he'd do it, think of the way that Brian Bloom did in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.
-Patrick Warburton as the voice of Owlman/Thomas Wayne Jr.
That's right, the Tick himself playing Batman's evil twin...brother from an alternate universe. I'm positive Warburton can do serious roles.
-Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as the voice of Superwoman/"Lois Lane"
As to why I cast her--I honestly think she could really play the antimatter Superwoman as a cold, near-psychotic seductress...shouldn't be that hard to do, right? Seriously, when I read the "JLA: Omega" story and the Kurt Busiek JLA story "Syndicate Rules", I read Superwoman's lines with her voice in mind.
-Jason Alexander as the voice of Quickman (never liked him being called Johnny Quick)
Like I stated earlier with Superwoman, as I read this version of Quickman's lines (thought of someone younger for the other version from JLA: Earth-2), I couldn't help but hear the smarmy, weaselish voice of George Costanza--though more sinister, in this case.
-Michael Richards as the voice of Power Ring/Harrolds (with Dee Bradley Baker as the voice of Volthoom)
I pictured Power Ring's voice to be that of a jaded kind of guy, 'cause sometimes it's the jaded and bitter guys who end up villains, right?
*Now, to the issue that may be brewing--yes, I essentially did a Seinfeld cast reunion for the Crime Syndicate. But hear me out on this one: I always pictured the relationship between the team members as something like a twisted, topsy-turvy version of how Jerry, Elaine, David Puddy, George, and Kramer interact with one another. Both Jerry (Ultraman) and Puddy (Owlman) have been with Elaine (Superwoman), George is almost always impatient and neurotic (Quickman), and Kramer may or may not be out of his head (Power Ring/Volthoom dynamic).
+Avery Brooks as the voice of the Omega Man
At Wizard World Chicago 2010, to get good seats for an Adam West/Burt Ward Q&A, I had to sit through a panel hosted by Brooks in the same room. Let me tell you--he's got one heck of a speaking voice. I thought those deep pipes would be perfect for a walking, talking ominous wave of destruction like this guy.
Episodes 5-6: Final Eclipse, parts 1-2
Based on the "Rise of Eclipso" story arc in issues 54 and 56-59 of Justice League of America (vol. 2), this sees the return of Eclipso, who takes possession of metahumans with shadow-based powers (along with a Lovecraftian-type creature from another plane of existence), Jade, and some League reserves in order to kill "the one-above-all", starting with his servants, Zauriel and the Spectre, and then the entire Earth. This sees Blue Lantern Saint Walker (voiced again by Phil Morris from Green Lantern: The Animated Series) join the Justice League. (I know there are other characters with speaking roles in the story, I just couldn't figure out actors in time.)
Michael Emerson as the voice of Eclipso/Bruce Gordon
I picked Emerson (as I have not seen an episode of Lost) based on his two voiceover roles: Alpha, the big bad in the Ben 10/Generator Rex crossover special, and Dr. Monev on G.I. Joe: Renegades. I think he could easily play up the creepy and psychotic aspects of Eclipso, while at the same time, the struggling will of his host, Bruce Gordon.
Episode 7: Resistance is Futile
This is based on a conversation between the League members in the final issue of the series, where they reminisce about a recent battle they had with the artificial intelligence known as the Construct, a foe of earlier League incarnations. Apparently this was a story arc Robinson had planned but could not do thanks to the New 52. Basically, it's the Construct taking control of every mechanical lifeform or piece of machinery or computer tech on Earth.
Dee Bradley Baker as the voice of the Construct
Baker is a voiceover virtuoso, so for him, this would be a walk in the park. He'd voice the Construct the same way he'd play the Battle Droids on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but with a bit of a deeper bass added to the vocal effects. I picture a cross between the Battle Droids, HAL 9000, and Robby the Robot.
Episode 8: All the Dirty Jobs
This one is an original idea by me. It involves the Calculator somehow getting hold of very valuable data from the League Watchtower and Hall of Justice computers. To keep this from being sold to groups like Intergang or Queen Bee's faction--or even the Brotherhood of Evil, the Doom Patrol's foes--Dick calls on for some under-the-table assistance from a sometime-friend-sometime-foe of the Bat-family: former Robin-turned Red Hood, Jason Todd. Just to make sure he doesn't go overboard with who he takes out, Dick assigns the current Robin (Damian Wayne) to partner up with Jason and keep an eye on him (yeah, I know, one killer being tasked to keep another in check), while the League prepares to engage the buyers if things get out of hand.
Chris O'Donnell as the voice of Red Hood/Jason Todd
Yeah, yeah, I know some of you do not want memories of Batman Forever and Batman and Robin to be stirred up, but hear me out--O'Donnell was a terrible Dick Grayson, but I think he'd make a decent (voice-wise) Jason Todd, especially in his Red Hood ID.
Later on, in a second season of this show, Todd, along with the Amazon Artemis and the Eradicator, shows up as part of the newest roster of Task Force X.
Sam Lerner as the voice of Robin/Damian Wayne
I picked Lerner to voice Damian out of inspiration by another kid he voiced, Zack Saturday on The Secret Saturdays. He did really well with that performance, and I think he could make lightning strike twice with this Bat-kid.
And there you have it (or at least most of it)! "Justice League: Legacy" (so far), my idea for a Robinson-lineup cartoon. For taking the time to look at this, ladies and gentlemen, the Atlanta Rhythm Section:
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