JUSTICE LEAGUE ANIMATED: BTS Part 9, Episodes 12-17
The ninth installment of this ongoing behind the scenes look at the making of Justice League: The Animated Series focuses on episodes 12-17, consisting of the two-part "The Brave and the Bold," two-part "Fury" and the two-part "Legends." What follows is an extended excerpt.
“The Brave and the Bold”
Part 1 Original Airdate: March 10, 2002
Part 2 Original Airdate: March 17, 2002
Story by Dwayne McDuffie
Teleplay by Rich Fogel and Paul Dini
Directed by Dan Riba
Guest Starring: Virginia Madsen (Dr. Sarah Corwin), David Ogden Stiers (Solovar), Powers Boothe (Grodd)
PLOT SUMMARY: The gorilla General Grodd uses his mind control powers to attempt to get humanity to launch an attack against Gorilla City. While the Flash and Green Lantern try to stop Grodd, the rest of the League moves on to Gorilla City and must convince the populace that they’re there to help.
PRODUCTION NOTES: “Circumstances resulted in the story being handed off to Dwayne McDuffie and thank God it did,” declares Bruce Timm. “That was my first time I’d read any of his work and I instantly fell in love with his take on the characters and his dialogue especially. I realized that this was a guy we could use, to the point now where he’s been promoted to producer on the third season and he’s in charge of the story department. Taking a cue from the comics, the Flash and the Hal Jordan GL were always like best buddies back in the day. With the new personalities we’ve got for our GL and Flash, we thought, ‘What kind of friendship would these guys have?’ It’s almost an Abbott and Costello, oil and water, movie buddy cop relationship. I think they’re a great comic duo when they’re together. They’re perfect foils for each other.
“And then there’s Gorilla Grodd,” he continues. “If you’re a fan of DC Comics at all, then you have to love supervillain gorillas. I thought he was an interesting character and we were super-excited to have Powers Boothe come in and play him. Come on, we’ve got Powers Boothe voicing an evil mastermind gorilla. It doesn’t get any better than that. So that was way cool. But the thing that James Tucker and I were really surprised at was how well the climax works. That’s one of the episodes where it’s paced properly, so at the end when the nuclear missiles are flying towards Gorilla City and our guys are racing to stop them, that climax just accelerates until the final moment. I just think it fires on all cylinders at that point. In the script, there’s a bit where Batman is digging for Diana. He thinks she’s dead and it turns out she’s not. I improvised on the storyboard this little bit where she looks down and sees that his hands are burned from digging through the rubble and gives him a little peck on the cheek that’s saying, ‘Aww, aren’t you sweet?’ That’s all it was intended to be, but the fans went crazy on the Internet. They were, like, ‘Oh, there’s something going on between Batman and Wonder Woman.’ We’re, like, ‘No there isn’t, it’s just a nice little bit.’ But then we started thinking about it. What if there was something going on between Batman and Wonder Woman? So we started flirting with the idea of them flirting. It’s kind of given us one little extra shade to play in the overall dynamic of the series.”
The late Dwayne McDuffie noted, “Probably the most fun thing about that was in the moment when Flash is mind-controlled where he has this acid flashback where turns into a gorilla, gets real fat, sees mirror images of himself – all of which were from ‘60s DC Flash titles. I just went through every copy of Flash I could find and found the freakiest covers and sort of strung them together. The Flash always had great covers: ‘It’s the Flash, but his head is really big!’ ‘It’s the Flash, but he’s immensely fat!’”
Part 1 Original Airdate: April 7, 2002
Part 2 Original Airdate: April 14, 2002
Story by Dwayne McDuffie
Teleplay by Stan Berkowitz
Directed by Butch Lukic
Guest Starring: Mark Hamill (Solomon Grundy), Olivia d’Abo (Star Sapphire), Julie Bowen (Aresia), Susan Sullivan (Hippolyta), Stephen McHattie (Shade)
PLOT SUMMARY: The Justice League must stop an errant Amazonian from spreading a plague that will kill all men in the world.
PRODUCTION NOTES: “When we first started to talk about the show,” reflects Timm, “one of the things we talked about was how to contrast Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl, because they’re both fairly fierce warrior women. So what makes them different from each other? This was our chance to explore the difference between the two. So what’s the difference between them? Stan Berkowitz said, ‘Well, Wonder Woman is a virgin.’ So what does that mean? What it means is that since Wonder Woman has lived her entire life on an island with no men, literally has no idea how to deal with men and Hawkgirl has been around for a while. At that point we hadn’t delved into her background, but clearly she came from a society where there were men and she’s okay with it. She doesn’t have any militant issues about men; she actually thinks of herself as one of the boys. So that was a good opportunity to explore that aspect of their dynamic.”
Stan Berkowitz holds his hand up high as he announces that it was his idea to do an episode that focused squarely on the female members of the team. As to the issue of sexually active versus virgin, he says, “In most stories it wouldn’t make much of a difference, but in this particular story all of the men were going to die. So you have one of them, Hawkgirl, who is, in a way, about to have something major taken away from her life. And Wonder Woman, it doesn’t matter to her. She was raised in an all-women society, so it doesn’t seem like that much of a loss to her. The only way it begins to seem like a loss is that her colleagues might die; her brothers-in-arms. But for Hawkgirl, it’s a lot more personal; a lot more important. The other thing that was enjoyable about it is that we were doing a story in which all of the men were becoming ill or dying, so when we recorded the show, by the end of the recording session, there was only women in the booth. We were all struck by that.”
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