JUSTICE LEAGUE ANIMATED: Part 11, Making of Episodes 22-26
In the eleventh installment of this ongoing behind the scenes look at the making of Justice League: The Animated Series, we focus on episodes 22-26, consisting of the two-part "Metamorphosis" and the three-part "The Savage Time." And with this, season one comes to a close.
Part 1 Original Airdate: October 4, 2002
Part 2 Original Airdate: October 11, 2002
Part 1 Written by Len Uhley
Pat 2 Story by Len Uhley, Teleplay by Dwayne McDuffie
Directed by Dan Riba
Guest Starring: Tom Sizemore (Rex Mason/Metamorpho), Earl Boen (Simon Stagg), Danica McKellar (Sapphire Stagg)
PLOT SUMMARY: Former solider and Green Lantern friend Rex Mason ends up an unwilling participant in an experiment that transforms him into Metamorpho. His “creator,” Simon Stagg, then creates a rapidly evolving creature and inadvertently has his mind transferred over to it.
PRODUCTION NOTES: “This one is probably neck and neck with ‘War World’ if you go by the fans,” muses Bruce Timm. “I love this show. It’s very old school, and a lot of people have a resistance to that.
A lot of people just can’t handle superheroes with that much corn. I have to say, though, aside from all of the Metamorpho characters looking kind of weird, they’re played pretty straight. It’s kind of what we’ve always done when we translate characters from the comics into an animated series: we try to put a little bit of a modern spin on it, but we deliberately didn’t go too twisted or too dark so we could honor their origins from the comics. You know, Metamorpho was one of the weirdest superheroes, even from the ‘60s which was a weird era, so we wanted to go with that. The one thing we did kind of modernize to a kind of fifth degree was Stag’s relationship with Sapphire; there was definitely some weird triangle between Rex, Sapphire and Stag. We took that a little bit further than they did in the comics so that Stag has a kind of unhealthy attachment to his daughter. There’s that creepy scene where he’s going to see her at her apartment and he’s got flowers in his hand and he’s slicking back his hair. It’s like, ‘Oh, that’s just skeevy.’
“Unlike other heroes whose origin we shoe-horned into Justice League – I always use the Green Lantern episode of Superman as a real clumsy example of how not to do that . Superman shouldn’t be anywhere around from GL’s origin scene, he just detracts from it, to the point where, literally, Superman goes to Oa before GL does and the Guardians tell Superman what the oath is, and then Superman has to go back to earth and tell him what the oath is. It’s just, like, ‘It’s wrong; it’s dumb. Superman, it may be your show, but get out of the story.’ But it works great with Metamorpho. We took some hits because his origin story is too similar to Clayface and Two-Face, but it works. So we play him not necessarily as a villain, but as an antagonist in part one, and then by part two he becomes a hero. I think it works fine.”
“The Savage Time”
Original Airdate: November 9, 2002
Written by Stan Berkowitz
Directed by Dan Riba and Butch Lukic
Guest Starring: Phil Morris (Vandal Savage), Patrick Duffy (Steve Trevor), Fred Dryer (Sgt. Rock), Robert Picardo (Blackhawk)
PLOT SUMMARY: When the League – sans Batman – return to earth, they find that reality has been completely altered, the world being ruled by dictator Vandal Savage. The Batman in this current reality leads rebels against Savage’s soldiers, but it’s a losing battle. The Justice League must travel back in time to World War II and prevent Savage from using advance technology to assume Hitler’s mantle and conquer what the madman could not.
PRODUCTION NOTES: Stan Berkowitz explains that there was a desire on staff to do a time travel story involving World War II. He had been reading a piece in The New Yorker in which a historian asked, “Would the Germans have won the war if they had been less obsessed with committing genocide.
“To kill lots of people,” he muses, “requires effort and manpower that could have been put to use elsewhere better, like defending the country. So the element that I like is that when Vandal Savage takes over he says, ‘The first thing I’d do is get rid of that lunatic,’ referring to Hitler. It’s made explicit that they’re winning the war because of the inventions he’s brought back with him from the future, but it’s hinted at that he has also stopped the genocide and has become, dare I say, professional about the war...."
For the rest of this installment, please click HERE.
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