JUSTICE LEAGUE ANIMATED PART 6: Casting Martian Manhunter & Hawkgirl

JUSTICE LEAGUE ANIMATED PART 6: Casting Martian Manhunter & Hawkgirl

We continue our behind the scenes look at the making of the animated Justice League series, this time focusing on the casting of the characters Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl with casting director Andrea Romano, Carl Lumbly and Maria Canals.



We had used Carl Lumbly several times as a recurring character on Batman Beyond and loved the quality of his voice. We knew that for the character of Martian Manhunter, an alien, we wanted some exotic sound to it. We didn’t want him to sound like a typical American, we didn’t want to give him an English accent, but we knew we wanted something unusual. Carl has something about his voice that is so beautiful – he’s got an astounding set of pipes, and he’s also a stunning actor. He created this rhythm, this tempo for this character that in Justice League was a little more pronounced than we play him now in the Justice League Unlimited series. We let him lighten up on that placement just a little bit to make him sound a little bit more human. Easily directable. I’ll get half-way through a direction and he’ll say, “Got it, let’s go.”


I feel I have for J’onn J’onzz an understanding of what it might be like to be on the outside coming in and feeling apart from other, and then being welcomed in. It sort of sits with everything about my life. From my family coming from Jamaica and moving to Minneapolis, me feeling a bit like a rube and moving to San Francisco and Los Angeles, and sometimes feeling like living in Berkeley and working in Los Angeles is sort of the classic immigrant story being replayed over and over again. J’onn fits into that, though this is perhaps the furthest out I think I’ve felt. Poor J’onn, even though he has a home planet, he doesn’t have home people anymore, except locked up in his memories where, as with all of us, they can continue to live forever. And then, the wonderful thing that has happened, which is coming to earth as a being from another place and not feeling like you have anything on this planet or anyone to share it with, and then being welcomed in by a group of people who are super people; with whom adjustments have to be made. But you find a way and not only are you welcomed in, but you begin to feel that you have an understanding; a point of contact that things you felt made you alien are somewhat in common with the feelings that other beings have that make them feel alien. Together you begin to feel a bond and you create your own world.

To read the rest of Part Six of this series, please click HERE.


Episode 1-3
“Secret Origins”
Original Airdate: November 17, 2001
Written by Rich Fogel
Directed by Dan Riba & Butch Lukic
Guest Starring: Gary Cole (J. Allen Carter), Jason Marsden (Snapper Carr), Susan Sullivan (Hippolyta), Kevin Michael Richardson (General Wells)

PLOT SUMMARY: The Justice League comes together when Martian J’onn J’onzz arrives, warning earth of an imminent attack by his people. Through a number of near-impossible challenges, the League proves triumphant and elects to stay together as a unit to protect earth.

PRODUCTION NOTES: “This was a tough one,” admits Bruce Timm, “because we had a lot of ground to cover. We basically knew we would be cheating the audience if we didn’t do an origin of the Justice League story, so we pretty much had to do that. I will say that this is one of those episodes that I kind of wish I could do over. Parts of it work and parts of it don’t. I think the structure of it is kind of off; I think the first half-hour is really good and exciting, and you’re not sure where it’s going. But it started falling apart somewhere in the middle of the second episode when we go into the Martian flashback. By part three, the action scenes weren’t paced properly – something that was all of our fault’s -- and it felt like it was just time to wrap it up. You know, the Justice League escapes and kicks some butt, but it just kind of limped to a conclusion, I felt. It gets the job done, I just wish it had been just a little bit more rousing than it actually is.

“Another big part of the problem,” he continues, “is that we had three different Justice League teams in different parts of the world, but they’re all in pretty much the same environment. Each one of them was inside one of those alien earth defiler machines and there was a lot of repetition. I really wish we had figured out a way to make each one of those little pocket parts of the story be radically different from every other part. Fortunately we took it as a good learning experience. Whenever we did a three-parter from that point on, we made sure that when we split the team up into smaller teams, that each one was in a completely different kind of location and environment and were doing different parts of the story. ‘Savage Time’ and ‘Starcrossed’ are huge improvements in that department. In hindsight, probably the biggest mistake was delaying the creation of the Justice League until episode two.”

To read the rest of Part Six of this series, please click HERE.
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