YOUNG JUSTICE: OUTSIDERS Creators Talk a Darker Season Full of Metahuman Trafficking

Despite being one of the most loved DC Comics animated series ever, Young Justice only lasted for two seasons on Cartoon Network.

But after years of fan petitions, and a growing audience for the show thanks to the series’ availability through  Netflix, it was announced that Young Justice would be granted a third season, one to air exclusively on the forthcoming DC Universestreaming service.

Titled  Young Justice: Outsiders, season three will arrive in early 2019, with the entire creative team and principal voice cast from the original run returning. At San Diego Comic-Con, a new trailer for season three arrived, giving fans their first glimpse of the team in five years. Nerdist got a chance to chat with the creators of the series, Greg Weisman, Brandon Vietti, and Phil Bourassa, along with casting director Jamie Thomason, about the long awaited return.

“It was like a wonderful reunion, a great homecoming,” Thomason said of the new season, which consists of 26 episodes. “In truth, I genuinely didn’t have a doubt that it would be back. It’s just too good a show not to have a couple more seasons to help finishing up with some stories.”

Thomason continued, “The boss at Cartoon Network we were working with at the time, Sam Register, told us, ‘You guys have created the perfect binge-watching show, you just did five years too soon.’ It was popular when it was on, and it was a drag when it went off the air, and the along came a little thing called Netflix, and it was gangbusters. Not to brag, but it was one of the more highly regarded and well received shows ever on Netflix.”

With the jump from cable television to the streaming world come new freedoms for Young Justice. We may not be gearing up for curse words like in the case of another DC Universe show, but according to Weisman, “Because we’re on a streaming service and we’re not on Cartoon Network, we don’t have Cartoon Network’s standards and practices. Departments can’t tell us what we can and can’t do. That has freed us up, and this season is more mature. It’s a little darker. Definitely delves deep into our characters and it also allows us to delve deeper into the DC universe.”

Bourassa added, “It’s the same DNA, the same dynamic. You know, we’ve always been really collaborative and that hasn’t changed their creative process at all. For us, it doesn’t feel different. There are probably things that we’re doing here and there that are like we’re adapting to the environment [and] the way the industry changes…but it’s just been like getting back together a group of creators you feel super comfortable with.”

Nightwing being front and center in the promo art for a show subtitled “Outsiders” had us wondering if the season would be based on Nightwing’s time as leader of the Outsiders from the early 2000s DC Comics. As it turns out, the Outsiders the show is inspired by are from Batman’s version of the team from the ’80s.

“There’s probably more from the original Batman and the Outsiders comic book run—certainly the first few episodes reflect that,” Weisman said. “Also just the nature of these newer characters—Forager, Halo, and Geo-Force—these are characters who are truly outsiders. On season one and season two, those were the protégés of the Justice League, inspired by the adult heroes, and then the younger heroes inspired by slightly older protégés.”

He continued, “Now we’re dealing with people who aren’t in that inside world of superheroes at all. So they are quite literally outsiders, and for a whole bunch of reasons. So it’s both metaphorical, but it also was sort of inspired by the original Outsiders comic book run. But I’ve also read the Judd Winnick run, and there are some pieces of that in there as well. It’s a mix of all kind of eras.”

“We always try to put our own spin on the material” said Vietti. “We have our own designation from DC, we’re on Earth 16, and we really always played into that to see what we can do, and to respect these great stories and characters that came before us. All so that the hardcore fans can feel connected to these character they know and love, but to always serve them up in slightly different way, so there’s a new take there.”

In the first season of Young Justice, the Justice League was a background presence on the series in a rather significant way, but was slightly less so in season two. On whether the League would recede more into the background during Outsiders or would come back to the forefront, Weisman said, “Both. I think all of the things that you liked about season one and two, you’re going to see elements like that. We found a new way to kind of present everything that we know and love from first two  seasons. Definitely there will be thematic echoes to the first two seasons.”

The series creators were hesitant to give away too many spoilers for the upcoming season, and wouldn’t even confirm how big of a time jump we’re getting between seasons two and three (although they did confirm there would be a time jump). Weisman did give the fans this much to chew on, though: “The big thing is metahuman trafficking. So now everybody is trying to capitalize on the meta gene. First world nations, third world nations, rogue nations, criminal organizations. You name it.”

Are you excited for the long awaited return of the Young Justice heroes? Be sure to let us know down below in the comments.

Images: Warner Bros Animation

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