Young Justice showrunners tease the climactic second half of Phantoms
Following its first season, the DC animated superhero series Young Justice has sported a subtitle for each subsequent outing. So season 2 was Young Justice: Invasion, and centered around the attempted takeover of the Earth by the alien civilization known as the Reach; season 3 was Young Justice: Outsiders, and chronicled the formation of the titular superhero team. Season 4 is Young Justice: Phantoms, but only reached the halfway point by the end of 2021. The meaning of the Phantoms subtitle remains somewhat mysterious, though co-creator Greg Weisman promises it will be "ridiculously clear by the end of the season."
To get a taste of what's in store, watch the new trailer for the second half of Young Justice: Phantoms exclusively above.
"Our show has often been about how events and actions from a character's past can follow them," co-creator Brandon Vietti says. "Actions have consequences in our series, they are like phantoms. This has been even more impactful in our fourth season, and will be made more clear in the second half."
When Phantoms begins, 10 years have passed since the very first episode of Young Justice — both in the real world and in the show's universe. The cast of DC superheroes has grown exponentially since then, so Vietti and Wiesman wanted to spend their fourth season checking back in with the original core team.
"We wanted to give attention to where our surviving season 1 team members are in their lives," Weisman says. "From their point of view, it's been 10 years since they went to Cadmus and rescued Superboy. Where are they now? Unlike a lot of superhero shows where characters are eternally youthful, our characters age and grow and evolve. It seemed right at the 10-year mark, from their perspective, to check in with them in some detail and see where they were."
The first 13 episodes of Phantoms were split into three arcs, each focusing on some of those founders: First Superboy (Nolan North) and Miss Martian (Danica McKellar), then Artemis (Stephanie Lemelin), then Zatanna (Lacey Chabert). From the looks of the new trailer, the second half will spend some time with Rocket (Denise Boutte).
As part of the Milestone superhero universe, Rocket is the sidekick to the hero Icon. Her return to Young Justice coincides with DC Comics' greater revival of Milestone. Most of the original '90s comics are back in print now, and there are new comics featuring Rocket, Icon, Static, and their allies.
"I've been a huge fan of Milestone stuff in general and Rocket specifically since those comics first came out," Weisman says. "I actually tried to sell a Rocket animated series with Denys Cowan back in the '90s, but it didn't happen. We feel lucky we were able to include her and then a little bit of Icon, Static, and Hardware in our show. I think the show would be lesser without them. I've seen that they're both reprinting the old comics and making new ones, I'm thrilled. If we had anything to do with that, great! But I'm not sure we should be taking credit. They were always terrific characters, they didn't need us."
Vietti adds, "I think we have a pretty interesting and unique arc with Rocket. It was awesome to spend time with her and develop a new story with her."
The second half of Young Justice: Phantoms premieres this spring on HBO Max. Watch the trailer above.
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