Justice League Unlimited
Genre
Based onJustice League
by
Gardner Fox
Developed byBruce Timm
Written byStan Berkowitz (seasons 1-2)
Dwayne McDuffie (seasons 1-3)
Matt Wayne (season 3)
Directed byJoaquim dos Santos
Dan Riba
Voices of
Theme music composerMichael McCuistion
ComposersKristopher Carter
Michael McCuistion
Lolita Ritmanis
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes39 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Dwayne McDuffie
  • Bruce Timm
  • James Tucker
  • Shaun McLaughlin (line producer)
EditorJoe Gall
Running time21–23 minutes
Production companiesDC Comics (2005–2006)
Warner Bros. Animation
Original release
NetworkCartoon Network
ReleaseJuly 31, 2004 (2004-07-31) –
May 13, 2006 (2006-05-13)
Related
Justice League

Justice League Unlimited (JLU) is an American superhero animated television series that was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and aired on Cartoon Network. Featuring a wide array of superheroes from the DC Comics universe, and specifically based on the Justice League superhero team, it is a direct sequel to the previous Justice League animated series and picks up around two years after it. JLU debuted on July 31, 2004, on Toonami and ended on May 13, 2006.

It is the eighth and final series of the DC Animated Universe, serving as the conclusion to a shared universe which began with Batman: The Animated Series. Notably, it is the most continuity heavy show of the DC Animated Universe, and weaves together characters and plot lines from past series. Justice League Unlimited received critical acclaim.

Overview

According to producer Bruce Timm, the series finale of Justice League, "Starcrossed", was possibly meant to be the final episode of the series; however, Cartoon Network ordered the production of season 3 and 4. The network wanted the show to be rebranded, including changing the episode format, so instead of two-part episode stories, the standard half an hour format was used.[1] Additionally, alongside the name change, the show features a greatly expanded League, in which the characters from the original series—now referred to as "founding members"—are joined by many other superheroes from the DC Universe; in the first episode, well over 50 characters appear. A number of these were heroes who had made guest appearances in Justice League, but many heroes and other characters made their first animated appearances in this series. The general format of each episode is to have a small team assemble to deal with a particular situation, with a focus on both action and character interaction. This extension of the Justice League was originally planned to be explained in a planned direct-to-video feature film, but the project never materialized.

Production

Justice League Unlimited features both episodic and serialized episodes, the first major overarching story arc involves the growing conflict between the League and a secret government agency known as Project Cadmus. This plot line builds upon events that occurred during the second season of Justice League (which in turn built upon events in Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Static Shock, and The Zeta Project), and would go on to affect the plotlines of most of its episodes. It was resolved in a four-part story at the end of the second season of Justice League Unlimited.

The third and final season story arc focuses on the new Secret Society (which is based on the Legion of Doom of the Challenge of the Superfriends season of Super Friends), a loose-knit organization formed to combat the increased superhero coordination of the first season. Towards the end of the series, certain characters became off-limits to the show, particularly characters associated with Batman and those who appeared in Batman: The Animated Series (aside from Batman himself) were restricted due to the unrelated animated series The Batman and Christopher Nolan's live-action The Dark Knight Trilogy, in order to avoid continuity confusion. Aquaman and related characters were unavailable due to the development of a pilot for a live-action series featuring the character as a young man (planned to be a spin-off of Smallville). To compensate for this, the last season focused their stories on previously overlooked DC Comics characters and mythos. These included characters like Deadman, Viking Prince, Warlord, and an unnamed modern equivalent of The Seven Soldiers of Victory.

The series, along with the entire DC animated universe, was originally planned to end after the second-season finale "Epilogue", but a third season was greenlit by Cartoon Network. The third season started in 2005 with the episode "I Am Legion" (which was written before the announcement of a third season) and ended in 2006 with the episode "Destroyer". Stan Berkowitz, a member of the production team, left the show later for the TV series Friends and Heroes, and writer Matt Wayne was contracted to replace him. According to Matt Wayne, if the show had been renewed for a fourth season, he would have liked to write more episodes focusing on Superman and Wonder Woman.

DC Comics created an ongoing monthly comic book series based on the TV series, as part of its Johnny DC line of "all ages" comics, which did not have the same restrictions regarding character appearances.

Justice League Unlimited, like the second season of Justice League, is animated in widescreen. The show also features new theme music and intro (nominated for an Emmy).[2] The two-part series finale was aired in the UK on February 8 and 18, 2006, and in the United States on May 6 and 13, 2006.

Episodes

Main article: List of Justice League Unlimited episodes

Cast

Protagonists

Voice actor Role
George Newbern Superman / Clark Kent
Kevin Conroy Batman / Bruce Wayne
Phil LaMarr Green Lantern (John Stewart)
Carl Lumbly Martian Manhunter
Susan Eisenberg Wonder Woman
Michael Rosenbaum Flash
Maria Canals-Barrera Shayera Hol

Supporting cast

Voice actor Role
Nicholle Tom Supergirl
Kin Shriner Green Arrow
Jeffrey Combs Question
Amy Acker Huntress
Oded Fehr Doctor Fate
Scott Rummell Aquaman
Morena Baccarin Black Canary
Dana Delany Lois Lane
Will Friedle Terry McGinnis/Batman, Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner)
Farrah Forke Big Barda
Peter Onorati Warhawk, B'wana Beast
Lauren Tom Dana Tan, Green Lantern (Kai-Ro), Doctor Light
Michael Beach Mister Terrific
Giselle Loren Stargirl
Chris Cox Captain Atom, Shining Knight
Jeremy Piven Elongated Man
Gina Torres Vixen
John C. McGinley Atom
Tom Everett Scott Booster Gold
Ioan Gruffudd Mister Miracle
Christopher McDonald Jor-El
Jennifer Hale Zatanna
Nathan Fillion Vigilante
James Remar Hawkman
Ron Perlman Orion
Mike Erwin Speedy
Scott Patterson King Faraday
Jerry O'Connell Captain Marvel
Gregg Rainwater Long Shadow
Dennis Farina Wildcat
Paul Guilfoyle Warlord
Jonathan Joss Pow Wow Smith
Raphael Sbarge Deadman
Jason Hervey Dove
Fred Savage Hawk
Maria Canals-Barrera Fire
Susan Sullivan Hippolyta
Néstor Carbonell El Diablo
Ben Browder Bat Lash
Seymour Cassel Chuck Sirianni
Matt Czuchry Brainiac 5
Daniel Dae Kim Metron
Dick Miller Oberon
Kim Mai Guest Linda Park

Antagonists

Voice actor Role
Clancy Brown Lex Luthor
Corey Burton Brainiac, Key, Sonar, Weather Wizard
Powers Boothe Gorilla Grodd
CCH Pounder Amanda Waller
J. K. Simmons General Wade Eiling, Mantis
Michael Ironside Darkseid
Michael Dorn Kalibak
Ed Asner Granny Goodness, Hephaestus
Malcolm McDowell Metallo
Bud Cort Toyman
Robert Foxworth Professor Hamilton
Olivia d'Abo Morgaine Le Fey
Armin Shimerman Professor Milo
Donal Gibson Captain Boomerang
Alexis Denisof Mirror Master
Robert Picardo Amazo
Alan Rachins Clock King
Mark Hamill Trickster
Charles Napier General Hardcastle
Lisa Edelstein Mercy Graves
Robert Englund Felix Faust
Ted Levine Sinestro
Peter MacNicol Chronos
James Remar Shadow Thief
Sheryl Lee Ralph Cheetah
Michael Jai White Doomsday
Robin Atkin Downes Gentleman Ghost
Douglas Dunning Deimos
Rachel York Circe
Michael York Ares
Virginia Madsen Roulette
Héctor Elizondo Hath-Set
Lex Lang Atomic Skull, Captain Cold, Heat Wave
Don Harvey Chucko
Melissa Joan Hart Dee Dee
Michael Rosenbaum Ghoul
Adam Baldwin Rick Flag, Bonk
Juliet Landau Plastique, Tala
Jennifer Hale Giganta, Killer Frost, Bernadeth
Hynden Walch Ace
Bob Joles Hades
Glenn Shadix Steven Mandragora
Michael Beach Devil Ray
Arte Johnson Virman Vundabar

Reception

Justice League Unlimited received critical acclaim and is listed as one of the best animated television shows of all time. IGN named Justice League/Justice League Unlimited as the 20th best animated television series of all time.[3] Similarly, IndieWire also ranked the series as the 20th best animated show of all time.[4]

James Whitbrook, editor of io9, wrote "Justice League Unlimited is simply the greatest superhero show of all time", further stating "it embraced its source material wholly, and was unafraid to be the wildest, biggest, comic-book-iest show it could be."[5]

Producer Bruce Timm has stated that amongst all the shows he has worked on, this show is his favorite.[6]

Home media

From 2006 to 2007, Warner Home Video (via DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Family Entertainment) released the entire series of Justice League Unlimited on DVD. The series is presented in original broadcast presentation and story arc continuity order. The series was also released on Blu-Ray.

Name Release Date Ep # Notes
Season One October 24, 2006 26 4 DVDs. Featurette: And Justice for All: The Process of Revamping the Series with New Characters and a New Creative Direction, Themes of Justice: Choose Your Favorite JLU Musical Theme Audio Tracks, Creators' Commentary on "This Little Piggy" and 'The Return.” Contains all episodes of Seasons One and Two from the original airing. Episode 21 – "Hunter's Moon (AKA Mystery in Space)" – is placed out of order between episodes 22 ("Question Authority") and episode 23 ("Flashpoint").
Season Two March 20, 2007 13 2 DVDs. Actually Season Three from the original airing. Cadmus: Exposed: Mark Hamill and the Series Creative Personnel Discuss This Popular Series Story Arc, Justice League Chronicles: Series Writers, Producers and Directors Discuss Their Favorite Moments Among Final Season Episodes, Music-Only Audio Track for the Final Episode Destroyer.
Justice League: 3-Pack Fun July 19, 2011 11 3 DVDs. Contains "For The Man Who Has Everything," "The Return," and "The Greatest Story Never Told," as well as the two-part Justice League stories "The Brave and the Bold" and "Injustice For All,” and the Young Justice episodes "Independence Day," "Fireworks," "Welcome To Happy Harbor," and "Drop Zone.”
The Complete Series November 10, 2015 39 3 Blu-ray discs. Featurette: And Justice for All: The Process of Revamping the Series with New Characters and a New Creative Direction, Creators' Commentary on "This Little Piggy" and 'The Return,” Cadmus: Exposed: Mark Hamill and the Series Creative Personnel Discuss This Popular Series Story Arc, Justice League Chronicles: Series Writers, Producers and Directors Discuss Their Favorite Moments Among Final Season Episodes. Episodes are shown in the correct order.

Warner Home Video also released another DVD set titled Justice League: The Complete Series. It contained all 91 episodes of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited on a 15-disc set with the 15th disc containing a bonus documentary. The same episodes were later sold as a 10-disc set without the bonus documentary.

Soundtrack

La-La Land Records released a 4-disc Justice League soundtrack on July 29, 2016.[7] A potential Justice League Unlimited soundtrack depends on how well the Justice League soundtrack sells.[8]

Adaptations

Justice League Unlimited

DC Comics published a series of 46-issue numbered comics based on the television series, between 2004 and 2008.

Compilations

Justice League Infinity

It is a sequel comic to Justice League Unlimited, written by James Tucker and J.M. DeMatteis with art by Ethen Beavers. 7 numbered issues were published by DC Comics between 2021 and 2022.

Compilations

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Publisher mislisted the book as including Adventures in the DC Universe #3-5; Justice League Unlimited #21, 36-41.

References