Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Exit interviews

Now that the Legion series is over - your petitions won't do anything but make you feeld good that you signed up - producer James Tucker has been making the rounds doing exit interviews. Just as the creative team from "Teen Titans" and "Justice League Unlimited" moved over to "Legion" when those series ended, now the "Legion" crew is moving on to other things, including the "Brave and Bold" Batman series. Tucker is the producer of that one.

Here are some selected quotes from his exit interviews.

Via World's Finest Online:
The World's Finest: Hey James, first off, tell us a bit how Legion of Super Heroes came to be? There's been much gossip around the site concerning how this project originally got off the ground. Some say the Justice League Unlimited episode "Far From Home" acted as a back door pilot, while other sources say this was a project long in fruition. Care to finally clear the air on the origins of this series?

James Tucker: Let’s get the myths out of the way. The Legion series was never tied to the Justice League Unlimited episode. Supergirl was never, ever going to be in the Legion. The true origin of the series came out of Cartoon Network’s desire to have a Superman-centric series to premiere when the movie Superman Returns premiered. Superman as part of the Legion worked for them. So the series was originally developed for Cartoon Network, then they passed and Kids’ WB! stepped in. They, too, wanted a Superman-centric series with Superman fresh out of Smallville, learning to be Superman. That’s the reality.

WF: When starting off the series, what problems did you come up with when not only dealing with a beloved property, but one with such an immense cast? How did you end up with your main cast of characters.

JT: We went with the broadest we could find that would kind of replicate that Breakfast Club camaraderie that you find in teen movies. So we needed the neophyte, Superman, fresh from the farm to the new big school. We needed the smart girl -- Saturn Girl; the talky jock, Lightning Lad; the really smart nerdy kid, Brainiac 5; the amiable pal, Bouncing Boy; and we needed the James Dean outsider, Timber Wolf. Plus, we have Phantom Girl as the wise-cracking girl, non-popular girl that we all really like.

We threw in Triplicate Girl because we all fell in love with her when I did the first design. She’s the funky, hip chick. Chameleon Boy gave us the chance to freshen the lineup for the second season with a younger smart-aleck guy.

WF: In the second season, we were also introduced to the war-like Superman X. Why did you decide to not only bring in a new Superman clone, but also an older version of the Superman from the first season?

JT: That’s what the network asked for. Initially when we were pitching second season, we had planned to introduce a character that was like Superman’s older or twin brother. The network, rightly so, didn’t think it would pop. They wanted a super-up Superman. They didn’t care how we did it, but they wanted him to be more of a bad ass. For me, I didn’t want to alter our existing Superman that much. So along with Michael Jelenic, we came up with the clone from the future.

WF: Now we're heading into the finale of the series. First off, was the season finale written as a series finale? I imagine the end of LOSH came earlier than you expected. What surprises do you have in store for the fans for these final two episodes.

JT: It was written before Kids’ WB! was sold, so we didn’t know if it would be the season or series finale It wasn’t written as a series finale, but I think it works well as a series finale.

WF: Did you have a third season in the planning stages? What might the fans have seen if a third season was to come to pass?

JT: In the very early going, with just me and Michael planning, we went back-and-forth on potential ideas. We considered revealing and introducing Wildfire, Shadow Lass and a couple of others. And possibly the return of Ferro Lad’s twin brother.

Via CBR:
“We knew ['Legion' wasn't] coming back for a while, so I am kind of resigned to the fact,” Tucker told CBR News. “I have moved on because the Legion has been a distant memory as far as my actual day-to-day for quite some time now.”

Tucker revealed that Season 3 of “The Legion of Super-Heroes” would have further explored Brainiac 5’s journey to the dark side, a plot thread that ended in the show’s final episode, decidedly frayed. “Brainiac 5’s story is probably the only story that carried over from Season 1,” said Tucker. “The fact that we knew he could be potentially tempted by his ancestry. Part of the reason we made him robotic was because we wanted to tie him more heavily to the villain Brainiac. We made those adjustments so that it would be more of a logical progression to get him to be the darker character. Adam Wylie was great at voicing him. He really understood the character. He really brought out all the facets of the transition.”

In “Dark Victory” Part 2, after leaving the Legion in self-exile because he feels he can longer be trusted, Brainiac 5 is shown retrofitting himself with some space debris with the possibility looming large of a new beginning for the supervillain.

The series’ final words, spoken by Brainiac 5: “Evil does not die. It evolves.”

“We left it unresolved on purpose,” said Tucker. “This ending was going to bridge into the third season. And the way we leave it, Brainiac 5 has to redeem himself. So that’s what he would have been doing in the third season. When we left, he has a lot to clean up. I’ll put it that way!

“I don’t think it was a detriment having Kel-El be added to the cast because originally the idea we pitched to the network for the second season was to introduce Mon-El because they wanted a suped-up Superman,” explained Tucker of his 41st Century Superman clone. “And I said, ‘Well, we don’t really want to change Superman’s character from what we have established so it would be better to use Mon-El.’ Unfortunately Mon-El, in and of himself, is not an easy sell to an average, non-comic book reading fan. Even comic book fans, a lot of them don’t understand Mon-El.”

Tucker also had plans to introduce fan favorites like Wildfire and Dawnstar in Season 3. “And we have given some other characters the spotlight, like Blok. He’s a favorite of mine, and hopefully we would have given the girls more screen time,” he teased. “I had some plans for a Ferro Lad story too, where we would have introduced his twin brother.”

Tucker said it’s ironic as “The Legion of Super-Heroes” comes to an end, DC’s current comic continuity has embraced the original Legion, with the team enjoying runs in Brad Meltzer’s “Justice League of America” and Geoff Johns’ “Justice Society of America,” “Action Comics” and this summer’s miniseries “Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds.”

“It’s just with Legion fans, every one has a different era they prefer. You can’t please them all specifically, so I wish Geoff luck on that one.”

Tucker closed, “Now that we have de-virginized the American audience for the idea of the Legion, maybe somewhere down the line, some network will be open to giving it another shot. Maybe doing something a little more ‘older’ skewing. I actually grew to love the Legion even more through working on this series. Another reason that I am enjoying Geoff Johns’ run on ‘Action’ is because I recognized the traits and the characters. I felt like I honored the Legion even with some of the changes we had to make. And even though we didn’t get to hit on all of the fan favorites, we still captured what is the gist of the Legion.”


Greybird said...

"[...] Tucker also had plans to introduce fan favorites like Wildfire and Dawnstar in Season 3."

*mega-sigh* ...

So the animated boat pulls away from the dock without those and other great '70s Legionnaires on board.

At least we got three cameos for Dawny: in a large group at HQ (in Part One of the finale), in a large group at Kal's "funeral" (in Part Two), and, yep, in a large group confronting Brainy in space (also in Part Two).

So close, and yet so far!

Dvandom said...

Huh? I didn't get at ALL that the final scene was supposed to be Brainy 5. It looked simply like some debris self-assembled into Brainiac 1.1 or something.

MaGnUs said...

What a horrible Ultra Boy costume. And why o why never is there a Quislet!!! No love for the Quis!

RavenScholar said...

Now we are all reduced to reading/writing fanfiction.
Just when the show was getting even more interesting than usual, they cancelled it.
There is no justice in the world

MaGnUs said...

Yeah, maybe we could... y'know... read the comics? :)