If you haven’t already heard the news yet, it’s all true: Young Justice is officially returning for a third season, and original producers Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman are back on board to run the show.
Young Justice was an animated TV show that aired on the Cartoon network from 2011-2013 for a total run of two amazing seasons. The show followed sidekick heroes Robin, Aqualad, Miss Martian, Kid Flash, Superboy and Artemis, as well as a cast of other superheroes and villains, as the Young Justice team battled evil and saved the day.
The story was also about the young adults making their mark on the world and showing their mentors that they were no longer weak little kids, and showed how they could now hold their own for bigger more important missions.
Although I didn’t like how the second season of Young Justice started, I thought that by the end of the series the story had wrapped up nicely and had me sitting on the edge of my seat; and several storylines were quite clever the way that they were written. As for animation quality, I’d put it up there with shows like Legend Of Korra for having amazing animated fight scenes. The show became a great success in terms of cartoon show ratings, and went on to gather a huge fanbase. So why was it canceled?
If you have been following the story of Young Justice since it went off the air, you probably already know how this story goes, but for those of you that don’t know the details here is what went down. According to the website io9.Gizmodo, they found a transcription from a Tumblr post (Vi at agelfeygelach) about an interview between Kevin Smith and Paul Dini during the “Fat Man on Batman podcast”, and it was through this podcast and transcription that provided the real reason for why certain cartoons get canceled. You can listen to the original podcast below, I recommend you start at the 39:00 minute mark because that is where the interesting parts start.
The original Tumblr blog that transcribed the interview seems to be broken (or deleted), so there is no way to link back to the original posts, but as the story goes, Smith talked about Dini’s career with animation, comic books and working with the WB network, and they eventually started talking about why certain shows get canceled, specifically, popular shows like Young Justice, the newer Green Lantern animated Series, Beware The Batman, and Tower Prep.
What it really boiled down to was sponsers, money and toy sales. To get more toy sales, the network said they wanted more goofy comedy cartoons geared towards young boys. To make sense of the conversation, I’ll just post the entire transcribed quote from Tumblr down below that sums up the gist of what happened between producers, sponsors, and show runners.
DINI: “They’re all for boys ‘we do not want the girls’, I mean, I’ve heard executives say this, you know, not [where I am] but at other places, saying like, ‘We do not want girls watching this show.”
SMITH: “WHY? That’s 51% of the population.”
DINI: “They. Do. Not. Buy. Toys. The girls buy different toys. The girls may watch the show—”
SMITH: “So you can sell them T-shirts if they don’t—A: I disagree, I think girls buy toys as well, I mean not as many as f***ing boys do, but, B: sell them something else, man! Don’t be lazy and be like, ‘well I can’t sell a girl a toy.’ Sell ’em a T-shirt, man, sell them f***ing umbrella with the f***ing character on it, something like that. But if it’s not a toy, there’s something else you could sell ’em! Like, just because you can’t figure out your job, don’t kill chances of, like, something that’s gonna reach an audi—that’s just so self-defeating, when people go, like… these are the same fuckers who go, like, ‘Oh, girls don’t read comics, girls aren’t into comics.’ It’s all self-fulfilling prophecies. They just make it that way, by going like, ‘I can’t sell ’em a toy, what’s the point?’
DINI: “That’s the thing, you know I hate being Mr. Sour Grapes here, but I’ll just lay it on the line: that’s the thing that got us cancelled on Tower Prep, honest-to-God was, like, ‘we need boys, but we need girls right there, right one step behind the boys’—this is the network talking—’one step behind the boys, not as smart as the boys, not as interesting as the boys, but right there.’ And then we began writing stories that got into the two girls’ back stories, and they were really interesting. And suddenly we had families and girls watching, and girls really became a big part of our audience, in sort of like they picked up that Harry Potter type of serialized way, which is what The Batman and [indistinct]’s really gonna kill. But, the Cartoon Network was saying, ‘F***, no, we want the boys’ action, it’s boys’ action, this goofy boy humor we’ve gotta get that in there. And we can’t—’ and I’d say, but look at the numbers, we’ve got parents watching, with the families, and then when you break it down—’Yeah, but the—so many—we’ve got too many girls. We need more boys.'”
SMITH: “That’s heart-breaking.”
DINI: “And then that’s why they cancelled us, and they put on a show called Level Up, which is, you know, goofy nerds fighting CG monsters. It’s like, ‘We don’t want the girls because the girls won’t buy toys.’ We had a whole… we had a whole, a merchandise line for Tower Prep that they s***canned before it ever got off the launching pad, because it’s like, ‘Boys, boys, boys. Boys buy the little spinny tops, they but the action figures, girls buy princesses, we’re not selling princesses.'”
Isn’t that frustrating? Because Young Justice wasn’t bringing in the money for toy sales that sponsors were expecting, they pulled funding, and without funding, producers can’t continue producing the show, so they had no choice but to end the entire thing for all the above mentioned shows, and replaced them with silly shows like Teen Titans Go and Level Up.
Even though Young Justice had pretty good ratings and a diverse audience, eventually got its own video game, and had a lot of fans supporting the show in different ways, it wasn’t enough to actually keep it on the air.
For three years fans had an outcry that Young Justice should return and began doing everything they could to get it back.
Eventually, Netflix picked up Young Justice and began streaming the first two seasons across their service. Rumors began to circulate that if fans bought more toys and watched the episodes on Netflix that sponsors and producers would see that the show was still a hit and bringing in money, and maybe, just maybe it would return. The rumors grew, fans asked the original team if they had the chance would they come back for another season, and most of them said yes, and then the unthinkable happened…
DC Comics, Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman all sent out a series of tweets yesterday evening confirming that the rumors were true and they were back on board to start production of a Young Justice Season 3. They even created a new graphic image to promote the new season.
— DC (@DCComics) November 8, 2016
— Greg Weisman (@Greg_Weisman) November 7, 2016
You asked for it. You got it!
— Brandon Vietti (@BrandonVietti) November 7, 2016
Although production for Young Justice season 3 has already begun, there is no word yet for which network the show will be airing on or how long we will have to wait to actually see season 3, but there are many speculations and rumors that suggest it will stay on Netflix since season one and two has already made a nice cozy home there. Or for all we know it could return back to Cartoon Network (which I’m personally hoping doesn’t happen).
Since the DC-CW now has a nice little thing going on for their live action shows, there is a chance we could see a return to Saturday morning cartoons, or perhaps have the show stream across the CW seed, similar to how Vixen had her own little animated thing going on.
At the moment there are quite a few options to get the show out there, but we have no confirmation for what they are planning. I’m hoping that since the network and producers see that Young Justice isn’t just a kids show and that there are also adults watching it as well, that they will keep it running on Netflix and ratings alone will be enough to keep the show on the air with a variety of sponsors backing them for money.
For now we can only speculate about their plans since the news is still pretty fresh and rather limited, so stay tuned for more information about air dates, which network the show will end up on, and what the third season storyline will be about.