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Young Justice: Outsiders

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RocksCanFly writes...

Hi, Greg! There's been a lot of confusion about something you guys showed at the SDCC panel on July 21st. Is the black man pictured with Artemis, Dick, and Conner supposed to be Kaldur or Black Lightning? I ask this because we all kinda assumed it was Kaldur despite the change in appearance, but comicbook.com is claiming that 'an artist on the show' told them after the panel that its Black Lightning.

I hope this doesn't count as a spoiler request--based on the fact that the identities of the other three was really clear, I figured any confusion about Mystery Man's ID wasn't actually intentional. Thank you!

Greg responds...

It was never supposed to be confusing. No one ASKED us at the panel. Anyway, by now I'm sure you know it was Black Lightning. After all, Kaldur's a blond.

Response recorded on January 24, 2019

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THE SMARTEST MAN IN THE ROOM

The following needs saying, so I'm taking time out from my very packed weekend - not to procrastinate, which would not be unusual - but to write up something that I think is important.

But first, some backstory...

I'm not particularly smart about very many things. I am in many ways a bear of very little brain. Ask anyone. I use an iPhone 4.0 because I literally believe that I don't have the brain space to deal with upgrading. I'm a slow reader. My dyslexia makes math difficult as I am constantly transposing numbers. I'm afraid of change. Etc., etc., etc.

But one thing - maybe the ONLY thing - I am smart about is STORY. Now, I've studied story for decades and decades in small ways and large. I also believe I have an innate gift for story. Like a great pianist, the gift itself would have been wasted without years of study and practice. I've had and done both.

What that means is that - when it comes to story - I have often (not always, but quite often) considered myself - with no modesty and tremendous arrogance - to be the smartest person in the room. In any room where this is a topic of conversation, but especially in any room where story was being professionally discussed. (You can see why - with an attitude like that - I'm so popular with animation executives and the like, and why I've been fired from so many jobs.)

Even on the many, many occasions when I have felt that I am among peers who understand story as well as I do, I never felt like they understood it better than I. As good, yes. Differently, sure. Stylistically, of course. But not better. I never felt anyone knew story better.

Oh, I've made mistakes, missed opportunities, slipped up, ad nauseam. I'm human and have never claimed perfection. I've collaborated with some brilliant and wonderful people. The list is nearly endless. But none of that ever shook my basic feeling that when it came to story, I was as smart or smarter than anyone in the room.

All that changed with YOUNG JUSTICE.

So let me state it for the record: when it comes to story, BRANDON VIETTI is the Smartest Human Being in the Room.

I'd love to tell you - BELIEVE ME, I'd love to tell you - that he learned all this at my ancient knee, and that if the student has surpassed the master, the master can at least take some satisfaction in that. But that, dear readers, would simply be a load of crap.

From Day One of YJ, as witness Kevin Hopps could attest, Brandon Vietti knew story, understood it deep, the way I do. And he was smarter about it than I.

The ultimate example of this dropped this past Friday.

Episode 307 of Young Justice: Outsiders, entitled "Evolution."

SPOILERS coming, so if you haven't seen the episode then please go watch it first before reading any further.

Like all YJ episodes this season, Brandon and I broke this story together. A pretty even 50-50 collaboration. There were certain things I wanted specifically to see, like the Cave Bear. Certain things I had researched such as that in (actual documented non-DC Comics) mythology, Nabu was the son of Marduk. And there were certain things that BV wanted in there, like the meta-human kid that Kalibak sacrifices. Certain things he had researched like The Art of War by Sun Tzu (a.k.a. Vandal Savage, a.k.a. Genghis Khan, a.k.a. Marduk, a.k.a. etc.)

And together, we created a pretty kick-ass story for the episode. I don't actually remember the day of the week, but for the sake of simplifying the story, let's say we finished breaking/building the story with index cards all neatly pushpinned into my office bulletin board on a Monday. Monday evening. We both felt pretty good about it, or at least I did, and we left for the day.

Tuesday morning, he comes in and says, "Something's missing."

I tell him he's crazy. There's nothing missing from 307. Nothing. It's a great damn episode. Maybe one of our best.

BV says no. Something's missing.

I say, "What? What's missing?!"

BV says, "I don't know yet. Something. Give me a day."

I roll my eyes in as pronounced a fashion as I possibly can and say, fine.

Wednesday morning he comes in and says, "I want to add a character."

I'm resistant. "It'll mess up the works, I tell him."

But he explains, and of course, he's right. Because Brandon Vietti is the Smartest Person in the Room.

The character he wants to add is Olympia. Olympia Savage. (I take credit for the first name only.) That's right. In our first version of this story, Olympia simply did not exist.

Try to picture "Evolution" without Olympia. Be honest. It's still a solid story. A few of the actual things Olympia does, we had Cassandra doing. But otherwise the plot remains almost completely unchanged.

But not the ending.

With Olympia in the story, the episode isn't merely a solid YJ episode. It's not merely a great YJ episode. To my mind, "Evolution" transcends YJ. It is a phenomenal, even revolutionary twenty-plus minutes of television.

And I tried to talk the guy out of it.

Of course, BV's contributions don't end there. He wrote the script, too, which is fantastic. And if you knew how much he contributed to every facet of production it would humble you. It humbles me, and as you can see above, I'm NOT a humble guy.

But screw all that. I'm not talking about pretty pictures, or color, or sound, or music or even dialogue.

This post is ONLY about STORY. And when it comes to STORY... BRANDON VIETTI will always be the SMARTEST HUMAN BEING IN THE ROOM.

I bow to his greatness. And trust me, I do not do that lightly.

To be honest, he's so good, it's pretty damn annoying.

But it's an honor to be his partner.


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Marvelman writes...

Hi, Greg. Warner Bros. have given us a 2018 premiere date for Young Justice: Outsiders. However, as I'm sure you remember, there were some production delays on season one, and sometimes long intervals between new episodes because sh*t happens. Is it possible that the series may be pushed back to 2019?

Greg responds...

Very. But the first three episodes dropped in VERY early 2019, i.e. January 4th. And the next three drop this week, i.e. January 11th, 2019.

Response recorded on January 09, 2019

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Marvelman writes...

At what point will Outsider be considered to be in-production? The writing is considered to be pre-production, right? I know you are now recording the voices. Is that part of the production phase?

Greg responds...

It depends how you're defining your terms. Broadly speaking, Young Justice: Outsiders is in production and has been for over a year.

But if you're going to divide the broad term "Producton" into it's three main components, i.e. Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production, then:

Writing, voice recording, storyboard, design, direction are all elements of pre-production, and are all done here in Burbank.

Overseas animation is the actual production, done in Seoul, South Korea.

Editing, retakes, music, sound effects, visual effects, foley, sound mixing and on-lining are all elements of Post, which is also done here in Burbank.

Young Justice: Outsiders is very deep into Pre-Production, and pretty darn deep into Production, and beyond the shallow end in Post-Production, as well.

In any case, we're still right on schedule.

Response recorded on April 16, 2018

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Peter writes...

Hey! Young Justice is my life. As of the time I'm sending this, Pride Month is almost over. I read over lots of the asks and replies you get on here and a fair amount are about something LGBT related, whether its about something thats akin to Fanfiction or borderline homophobic. I'm sure you might have come to dread those types of questions, but mines is a bit different.

I don't want you to think that I'm requesting this, i guess at the end of the day i am, but i mean so in the most respectful way possible. Please... If there's ever a time when you might include LGBT content or anything like it in YJ, please don't let it be queerbaiting. Its such a horrible thing to do to us. I don't think I'd be able to handle it from my favorite show. I don't think you'd ever let that happen, and i don't even think we'd get LGBT relationships in the show, but i just had to say it. For myself, just in case.

Greg responds...

I had to look up queerbaiting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queerbaiting

Some of the examples given on the wikipedia page seem unfair to me. (Though I'm happy to grant that as a straight male, I'm coming at this from a very different point of view.) For example, calling Holmes and Watson queerbaiting actually seems outrageous to me. Creators need to be able to present two male or two female best friends in a close but non-sexual relationship without being accused of trying to "bait" anyone.

I'm not going to address anything related to YJ, since that would involve spoilers, but I will bring up some Gargoyles stuff, as an example.

In our minds, Lexington is gay. But in those mid-nineties days when the series was originally on the air, there was absolutely no way Disney would let us objectively show this. Nevertheless, we strove to write the character to be consistent with his orientation. We thought we were doing the best possible alternative. So were we queerbaiting? And what would the alternative have been? Not depicting any LGBTQ characters at all?

I, personally, don't have the clout to make (successful) ultimatums to my employers. I could, of course, have insisted on being allowed to show Lexington kiss a guy. But if I had insisted that it's the kiss or I walk, Disney would have shrugged and waved goodbye to me. And my replacement would likely - if only to reassure his or her bosses - have made Lex objectively STRAIGHT. Is that better for anyone?

This kind of thing is simply a reality of the industry. It is getting better. There are plenty of series we can point to that demonstrate that. And I like to think I'm trying to help make things better still. But I'm going to - for my own mental health - reject the notion of queerbaiting almost entirely.

Maybe I'm not yet 'woke' enough. That's certainly possible. But I'm going to consistently push to depict what I can, to suggest what I cannot and to not for one second shy away from depicting two same sex characters having a close but platonic relationship, because (for example) one or both might be heterosexual. Because I write characters. I don't write agendas-masquerading-as-characters. I have agendas, but I don't write characters who are nothing but. I try to keep my characters consistent and true to themselves. But I'm not baiting anyone. And I'm certainly not trying to trick anyone with this sort of thing. Quite the reverse. I'm simply trying to do the best I can under occasionally hostile conditions.

Sorry if that's disappointing. But it's the best 2018 Greg Weisman can give you.

Response recorded on April 11, 2018

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Greg Jr writes...

What is a normal day working on YJ3 like?
from morning to evening (Details please)

Greg responds...

There's really no such thing as a "normal" day. There are tons of (I suppose) normal tasks that need getting done, but it's not like I consistently write in the morning, record voices over lunch and review animatics in the afternoon on a daily basis.

If you're asking what ALL needs to get done, well, there's a TON that needs to get done. Keep in mind that we're on a sliding schedule, where multiple episodes are being worked on in various stages, all at one time.

So, for example, TODAY, as I write this, I had a meeting first thing in the morning to look at color backgrounds for episode 317. This was followed by Brandon and I reviewing the storyboard for episode 323. We were interrupted, so Brandon could give notes on an animation test for 310. Next we're going over to the WB Ranch to meet with our bosses (something we do every other Thursday), then we'll come back and try to finish reviewing the 323 storyboard.

Contrast that with yesterday and tomorrow...

Yesterday, Brandon and I spent most of the day locking the animatic for episode 320. But in the middle of the day, we spent about an hour on the first pass picture edit of episode 307. We got through less than half of the episode.

Tomorrow, which could change, we're scheduled to review Ink & Paint on episode 316, then finish editing 307. I have lunch plans with a young writer. Then Brandon and I come back and call retakes on 307. Then we'll give storyboard notes on 323 to the episode's director.

At the moment we have exactly ZERO episodes in the can, i.e. completely finished and ready for air. ZERO.

All the writing is done, however, and nearly all the recording. (We have three straggler actors we need to pick up who were out of town when we last recorded the cast.) About eleven episodes are still in some stage of preproduction, and seven are in post-production. The remaining (middle) eight are in the process of being animated in Seoul.

Hope that more or less answers your question.

Response recorded on April 05, 2018

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ClarkeC writes...

Hey Greg, i have a question which hopefully won't be misconstrued as a spoiler request. You mention way back when that Cartoon Network wasn't ready to display openly LGBT characters in cartoons. However with Legend of Korra and later Star vs. the forces of Evil, Gravity Falls, Steven Universe and whatnot being more open with LGBT elements in series with a young demographic:
1. Do you think that Cartoon Network would be more open to having openly LGBT characters on Young Justice.
2. And in your opinion will cartoons in general start displaying more LGBT characters/themes?
Thanks in advance..

Greg responds...

1. I honestly don't know. It's kind of a moot point vis-a-vis Young Justice, as season three won't be on Cartoon Network.

2. I think so. I hope so.

Response recorded on March 16, 2018

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Wally West writes...

Hey Greg.
Just wanted everyone to know that it's the 20th June 2017 right now as I'm writing this, and even tho the final episode of Invasion came out back in 2013, technically the date of the final episode was set on 20th June 2016. We all know what happened one year ago today.
Thanks for bringing back my favourite show Greg, I hope you enjoy working on it as much as I enjoyed watching it. Thanks
#WeDidIt

Greg responds...

I do.

Response recorded on March 08, 2018

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A+WW President writes...

The A+WW club would like you to read the following and please note you do not have to respond but a responce will be welcomed if brought forth: My name is Mikk president of the A+WW club. This is a club devoted to Artemis's and Wally's love life together. My girls have voted to write this to you and to keep Wally and Artemis together. My girls are from more than ten different schools and different grades. All we're asking is that you keep Wally and Artemis together. Please email the responce to walrussavestheday@gmail.com and follow us on twitter @ParisisAandW. Thank you for reading.

The A+WW club thanks you,
MIkk

Greg responds...

I don't respond by email to Ask Greg questions or requests. If I started doing it for one person, I'd have to do it for everyone - and I'd soon be overwhelmed.

Beyond that, I didn't see a question. So I'm not sure how to answer.

Response recorded on December 14, 2017

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Kim Lee writes...

Did you always planed to name young justice season 3 as Outsiders?

Greg responds...

Always? I guess not. When we started, we didn't even know that subsequent seasons would have subtitles like Invasion and Outsiders.

Response recorded on November 15, 2017


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