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Greg's Latest Responses


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Anonymous writes...

Season 1 had a lot of elements from the young justice comics like being set in happy harbor, secret, harm, world without grown ups, and red tornado. the subsequent seasons haven’t had as much, why is that?

Greg responds...

I think we were very focused on bringing in elements from the 90s YJ comics in that season. But even then, we were doing a mash-up of different eras and different characters, while creating our Earth-16. Since then, we're just moving the characters forward. I could argue, I suppose that our adding Robin (Tim Drake) and Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) in Season Two, shows that nothing has really changed. It's always a matter of degree. But we did and do have more influences than just that run of comics. We're not adapting 90s YJ alone. We're adapting the entire DC Universe.

Or trying to, anyway.

Response recorded on June 21, 2022

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Anonymous writes...

Greg, are you aware that you can have a Muslim character without making their entire identity about being Muslim? You realize we’re regular people, right? Most of us aren’t religious zealots. We don’t think about being Muslim 24/7. It’s just part of our identity. You don’t really need to mention it, just like you have never mentioned the religion of any of the main white characters. Or is it more that you feel the need to remind the audience that you’re so inclusive for including Muslims? Whatever it is, you need to stop. This is clearly a blind spot of yours. And don’t reply that some org you’re working with says you’re fine - they don’t speak for all of us and you can’t hide behind that to dismiss criticism.

Greg responds...

I'm not hiding behind anyone. But I also feel just fine saying that an organization like MPAC likes what we're doing and encouraged same. As did the Muslim writer who wrote the episode and the Muslim actor who performed the role. My point is - and always has been - simply this: JUST BECAUSE YOU PERSONALLY THINK SOMETHING DOESN'T WORK, DOESN'T MEAN THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY AGREES WITH YOU. PERIOD. You don't get to decide for all Muslims what does or doesn't play. I had plenty of Muslim fans thrilled over our depiction of Khalid. Doesn't mean you have to be, but stop trying to tell me that you personally represent an entire religion, when I have a list of people who are also of that faith disagreeing with you.

And, yes, of course, Muslims are regular people. Just like Khalid, for example, who didn't talk about his Muslim identity at all in five out of the six episodes he appeared in this season. So he did talk about it in one episode. One episode that happened to specifically be about a crisis in faith. That doesn't make him a zealot, as you so kindly labeled him. His faith is part of his identity, just as Zatara's Catholic faith is part of his - putting the lie to the notion that we've never addressed the faith of any "white" characters. (Or do you think Zatara is a zealot, as well? Or does he not count because he's not YOUNG?)

In any case, Khalid's faith matters to him. And we're just fine depicting that. For some characters, their faith (whatever it may be) is a big part of their lives. For others, it isn't. That's the way the world works. Why wouldn't our show reflect the world?

Take the excellent ABC sitcom Abbott Elementary, for example, where the character played by Sheryl Lee Ralph (our Amanda Waller) is constantly expressing her faith and her belief in God, even though none of the other characters do. (At least not that I've seen so far.) This is life.

The funny thing is, I had other Muslim viewers tell me I couldn't hide behind MPAC to justify Khalid being a practicing sorcerer. To which my answer was much the same.

And on the other hand, I had some fan write me asking why I had gone into depth on the faith of a Muslim and a Christian and hadn't done the same for a Jew. If I did a Jew next season, I'd have someone else ask me why I hadn't done X religion or Y.

So, yes, for these reasons, I am dismissing your criticism. Not because I'm "hiding" or "blind" but because it is LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE for me to please everyone. So whom should I listen to? One "Anonymous" fan? Or an organization of human beings who are standing up to see that their people are treated well in Hollywood media. What makes you an expert over them? Why would I do what you want? So that I can "hide" behind you instead?

Basically, Brandon and I go with our gut while following the advise of people who work hard to see representation flourish in this industry, which in and of itself we see as important and necessary and as better storytelling. This isn't new territory for me either. I've been doing this kind of thing since Gargoyles.

There's no blind spot. I'm doing this on purpose. And I like it.

Response recorded on June 21, 2022

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Anonymous writes...

Is Giovanni Zatara homo magi?

Greg responds...

Yep.

Response recorded on June 21, 2022

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Anonymous writes...

Mr. Weisman,

In the Season One finale of Young Justice, Black Canary regained consciousness while the Team was talking about how the Starro-tech infected the Justice League. But then, by the time she returned to the Watchtower, she was already cured. How did the Team prevent her from attacking them until they were finally able to cure her?

Greg responds...

I guess Klarion must have been distracted.

Response recorded on June 21, 2022

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Mohamed writes...

Hey, Greg.

Why did you stop casting child actors for the roles of child characters in Young Justice?

Greg responds...

We haven't stopped. Amistad, for example, was played by a child actor. We're just admittedly inconsistent about it, for a variety of factors. Usually, the reason is budgetary. If a child character only has a couple lines, and we think we have someone from the existing cast - in that specific episode - who can cover those lines, we may elect to save some money, so that we can spend it later on another actor. And then once we've cast someone, we rarely recast, unless (a) we have to because the original actor is unavailable or (b) the character has aged so much that the original actor is no longer appropriate.

Response recorded on June 21, 2022

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gen_knight lady writes...

when mary took the power of Khalid and Traci in “Og Htrof Dna Reuqnoc!” I got Phobos vibe from her because he did the same thing to Taranee and Cornelia in "v is for victory". Was that intentional? a hint that mary might fall to the dark side? or maybe to show us that she is still obsessed with power?

Greg responds...

Seems likely. Especially now.

Response recorded on June 17, 2022

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Impulse1111 writes...

Young Justice seems to have a lot to do with time travel the last few episodes, I’m loving it. One thing I am wondering is Bart Allen, with time travel being such a big part of his season two character why is he not involved at all it seems?

Greg responds...

Not involved at all, huh?

<sigh>

Well, by now, you know he got very involved. Next time, maybe... patience?

Response recorded on June 17, 2022

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Anonymous writes...

In which year did the Zatara's flashbacks take place?
What mechanical monsters did Superman vanquish in those flashbacks?

Greg responds...

1. Zatara's flashbacks in episode 412 of Young Justice: Phantoms (which, I assume, is what you're referring to) ran from 1998-2009.

2. Dangerous ones.

Response recorded on June 17, 2022

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ShySky writes...

Hello! Would you do a video interview for my Youtube channel Digital Bloodlines regarding season 2 of W.I.T.C.H? We already did an interview with Andrew Nichols from season 1. We have contact information on both Facebook and Youtube at Digital Bloodlines.

Greg responds...

I don't even know how to look this up. I'm not on Facebook. I know I have two Facebook pages, but I lost access to them years ago, and I never really grokked that service, so I just let it go.

I do visit YouTube on occasion, to watch a video. But I don't know how to contact anyone there.

Response recorded on June 16, 2022

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Anonymous writes...

Mr. Weisman,

So, if I understand this correctly, Kalrion went back in time to 2010, and then he took control of the school bus and put the bus and the kids through all kinds of hell since then. Also, were any missing reports put in on those people? Surely, someone must have seen the bus and its occupants disappear on that day and missing reports must have been filed to the police, right?

Greg responds...

There was hardly time to file any missing persons reports. They disappeared and then reappeared seconds later.

Response recorded on June 16, 2022

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Aprotny writes...

Hi Greg! I wanted to start by saying how much I’m loving the season so far. I liked Seasons 2 and 3 less than Season 1 and have said multiple times since the season aired that season 4 is on par with Season 1 quality! So thank you.
Here are my questions:
1a&b) When did the idea of the bus first come up and who came up with it?
1c) Was the bus planned as a plot point since it’s first appearances in Season 1, or did that thought come up later?
2) When will you have a release date for Part 2 of Season 4?
3) I don’t have a three because any other questions I can think of will be answered with “no spoilers”
Warm Regards and Eagerly Awaiting Next Week’s Mid-Season Finale
Aprotny

Greg responds...

1a. Back in Season One.

1b. I don't remember. Me or Brandon Vietti or Kevin Hopps or Nicole Dubuc, most likely.

2. Months ago, now.

3. Appreciate the restraint.

Response recorded on June 16, 2022

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Anonymous writes...

1. How old is Charlie Dagget?
2. When was Sindella born?
3. How old is Johnny Drew?
4. How old is Penny Randall?

Greg responds...

1. Charlie Daggett was born in 1984.

2. Sindella was born in 1975.

3. Johnny Drew was born in 1997.

4. Penny Randall was born in 1998.

Response recorded on June 16, 2022

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Ben writes...

Hi there Greg
I kind of feel like in this current arc the focus isn't that much on Zatanna herself compared to how in the Artemis arc we got to really understand her emotions and mindset, so I just wanted to ask what was the reason for that? I could be wrong but this is just my point of view

Thank you for reading.

Greg responds...

This arc was set up as more of a mystery. But I think by the time you finish the final episode of the arc - which by now I assume you have - it should all be pretty clear, and Zatanna's mindset and emotions should, in essence, get as much of a reveal as Tigress' did, in the previous arc.

Response recorded on June 15, 2022

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Anonymous writes...

Hi Greg :)

I really loved episode 12 of YJP! It`s my favourite episode thus far :D

I have a few questions regarding this episode.

1. What type of cancer did Sindella have?
2. In which year did Sindella die?
3. In which year did Giovanni marry Sindella?

Thank you for taking your time :)

Greg responds...

1. I don't know. (I realize I should know this. But I don't.)

2. 2008.

3. 1995.

Response recorded on June 15, 2022

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Steve Hockensmith writes...

If Dan Garrett died in 2005, and Ted Kord became the new Blue Beetle around November 2011, why did it take so long for him to do so?

Greg responds...

Discovering that he wasn't just going to get magic powers from the scarab to make him an instant super-hero, meant that Ted had to spend years training and developing the equipment he would use as the second Blue Beetle.

Response recorded on June 15, 2022

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Matt Itelson writes...

How old was Roy (Arsenal) when his parents died?

Greg responds...

No spoilers.

Response recorded on June 15, 2022

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Verdragon writes...

Since you've written for the character before, what are your thoughts on the MCU version of Spiderman, and what do you think makes a good Spiderman adaptation as a whole?

Greg responds...

Generally speaking, I like the MCU Spider-Man. There's a lot to like. I like his youth and inexperience. I like his good intentions, not always backed up by his relatively inexperienced actions. I may have quibbles here and there, but they're relatively minor.

What "makes a good Spiderman adaptation as a whole?" Well, for starters, you definitely need a hyphen. It's Spider-Man, not Spiderman.

Beyond that, I think I've answered this question in great detail - over two seasons and twenty-six episodes: it's called THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. That's my version of the best way to adapt the character. I'll let it speak for itself.

Response recorded on June 15, 2022

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Verdragon writes...

So since Zatara seems to be a practicing Catholic (or as much of a practicing Catholic he can be considering his body's being possessed by an ancient Sumerian dude unlikely to be interested in going to Mass) would you have tried to sprinkle in more indications of his faith in earlier seasons were you not constrained by Cartoon Network censors? Also, as a side note, I don't mind the references to religion in "Teg Ydaer!", and I found both the scene of Khalid confronting the illusions of his parents and especially Zatara reciting the Lord's Prayer incredibly good.

Greg responds...

Thanks!

As for your question, I know we knew he was Catholic back then - and he sent Zatanna to a Catholic school - but I don't think it even occurred to us to go into much detail about it. I mean, it's hard to give much thought to something you absolutely know won't fly. So it's hard to say, hypothetically, what we would or would not have done. But I'm happy with how it all played out across the seasons.

Response recorded on June 15, 2022

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Anonymous writes...

1 Was Jason blood already familiar with phantom stranger before they met in 4x10
2 Same question with etrigan
3 Do the other heroes know about Jason blood and etrigan
4 Did Jason blood already know about the existance of the chaos lords
5 same question as 4 with etrigan

Greg responds...

1. Yes.

2. Was Jason Blood already familiar with Etrigan? Uh, yeah.

3. Some do. Some don't.

4. Sure.

5. I guess.

Response recorded on June 15, 2022

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Paul writes...

I have just used the search function to check whether my first question has been asked and it looks as though a similar question was asked last week, but I want to expand upon that person's question.

1) So, another person has asked you whether Mary Bromfield is Billy Batson's sister in YJ (for, I think, the first time since "Teg Ydaer!" aired). Since there was a comic book reboot which negated their blood ties and made them foster siblings, I don't think that asking whether they're siblings gets to the heart of the matter, so I would like to be more specific, please: are Billy and Mary related by blood in Young Justice, or are they foster siblings? The Billy illusion in "Teg Ygaer!" refers to Mary as "sis" but I think that this has confused some people, as some have taken it as a sign that they are related by blood, whereas others think that it's a nod to them having been foster siblings instead. However, going back to the season 1 episodes "Alpha Male" and "Misplaced", Billy appeared to be living with Uncle Dudley and there didn't seem to be anyone else there, otherwise he would have turned to them when Dudley disappeared in the latter episode. So I think that Billy and Mary are NOT foster siblings, but rather are blood relations who were separated at birth (as in the early comics), and I wonder if you could confirm this, please.

2) Following on from the last question... if Billy and Mary are related by blood and you've confirmed this in your answer to question 1, then: are Billy and Mary twins? I ask because you've previously confirmed that they were born in the same year, and there is the matter of the fact that they were twins in the early comics. In YJ, one might still be older than the other by say 9-11 months (just because they were born in the same year, that doesn't mean they ARE twins for sure), but maybe you could weigh in on this, please.

3) And now, since the "sis" line in "Teg Ydaer!" has generated this discussion, I would like to also ask you about the "sister" comments in "Elder Wisdom", please. In that episode, Wonder Woman and Troia referred to one another as "sister". Halo also referred to Troia as Diana's sister and this wasn't refuted (though to be fair, this was in the midst of a fight, so of course Diana wouldn't immediately respond anyway). Are Diana and Troia blood relations? I know that Troia/Donna Troy has a complex comic book history, and so we could be dealing with a number of different possibilities here in terms of her origin, but I'm not asking about the bigger picture of the origin story itself. I would just like to know whether Troia is Diana's actual sister, or a sister in "spirit" (as I suppose all Amazons would be to Diana). The fact that you previously confirmed that Troia is a princess of Themiscyra would seem to confirm that Troia is Diana's blood relation. But then again, Troia could be adopted, so... I wonder if you could chime in on this, please. (It's confusing!)

4. Another Troia question: was her design in season 3 based on the look that Diana had in the 2017 Wonder Woman film, when she was living on Themiscyra? I thought that Diana's "in training" look in the live-action film looked very similar to Troia's U.N. Ambassador design.

Greg responds...

1. I'm not big on confirming things we haven't yet revealed in the series, as you may know. However, I'm pretty sure I revealed this years ago, during the long hiatus, so, to be clear: Billy Batson and Mary Bromfield are NOT foster siblings on Earth-16. That notion, from more recent Shazam comics, didn't exist back in Season One, so we didn't build for it. (That's not meant as some type of commentary on the idea. We just developed the characters based on the older concept.) They are twins, however, and - as you noted - were separated at birth, only discovering later that their genetic conection.

2. They're twins. Though of course one is older than the other. I haven't done the math, but I tend to guess that one is sixteen minutes older than the other. I just don't, as yet, know which one.

3. Since I haven't revealed this, I'm not going to now. No spoilers.

4. I don't know, honestly. Or at least, I don't remember. It's really a question for Phil Bourassa.

Response recorded on June 15, 2022

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Drake Wilms writes...

In the episode, "Auld Acquaintance," Vandal Savage says that nothing troubled him more than the formation of Justice League, whom he saw as a major threat to his plans. How come Vandal didn't view the formation of the Justice Society or All-Star Squadron as a threat to his plans? What made the League different than the Society?

Greg responds...

I know I've answered this before. But in brief, the fact that the Justice Society OF AMERICA and the All-Star Squadron were both U.S. organizations, as opposed to the League, which is theoretically an international global organization, made Vandal think that he was just dealing with another nationalistic cadre. The fact that they were fighting in a war against Germany and Japan, just seemed like business as usual. The League's desire to champion everyone was something else again.

Response recorded on June 13, 2022

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Anonymous writes...

Mr. Weisman,

Why does Earth-16's Stargirl have a mole on her face?

Greg responds...

Why does anyone?

Response recorded on June 13, 2022

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Sean Armson writes...

Greetings,

I have been a fan of Young Justice since it originally came out. I am also a big fan of small details within a universe as well as finding out as much about a universe as possible. As a result, the time jumps between seasons and the lack of information about events which transpired between seasons can be a bit annoying (although I can understand why they were added). The question I was wanting to ask is, will you ever consider returning to those 'missing' years (not including flashbacks in future episodes)?

Regards,
Sean Armson

Greg responds...

NOT including flashbacks? So you mean doing an entire season set back then? Probably not. But I would like to tell more stories from that era, one way or another. We're doing some of that in the back-up stories inside Young Justice: Targets.

Response recorded on June 13, 2022

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Anon writes...

In response to another user you once said you had "very specific ideas for our version of the Wonder Twins , Zan & Jayna, for Season Three."

1. What ultimately led to their exclusion altogether?

2. Were there other significant changes to the S3 plans between 2013 and 2016? I'm just curious how a S3 on CN in 2013 would have looked like (aside from the obvious).

Greg responds...

1. That plot line got pushed back. This happens often. Certain things MUST happen to fit in with our timeline. Other stories could begin, well, whenever we have room for them. We still have our ideas and plans for the Twins, but they'll have to wait for now. When I said we had ideas for them to Season Three, I was speaking loosely. I should've said something more like, "for down the road..."

2. Again, there were no significant changes to our overall master plan for each season. But certain subplots that we thought might fit didn't. This happens every season. We thought we'd have room for a Red Tornado subplot in Season Two, which would introduce Traya. We didn't. We still haven't. Though we've introduced her anyway. But I still want to tell that story someday, and get back to Reddy's story. I don't recall off the top of my head which plot lines we briefly thought might fit into S3 but didn't. But I've still got a ton of ideas on a ton of index cards.

Response recorded on June 13, 2022

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Anonymous writes...

Mr. Weisman,

Starting with Season 3 of Young Justice, you decided to have the first letters of each episode spell out a hidden message; which I find very interesting because I am trying to figure out what Season 4's message is. Do you regret not coming with this idea much sooner when you first started this series?

Greg responds...

Maybe a little. But only a little.

Response recorded on June 13, 2022

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Guest Ramble

I'm attaching a ramble J. Michael Straczynski posted back in 1995 on usenet in response to a very negative reaction to even a hint at a same-sex tryst on an episode of "Babylon 5". The point of Greg Weisman posting this is not to get into a discussion of religion or LGBTQ+ issues. Or even to get into a discussion of "tolerance," which was a big buzzword in the 90s, but which, as I've stated before in many ways, I find insufficient. The point of me posting this is to show that just because SOME FANS don't like something doesn't mean EVERY FAN feels the same way. And so, be careful what you wish for, right? Because if people start telling creators what they can and can't put into their shows, you may not like what ELSE they remove.

See, here's where I start to have a problem. For starters, I don't do any thing to be politically correct, or politically incorrect, I do what I do in any story because that's what the story points me toward. Anybody who says "It's not necessary" isn't entitled to that judgement, frankly; you don't know what's necessary to the story. And by framing it in the "is this NECESSARY?" way is designed to make you defend your position when such defense isn't the point; is it NECESSARY to have humor? to have a romance? to have correct science? No, *nothing* is NECESSARY. It's what the writer feels is right for that scene, that story, that character.
"Oh, well, I saw it, but was all that violence NECESSARY?" This is, frankly, a BS observation usually offered by someone with an agenda, who wishes to invalidate the notion of an artistic view and impose some kind of quota, or objective criterion to what is and isn't necessary for a movie or film. As far as I'm concerned, the first person to throw this into a discussion has, frankly, just lost the argument.

Point the second: one of the most consistent comments I get, in email and regular mail, is the spirituality conveyed in the show, that we have shown, and will continue to show, tolerance toward religion, even created sympathetic religious characters. "Thank you for your tolerance," they say...until we show somebody or some action THEY don't like...and at that point suddenly it's a lot of tsk-tsking and chest thumping and disapproval; so okay, how about I just stop all positive religious aspects of the show?

It seems to me, that if I do *all that* with religion, and with thje (the) simple act of showing maybe ONE PERSON in all the long history of TV science fiction across 40 years has a different view of life, that the show is somehow degraded, or downgraded, or dropped in opinion...this simply reinforces the notion, held by many, that a lot of folks in the religious right wish to make sure no other perspective or lifestyle is ever shown on television, at any time, unless in a negative fashion.

The thing of it is, while on the one hand I'm getting praise from religious folks for addressing spirituality in my series (speaking here as an atheist), I've gotten flack from others who think it has no place in a SCIENCE fiction series, and why the hell am I putting something in that goes right against my own beliefs? "Because," I tell them, "this show is not about reflecting my beliefs, or yours, or somebody else's, it's about telling this story, about these people, with as much honesty and integrity as I can summon up. That means conceding the fact that religious people are going to be around 260 years from now." Well, fact is, all kinds of people are going to be around 260 years from now. And what did the anti-religion folks say specifically about including spirituality in my series? "It's not *necessary*," they said.

Translation: they didn't like it. Well, tough. It was right for this story, and this show. And it seems to me rather hypocritical for some folks, who applaud the show for tolerance, for my standing up to those who want to exclude religion from TV, to then turn around and say the show is diminished because it showed that same tolerance...to another group or perspective. I guess tolerance is only okay as long as it's pointed one way.

You say that as a christian, you think any sex except that between a husband and a wife to be wrong. Well, as I recall, the bible also speaks against murder. We've depicted deaths by the hundreds of thousands. (And we're talking here about the *depicting* of the act, simply showing it, not the value judgements made after the fact.) Why does the one (which is so barely hinted at as to be almost invisible) cause the show to be diminished where the other does not?

My job is not to reinforce your personal political, social or religious beliefs. My job is not to reinforce MY personal political, social or religious beliefs. Then it isn't art or storytelling anymore, it's simply propaganda. My job is to tell this story, about these people, AS people, as mixed and varied as they are today. And there is no outside objective criteria as to what is, or isn't *necessary* in a story; that is the sole province of the author. You may or may not like it. You may or may not choose to watch it. Just as people who don't like to see religion and god discussed on TV may dislike it or choose not to watch it.

But you'll excuse me if I see complaints about this one little thing from the religious side, after all I've done to present religious characters and the religious life in a positive fashion, to be hypocritical and frankly somewhat ungrateful. It's as though all this means nothing because of one thing, one outside-imposed litmus test that disregards anything and everything else that has been done.

So straight up...if I should stop tolerating or showing viewpoints that are not my own (spoken as someone who is absolutely straight), then should I now stop showing religion as well? Because that's what this comes down to. Is that what you want? Because religion is included at my discretion as well as anything else on this show. You want me to be less tolerant? Just say the word.


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Elm writes...

Has the production budget for Young Justice changed since it was on Cartoon Network? (Asking if S1, S3 and S4 have the same costs)

Greg responds...

It's basically the same. We have more money now than we had then. But things also cost more now. So overall, it's largely unchanged. We do have a higher budget for after-effects now in S4, then we did in S3, and WAY bigger than we did for S1 & S2.

Response recorded on June 08, 2022

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Matt Itelson writes...

Since Alan shook Red Tornado's hand when he was inducted into the Justice Society, was he the leader then?

Greg responds...

I'm sure they all shook his hand - well, maybe not Fate - so in and of itself, that handshake doesn't prove much.

Response recorded on June 08, 2022

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Anonymous writes...

What were the names of Billy Batson's parents?
Is Mary his sister?

Greg responds...

1. I don't currently seem to have that info. I'd research it before we named them in canon.

2. Biologically and emotionally, yes. Legally, no.

Response recorded on June 08, 2022

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Mr Fan and Mr Disappointed writes...

Hi Greg ! Hope you're fine !
I have a really important question (and some criticism) to write. To explain quickly before :
I've just watched "Teg Ydaer" and I got to say this is the episode I hated the most of the show, and by far. And I'm afraid this will happen again. I hated it against my will, believe me, but that was too much. Aside the fact that this is Zatanna's arc and that she got like 3% of the screentime so far, with absolutely NO character development, I'm deeply angered that you introduced religion in such a central matter. We had a long part of the episode dedicated to religion and talking about how great it was, giving hope to people and so on ... And to me, during that moment, that wasn't a superhero show anymore ! That was religion propaganda. What's next then ? Telling kids how great it is to join the Jehovah's Witnesses or any other religion, sect or cult because it gives hope ? To someone like me, who considers (and I speak only from my perspective, don't want to offend anybody here) religion like one of the most silliest and dangerous things ever happened in human history, that's really disgusting. Not only that, but to see my favorite show becoming something absolutely irrelevant to its subject, I felt really sick.
Like I've seen in some comments before me, that feels like positive discrimination. It feels like Khalid is here ONLY because he's a muslim.
Now, I'm not a hater, I love this show, I don't want to get in a fight about religion or belief, I'm just a fan deeply concerned, sad and disappointed with the direction that the show is taking today, and who feels betrayed more and more.

SO, to come back to my question, have you planned to develop or talk again about religion ? And do you regret having done that in such a proportion, or done it at all ?

Thanks for reading, hope I wasn't too harsh or rude ;)

Greg responds...

Hm.

No regrets. And I suppose it SHOULDN'T come as any shock to you that I'm quite proud of that episode. Very proud, actually.

I personally have tremendous distaste for organized religion - including my own, i.e. Judaism. But that doesn't change the fact that faith is a huge part of many, many, many peoples' lives. We're telling a story about people. (Not about super-heroes, by the way, which is incidental - its eye-candy - but about people. If all you want is super-hero adventure, then you are shopping at the wrong store and have been since episode one of season one.) Please don't even start to tell me that I can't tell stories about the things that concern people. Irrelevant? Give me a break.

And that's aside from the fact, that although I don't think religion should be an out of bounds topic, I don't actually think that this story was about religion. It was about faith, through the vehicle of religion. But maybe that's splitting hairs.

I do resent the notion that Khalid only exists in the story because he's Muslim. I think that's very short-sighted. Why not say he's only in this story because he's a medical student, which got equal play in this episode and more play in the two episodes that preceded it? I believe Khalid is as fully realized a character as any we've had - relative to his amount of screen time. Do you think Zatara only exists in the story because he's Catholic. (But good on you that you're not a hater.)

(I also love that you think using Jehovah's Witnesses as some kind of ultimate example of cultish religious extremism is a-okay. It's not.)

Now, I will admit that I do wish we could find more room for Atheism in the show. Even for Agnosticism. Although I am neither, I admire both more than I admire any and every organized religion. But the problem with setting your series in a world with ghosts (like Secret) and demons (like Etrigan), is that it doesn't leave much space for doubt. [Artemis knows - KNOWS - that the soul exists because she's SEEN one, and so has our audience.] That's a puzzle I'm still trying to solve. But I have no intention of solving it by pretending that religion doesn't exist and doesn't mean something significant to literally MILLIONS of people.

(And for the record, I'm a secular pagan Jew and an animist.)

As for the BITCHING about Zatanna not getting enough attention, I officially roll my eyes at you. This is without a doubt Zatanna's story from moment one to moment last. I get why it's not clear to you back in 411, but, hey, way to be patient. And if it's not clear by the end of the arc, then all I can do is shrug. Zatanna doesn't need to dominate screen time to make this her story. That notion is just silly to me. I also find it sardonically amusing that at least some fan or another has complained to me about how the headline character of a given arc is not getting enough screen time or attention... in literally ALL six of the arcs. I think Nightwing fans may have some - small - justification for these complaints. But for the others, all I can say is that you've created your own expectations about what YJ:P was supposed to deliver for your personal favorite character. Instead, Brandon and I delivered what we wanted to deliver about each character. The rule, as always, being that if we aren't passionate about the show we're creating then how can we expect anyone else to even have a shot at being passionate about what they're seeing? There is no other way for us to create.

And, no, I don't think you were too harsh or rude (though your message above did read to me as obnoxious, which isn't the same thing). But I may be bordering on all those negative qualities in my response. If so, understand that I am truly inundated with comments from "fans" telling me I've done them wrong. With fans who are "sad" or "disappointed". With fans who are trying to convince me that I don't like my own show - or that I wouldn't like it if I simply listened to them and/or thought about if for a few minutes. (Your second to last paragraph is basically doing that.) But the thing is that Brandon and I listened to a lot of people and gave TONS of thought to everything in every episode. Way, way more thought than most shows get, I know. I know. I'm not saying we're above making mistakes, but we didn't do entire episodes by accident.

Now, before you say, "Hey, if everyone's telling you that your stuff sucks, maybe it does," you should know we get WAY more praise than we get criticism. Way more. And of course, the praise is nice but washes over me, and only the criticism sticks. I honestly should ignore ALL of it, criticism and praise, but I'm not that bulletproof. It makes me sad and disappointed. And frustrated. Very, very frustrated. Even if the nay-sayers are only a small (but vocal) minority. And that must be all they are, because our numbers this season on HBO Max are stunningly good. Today, I saw numbers that indicated we have more views this year than any other animated super-hero series on ANY streaming service. (Because, yes, we still have super-heroes in YJ, despite what you believe are my best efforts!) We even beat out a couple of prestige live-action super-hero series. Thus, not everyone thinks we suck. Most clearly don't.

So all of you out there who are going to read this post and feel the need to post a criticism of me here or on twitter (while tagging me) for responding in this harsh, rude obnoxious way... stop. Please. Put yourselves in my shoes for a minute. No one's saying you have to like the show. Certainly no one is forcing you to watch it. (Seriously, I think our season four hate-watchers alone must outnumber our entire audience for season one.) But that doesn't mean you need to sling your $#!^ my way. Be kind. Kinder than I'm being, I suppose. And I'll try to be kinder, too. Thanks.

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."
--Walt Whitman

Response recorded on June 07, 2022


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