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Heath writes...

Why did you guys decide to use Wally West as one of the members of the original team on Young Justice? Was it because he was a vastly popular character in the comics (and therefore would be popular on the show)? Was it simply because he was one of the original sidekicks? Or was he just a placeholder speedster until Bart could be brought in?

I ask because it certainly seemed like the show never put as much effort and thought into his character and story that it did any of the other lead characters throughout the two seasons. You guys completely skipped over important parts of his story and never established things that were supposedly vital to the character on the show. Having to come here to find out that he was insecure about his speed relative to Barry (pretty important since he died because of that), or what Artemis might like about him, or why he wasn't helping out with the alien invasion after his confrontation with Dick during the second season isn't something that should be necessary. Which meant that both he and the stories he was a part of on the show suffered greatly. Also, you even mentioned that Wally was never a priority for the show like the other five members of the original team were.

So why use a valuable roster spot and screen-time on a character that you guys obviously weren't all that invested in? It's not like he was ever relevant to the plot aside from being Artemis' love interest, which any other character could have been, and being the character that died. The fact that he disappeared for a long stretch and was ultimately killed off during season two shows he wasn't important to the show like the others. That he was the one "main" character you guys felt the show could do without. And I got the feeling from how the show treated the character that you guys didn't care all that much about him, either.

And it's not that I didn't like Wally as I liked him well enough. Though I'm honestly not sure if I would have liked YJ's Wally if I didn't feel a pre-established connection to the character (thanks to the comics and Justice League/Unlimited) that allowed me to excuse his behavior/faults that the show never bothered explaining. I ask simply because he didn't bring much to the overall plot of the show in either season as he was just a support character (his relationships with Artemis, Dick, and Bart were portrayed as one-sided too) and the show never bothered examining the important aspects of his character and story like the others. It just seems strange to have a roster of six, and then treat five characters one way and Wally another. I mean, there was probably another character out there that you guys could have made relevant to the plot and/or been interested in exploring their character, right?

Greg responds...

Wow, I'm getting tired of this.

I've said this before, ad nauseum at this point, but I'll say it again. Wally West is my all-time favorite speedster. The fact that he was one of the original sidekicks didn't hurt. But he certainly was NOT just a placeholder for Bart. And I don't particularly care who is popular or not. Brandon and I chose him for a variety of reasons, that included powers, power-level, personality, background, history, dynamics with other characters - and, yes, nostalgia.

There definitely seems to be a vocal minority who seems to think we didn't do the character justice. (At least they're pretty darn vocal here at ASK GREG.) But they are the minority. The vast majority of our audience seems to have loved Wally, which suggests they loved how we handled him - except maybe his ceasing to exist at the end, which BROKE THEIR HEARTS. And you can't break a fan's heart if they don't care about the character in the first place. (I suppose you'll attribute that to the love of the character they brought with them TO the show. But I don't believe that's true for most of our audience, who loved Wally - and in particular, Jason Spisak's performance as Wally.)

And I've never said that Wally was any less of a priority in Season One than the others. All six of the original teammates had equal priority and near-equal screen time. (What I said was that his story was more straight-forward and required less explanation - something that was equally true about Dick and Kaldur.) And what I said about Wally relative to Season Two is that ALL the characters (in terms of screen time) were subservient to the arc of the story. So, yes, some got more priority because of the story. But that wasn't a knock on Wally. Anymore than Superboy's near total absence in the second half of the season was a knock against him.

I will say that if you didn't get some of the nuances of the character until you came here to ASK GREG, then I'm sorry. In that sense, we failed you. Some of it was revealed with more clarity in our companion comic, but I'll grant that you shouldn't have had to pick that up in order to appreciate what was going on in the show. But we took no different approach to Wally than to Dick or Kaldur or Artemis or anyone. If we failed, we failed. But please STOP trying to ascribe some odd motivation to it. You don't like it, fine. But stop trying to tell us how WE feel. It's reductive, presumptuous and insulting.

(And by the way, I don't agree that we failed. The truth of all those things you "discovered" here is IN THE EPISODES themselves. It may not be stated verbally, but I think all of it is there, spelled out in behavior, action and words between words. If we weren't on the head with it enough for you, fine. But it worked for us. We were happy with it. And again, I think most of our audience got it, even if some of our audience did not. And I'm okay with that.)

We were VERY invested in Wally, from his first appearance to his last. Sorry if it didn't work for you, but that's all it is. Us doing something that didn't work for you. Not us crapping it out. We worked very hard, and I believe overall we did justice to the character, as seems obvious by fan response to his death.

Now, can we please put this topic to rest? Those of you who feel this way have had your say, over and over. And I've responded, over and over. Neither side is going to convince each other. It's enough.

Response recorded on October 13, 2014