‘Young Justice’ Adds Three New Heroes

James Akinaka
TV Animated Series
TV Animated Series DC Comic-Con

None will call them sidekicks ever again. Young Justice will make its triumphant return next year with its third season, entitled Outsiders, on DC’s upcoming digital platform. At Comic-Con this morning, showrunners Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti and art director Phil Bourassa treated fans to their first look at the show’s next season — including a glimpse at three new characters, as well as numerous returning ones.

How does Outsiders look, you ask? One word: epic. Let’s see what season three will have in store for the show’s dedicated fans.

Season 3 Jumps Back to 26 Episodes

Young Justice: Invasion team

Perhaps the biggest news out of the Young Justice panel is that season three has returned its episode count back to 26. According to Weisman, 12 episodes have been fully written, out of which 10 have received full cast recordings. The writers haven’t started scripting the season’s final four episodes yet, but Weisman joked that they would be jumping right back into the writers’ room after the panel ended.

Season three’s increased episode count is a huge win for the show. One of the main constraints for season two, Invasion, was that the show was only given 20 episodes, which forced Weisman and Vietti to tell a tighter story than season one, which had 26. The higher episode count for season three means that the show will have more freedom to flesh out its characters.

The increased episode count isn’t the only thing giving Weisman and Vietti more freedom. Because Young Justice is moving from its ill-fated run on Cartoon Network to DC Entertainment’s upcoming digital service, it means that the Cartoon Network’s strict broadcast practices will no longer restrict the show’s direction and content. Vietti shared that the writers have a little more flex room to pursue more “adult themes and adult storylines,” which fits the show’s evolution.

Another Time Skip Confirmed

Young Justice: Invasion time skip

Before sharing some cursory details about Outsiders, the showrunners took a moment to recognize all of the cosplayers in the audience. And there were many in attendance, from characters throughout seasons one and two. Ever the tease, Weisman told the audience, “You’ll see shortly that all your costumes are out of date.” That comment came true in a huge way.

One of Young Justice‘s themes has been the passage of time and the evolution of its characters, with the most visible example being the five-year time gap between the first two seasons. Vietti joked that since that time skip was such a huge success, they “decided” to do the same thing in real life — referencing the fact that by the time Outsiders returns in 2018, five years will have passed since the last season, Invasion, ended in 2013.

One of the last tidbits of info that Weisman and Vietti shared before jumping into Outsiders was the series’ original logo and logline. Back when they first pitched Young Justice to Warner Bros, Weisman and Vietti initially used the tagline, “Tell me they don’t have something to prove.” By the time the series premiered, that had evolved into the current tagline, “Don’t call them sidekicks.” It was one of many moments that showed just how far Young Justice has come — and how far it still has to go.

Arrowette, 13, and Spoiler Join the Cast

Young Justice: Outsiders
From left to right: Static, Kid Flash, Robin, Cassie Sandsmark, Spoiler, Blue Beetle, 13, Arrowette, Arsenal, and Beast Boy

Exclusively at the Comic-Con panel, Phil Bourassa shared his art team’s new designs for some returning characters, with some surprising choices. From left to right, we have Static (visibly aged), Bart Allen as the new Kid Flash (with a futuristic, almost RoboCop-style outfit), Tim Drake (still Robin, but now with his classic hood), Cassie Sandsmark, Stephanie Brown debuting as fan-favorite character Spoiler, Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle, an entirely new character named 13, Cissie King-Jones debuting as Arrowette, Arsenal returning with some gear updates, and Garfield Logan (Beast Boy) rocking some new duds.

The biggest reveals, of course, were the debuts of Arrowette and Spoiler. In season one’s “Insecurity,” Cissie King-Jones was only 9 years old when Green Arrow and Artemis saved her father from an assassination attempt. It seems that Artemis personally inspired Cissie to become Arrowette, and that inspiration even translates on a visual level since Arrowette’s costume heavily channels Artemis’s original outfit. Stephanie Brown is sure to be a crowd-pleaser as Spoiler, a role that has earned her fame in the comics as one of the most popular characters in the Bat-Family.

However, the real identity of newcomer 13 is a mystery. At least on a visual level, she doesn’t seem to have any connection to a pre-existing character from the comics. In the past, the only times that Vietti and Weisman have created original characters for the series was when they couldn’t find any that fit the role they needed. So far, the only case of that was the Terror Twins, Tommy and Tuppence Terror. We’ll have to see whether that’s the case with 13, or if she’s actually a pre-existing character in disguise.

The Outsiders Take Shape?

When asked an audience question about whether the writers had developed endings for the original characters (think Wally West‘s death…), Weisman stressed that nothing is set in stone. According to Weisman, he and Vietti initially planned to write a certain character out of season three (they wouldn’t share the character’s identity), to clear some room for the new characters. However, as season three’s arc developed, Weisman said that their ideas evolved, and that character said, “I’m not done. You’re moving me back into the spotlight.” Now, the character preserves their status as a major lead for the series.

Could Weisman and Vietti be talking about Nightwing? Season two ended with Nightwing taking a leave of absence from the Team, so he seems like the obvious choice. At the panel, the showrunners also shared a brief, exclusive trailer to recap the first two seasons, and Robin’s evolution into Nightwing was the primary focus of the trailer. Still, we won’t know for sure until Outsiders premieres next year.

And speaking of Nightwing… Before the panel ended, Phil Bourassa insisted that they treat fans to one more glimpse at season three, this time focusing on the evolution of several characters who have been around since the onset of the series.

Artemis, Nightwing, Aqualad, and Superboy suit up in true black ops gear for the first time. Could they be the new Outsiders? In the comics, the name belongs to a team that Batman formed to operate outside of international regulations. This could very well be the origin of season three’s name, but we won’t know for sure until the series returns next year. Check out our run-down of what to expect from Outsider‘s debut!

James Akinaka
James Akinaka arrives at Fandom by way of Wookieepedia. He covers Star Wars, superheroes, and animation and has mastered the art of nitpicking. Since he works in publishing, he reads far too many books.
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