Back in November 2016 when Warner Bros. Animation officially announced the return of the short-lived yet critically acclaimed animated series Young Justice, the excitement from fans around the globe was practically electric. It’s a testament to producers Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman and everyone involved for creating a show that undeniably resonated with viewers. In a five years since the show has been off the air, the fandom has never died down and may in fact be stronger than ever. During SDCC, we got our first glimpse of the new season entitled Young Justice: Outsiders that’s set to debut in early 2019 as part of the the new DC Universe streaming service.
So unfortunately, fans will have to hold out just a bit longer to get their Young Justice fix. Until then, Comics Beat had the pleasure of taking part in SDCC press roundtable with actors Stephanie Lemelin who returns to voice fan-favorite Artemis/Tigress as well Troy Baker who joins Season 3 as new character Prince Brion Markov better known as Geo-Force to comic fans. Unsurprisingly, both actors are keeping certain things under wraps, but based on the passion from Lemelin and Baker as well as the fan response at SDCC, I wouldn’t be surprised if Young Justice gets a fourth season.
Q: How are you doing today?
SL: I’m doing great. Actually this is so exciting. It really is. I mean, it’s not the most typical thing that you’re on a show and then it gets canceled and then the fans rally and then it actually gets picked up and then a platform is released and you’re one of the big shows coming out. There’s a lot of things we’re not allowed to talk about, but I’m just blown away.
Q: How does it feel to be back?
SL: It’s awesome! I mean it’s a dream scenario. There’s been a lot of things that happened to all of us in the last five years. Then there’s a lot of things that have happened in our country and the world. It’s been challenging to put it lightly and this is a happy, hopeful thing. And I’m really excited to be part of something happy and hopeful.
Q: Some of your fellow Young Justice actors like Jason Spisak and Khary Payton were very involved in the fan community campaigns to bring back the show. Did you participate in any of these organized efforts?
SL: I am close with the two of those guys and they would text me about everything. I wasn’t very good with social media just because in the last five years I had three children. And two of them came out seven minutes apart. That is really something that kept me busy. But I love this show. Everything I approach, in terms of my own work, I think about, “Is this something I would be proud to show my kids one day?” And I am SO proud of this show. I keep saying [that] not just because the girl power because I have two daughters but also for my son. I want him to see his mom going out there being a superhero and fighting for good. Artemis comes from a dysfunctional family and they are bad guys. What a cool character the way she rebels against her family and becomes a good guy. That’s inspiring. I’m so happy to be a part of telling that story. So I don’t know if I was involved in the organizing of binge watching per se but now that my twins are 2 ½ and SO grown up, I’ve been able to embrace social media a little bit more in the past year. I’ve gone back to being on camera doing a lot of work right now. This has been just an extremely exciting, wonderful, and amazing journey to come back to this show. I have had so much evolve and change in my personal life during that time. I’m really bringing that here.
Q: How much does Artemis’ story in Season 3 parallel your own life?
SL: You don’t know much about what I’m doing in Season 3. I do and I can say that I drew a lot from my life and it wasn’t a challenge. I also drew a lot from my own love of this show. It’s not like I have to look up who this character is and how did I feel five years ago. I mean, this is etched into my heart. When I read certain scripts I would laugh out loud. I hooted and hollered at a couple of things because those are things we didn’t do when we were on Cartoon Network. On this new platform it’s a lot more intense, sexier, funnier, and scarier. I’m excited about it. There are things that are so much sadder and I can’t talk about it!
Q: What do you do for motivation to get into your character?
SL: Not too much with this one. I think this was one of the first cartoon series I booked when I came to LA. I wanted to get into voiceover and this was my first real series. I’ve done several since then. I was really young and very confident that I could become an actor and move to LA. In the last five years, I’ve gotten a little sadder about the world and I lost hope for a minute but then I also found hope. Having kids and raising good children all starts at home. This is how we really make a big impact on the world. And that is stuff that I’m drawing on for her in Season 3 for sure. That will make sense to you later.
Her voice is not too far of a departure from mine. But she’s much more of an adult now than when I first started.
Q: Do you have a sense of gratification in helping to make Artemis as iconic a character that she’s become?
SL: Gratifying for me is a great word in terms of just being an actor and having a role that’s so juicy whether it’s an iconic character or not. But I think it’s a little liberating and there’s less pressure because I get to to carve my own way and I didn’t have to get into my head about being compared to anyone else. So I think that’s really important. But now that would be a challenge for me that I would be ready to accept. When I first started there was so much new about her in so many ways. I think that’s why I got the part because I was new on the scene and I was just making choices that felt good for me. It was different and unique and it stood out. I had a not very big resume and they took a chance on me. That was a really thrilling and exciting opportunity. It’s definitely not as scary taking on a role that you get to create yourself.
Q: As a comics fan and reader, were you already somewhat familiar with your character Prince Markov/Geo-Force?
TB: Yes but not like, “I have every Geo-Force comic!” [LAUGHS] He’s this fringe dude. For Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman there’s not really a fringe character. Their knowledge is expansive. I had to Google him [Geo-Force]. I think I remembered some crossovers with this character, but that’s what I loved. I have in the past played some iconic DC characters that have their own challenges because you have to do something different but not too different. There’s such an established structure to it. When you come in and you have a character like this, you have more freedom.
Then you have another framework of how does he fit into this universe. Young Justice has its own universe and diehard fans. Now we have to figure out a way where he fits in with them. As an actor coming in, I want to make sure that I’m playing the character as it’s intended to be. As a fan of the show, I’m looking at it a little more skeptically and more critically making sure I believe that this guy fits in this universe and he’s not being shoehorned in just to create a new character.
Q: Can you tell us if Geo-Force’s family dynamics are going to be in the show?
TB: Yes. You get a little tease in the trailer talking about his sister. That becomes very much an impetus for that character and his plotline.
Q: What can you say about Geo-Force’s general character arc?
TB: He’s not a general, he’s a prince! [LAUGHS]
When you’ve seen the characters before in Season 1 and 2, everyone is so excited about being part of the team that they’re willing to rush into danger by themselves. This is being thrust upon Markov. He didn’t ask for this. He was already kind of set. He’s a prince ruling a country and oh by the way, you have a Meta-gene that completely changes not only your identity but your future. To be young and wrestle with that is something that very much fits in with the Young Justice internal conflict. Everyone that was in Season 1 and 2 put on that uniform before they were ready to wear it. We watched every episode and gradually they learned to fill that out. You could argue by the end of it that they didn’t need it. They realized that the superhero isn’t what you wear it’s the person that you are. And that’s absolutely what we’re going to see.
Q: So you came into this as a fan?
TB: That never happens. I mean, if I was on The Simpons right now that would be dope. But Season 3 and here’s a new character that’s going to be a really big part of our storyline…that doesn’t happen. It’s almost as if someone said, “We’re bringing back Batman: The Animated Series and we want you to play whatever character.” I would lose my freaking mind!
“The fans have waited long enough and it’s time for a first look at one of the most highly anticipated shows of the year,” Warner Bros. TV wrote in its press release. “In YOUNG JUSTICE: OUTSIDERS, the teenage super heroes of the DC Universe come of age in an animated world of super-powers, Super-Villains, and super secrets. This time, the team faces its greatest challenge yet as it takes on meta-human trafficking and the terrifying threat it creates for a society caught in the crossfire of a genetic arms race spanning the globe and the galaxy.”
As we’ve seen in posters for Young Justice: Outsiders, Darkseid will play a major role when the show debuts, fitting as the series went off the air with a cliffhanger that showed the big bad being partially responsible for the problems that the superheroes faced. When the series was cancelled in 2013 there was no resolution to the story line of the Light conspiring with Apokolips. Fans will have to wait a little bit longer to see how things play out as the show isn’t set to debut until 2019, but all of the voice actors have finished recording for the season.
“We’ve already recorded all 26 episodes,” said Aqualad actor Khary Payton. “We’re just waiting for the animation to come back. I’ve already seen some of it. It looks great. I’m so excited… It is as twisty, and turny, and full of so many characters, I can’t wait for you guys to see it. You’re going to love it.”