29 December 2013

Young Justice Time

Last month the Nerdy Show podcast interviewed the creators of the Young Justice TV show, Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti, on the release of a videogame tied to the show.

That game is set between the TV show’s two seasons, which take place five years apart—one of the striking ways this cartoon used narrative time. In addition, each episode and each sequence have precise stamps of time and place (which Weisman and Vietti said proved to be a real headache), and the companion comic book had to fit into the same timeline.

In the interview Weisman explained how showing the passage of time was integral to the show’s main themes and narrative:
We felt that we were doing a show about growing up, gaining responsibility, gaining powers, gaining experience. . . . The first season takes place over six cohesive months, from July 4 to January 1, and our second season, and this was always the plan, takes places from Jan 1 to July 4, so it’s six months cohesive as well. . . . So in one sense we were always doing “a year in the life,” it’s just that half the year took place five years ago.

In order to tell a story about growing up…and the life of a teenager in particular, you just can't show that in six months or even in one year. And so if you’re going to show how Robin has evolved, or rather what I should say is Dick Grayson has evolved, then we want to see him as Robin in season one and Nightwing in season two. [We want to see him] advance from being an incredibly competent but still relatively immature thirteen-year-old kid to being a leader. You’re not to going to see that over the period of six months. . . . You needed to see him become Nightwing, you needed to see him become a true sort of heir to Batman, whether he wanted to or not, and that meant jumping. So it made the time jump somewhat inevitable. And I don’t just mean Dick Grayson, it was true of Wally West and Artemis and everyone who was a lead in season one—we really wanted to see…how they grew.

And so the time jump, I’m not saying it was planned from moment one, but it was something that we talked about from really early on in the development of the show, and certainly by the time we were in…preproduction of season one we knew we were going to do the time jump for season two—assuming we got a season two.
The show never got a season three, so we don’t know what Weisman and Vietti might have had planned for that season’s timeframe.

Both Weisman and Vietti are working on new projects. For Weisman, one is a new series of novels about a teen-aged girl in the Caribbean, starting with Rain of the Ghosts.

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