The World’s Finest: Hey James, first off, tell us a bit how Legion of Super Heroes came to be? There’s been much gossip around the site concerning how this project originally got off the ground. Some say the Justice League Unlimited episode “Far From Home” acted as a back door pilot, while other sources say this was a project long in fruition. Care to finally clear the air on the origins of this series?
James Tucker: Lets get the myths out of the way. The Legion series was never tied to the Justice League Unlimited episode. Supergirl was never, ever going to be in the Legion. The true origin of the series came out of Cartoon Networks desire to have a Superman-centric series to premiere when the movie Superman Returns premiered. Superman as part of the Legion worked for them. So the series was originally developed for Cartoon Network, then they passed and Kids WB! stepped in. They, too, wanted a Superman-centric series with Superman fresh out of Smallville, learning to be Superman. Thats the reality.
WF: When starting off the series, what problems did you come up with when not only dealing with a beloved property, but one with such an immense cast? How did you end up with your main cast of characters.
JT: We went with the broadest we could find that would kind of replicate that Breakfast Club camaraderie that you find in teen movies. So we needed the neophyte, Superman, fresh from the farm to the new big school. We needed the smart girl — Saturn Girl; the talky jock, Lightning Lad; the really smart nerdy kid, Brainiac 5; the amiable pal, Bouncing Boy; and we needed the James Dean outsider, Timber Wolf. Plus, we have Phantom Girl as the wise-cracking girl, non-popular girl that we all really like.
We threw in Triplicate Girl because we all fell in love with her when I did the first design. Shes the funky, hip chick. Chameleon Boy gave us the chance to freshen the lineup for the second season with a younger smart-aleck guy.
WF: The first season of the show was definitely lighter in tone, but as we moved to the second, things became a bit more darker. Did you find this to be a natural progression for the series?
JT: For me, as a comic book fan, I look at the series like the book. The Legion book had different eras. Earlier eras were lighter and more innocent in tone, and later eras were darker. So you can look at season one as Silver Age, and second season as the Bronze age. For me, it wasnt jarring to go from the lighter to the darker because I lean more toward darker stories. Season one was harder to make things more upbeat and light. Thats not my natural forte.
WF: In the second season, we were also introduced to the war-like Superman X. Why did you decide to not only bring in a new Superman clone, but also an older version of the Superman from the first season?
JT: Thats what the network asked for. Initially when we were pitching second season, we had planned to introduce a character that was like Supermans older or twin brother. The network, rightly so, didnt think it would pop. They wanted a super-up Superman. They didnt care how we did it, but they wanted him to be more of a bad ass. For me, I didnt want to alter our existing Superman that much. So along with Michael Jelenic, we came up with the clone from the future.
WF: As previously mentioned, the second season was definitely different than the one that proceeded it. Designs were altered, new characters were introduced, and some drastic events happened (Lightning Lad’s arm, the death of one of the Triplicates, Brainiac 1.0 appearing). The show got darker. Did you run into any problems from the broadcast standards and censor boards about some of the very risky events from the second season.
JT: We didnt encounter any problems because we gave them the show they wanted. And the numbers improved.
WF: Now we’re heading into the finale of the series. First off, was the season finale written as a series finale? I imagine the end of LOSH came earlier than you expected. What surprises do you have in store for the fans for these final two episodes.
JT: It was written before Kids WB! was sold, so we didnt know if it would be the season or series finale It wasnt written as a series finale, but I think it works well as a series finale.
WF: Did you have a third season in the planning stages? What might the fans have seen if a third season was to come to pass?
JT: In the very early going, with just me and Michael planning, we went back-and-forth on potential ideas. We considered revealing and introducing Wildfire, Shadow Lass and a couple of others. And possibly the return of Ferro Lads twin brother.
WF: Looking past on the 26 episodes, what are your favorite moments, what are the highlights, and what would you have liked to have seen happen if the show would have continued on. Perhaps any in-jokes you’d like to point out that fans may not have noticed yet?
JT: Ferro Lad was a favorite from season one. I liked the Sun-Eater episodes, and also the Legion of Substitute Heroes episode, which was tough to pull together but ended up being a pretty fun show. In season two, there are just too many to name. Heres one little Easter Egg: The one thing that nobody seemed to notice in the origin story of the Legion was that the number on the shuttle ship is the same number as the edition of the Adventure Comics that featured the first appearance of the Legion.
WF: Finally, what projects do you have in the pipeline for the future now with Legion of Super Heroes finished?
JT: These days, Im focused on Batman: The Brave and The Bold for Cartoon Network. But well talk about that later . . .
Thanks, James! Stay tuned for more from James Tucker very soon here at The World’s Finest!