DC Animation Forum FAQ
| FAQ | Embargo | Cartoon Industry | Animated Universe | Rules of Conduct |
This list of "Frequently Asked Questions" is to limit some of the recurring issues that have spread across the forum. Some are based on the shows and their backgrounds while some directly deal with Worlds Finest rules and Code of Conduct. We hope this will help answer some of the more regular questions and help members understand the nature of this board and the shows it supports.
For the old FAQ, please click here.
What is the DC Embargo?
An industry decision to keep certain DC characters exclusive to certain shows across the television and film medium.
Who decided on it?
It’s Paul Levitz that decides who can and can’t be used, not Warner Bros. For those of you not in the know, Levitz works for DC Comics – not Warner Bros. The characters belong to DC; it's their choice as to who gets to use what.
For gawd's sake, why?
Products work better when they have a single outlet. As a company (in this case, DC), you don't want to oversaturate your market. In comics, you have a little more leeway, but due to the nature of television being more expensive, liberties such as multiple titles with the same character aren't quite so forthcoming. Shows are given rights to use selected characters which benefits the show and doesn't work against DC or any other product.
The New Adventures Of Batman finished years back. To co-incide with Batman Begins, The Batman was commissioned. This was a similar manuever in how Bruce Timm's Batman: The Animated Series was commissioned to co-incide with Batman Returns. To give support to that product, The Batman was given the exclusive range of Gotham characters. It was creating a new Batman world; understandably it should be able to do so with as little conflict from any previous versions as possible. The less conflict, the easier it is for a show to establish roots.
The two major exceptions were Robin and Batman, as both had vital, key roles in "Justice League Unlimited" (JLU) and "Teen Titans". Now that "Teen Titans" has finished, it looks as if the rights for the character of Robin have moved over to "The Batman".
This is nothing new. It happens in all entertainment industries. Rights are complicated. To make sure you support products effectively, rights holders have to be selective as to whom gets options. What made it more evident in this situation was the fact that it was unique; Batman had found popularity and relevance beyond the old Batman animated series in "Justice League Unlimited" as well as in a new show. He was needed in two fields. This made the shift of rights glaringly apparent to audiences of these animated shows.
Doesn't the embargo hinder cartoons like Justice League Unlimited?
It's a tough standpoint to argue. Justice League Unlimited - as with its comic source - isn't about Gotham City and had a wealth of characters and stories of it's own. The creative team still had Batman and a host of their own "Bat"-established characters (or ones close to the Batman universes such as The Huntress and Static Shock) to draw on. Characters exclusive to previous DCAU shows such as Phantasm, the Joker gang from Return Of The Joker, Warhawk, Terry McGinnis, and future Bruce Wayne all made a reappearance. They'd also used many Gotham characters in the Justice League series, so when it revamped to Justice League Unlimited, it didn't feel the show was too deprived of Batman to start with. The finale for the last full season, Epilogue, was devoted to Batman, so it's hardly fair to say the Batman embargo caused much trouble for the production.
And if you look carefully as Black Canary enters Bludhaven in JLU's Grudge Match, you can almost makes a certain Gotham character lurking on the rooftops...
What did Bruce Timm's production team think?
Bruce Timm said here at WF "We had no plans to use BTAS characters in JLU....there aren't any BTAS-centric stories we were dying to tell that we couldn't because of the embargo...."
THE CARTOON INDUSTRY
How does the Cartoon industry work in relation to DC?
If Warner Bros. and DC Comics want to make an animated series based off one of their properties, they can. If they want a new Batman cartoon, they can go right ahead. There may be some complications concerning character rights, legalities and media appearances, but it's fairly straightforward.
Is Warner Bros. dense for canceling the show?
Whether you want to admit it or not, Warner Bros is one of the most fan-friendly companies around. Just consider the fact that Justice League Unlimited was slated to be finished after the initial 26 episode order, and how shocked just about everyone was when an additional 13 episodes were ordered (it's especially miraculous given the sheer mess that network is in). Considering that the new standard for ordering cartoons has become either 26 episodes or nothing, and that it's rare to order just 13 episode given how expensive creating a series has become, we’re pretty lucky to get what can basically be considered 13 episodes for the Justice League Unlimited creative team to have some fun before heading on to other projects.
Despite the extras that can sometimes be lacking, Warner Home Video has also been very kind concerning getting the material onto to DC in a very quick manner. We received the entire collection of Batman: The Animated Series in less than two years. We'll have the entire Justice League series in less than four months. Same with Superman: The Animated Series. Plus, many other animated DC series will be completely out on DVD before the end of 2007, less than two years.
Was Cartoon Network wrong to cancel JLU?
See category below: The DC Animated Universe,
Topic: Why were Teen Titans and Justice League Unlimited cancelled?
What does Bruce Timm think of CN?
He backs them. "Cartoon Network's been nothing but great to us overall, gave us almost unlimited creative freedom to do the show the way we wanted to do it, and bottom-line, that's the most important thing."
THE DC ANIMATED UNIVERSE
What happened to Nightwing after "The New Batman Adventures"?
Hard to say. We know he left for another city (referenced in "Return Of The Joker"), we know that city was quite likely Bludhaven ("Grudge Match"), we know he has some "bitter stories to tell" ("Return Of The Joker" again). We know he had left before Tim was caught by the Clown Prince of Crime in the "Return Of The Joker" flashback, and it seems he had left for Bludhaven before season 3 of "Justice League Unlimited" ("Grudge Match" again).
He's not in "Mystery Of The Batwoman", and costumes aside, it seems likely that story takes place in season 2 of "Justice League" (it seems Penguin is supplying weapons for the problems in the "Maid Of Honor" Kasnia crisis). Barbara has gone to college by then (maybe Police Academy?) and seems very interested in Bruce. Could this have something to do with Dick leaving? Is it just co-incidence? Did he leave and later on discover a relationship between Barbara and Bruce? Is that part of the "bitter tales"?
While there are some elements of information one can pick out from the various TV shows, little is confirmed about Dick. We know he moved to Blüdhaven (as evidenced in Justice League Unlimited's "Grudge Match") and we know he's still alive by the time of Batman Beyond, we know he's bitter, that he probably doesn't speak to Bruce. Beyond that, it's guesswork!
Is Robin in Teen Titans Dick Grayson?
Depends who you speak to. It's clear he was designed and written to be "Robin", a gestalt of all the Robins. You can see Dick's leadership and group line up, Tim's staff and costume. Tim's interest in computers and Dick's relationship with Starfire are both present.
However, fans are convinced it's Dick Grayson. There are a few hints in that direction; A trans-dimensional Robin's real name is "Dick Grayson" backwards in season two's "Fractured"and we see the future Robin is, as Dick Grayson is in the comics, Nightwing ("How Long Is Forever?").
That said, one could argue Nightwing is the logical evolution of the hero Robin, and offers no more proof than that, but generally, while this unnamed Robin does seem a mix of Tim and Dick, it does seem more reasonable to assume it's Dick Grayson rather than Tim Drake.
What about Slade? The box at the end of “Revved Up?”
We don’t know what happened to Slade (he isn’t Batman, so please don’t ask), nor do we know what was in Robin’s box. They’ll more than likely forever remain a mystery.
Is "Teen Titans" canon with the rest of DCAU?
Depends who you speak to. Some of the voice artists were intentionally used for the same characters between the shows. However, the character of Robin is radically difficult and very hard to find reconcile. Generally, fans consider "Teen Titans" as part of the Timm multiverse (Bruce Timm was initially titled as a co-producer for season one, and the show has shared some writers, voice artists, musicians and production crew.), but more as an alternative reality to mainstream DCAU. Maybe an "Earth 2" variant. It is very hard to recouncile the world of "Batman: The Animated Series" and the hippy relaxed world of "Teen Titans" as its prequel.
There is a "Titans" referenced in "Static Shock" by Batman. This was made prior to "Teen Titans" being produced. It could refer to a DCAU version of the Teen Titans, or an adult version of the group. It doesn't give reference anything that can really be linked to the show. In fact, Dick Grayson is generally considered to be "Robin" in the "Teen Titans" series, and the reference in "Static Shock" referred to Tim Drake's involvement as "Robin".
For more information on this visit this thread.
What is the canonical order of the Bruce Timm based DCAU?
"Canon" refers to any set of stories which can be linked together as being part of the same continuity. It can be official canon (as confirmed by the creators) or personal canon (the choice of the viewer as to which they accept as part of the same continuity).
If you are a Teen Titans fan, and want to fit it into DCAU, put it first in the list as there is no other place for it. Otherwise, discard as being too inconsistent with the character of Dick Grayson. To some extent, it also would prove to be inconsistent with the character of Bruce Wayne, who, based on in his "Batman: The Animated Series" character, seems unlikely to allow Dick to run his own group of heroes in a public tower, in a different city, tinkering with equipment even beyond Wayne's own technology, with no direct supervision. They are kids after all, and Dick is his ward.
Series: Teen Titans (debatable canon)
Movie: Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm
Series: Batman: The Animated Series
Series: Superman: The Animated Series
Movie: Sub Zero
Series: The New Batman And Superman Adventures
Webseries: Gotham Girls/Lobo (debatable canon)
Series: Static Shock (overlaps with Justice League)
Series: Justice League
Movie: Mystery Of The Batwoman (best estimates place it in season two of Justice League as there appears to be a Kasnian crisis in both)
Series: Justice League Unlimited
Movie Flashback: Return Of The Joker
Series: Batman Beyond/Zeta Project
Movie: Return of the Joker (debatable continuity position as it aired prior to season three, but does "work" better as an entire series cap).
Series episode: JLU: Epilogue
Why were Teen Titans and Justice League Unlimited cancelled?
Technically speaking, they weren’t. Cartoon Network simply optioned to not pick them up for future seasons. There is, of course, more to it than that, so let us explain it further.
The generic run for a show on Cartoon Network is 52 episodes. Even the networks acclaimed and Emmy winning series (Samurai Jack a prime example) end at this mark. Fifty-two is the magical syndication number. With 52 episodes, the network can sell off the show to another or choose to re-run it themselves for a few more years, raking in revenue on a show that had ceased production months or years prior.
Teen Titans was graced with an extra season to make it 65 episodes and Justice League Unlimited, which to Cartoon Network was still Justice League, made it to 91. Considering that both of these shows eclipsed even the networks mandate for a shows life just goes to show how successful these shows were. Lambasting the network for not continuing on with these shows is simply not the right thing to do, considering how generous they were with us.
But if Teen Titans and Justice League Unlimited were so successful, why end them?
Everything must end at sometime. Yes, the ratings for both shows were remarkable. Yes the toy sales were great. But the ending of the show was not one or two factors, but five or six that culminated in the end of each of the shows. We don’t know the full reasons and probably never will.
The network could have continued the shows on into eternity; but in the case of Teen Titans, ratings were slowly drooping by a bit. The production crew of Justice League Unlimited was even getting worn out, and producer Bruce Timm commented on this topic in this forum ("Honestly, I'm almost relieved JLU is over (for the moment anyway). It was frankly an EXHAUSTING show to do, hard to write, extremely labor-intensive to produce, this season and the last especially...").
It simply made more sense from many viewpoints that the shows should end. End them on a high note, end them while the network can disperse the shows teams to other shows and most importantly (for the network) end it while they can still re-air the episodes for a few years.
We must also keep in mind that the focus of Cartoon Network is changing. Whether good or bad, the decision to end Teen Titans and Justice League Unlimited also made sense while looking at it through their new vantage point. This new vantage point is producing a wider audience and bringing in newer, cheaper shows and airing more movies over the year, both live action and animated.
Obviously this is no large consolation to the thousands of fans of these shows, but the shows are over. This does not, however, mean that with the loss of these two shows that the air waves will only have one DC toon on the air (The Batman)—there are many others in production or pre-production (see below).
What is the DC Universe?
This is DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation's line of direct-to-video titles. For full details on current and upcoming titles, refer to the DC Universe page on The World's Finest.
What DVDs/Blu-Ray's are coming out?
Pay close attention to this page for DVD releases and to this page for Blu-ray releases at all times. It will be updated with the latest releases.
What is Bruce Timm working on?
He's heavy into the production of the DC Universe titles.
What other shows might be on the horizon?
At the moment, there's plenty of shows in the talks, but what will make it and what won’t is another thing. While many shows have been talked about, even more have never come to fruition past the idea pitching stage.
WF RULES OF CONDUCT