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‘Legion of Super Heroes’ producer James Tucker and director Brandon Vietti talk about the new big bad, the 41st-century Superman and reveal their dream DC animated series
By Jami Philbrick
Posted September 21, 2007  4:30 PM

Welcome to the 31st century…or is that the 41st century?

The second season of the Kids’ WB’s “Legion of Super Heroes” premieres on Sept. 22 and promises to give fans exactly what they want. Taking place two years after last season’s finale, in Season 2 the Legion is recruited by a Superman from the 41st century to help battle a new foe, Imperiex. As the classic Superman returns from the present, he encounters not only his 41st-century counterpart, but also new team members such as Chameleon Boy. Wizard Universe spoke to producer James Tucker and director Brandon Vietti about the new season, new villain and new team.

WIZARD: What can fans expect from Season 2?

TUCKER: Basically, this arc is a flip of the first season. The Legion is a little more established, a little more seasoned and Superman has been gone for almost two years. The Legion has been functioning on their own, without him. Into the mix comes this Superman from the 41st century, who’s come to get their help. The first season they came for Superman’s help, so it’s the exact flip of that this season. This Superman has no ties with morality or heroism, he was bred to fight and defend his century, but he needs help. So a lot of this season is basically, how does this Superman fit in with the Legion?

So the show will have two Supermen?

TUCKER: Roughly half and half. There will be episodes where it’s just Season 1 Superman and there’ll be episodes where it’s future Superman, and some episodes will have both of them.

Will we find out what Season 1 Superman has been doing since he left the team at the end of last season? And has he changed a lot since then?

TUCKER: When [the Legion] found Clark, it was his last night in Smallville before going to Metropolis. When he got back he went to Metropolis, so he’s been Superman actively for a couple years now. So he actually knows a lot more than he did at the end of last season. We could only get so much mileage out of Superman being clueless about who he was. So he knows a lot more now about his background. He is the Superman that we all know now, pretty much.

Is the new Superman inspired by any characters from the comics? Mon-El or Conner, perhaps?

TUCKER: With Mon-El, I know a lot of fans wanted him but his concept is kind of vague. He’s basically Superman’s older brother. He’s Superman once removed a little bit. I know Mon-El fans will kill me for saying that. In this case we needed someone who would read as a Superman but was either closely tied to him or not. So we went with a clone aspect of him, which also ties in a bit to the Conner mythos. It’s not Conner but it kind of uses that backdrop of being a descendent of Superman or a clone of Superman. And how does that affect a person’s psyche, if they know, “Oh wow, in my blood is this hero. I’m here because that hero existed but I’m not that hero. I don’t want to be that person and I don’t know if I ever will be that person.”

Tell us about your new villain, Imperiex. He wasn’t originally a Legion villain in the comics. Why choose him?

TUCKER: There was a strong suggestion that we needed an overall villain. Season 1 was light on villains and none of them really stood out as very imposing. The Fatal Five we used but we halfway played them for laughs. I don’t think we fully used them to their fullest as far as being big bads. We really needed a big villain. And in the second season, doing Darkseid would’ve been too soon after “Justice League” for me because we just got through doing it in the last season. But I thought we needed someone like that. Someone with that potential and size too. Also it comes to pure physics; a big bad should be kind of a big bad, you know. So I didn’t really want to make up a new person in this instance because I did want in to fit into some sort of comic book template. I remembered Imperiex from the “Our Worlds at War” miniseries and I thought he had a visual I could play with. He’s pretty much a blank slate; I mean, nobody’s going to care if I change Imperiex around a little bit. But to do Darkseid this soon and you can’t do full on Darkseid for Kids’ WB, I don’t think? I’m not sure; we’ll see if we get to do that because that’s definitely on the plate for potential future seasons. I just wanted someone who could be built up and made important but whose origin I didn’t have to strictly follow. And I think we’re making him a lot more interesting and less vague then he was in “Our Worlds at War.”

Chameleon Boy will be on the team, correct?

TUCKER: Yeah, Chameleon Boy shows up and again it’s a couple years later so he’s been on the team for a little bit. We kind of fill in his backstory along the way.

What other new characters can fans look forward to this season?

VIETTI: I’ll defer that one to James.

TUCKER: Nemesis Kid is going to be joining the Legion. There will be an appearance of the White Witch. Also Karate Kid, Dawnstar, Invisible Kid and Chemical King. Some of these characters wont be getting speaking roles, they’ll just be Easter eggs.

Was the choice to use Karate Kid at all influenced by his high-profile role in the comics right now, or was it just a coincidence?

TUCKER: That kind of came after. The Legion appearing in the comics started happening after we had already set our season. I was kind of like, wow, the Legion’s back again [in the comics], this is cool. I don’t know if just having a show on the air kind of helps tie into all of that, but it’s nice to see the old Legion coming back [to the comics].

At the end of last season, it appeared that Ferro Lad had sacrificed himself to save his team. Have we seen the last of him?

TUCKER: Ferro Lad is dead. He indeed did die.

You’ve said before that the first season was inspired by the Silver Age and this season by Jim Shooter’s work. If you do a third season, can fans expect it to be inspired by Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen’s work?

TUCKER: When we started the first season I couldn’t conceive of doing “Great Darkness Saga” in the format of the show then, innocent and young-skewing. We’re still young-skewing, but this second season we’re a little deeper into the storyline. The characters are more established and they’re a little older. I can see us doing “Great Darkness Saga” with this set of characters the way they are now. So yeah, definitely. People get upset when I say I reboot every season but that’s a trait from the Legion. You have to change things. So I’d like to move further along with it next season should that happen. And yeah, touch on some of the later runs of Legion and definitely the “Great Darkness Saga” if that’s possible.

Finally, if you could do an animated show starring any DC character, who would it be?

VIETTI: A Green Lantern show. I think it’s long overdue.

TUCKER: That’s a good question. Actually the Question would be cool, but that would be in a total fantasy world because I don’t know if the Question would ever get his own series on any major network. I think that’s something you could do maybe as a DVD or a segment of a DVD. And I really had a desire to do Wonder Woman. But now they’re doing a DVD of it, which is cool. Originally, if “LoSH” hadn’t been picked up for a second season we were talking about me doing it. But that didn’t happen and it’s all good.


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