Legion of Super Heroes (TV series)
|Legion of Super Heroes|
Superman by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster|
Legion of Super-Heroes by Otto Binder & Al Plastino
Michael McCuistion |
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||26 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
Warner Bros. Animation |
|Original network||The CW (Kids' WB)|
|Original release||September 23, 2006 – April 5, 2008|
Legion of Super Heroes is an American animated television series produced by Warner Bros. Animation that debuted on September 23, 2006, and is based on characters owned by DC Comics. The series centers on a young Superman's adventures in the 31st century, fighting alongside a group of futuristic superheroes known as the Legion of Super-Heroes. The show was produced by its main designer James Tucker, a co-producer of the Justice League Unlimited series, for the Kids' WB line on The CW network.
The series drew on the rich history of the Legion of Super-Heroes, taking inspiration from stories set during all time periods of the team's nearly 50-year history in comics. Continuity is internally consistent but is not shared with any previous incarnation of the Legion, either animated or in print. The series was cancelled after its second season.
Early reports had suggested the title of the series would be Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, but the official announcement on April 24, 2006, confirmed the title as Legion of Super Heroes. The same announcement indicated that the series would air on the Kids' WB block of the new The CW network at 10 a.m.
At the 2006 Comic Con International, the production staff did not officially say whether current legal issues involving the ownership of Superboy had affected this series or whether changes were made to tie the series in with the Superman Returns movie, but one significant change had been made since the announcement of the series. The original press release referred to "the young Superboy", while the revised press release, published in June 2006, described the character as a young Superman. At the conclusion of the pilot episode, Clark adopts the superhero name of Superman, and not Superboy. In the second season, which takes place two years after the end of the first season, the character is called Superman, without reference to his "young" status.
The second season has a much darker and more mature tone than the first season and mostly focuses on Brainiac 5 and his relationship with his evil ancestor, the original Brainiac. In the second season, most of the Legionnaires have changed their appearances, e.g., Lightning Lad has longer hair and gets a robotic arm. Their appearances change based on the two years without Superman after he left in the episode "Sundown Pt.2", which is the finale of the first season. Triplicate Girl changes her codename to Duo Damsel because one of her bodies (the White Body) is lost in a temporal anomaly during one of their 41st Century's battles. The series logo was also slightly revised. As with the first season, a total of 13 episodes were created for the second season, which premiered on September 22, 2007. The show was not renewed for a third season.
A third season had been planned for production but was dropped because the Kids' WB! slot was taken over by 4Kids. The third season was intended to take place three years after the end of the second season in which an older Superman would return. Sensor, Wildfire, Magnetic Kid, Supergirl, Tellus, Princess Projectra and Shadow Lass were to be introduced, while background characters Blok and Dawnstar would have active roles. Kell-El was intended to be a regular character but with a reduced role. The main focus of the third season would have been Brainiac 5's return, while trying to redeem himself after the second season's finale and the evil Brainiac 6 trying to destroy the Legion. Also, producer James Tucker planned make an episode adaptation the story "The Ghost of Ferro Lad" to introduce Ferro Lad's long lost twin brother, whio would have become Kell-El's replacement in the Legion. The final episode of season two linked the two seasons together.
Airings outside of the US
The first season of the series began airing on Cartoon Network UK on March 5, 2007. The 13 episodes were shown weekdays through March 21, and the two-part season finale aired in the UK about five weeks before it was shown in the US. It also used to air on CITV 'Action Stations' and re-airs on Cartoon Network Too.
- In Canada, the first season began airing on YTV on September 8, 2007. It continued to air through the second season of the show uninterrupted, before being taken off the air.
- In Australia, the first season began airing on Nine Network on August 9, 2009. The complete series was broadcast in widescreen.
- In Brazil, the first season began airing on Cartoon Network Brazil on March 1, 2008.
- In Italy, the first season began airing on Cartoon Network Italy on October 1, 2007.
- In the Philippines, the first season began airing on May 31, 2008, and the second season began airing on January 12, 2009, on Cartoon Network Philippines.
- In Bulgaria the show began airing on Nova Television on November 30, 2008.
- In Israel, the first season began airing on Children Channel on September 18, 2008.
- In the Netherlands, season one started airing on RTL 5 on March 2009.
- In Greece, the series aired in the summer of 2009 and 2010 on the Star Channel every weekday morning.
- In Trinidad and Tobago, the series aired on CCN TV6.
In the first season, the series revolved around a core group of eight Legionnaires but others appeared from time to time in recurring roles, similar in format to the Justice League Unlimited animated series.
The first season introduces a teenaged Clark Kent who is about to move from Smallville to Metropolis. He knows of his abilities but does not know what to do with his future (similar in nature to the Clark Kent featured in the Smallville television series). After travelling to the future, young Clark assumes the identity of Superman and gradually learns to control his abilities, becoming the hero he is destined to be. At the end of the first season, he returns to the present around the same time he left in the first episode.
In the second season, Superman returns to the future after spending two years in the past and gaining more experience with his powers. A second Superman, called "Superman X", also appears in the second season. This Superman, later given the name Kell-El, is from the 41st century and was created from Superman's DNA and Kryptonite as a living weapon with different abilities. His main foe in the 41st century is Imperiex, who travels through time to the 31st century, forcing Superman X to follow him into the past and recruit the Legion to help him.
Series producer James Tucker offered descriptions of the core team in a July 2006 interview at Comic Con International in San Diego. As with other DC team shows such as Justice League Unlimited, not every core character appears in all episodes. The following descriptions apply to the characters as seen in the first season.
- Lightning Lad is the eager and hot-headed unofficial leader of the team. Prone to fighting first and thinking later, he can come off as brash at first but is usually well-intentioned. The lightning bolt scar on his right eye sometimes flashes brightly in times of battle. In the episode "Chained Lightning", Imperiex destroys his right arm, which he replaces with a bionic arm. He was one of the founding members of the Legion and has a twin sister, Ayla, and an older brother, Mekt.
- Saturn Girl is a level-headed character with mental powers. She is composed at all times but also very physical. Among her mental powers are abilities not traditionally associated with the character in the comics, such as telekinesis and the power to mentally create an explosive force field called a thought blast (which is so draining that she passes out afterwards) and the ability to go into a healing trance when unconscious (she can still mentally hear others in this state). In the premiere of the second season, she is put into a healing trance after a battle with Esper and awakens in the ninth episode of the season. She is a founding member of the Legion.
- Brainiac 5 is the series' youngest (as of Season One) and smartest Legionnaire. He can transform his robot body in various ways. For the purposes of the show, his character has been altered by making him an outright robot (the comic book version is flesh-and-blood). His deep desire, though, is to be more human, like his teammates. This version of Brainiac 5 is closest to the "reboot" version in personality and includes the robotic aspects of the character Gear. James Tucker has always thought of him as kind of a "Little Man Tate"-type character: a kid who is so smart, he is sent to college when he is only 12. Tucker has said he was inspired by Oliver Coipel's rendition of the character when designing this rendition for the series. A holographic representation of his deepest fear in the first season episode "Fear Factory" implies that his people, the Coluans, do not approve of his desire to emulate humanoids. He greatly desires Superman's friendship. In the season two finale, he turns into a human and leaves the Legion until he can adjust to his new human emotions. Brainiac 1.0, who was destroyed by Brainiac 5, was resurrected as Brainiac 6 at the end of the last produced episode of the series.
- Phantom Girl is, according to James Tucker, "a princess who is kind of spoiled, but ultimately very devoted to being in the Legion. She has a somewhat sarcastic attitude to cover the fact that she really gets a kick out of finally being with other kids like herself." In addition to her powers established in preview comics stories, she has displayed the ability to turn other people and objects temporarily intangible, though this seems to strain her. Phantom Girl has also been shown to disrupt electrical systems by passing through them. Her mother is the president of the United Planets. She is most often seen with Timber Wolf, for whom she seems to have some feelings.
- Bouncing Boy is a friendly young man who used to possess a Normal Shape and size and had the ability to take on his Bouncing Boy shape at will until a Battle where he was hit by a Ray that should have killed him but instead stuck him in his "Ball Shape" unable to transform "Back and Forth" any longer at will. He enjoys eating and is sometimes played up as the comedic character. James Tucker considers him the every man member of the Legion: "In a lot of ways he plays Bones to Brainiac 5's Spock." In the first season episode "Chain of Command", Bouncing Boy is elected leader of the Legionnaires, much to his own surprise, although he loses command in the two years between the seasons. He and Triplicate Girl seem to be in a romantic relationship as they are constantly flirting with each other.
- Triplicate Girl, also known as Duo Damsel, is one girl who was born with the power to transform into three nearly identical selves. She has demonstrated martial arts skills and natural teamwork. On the team, she often operates communications, and appears to have an attraction to Bouncing Boy (a nod to their pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths marriage). When one of her duplicates is killed in the paradox created by Imperiex in the 41st century, she becomes known as Duo Damsel. The emotional dismay her two other selves show at her death suggests that each of her "triplicates" has a semi-separate awareness and identity. At the end of the second season, the white duplicate returns from the future alive and well.
- Timber Wolf debuted in the self-titled second episode. Brin Londo, as a result of his father's experiments on him, is transformed into a werewolf-like creature with enhanced speed, strength, agility, and senses. However, he also lost control over himself, becoming a fierce beast who acts on instinct and impulse. Only with Saturn Girl's help is he able to re-establish some level of control, turning into a more humanoid form, though still possessing wolf-like attributes. Soon afterward, he joins the Legion and takes his code name in honor of past heroes. James Tucker described him as "a loner [who] longs to be closer to people. His appearance makes him look a bit feral, but his personality is anything but. He's the cool dude who's actually insecure inside."
- Chameleon Boy debuted in the first episode of the second season as one of the newest members of the Legion. He has the ability to shape shift all or part of his body into something else, animate or inanimate, as well as utilize the strength and power of what he transforms into. His father funds the Legion, which allows them access to expensive material, such as battle cruisers. Chameleon Boy seems to be one of the few members of the team that has a fun-loving and sarcastic disposition, the reason of which being that the rest of the team has had to deal with so many issues the past couple of years, they have become more solemn. He is good friends with Karate Kid.
XS appears in the final two episodes "Dark Victory" parts 1 and 2 as a background character. Dawnstar and Invisible Kid also appeared in these final two episodes along with many other rarely seen Legion members; however, none of the new members shown in these episodes did anything to the plot of the story itself.
In the first season, some Legionnaires were mentioned or shown as images before making an actual appearance. Fourteen members were shown during the season as already active: Blok, Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Triplicate Girl, and Tyroc. Five more joined the Legion through the course of the series: Superman, Timber Wolf, Matter-Eater Lad, Star Boy, and Ferro Lad.
The opening credits sequences used for first-season episodes included a glimpse of the Mission Monitor Board signs for many Legionnaires as well as shots of flying Legionnaires who would be seen in later episodes (though not all of those with Mission Monitor Board symbols appeared). At least four members of the Legion as seen in the comics appeared in some way on the show but had not joined by the end of the first season (Ultra Boy, Lightning Lass, Wildfire, and Polar Boy).
In the second season, Karate Kid appeared in the opening credits with the other Legionnaires, though he did not appear until the fifth episode (in which Nemesis Kid also became a new member). Similar to Karate Kid, Sun Boy appeared in the second season opening titles and made semi-regular appearances but did not have a speaking line or have someone else refer to him by name. Ayla Ranzz, sister of Lightning Lad, finally made an appearance, but as a child without apparent super powers and not as the Light Lass of the comic books.
|Bouncing Boy||Michael Cornacchia|
|Brainiac 5||Adam Wylie|
|Chameleon Boy||Alexander Polinsky|
|Colossal Boy||Adam Wylie|
|Cosmic Boy||Wil Wheaton|
|Dream Girl||Tara Platt|
|Ferro Lad||Dave Wittenberg|
|Lightning Lad||Andy Milder|
|Karate Kid||Keith Ferguson|
|Matter-Eater Lad||Alexander Polinsky|
|Nemesis Kid||Keith Ferguson|
|Phantom Girl||Heather Hogan|
|Saturn Girl||Kari Wahlgren|
|Shrinking Violet||Kari Wahlgren|
|Star Boy||Bumper Robinson|
|Superman (21st century)||Yuri Lowenthal|
|Superman X (Kell-El) (41st century Superman clone)||Yuri Lowenthal|
|Timber Wolf||Shawn Harrison|
|Triplicate Girl/Duo Damsel||Kari Wahlgren|
|Ultra Boy||James Arnold Taylor|
Shadow Lass and Sensor were mentioned to appear in the third season, but were not actually in any of the two prior seasons.
|Emerald Empress|| Jennifer Hale (Season 1)|
Tara Strong (Season 2)
|Dr. Mar Londo|| Harry J. Lennix (Season 1)|
Dorian Harewood (Season 2)
|Alexis Luthor||Tara Strong|
|Legion of Super-Villains (originally the Light Speed Vanguard)|
|Lightning Lord (leader)||James Arnold Taylor|
|Mordru|| Richard McGonagle (Season 1, credited as "Evil Wizard")|
Jim Ward (Season 2)
|Computo (shown as the Legion's computer rather than a villain)||Adam Wylie|
|Grimbor the Chainsman||Lex Lang|
|Roderick Doyle||Wil Wheaton|
|Winema Wazzo, President of the United Planets, mother of Phantom Girl||April Winchell|
|Legion of Substitute Heroes|
|Chlorophyll Kid||Alexander Polinsky|
|Color Kid||James Arnold Taylor|
|Infectious Lass||Kari Wahlgren|
|Porcupine Pete||James Arnold Taylor|
|Stone Boy||Yuri Lowenthal|
|Ayla Ranzz, sister of Garth and Mekt Ranzz||Kari Wahlgren|
|Calamity King||Alexander Polinsky|
|R. J. Brande||Lex Lang|
List of episodes
This list is ordered by production number, which in some cases is different from the air date order. Production number 1.04 ("Fear Factory") and 1.06 ("Phantoms") were aired out of order, as were episodes 1.07 ("Child's Play"), 1.09 ("Brain Drain"), and 1.10 ("The Substitutes").
|Episode number||Title||Air date|
|1.01||"Man of Tomorrow"||September 23, 2006|
|1.02||"Timber Wolf"||September 30, 2006|
|1.03||"Legacy"||October 7, 2006|
|1.04||"Phantoms"||November 4, 2006|
|1.05||"Champions"||November 11, 2006|
|1.06||"Fear Factory"||November 18, 2006|
|1.07||"Child's Play"||February 24, 2007|
|1.08||"Lightning Storm"||February 10, 2007|
|1.09||"Brain Drain"||February 3, 2007|
|1.10||"The Substitutes"||February 17, 2007|
|1.11||"Chain of Command"||March 3, 2007|
|1.12||"Sundown", Pt. 1||April 28, 2007|
|1.13||"Sundown", Pt. 2||May 5, 2007|
|2.01||"The Man from the Edge of Tomorrow", Pt. 1||September 22, 2007|
|2.02||"The Man from the Edge of Tomorrow", Pt. 2||September 29, 2007|
|2.03||"Cry Wolf"||October 6, 2007|
|2.04||"Chained Lightning"||October 13, 2007|
|2.05||"The Karate Kid"||October 27, 2007|
|2.06||"Who Am I?"||November 3, 2007|
|2.07||"Unnatural Alliances"||November 17, 2007|
|2.08||"Message in a Bottle"||December 1, 2007|
|2.09||"In The Beginning"||March 8, 2008|
|2.10||"Trials"||March 15, 2008|
|2.11||"In Your Dreams"||March 22, 2008|
|2.12||"Dark Victory", Pt. 1||March 29, 2008|
|2.13||"Dark Victory", Pt. 2||April 5, 2008|
Awards and nominations
- Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition.
- Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Live Action and Animation.
- Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing - Live Action and Animation.
Home media release
The first season was released on home video in three separate volumes, with four episodes on the first two releases and five on the third. Episodes are also available for online streaming. As of July 2016, the second season has not yet been released for home video. Season 2 was released on iTunes in HD and SD download format September 22, 2015.
|DVD Name||Release Date||Ep #||Episodes|
|Volume One||August 28, 2007||4||"Man of Tomorrow", "Timber Wolf", "Legacy", "Phantoms"|
|Volume Two||February 5, 2008||4||"Champions", "Fear Factory", "Brain Drain", "Lightning Storm"|
|Volume Three||September 9, 2008||5||"The Substitutes", "Child's Play", "Chain of Command", "Sundown: Part One", "Sundown: Part Two"|
Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century
A comic book based on the show's continuity was published under the title Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century. According to the comic's writer, J. Torres, the name was chosen to distinguish itself from more specifically youth-oriented titles such as Justice League Adventures and Superman Adventures. The first issue was distributed during Free Comic Book Day 2007 in addition to being sold.
An interview concerning the Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century comic confirmed that the comic was to continue publication despite the series ending, and that the comic would also be telling stories that were to have taken place after the second season finale. As of issue #20, the comic ceased publication.
While the comic incorporates the cast of the show, other characters from DC Comics have made an appearance.
- Arm Fall Off Boy – Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #16
- Booster Gold – Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #19
- Circe – Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #7
- Bart Allen/Impulse – Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #15
- Lex Luthor – Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #13
- Lois Lane – Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #13
- Perry White – Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #13
Issues #1-7 were collected in the trade paperback Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century, Vol. 1: Tomorrow's Heroes (March 2008, ISBN 978-1-4012-1668-9).
In other media
A tie-in promotion with McDonald's Happy Meal took place in August 2007. The Legion show was represented by eight figures (Superman, Timber Wolf, Lightning Lad, Mano, Tharok, Brainiac 5, Bouncing Boy, and Validus). As Happy Meal toys often have a "girl toy" and "boy toy", this set was aimed at the boys.
Action figures by Mattel were not produced because of a lack of retailer interest. Mattel holds the master license for toys based on any DC series in any medium.
- Harvey, James (March 12, 2008). "'Legion of Super Heroes' To End After Current Season". World's Finest Online.
- "CW Sticks With Kids WB!". Mediaweek. Archived from the original on May 15, 2006.
- "Kids' Wb! on the CW Announces 2006-2007 "Too Big for Your TV" Saturday Morning Programming Schedule". TheFutonCritic.com. April 24, 2006.
- Allstetter, Rob (February 8, 2007). "The Batman, Legion of Super Heroes New Seasons". Comics Continuum.
- Harvey, James (April 4, 2008). "The World's Finest: Tucker Discusses 'Legion of Super Heroes' History & Finale". World's Finest Online.
- Renaud, Jeffrey (April 9, 2008). "Producer James Tucker Looks Back on 'Legion of Super-Heroes'". Comic Book Resources.
- "SDCC '06: James Tucker talks WB Animation's Legion". Newsarama. Archived from the original on August 5, 2006.
- "Announcement on Adam Wylie's message board". February 28, 2006.
- "Announcement on Wil Wheaton's blog". May 2, 2006.
- Allstetter, Rob (February 17, 2006). "Legion of Super-Heroes Animated". Comics Continuum.
- Allstetter, Rob (March 21, 2006). "Legion of Super-Heroes Animated Update". Comics Continuum.
- Allstetter, Rob (April 15, 2006). "Legion of Super-Heroes Animated Update". Comics Continuum.
- "Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards - Childrens Nominations".
- Singh, Arune (February 9, 2007). "Torres Goes to the Future with 'Legion of Superheroes in the 31st Century'". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2007-07-22.
- "Exclusive J. Torres Interview". Superman Homepage.
- "DC Comics Solicitations for November, 2008". Comic Book Resources. August 18, 2008.
- SamuRon (November 16, 2007). "Interview with Mattel's Toy Guru, Part II". TheFwoosh.com.
- Official website
- Legion of Super Heroes at the Internet Movie Database.
- Legion of Super Heroes at TV.com .
- Legion of Super Heroes at The World's Finest