The Justice League, also called the Justice League of America or JLA, is a fictional superhero team that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Since their first appearance in The Brave and the Bold #28 (February/March 1960), various incarnations of the team have appeared in film, television, and video game adaptations.
Justice League: Mortal (cancelled)
In February 2007, it was announced that Warner Bros hired husband and wife duo Michele and Kieran Mulroney to write a script for a Justice League film. The news came around the same time that Joss Whedon's long-developed Wonder Woman film had been canceled, as well as The Flash, written and directed by David S. Goyer. Titled Justice League: Mortal, Michele and Kiernan Mulroney submitted their script to Warner Bros. in June 2007, receiving positive feedback, which prompted the studio to immediately fast track production in the hopes of filming to begin before the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike. Warner Bros. was less willing to proceed on development with a sequel to Superman Returns, having been disappointed with the box office return. Brandon Routh was not approached to reprise the role of Superman in Justice League Mortal, nor was Christian Bale from Batman Begins. Warner Bros. intended for Justice League: Mortal to be the start of a new film franchise, and to branch out into separate sequels and spin-offs. Shortly after filming finished with The Dark Knight, Bale stated in an interview that "It’d be better if it doesn't tread on the toes of what our Batman series is doing," though he personally felt it would make more sense for Warner Bros. to release the film after The Dark Knight Rises. Jason Reitman was the original choice to direct Justice League, but he turned it down, as he considers himself an independent filmmaker and prefers to stay out of big budget superhero films. George Miller signed to direct in September 2007, with Barrie Osbourne producing on a projected $220 million budget.
The following month roughly 40 actors and actresses were auditioning for the ensemble superhero roles, among them were Joseph Cross, Michael Angarano, Max Thieriot, Minka Kelly, Adrianne Palicki and Scott Porter. Miller intended to cast younger actors as he wanted them to "grow" into their roles over the course of several films. D. J. Cotrona was cast as Superman, along with Armie Hammer as Batman. Jessica Biel reportedly declined the Wonder Woman role after being in negotiations. The character was also linked to actresses Teresa Palmer and Shannyn Sossamon, along with Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who confirmed that she had auditioned. Ultimately Megan Gale was cast as Wonder Woman, while Palmer was cast as Talia al Ghul, whom Miller had in mind to act with a Russian accent. The script for Justice League: Mortal would have featured the John Stewart character as the Green Lantern, a role originally offered to Columbus Short. Hip hop recording artist and rapper Common was cast, with Adam Brody as The Flash / Barry Allen, and Jay Baruchel as the lead villain, Maxwell Lord. Longtime Miller collaborator Hugh Keays-Byrne had been cast in an unnamed role, rumored to be Martian Manhunter. Aquaman had yet to be cast. Marit Allen was hired as the original costume designer before her untimely death in November 2007, and the responsibilities were assumed by Weta Workshop.
However, the Writers Strike began that same month and placed the film on hold. Warner Bros. had to let the options lapse for the cast, but development was fast tracked once more in February 2008 when the strike ended. Warner Bros. and Miller wanted to start filming immediately, but production was pushed back three months. Originally, the majority of Justice League: Mortal would be shot at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney, with other locations scouted nearby at local colleges, and Sydney Heads doubling for Happy Harbor. The Australian Film Commission also had a say with casting choices, giving way for George Miller to cast Gale, Palmer and Keays-Bryne, all Australian natives. The production crew was composed entirely of Australians, but the Australian government denied Warner Bros. a 40 percent tax rebate as they felt they had not hired enough Australian actors. Miller was frustrated, stating that "A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Australian film industry is being frittered away because of very lazy thinking. They're throwing away hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that the rest of the world is competing for and, much more significantly, highly skilled creative jobs." Production offices were then moved to Vancouver Film Studios in Canada. Filming was pushed back to July 2008, while Warner Bros was still confident they could release the film for a summer 2009 release.
With production delays continuing, and the success of The Dark Knight in 2008, Warner Bros. decided to focus on development of individual films featuring the main heroes, allowing director Christopher Nolan to separately complete his Batman trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises in 2012. Gregory Noveck, senior vice president of creative affairs for DC Entertainment stated "we’re going to make a Justice League movie, whether it’s now or 10 years from now. But we’re not going to do it and Warners is not going to do it until we know it’s right." Actor Adam Brody joked "They [Warner Brothers] just didn’t want to cross their streams with a whole bunch of Batmans in the universe." Warner Bros. relaunched development for the solo Green Lantern film, released in 2011 as a critical and financial disappointment. Meanwhile, film adaptations for The Flash and Wonder Woman continued to languish in development while filming for a Superman reboot was commencing in 2011 with Man of Steel, produced by Nolan and written by David S. Goyer.
DC Extended Universe
In April 2014, Zack Snyder was announced as director for Goyer's Justice League script. Warner Bros. was reportedly courting Chris Terrio to rewrite Justice League the following July, after having been impressed with his rewrite of Batman v Superman. In October 2014, Warner Bros. announced there would be two films as the fifth and tenth installments of the DC Extended Universe, with one releasing in 2017, and the other in 2019. Snyder will direct both films. It is expected that Fisher will reprise his role as Cyborg; while Jason Momoa will appear as Aquaman and Ezra Miller will appear as The Flash. In July 2015, it was revealed that Terrio had completed the draft of the script of the first film. In January 2016, Variety reported that Amber Heard was in talks for the role of Mera in both films and Aquaman. The film will be shot in the U.K. On January 19, 2016, concept art was released for the film confirming Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash as the official lineup, though Geoff Johns hints that a Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps will eventually join the roster and appear in the movie. In February 2016, Entertainment Weekly reported that filming for Justice League will commence on April 11 at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden in southeast England, as well as various locations around London and in Iceland. In March 2016, it was announced that J. K. Simmons will play James Gordon in both upcoming films. That same month, Amber Heard was confirmed to Entertainment Tonight that she will be portraying Mera. The film would reportedly have a lighter tone than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
- Justice League: The New Frontier is a direct-to-video animated film adaptation of popular DC Comics limited series DC: The New Frontier released on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray Disc in the United States on February 26, 2008. The film was written by Justice League writer Stan Berkowitz, with Darwyn Cooke serving as story and visual consultant.
- In Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, some members of the Justice League (Captain Atom, Power Girl, Starfire, Black Lightning, Captain Marvel and Hawkman) as well as several other superheroes, are shown working for President Lex Luthor.
- Another direct-to-video film titled Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths was released in 2010. The film was originally brought up as a possible return to the Justice League Unlimited animated series with the title Justice League: Worlds Collide. Justice League: Worlds Collide would have been set in the DC animated universe. It was originally going to be produced concurrently with the first season of Justice League Unlimited, bridging the gap between the second season of Justice League and the relaunched show. The production was shelved just before the start of filming, but the script was later adapted into the direct-to-video film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, with changes that included removing all references to the DCAU continuity. As a result, the feature as originally intended is now unlikely to ever be produced. The film featured a League consisting of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash and Martian Manhunter. Aquaman, Firestorm, Black Canary, Red Tornado and Black Lightning appeared near the end of the film, and were supposedly offered full-time membership by Batman. In addition, alternate versions of Justice League Detroit (save for Steel) were shown as part of the Crime Syndicate of America, as were Black Canary and Green Arrow analogues. Analogues of Zatanna, Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), Power Girl and Red Tornado made brief cameos on a computer screen.
- Another animated feature, Justice League: Doom, was released on February 2012. The film featured a Justice League consisting of Superman, Batman, Cyborg, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Flash (Barry Allen) and Martian Manhunter.
- DC released another animated film on July 30, 2013, entitled Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. The film is centered on the Flash, who inadvertently changes the time stream by travelling back in time to save his mother. In the new world created, Flash finds himself speedless in a world without a Justice League and suffering from a devastating war between the Atlanteans and Amazonians. Relying on the help of Batman, in this world a vengeful, alcoholic Thomas Wayne, the Flash must find the prime suspect, Professor Zoom, and find a way to fix the time stream.
- Another animated feature, Lego Batman: The Movie – DC Super Heroes Unite, was released in early February 2013 and features members of the Justice League, particularly Batman and Superman, fighting Lex Luthor and The Joker in Lego form.
- In DC Showcase: Green Arrow, Green Arrow and Black Canary are members of the Justice League and their logo was seen in Oliver's phone.
- A version of the Justice League similar to The New 52 appears in the movie Justice League: War, with a team consisting of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), and Shazam. The same team appears in Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, with Aquaman as a newcomer. Superman, Batman, Cyborg, Flash and Wonder Woman appear in Justice League vs. Teen Titans.
- The Justice League is featured in the animated film JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time. The team consists of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash (Barry Allen), Cyborg and Aquaman. Karate Kid, Dawnstar, and Robin appear as well.
- Justice League Dark appears in their own animated film Justice League Dark.
The Justice League appears in The Lego Movie, with Superman voiced by Channing Tatum, Batman voiced by Will Arnett, Wonder Woman by Cobie Smulders, and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) by Jonah Hill. Flash (Barry Allen) and Aquaman also appear in the movie, although they have no lines. The Justice League also appeared in The Lego Batman Movie.
Justice League of America has been adapted for television numerous times.
- The first animated appearance of the Justice League was in the 1967 television series The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure. The team appeared in only three segments of the run of the show. The members seen are Superman, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Flash, and the Atom.
- The longest-running version of the Justice League was the loosely adapted series called the Super Friends, which ran in various incarnations from 1973 to 1986.
- The Justice League make their first appearance in the DC animated universe in "The Call", a two-part episode of Batman Beyond. It portrayed a futuristic version of the team, referred to as "Justice League Unlimited", or "JLU" for short. The lineup consisted of an aging Superman, a brand new Green Lantern, Big Barda, plus new characters: Aquagirl (Aquaman's daughter), Micron (similar to Atom), and Warhawk (who is later revealed to be the son of Green Lantern and Hawkgirl). Though he does not appear in Batman Beyond, Static and his ally Gear are also revealed to be members of the future Justice League in the Static Shock episode "Future Shock".
- Cartoon Network's Justice League series debuted in 2001 and lasted for two seasons. Although not the Justice League's first appearance in the DC animated universe, it was their first chronological appearance. In July 2004, the series was retitled and revised for its third, fourth, and fifth seasons as Justice League Unlimited. Both of these were extensions of the DC animated universe, continuing the continuity begun by Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Static Shock, Batman Beyond, and The Zeta Project.
- In the two-part fourth season finale of The Batman, titled "The Joining", Batman allied with Martian Manhunter against aliens known as "the Joining". At the end of the second episode, J'onn contacts Batman and asks him to join his group, prompting Batman to remark that J'onn has formed "quite a league". The members of the "League" featured in this sequence were Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Hawkman, and the Flash. In "The Batman/Superman Story, Part Two", Superman joins up with the Justice League. Much of the fifth season revolves around team-ups with League members and Batman. Other elements that were put forth included Batman recruiting Superman, and a headquarters combining elements of the Hall of Justice from Super Friends and the Watchtower from Justice League.
- "The League" is mentioned in a conversation between Batman and Plastic Man in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Presumably this refers to the Justice League. In fact, the show has featured many team-ups that included various heroes that were members of the JLA at one time or another, such as Adam Strange, Aquaman, Batman, Black Canary, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Captain Marvel, Elongated Man, Etrigan the Demon, Fire, Ice, Firestorm (both Ronald Raymond and Jason Rusch), Green Arrow, Roy Harper, Guy Gardner, Hal Jordan, G'nort, Kilowog, Huntress, Mister Miracle, Oberon, Big Barda, Black Lightning, Metamorpho, Phantom Stranger, Plastic Man, Red Tornado, Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, the Flash, Vixen, and Zatanna . The League itself is later seen in a flashback, meeting aboard the Satellite in "Sidekicks Assemble!". The roster seen consists of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), the Flash (Barry Allen), Aquaman, the Martian Manhunter, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Red Tornado, and Fire, though Superman and Wonder Woman have no dialogue and are seen only from behind due to the characters not being available to the show at the time. The Justice League International is featured in "Darkseid Descending!", and consists of Batman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Fire and Ice, Guy Gardner, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes). It is mentioned by Aquaman that there had been a previous incarnation of the JLA (presumably the original roster featured in "Sidekicks Assemble!"), and that it had disbanded under unpleasant circumstances.
- A twenty-person roster of the Justice League appears in the Young Justice animated series as mentors to the young heroes. The cast includes Bruce Greenwood as Batman, Phil LaMarr as Aquaman, Alan Tudyk as Green Arrow, Rob Lowe (and Chad Lowe) as Captain Marvel, Nolan North as Superman and Zatara (later Doctor Fate), George Eads as Flash, Kevin Michael Richardson as Martian Manhunter and John Stewart, Vanessa Marshall as Black Canary, Dee Bradley Baker as Hal Jordan, Maggie Q as Wonder Woman, Jeff Bennett as Red Tornado, Michael T. Weiss as Captain Atom and Kari Wahlgren as Hawkwoman. In the two-part pilot episode "Independence Day" (with the second part being renamed "Fireworks"), Hawkman is also shown as part of the team as well. At the end of the episode, Red Tornado volunteers to watch over the members of Young Justice as their guardian, while Black Canary is assigned as their combat instructor. The members of Young Justice operate out of the Secret Sanctuary in Happy Harbor, which Batman, the leader of the Justice League, describes as having been the original headquarters of the JL during their early years. Speedy explains that the Justice League currently operates out of the Watchtower in space while using the Hall of Justice in Washington, D.C. as a decoy headquarters to misdirect enemies and the general public. In "Usual Suspects" Red Arrow, Atom, Icon, Doctor Fate and Plastic Man officially joined the team. In the season 2 premiere, it is confirmed that Black Lightning, as well as former Young Justice members Zatanna and Rocket have joined the team as well.
- In a sketch for Mad, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are convinced to change the name from the Super Friends to the Justice League after a musical appeal by fellow heroes.
- The Justice League is re-imagined as animals in the DC Nation Shorts Farm League with Superman as Supermanatee, Batman as a mouse, Wonder Woman as Wonder Wombat, Flash as the Flish, Green Lantern as a boar, Aquaman as Aquamandrill, Captain Marvel as Shazham!, Robin as Robin's Egg, and Cyborg as Cybug.
- The Justice League reappears in Young Justice: Invasion, which is set five years after the events of the original series. The team has mostly the same line-up, with the exceptions being new members in the form of Zatanna (Lacey Chabert), Rocket (Kali Troy) and Black Lightning. Catherine Cobert (Stephanie Lemelin) also appears as the team's public liaison officer. Captain Atom is also the new leader of the Justice League.
- A new Justice League animated series titled Justice League Action debuted on Cartoon Network in Fall 2016. The series feature a revolving cast anchored by Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman.
- Legends of the Superheroes was a 1979 two-part special that adapted the Justice League. It featured Adam West, Burt Ward, and Frank Gorshin returning to their roles from the 1966-1968 live-action Batman television series: Batman, Robin, and the Riddler respectively. Other heroes portrayed on the show included Black Canary, Captain Marvel, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Huntress, and more.
- Justice League of America was a series pilot produced for CBS in 1997, but failed to sell. The pilot used less well-known characters to avoid the licensing issues surrounding Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. The characters used were the Guy Gardner Green Lantern, Fire, Ice, the Barry Allen Flash, and the Ray Palmer Atom set against a version of the Weather Wizard.
- Smallville featured a version of the Justice League in its sixth-season episode "Justice". The members of the team were drawn from versions of DC Comics heroes that had previously appeared in the show: "Impulse" from the season four episode "Run"; "Aquaman" (A.C.) from the season five episode "Aqua"; "Cyborg" (Victor Stone) from the season five episode of the same name, and "Green Arrow" who had been appearing as a regular character through season Six. The episode had the team temporarily recruiting main characters Clark Kent, who Green Arrow dubs "Boy Scout", and Chloe Sullivan, who acts as the team's advisor through a computer network under the codename "Watchtower". Later, in the Season Seven episode "Siren", Dinah Lance joined Oliver's team as the "Black Canary". She returns in the Season Eight premiere with Aquaman and Green Arrow to find Clark. However, after A.C. and Dinah have their identities exposed, Oliver makes the call for the team to temporarily disband. Later in the season, when Oliver reconnects with his heroic side in "Identity", the team reunites. In the episode "Bulletproof", it is mentioned that Detective John Jones (Martian Manhunter) has helped Oliver's team and got Oliver out of trouble with the police and is considered a member of the team. Clark and Chloe become more involved with the League as well, with Clark joining Bart on a mission in Keystone during "Hex", whilst in the same episode Chloe becomes a full-time 'Watchtower' for the team. Dr. Emil is a staff physician at Metropolis General Hospital and Metropolis University, who is also on Oliver Queen's payroll. Season Eight concludes with Flash, Black Canary, Green Arrow, and Clark working together to stop Doomsday. In the closing scenes Chloe reveals that Bart, Dinah, and Oliver have gone missing. In season 9 episode "Absolute Justice" members Green Arrow, Clark, John Jones, and Chloe aid members of the Justice Society of America. In the episode Doctor Fate restores John Jones's powers.
- The Justice League appears in the video games Justice League Task Force, released in 1995 for the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and Justice League Heroes, released in 2006 as a cross-platform game, as well as several video games based on its animated incarnation.
- Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash (Barry Allen), Captain Marvel, and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) appear in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.
- The Justice League is featured prominently in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game DC Universe Online, with the Watchtower serving as the transportation hub between Metropolis and Gotham City.
- In Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, Batman and Robin team-up with the Justice League which consists of Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Cyborg and Martian Manhunter.
- The Justice League are the main characters of the mobile video game for iOS Justice League: Earth's Final Defense, developed by Mobicle and published by Netmarble, the companies in South Korea. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash are playable characters, with Aquaman and Cyborg as non-playable Justice League members. This version of the Justice League is based on the one seen in The New 52.
- The Justice League is also featured in Injustice: Gods Among Us, developed by Netherrealm Studios, the team responsible for the Mortal Kombat series of games.
- A new incarnation of the League is shown in various character endings in the game Injustice 2. The line up is consistent of Batman, Supergirl, Harley Quinn, Firestorm (Jason Rusch and Martin Stein), Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), The Flash (Barry Allen), and in his story only Sub-Zero
- The Justice League reappear in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. Members include Batman, Robin, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Cyborg, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Plastic Man, and other heroes.
- In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "New Class Day" the Supertoons - referring to themselves as the Just-Us League - consisting of Superbun (a parody of Superman), Wonder Babs (Wonder Woman), Little Dasher (Flash), Hawk Loon (Hawkgirl), Keen Arrow (Green Arrow), Scentanna (Zatanna), Pink Canary (Black Canary) and Aqua Mutt (Aquaman) invite Batduck (Batman) and Decoy (Robin) to join their group when they are attacked by Wex Wuthor (Lex Luthor).
- In the South Park episode "Super Best Friends", the boys join a cult led by magician David Blaine. They return to their faith in traditional religions by enlisting the help of Jesus. After a confrontation where Blaine defeats Jesus, Jesus realizes he needs the help of his "Super Best Friends." The team consists of key religious figures from other religions to include Vishnu, Muhammad, Buddha, Joseph Smith and Moses (who is depicted as a supercomputer), plus "Seaman", a parody of Aquaman whose name is pronounced in derision by the other characters as "semen".
- The webcomic JL8 presents the members of the Justice League as 8-year old children.
- The song "I'll Be Your Wonder Woman" by Dorit mentions the Justice League.
- The song "Dynamite!" by American hip hop band The Roots mentions the Justice League.
- The song "Melt the Guns" by English band XTC mentions the Justice League.
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