FAN NEWS

Voice Director Jamie Thomason on the Richness of YOUNG JUSTICE: OUTSIDERS

Joseph McCabe

Joseph McCabe

Jan. 10, 2019

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Young Justice is back! After a six-year hiatus, DC's teen super-team supreme has returned to us for a third season (watch Young Justice: Outsiders here). To help prepare for what's to come, we sat down with one of the gentlemen who know Young Justice best -- voice director Jamie Thomason, who worked on the show's first two seasons as well as other DC animated favorites like Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam. Here's what Thomason had to tell us...  

 

On voice directing a show with so many characters... 

 

It’s just, "Everybody shut up and do what I say." It's that simple. [Laughs.] There are a lot of new characters and a lot of old characters. It’s a big show. To put it into perspective... The typical, average television animation episode might have eight, ten actors maybe. Some more, some less. This show routinely had 15, 18, 25. There were several episodes where there were over 20 actors. From a casting standpoint, and dialogue directing... That’s the fun [job] I get to do, to hire the actors and direct them doing the voices. It presents a particular challenge, but it also provides a very particular payoff. It’s absolutely one of the most fulfilling professional experiences, in television in particular, that I’ve had the pleasure of being associated with. I’ve done several shows with [producer] Greg [Weisman], and all of his shows are always -- we’ll call it multi-layered, textured. Some would call it complicated, but he doesn’t fool around. [Producer] Brandon [Vietti], if anything even more so. So the combination of the two of them...I’ve never worked with a team that more perfectly complimented each other than those two. You know, they say a great relationship is when your neuroses fit each other, that fits Greg and Brandon perfectly. Between the two of them, they’re both very intelligent, cerebral, well-read, well-versed, and just true pros. Not that everyone I work with isn’t all those things. It’s just that, there’s two of them, twice as much of that fantastic stuff.

 

On the freedom of being on DC Universe...

 

Because [Young Justice: Outsiders] is on a streaming service we’re able to fulfill moments more completely. If you liked the first two seasons you’re going to love the third season. It’s a very character-driven show and so there are, in every episode, some really special moments, specific character-experiential moments, where stuff gets paid off. Because it’s on a streaming service this season there are some shackles removed that would normally be there for broadcast TV. [We're] more free to completely, deeply, richly fulfill moments -- positive moments and not-so-positive moments -- visually fulfill in a way that you would not be allowed to [on broadcast TV]... 

 

I get the script in advance and I’ll read through it, and at least a couple times in every episode I’ll turn the page, and I’ll get to something and I’ll just say, "Wow, really? We can do that? We’re doing that?" I stopped asking that question but I didn’t stop having that reaction as the season went on. It’s a perfect blend. Sam Register, who is the boss at Warner Brothers Animation, told Greg, "You guys created the perfect binge-watching show. It’s just that you created it five years too soon." The first two seasons were great and it was a fantastic experience, and it was a drag when they didn’t pick it up another season. I was not shocked at all when I got the call that they were going to pick up an additional season specifically for a streaming service. That made perfect sense. [Young Justice: Outsiders] is everything you liked or loved about the first two seasons but just more so, more completely fulfilled. If you felt like it was a rich storytelling experience before, boy, are you going to like it even more this season. 

 

On how best to prepare for Young Justice: Outsiders...

 

Binge watch those first two seasons [on DC Universe] and then go right into the third season. That is what I would recommend. Any individual episode absolutely stands on its own. If you’ve never seen an episode and you just tune into a random episode in the middle of season 2 or season 3, it’ll be a great episode. If you start at the beginning of season 1 and you binge watch those first two seasons and go right into the third, you’re going to have a particularly more profound experience.

 

On the accessibility of Young Justice...

 

I have two kids that are teenagers now. Five years ago they weren’t teenagers, so they didn’t see [the show] back then. Now that I think about it this was a particularly gratifying moment -- one of my daughters came to me and said, "Didn’t you work on Young Justice? Isn’t that one of your shows?" I said, "Yeah, why do you ask?" "That show is awesome!" I come to find out she was watching it on the Netflix; she sat down and watched an entire season. The other one hadn’t seen any of it. We all sat down one evening and watched a couple episodes, well into the second season. The daughter that had never seen an episode didn’t have any of that setup but still absolutely got to enjoy it on a fairly deep level.

 

Each individual episode -- throw a dart -- it stands on its own. Is it made more for the fans? It’s made because of the fans, I know that. The fans absolutely are the reason that we’re doing a third season. It was an unorganized protest as it were. Everyone was just watching it on Netflix but they were watching it a lot, so all of a sudden we got to have more without even pushing at that point. If you are a hardcore, dye-in-the-wool fan and you know everything about this universe and you’ve seen every episode a hundred times, you are absolutely going to appreciate this season. If you have literally never seen an episode before and you tune in, you’re still going to really enjoy it.

 

On his favorite character this season... 

 

Other than Greg and Brandon, the producers of the show, it’s tough to say. [Laughs.] There are so many characters. It’s such a broad, deep, rich tapestry. It’s really difficult to narrow it down. But Halo is a standout. Her arc throughout the season is fantastic.

 

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