“Justice League Unlimited” is Back in an All-New Movie from Bruce Timm
The animated Justice League of yore returns in 2019 for Justice League vs the Fatal Five, a new feature film from Warner Bros. Animation and DC Comics, directed by Sam Liu and written by Eric Carrasco and Jim Krieg, with voice director Wes Gleason. The film is produced by DC animation legend Bruce Timm, and stars veteran voice actors Kevin Conroy (Batman), George Newbern (Superman), and Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman). The familiar cast is joined by Diane Guerrero (Jessica Cruz) and Elyes Gabel (Starboy), as well as Sumalee Montano (Emerald Empress), Daniela Bobadilla (Miss Martian), and Kevin Michael Richardson (Mr. Terrific).
It’s been almost 13 years since the conclusion of Justice League Unlimited, the last in a long line of connected animated DC Comics properties that began in 1992 with Batman: the Animated Series. Helmed by Timm, along with Dwayne McDuffie, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, and many other creative forces over the years, the string of animated series that would become dubbed by fans as the “DC Animated Universe” or “Timmverse” was and still is one of the most popular interpretations of DC’s characters and stories.
Since the finale of Unlimited in May of 2006, the DCAU has been an on-again-off-again presence among many other DC Comics interpretations in animation, live-action, and other mediums. It reemerged briefly for the 75th Anniversary of Batman in 2014, with Darwyn Cooke’s “Batman Beyond” animated short. It has taken the form of spin-off comics like Jon Sommariva and Matthew Manning’s “Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures” or Paul Dini’s recent “Harley Loves Joker” backup story and solo series.
The DC Animated Universe has begun a steady merge into the realm of nostalgia–2017 marked the 25th Anniversary of Batman: the Animated Series–but has recently hit a pop culture resurgence: the “Batman: Gotham Under Siege” original board game from IDW, the Batman: Mask of the Phantasm feature film anniversary limited theatrical run, the Batman: the Animated Series remastered Blu-ray box set, and the long-awaited Static Shock and The Zeta Project full series DVD releases being but a few examples.
In 2017, a new animated feature film set in the world of BTAS debuted, Batman and Harley Quinn. Also produced by Bruce Timm, the movie was met with mixed reactions from fans and critics alike, but was the first real foray back into the world of the DC Animated Universe in over a decade. Despite its lukewarm reception, B&HQ paved the way for further returns to this award-winning universe and its iconic art style, legendary voice cast, and extensive continuity.
2019’s Justice League vs the Fatal Five is the newest in DCAU-connected properties. The film revolves around the Justice League’s involvement with the reluctant hero Jessica Cruz, the time-displaced Starboy, and the supervillain cadre the Fatal Five. The official synopsis, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is as follows:
Justice League vs. The Fatal Five finds the fate of the earth hanging in the balance when the Justice League faces a powerful new threat — the Fatal Five! Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman seek answers as the time-traveling trio of Mano, Persuader and Tharok terrorize Metropolis in search of budding Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. With her unwilling help, they aim to free remaining Fatal Five members Emerald Empress and Validus to carry out their sinister plan. But the Justice League has also discovered an ally from another time in the peculiar Star Boy — brimming with volatile power, could he be the key to thwarting the Fatal Five? An epic battle against ultimate evil awaits!
Fatal Five has not been officially confirmed to be part of the DC Animated Universe, and may very well be a standalone animated film among many others of its kind in the DC Universe Original Animated Movies line that began with Superman: Doomsday in 2007. But context clues point to a likely integration with the Justice League Unlimited world and its lore. Besides the returning voice actors, identical character designs from Unlimited appear to be in use for the Trinity lineup and fellow Justice League member Mr. Terrific. Character designs for the antagonistic Fatal Five have been slightly altered from their previous appearance in the JLU episode “Far From Home,” but still maintain the DNA of those previous models, not unlike many other artistic reinterpretations throughout the DCAU’s lifetime.
Based on official press and the sneak peek teaser featurette released as a companion to the Reign of the Supermen animated film, other characters to appear in Justice League vs the Fatal Five include the villain Bloodsport (voiced by Spongebob Squarepants lead Tom Kenny) and various members of the futuristic Legion of Super Heroes such as Brainiac 5 (voiced by Noel Fisher), Saturn Girl (voiced by Tara Strong), and many other Legionnaires in more minor roles like Shadow Lass, Dawnstar, and Mon-El.
According to Gary Miereanu, director of publicity for Warner Bros. Animation, we have “a few weeks to wait” (via Twitter) for an official trailer. For now, you can catch the Watchtower Database’s initial speculation and reaction videos, with an upcoming teaser breakdown this Sunday on the WDb YouTube channel.
No official release date has been set at this time for Justice League vs the Fatal Five. The Internet Movie Database’s entry for the film suggests August 6, 2019. However, The Hollywood Reporter states it is “expected in the spring,” and with 2 other animated DC films on the slate for this year (Batman: Hush and Wonder Woman: Bloodlines), and the trailer to release very soon, it is unlikely we will have to wait very long. More information as we obtain it.
Stay tuned for more updates and videos on Justice League vs the Fatal Five from the Watchtower Database!