Young Justice made its very long-awaited return with new episodes in 2019 with a revival on DC Universe, and fans were rewarded with news of a renewal for Season 4. That said, there had been little to no news on the Young Justice front since the finale of Season 3 back in August 2019. Now, thanks to DC FanDome, executive producer Greg Weisman dropped some details about the fourth season, including that the show is dropping its Season 3 title of Young Justice: Outsiders for something a little eerier. Prepare for Young Justice: Phantoms on the way!
Yes, the new title for the increasingly more adult show in Season 4 is Young Justice: Phantoms, and I'm just going to go ahead and assume that the new name doesn't come because nothing but good things have happened to the heroes since the Outsiders days. Among the reveals at DC FanDome, executive producer Greg Weisman shared the status of Season 4. Like many productions, Young Justice had to make some changes due to the coronavirus pandemic that shut down a lot of the entertainment industry earlier in 2020. Weisman said:
We’re all working from home. And for the most part, when it comes to the pre-production, the script writing, the storyboards, design work, we’ve successfully transitioned to working at home. It’s not quite as much fun to not be in the office and have everyone together, but we’re doing it. That’s not a problem. The thing that’s been tough, as these guys have indicated, is voice recording, where we used to record everyone together as much as possible in a room for the first three seasons.
As an animated show, Young Justice doesn't face the same challenges as some of the other DC TV shows, including the entire shared Arrowverse universe over on The CW, so Greg Weisman and Co. have been able to work on not just script writing, but also storyboarding and designing. Weisman didn't share what the plans are for the actual animation process, but fans should be relieved to know the the production team is actively working on bringing Season 4 to the small screen.
Of course, the other element of an animated show beyond the actual animation that can't just be recreated is the performances. As Greg Weisman shared, Young Justice previously recorded the cast together whenever it was an option, but that's not possible with the current state of quarantine and social distance. Weisman went on to describe the normal recording process for Young Justice and how that is changing for Phantoms:
Every once in a while there’s someone who couldn’t make a session and we had to pick up later. But for the most part we bring everyone together. At least in small groups, if not the whole cast, and that obviously has changed. Everyone is mostly recording one at a time from their closets. But the fact is, is that we're all pretty lucky working on the show, we're employed, everyone on the show is healthy. So really can't complain.
If the voice actors can't get to a recording booth at a studio, they can just make their own recording booths at home! It should be interesting to see if episodes of Young Justice: Phantoms are noticeably different than Young Justice: Outsiders when it comes to the performances. That said, there is no saying when the show will return with Season 4 episodes, so there may be plenty of time for Greg Weisman and the rest of the production team to perfect the process from home. Fortunately, the Young Justice FanDome panel did drop some more details about Season 4.
Thanks to a virtual table read of an original episode, called Young Justice: Fandom. Season 3.9 Episode 1, "The Prize" that was set between the end of Season 3 and the beginning of Season 4, fans can now count on Roy Harper rejoining the team despite Dick Grayson previously kicking him off. Nightwing was MIA from the episode, because he's off on "another of his top-secret sabbaticals," according to Artemis. She revealed that she is the new leader of the team, and she invited Roy back.
Perhaps the bigger development is that M'Gann and Conner are seemingly leaving the team and the superhero business to start a life together elsewhere. If they remain absent when Phantoms picks up, then there will be some considerable holes in the status quo. M'Gann was instrumental to the team in Outsiders, while Conner was one of the mentors to the new crop of "outsiders" along with Dick Grayson and Artemis.
Personally, I'm curious about what kind of time jump we are or aren't looking at for Young Justice: Phantoms. The show leapt ahead multiple years between each of the previous seasons; will Young Justice stick to more or less real time for the fourth season, or will the action move forward years again? For now, we can only wait and see.
Unlike other DC Universe originals, Young Justice hasn't been announced as moving to either HBO Max a la Titans and Doom Patrol or The CW like Stargirl. You can find the first three seasons streaming now on DC Universe, and watch the full table read episode on DC FanDome. For more viewing options now and in the coming weeks, check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule.