When Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, and Paul Dini launched the DC Animated Universe (DCAU) with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992, it transformed the way people thought about superhero animation. They expanded the universe in the following years with Superman: The Animated Series and later The New Batman Adventures. They sent us to the future in 1999 with Batman Beyond, which introduced the concept of a DCAU Justice League. Since then, fans have been clamouring for a true Justice League animated series. Timm and his team delivered in 2001. The #JLReunion hashtag has been gaining traction on social media for years, urging a return of the Justice League Unlimited series in some form. This potential return is backed not only by ardent fans but also by the whole original voice cast.
Why bring back Justice League Unlimited now? Is it merely for the sake of nostalgia?
The show should be revived because, despite the fact that it has been off the air for 15 years, it is still the best representation of the DC Universe in any medium other than comic books. Unlike the CW Arrowverse or the DCEU, this is a version of the DC heroes that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Almost any DC fan can get behind this rendition.
It would be wise to have another high-profile Justice League project to go along with Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Another argument for a genuine relaunch is that when JLU was made in the early 2000s, the DC Comics characters they could employ were relatively limited. The makers of JLU were only allowed to utilise the Kevin Conroy version of the Dark Knight because of the 2004 animated series The Batman, and no other Bat-family characters (initial pre-The Batman seasons). There will be no Nightwing, Robin, Catwoman, or other superheroes.
Several legendary Justice League heroes, including Blue Beetle, Firestorm, and Plastic Man, were also off-limits to the producers for various reasons. Because those regulations are no longer in effect, a new JLU may finally embrace the whole ensemble of DC comics characters.
A shift to HBO Max or DC Universe (or both) could also allow for more advanced storytelling than the previous Cartoon Network show. This would allow for something more akin to the Young Justice series from the DC Universe. That said, it should keep its all-ages format, which elevates the series to a new level in terms of storytelling, much beyond what they could have achieved in the past.
Though we could see the series being rebooted as a film, JLU worked best as long-form storytelling. The animated film Justice League Vs. The Fatal Five had a mini-reunion, but not everyone from the core cast returned. That was an entertaining little film, but it mostly served to spark our interest in seeing more. Hopefully, it’s only a taste of something bigger to come.