So, what *did* happen to Flash in s1 of JLU?

Simpler Simon

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I feel safe bringing this up again since Flash has now been firmly "re-established" in the JLU series with lots of appearances, supporting roles, and major spotlights. And as far as I know, we never got a firm answer on why Flash was absent from the first 13 episodes of JLU, save for small cameos in three episodes.

Popular theories included:

a) Michael Rosenbaum was busy with Smallville - I seriously doubt this one. Besides the fact that VA work is very flexible, Rosenbaum has been involved in both shows since they began in the same year, with no conflicts. In fact, he arguably had less to do on JLU, since the rotating cast would mean less appearances. Plus, can you imagine if WB actually openly decided Smallville was more important than JLU, and that Rosenbaum's VA work could wait? There'd be bad blood all over the WB offices.

b)The staff didn't know how to write for Flash, and simply chose not to use him - I always found this very insulting to the creative team, that they would ignore a starring character whose picture appears in the title sequence. Besides, even if the first batch of episodes didn't have any Flash starring roles, there were plenty of supporting roles he could've appeared in (Dark Heart, Kid Stuff, Greatest Story Never Told, a stronger presence in The Return).

So with those 2 out of the way, the only theory left that I can think of is...

c)the Flash EMBARGO. Yeah its kinda gotten old mentioning embargoes, but since Flash is back now, obviously any embargo has been lifted, right? The strongest evidence supporting an embargo is that Smallville used a version of The Flash in season 4, which aired roughly around the same time season 1 of JLU started. Note the purposed Aquaman series affected the character's use on JLU, so it's very possible the live-action shows affect the animated ones. Besides this,

-the creative team acknowledged Flash would be "returning" in Ties That Bind, yet never offered any answers to all the fan speculation. I'm guessing they figured (quite correctly) news of a Flash embargo would cause fans to riot, on top of the Batman embargo already established.

-Flash's absence was explained by a)being too immature to participate in the big league missions and b)being busy in central city. Since JLU refrained from openly dealing w/timeframes (did all the s1 episodes happen in weeks? months?), it's odd a character would note that theyve been away for any extended time - unless it was a throwaway line to curious audiences.

So yeah...Flash embargo? Or more crop circles and the spread of boy bands?
 

S.C.B

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I've always wondered about this too. I mean, it was explained storywise in 'The Balance', but I've been curious as to the behind the scenes story.

I think that it was just an unfortunate coincidence. They kept on writing stories with different characters, and probably realised at the end of season 1;

"Holy crap. Where's the Flash?"

It reminds me of the way they wrote Superman in season 1 of JL. They didn't realise they were doing it to the extent they were.

I guess the problem with him making wordless appearances is that he's a very, um... vocal character. With other heroes, you could get away with them being silent and getting down to business, but with Flash, it seems odd for him not to be making some bad joke.
 

PeterFries

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I don't actually think it was a conspiracy so much as a character getting a bit lost in the shuffle, but it is worth noting that WB was briefly developing a Flash TV series around that time, that they ultimately passed on.
 

The Penguin

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Wow. I don't even know what to say. I'll be back when people are ranting about embargos.
 

Karkull

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There was no Flash embargo -- you can clearly see the Flash making silent cameos in "Initiation" and "The Return." I believe that the reason for the Flash's absence had to do with Rosenbaum's appearance in the 2005 film / train wreck Cursed. Here's a bit of trivia about it from IMDB:

Plagued by production problems and script issues, this film's release was delayed for over a year. Over half of the movie had to be re-shot with many cast members being replaced due to scheduling conflicts [...] When the production was stalled, many cast members were cut, including Illeana Douglas, Heather Langenkamp, Scott Foley, Omar Epps, Robert Forster, and Corey Feldman. All of these actors even filmed their scenes, which were cut when the movie was re-written and re-shot.

If Rosenbaum stuck around long enough to actually remain in the film, it would mean that he had to -- essentially -- film two movies worth of material, as they needed to reshoot the scenes with the recasted roles. Between that and Smallville he was probably too tied up to do Justice League Unlimited, so the creative team wrote around him until the movie wrapped. By the time he was available again it was too late to insert Flash into that season, but he did make an appearance as Ghoul (from ROTJ) in the season finale.
 

jv2k

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I pick d
They pushed flash aside to make way from batman, and were about to give batman superspeed as well. The out cry for flash in the forums around the world caused them to reconsider for fear of house egging on a massive scale.
 

Christopher Glennon

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While it's true they had a lot of new characters to introduce (setting up the importances of Green Arrow and Question, for instance), and the fact that they just had other ideas for characters that didn't require Flash's presence (Superman got his in FTMWHE and Wonder Woman's in "Hawk & Dove"), I'm still wondering about two particular episodes:

1) "Kid Stuff" - This episode brings together the main cast (Shayera was gone at this point, and J'onn was running things as well as, come on, he's a shape-shifter, wouldn't work with him). Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern but no Flash? He would've been perfect for the episode. Plus, Michael Rosenbaum's availability isn't even an issue since they would've used a kid to voice him.

2) "Dark Heart" - It felt weird having Superman get the Atom saying he's the fastest. Feels like the creative team would've anticipated our Flash withdrawal, and if you wanted to put him in any episode to tide us over until his larger role later, this would've been it.
 

Simpler Simon

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Karkull said:
There was no Flash embargo -- you can clearly see the Flash making silent cameos in "Initiation" and "The Return." I believe that the reason for the Flash's absence had to do with Rosenbaum's appearance in the 2005 film / train wreck Cursed. Here's a bit of trivia about it from IMDB:

See what's always stumped me is that absolutely no one would explain the lack of Flash. The show took a lot of heat season 1 for not having him around, when a simple post/interview tidbit of "Rosenbaum is unavailable" would've made everyone so much more understanding. I understand not everything has to be explained to fans and that NDAs cover other sensitive issues, but I dont see why this would fall into either.

Also, going by what I said originally, isn't Rosenbaum obligated to fulfill JLU contract obligations like anything else? wouldn't legal issues pop up if one project delayed another pre-established one?
 

Grimlock

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The Penguin said:
Wow. I don't even know what to say. I'll be back when people are ranting about embargos.

Seems to me you should be part of the discussion then.

:)
 

Grimlock

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Simpler Simon said:
Also, going by what I said originally, isn't Rosenbaum obligated to fulfill JLU contract obligations like anything else? wouldn't legal issues pop up if one project delayed another pre-established one?

Well perhaps his JLU contract says, "must fulfill all voice duties requested unless a major-motion film is taking place with this actor in it."
 

bskcase

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If push came to shove, I'm sure the people at JLU would replace Rosenbaum with somebody else. All sides would prefer that didn't happen, but I think the answer is just simple: "They didn't write him in." They had a lot of characters to put in and they just couldn't get to everybody.

Although, I've seen some new episodes. ;) Flash gets the spotlight in a big way.
 

PeterFries

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90'sCartoonMan said:
1) "Kid Stuff" - Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern but no Flash? He would've been perfect for the episode. Plus, Michael Rosenbaum's availability isn't even an issue since they would've used a kid to voice him.

Also -- Kid Flash! I still say it would have been a hilarious, sneaky in joke to have WW, Aquaman, Batman and Flash revert to young teen age for that ep and wear Wondergirl, Aqualad, Robin and Kid Flash costumes.

On the other hand, I never would have guessed back then that we'd actually get a Kid Flash episode in Teen Titans, with you know who doing the voicework.
 

ITDEFX

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if i said it once , i will say it again....EMBARGOS OF ANY KINDS ARE THE MOST STUPIDIST THINGS WB HAS EVER DONE!!!! so if that new batman movie last year and THE Batman caused problems for JLU's batman...whats gonna happen once Superman hits the screen this summer?!?!?!?

IMHO, WB needs to stop shooting themselves in the foot.
 

Toddman

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Simpler Simon said:
Also, going by what I said originally, isn't Rosenbaum obligated to fulfill JLU contract obligations like anything else? wouldn't legal issues pop up if one project delayed another pre-established one?

It really depends on the contract. Heck, I suppose it's possible that even the main cast might be hired on an episode-to-episode basis. But at the most, I'll bet they might sign a season-long contract. And if something like that were the case, perhaps Rosenbaum didn't sign a contract for JLU season 1, in order to work on the train wreck that Karkull filled us in on.

Toddman
 

b.t.

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Simpler Simon said:
And as far as I know, we never got a firm answer on why Flash was absent from the first 13 episodes of JLU, save for small cameos in three episodes.

Popular theories included:

a) Michael Rosenbaum was busy with Smallville - I seriously doubt this one. Besides the fact that VA work is very flexible, Rosenbaum has been involved in both shows since they began in the same year, with no conflicts. In fact, he arguably had less to do on JLU, since the rotating cast would mean less appearances. Plus, can you imagine if WB actually openly decided Smallville was more important than JLU, and that Rosenbaum's VA work could wait? There'd be bad blood all over the WB offices.

b)The staff didn't know how to write for Flash, and simply chose not to use him - I always found this very insulting to the creative team, that they would ignore a starring character whose picture appears in the title sequence.

a little bit of both "a" and "b", actually.....

a) fact is, it IS very difficult to schedule recording times for actors who have regular prime-time gigs (strangely enough, it's actually been even harder to get carl lumbly in the studio, even though his show is shot here in town, not in vancouver)...michael's always been very cooperative, whenever he's in town he always lets us know in advance, in case we need to pick him up for adr or whatnot, and when he's in vancouver for extended periods, we record him over i.s.d.n. phone-patch (which unfortunately is technically a pain in the arse and pretty expensive as well)...and poor carl, i can't tell you how many times he's raced across town from the ALIAS set, run into the recording booth, jammed through his lines and then zoomed back to ALIAS....whenever i think of carl, i see him panting for breath....since season one of JL it's been very rare that either of them has actually recorded their lines with the rest of the cast...but they've been absolute pros, both of 'em (and just generally swell guys, too, i love 'em both to pieces)...

b) more to the point, it wasn't necessarily that we didn't know HOW to write the flash, it was more that we weren't 100% happy with his characterisation in the two seasons of jl, and wanted to give him a bit of an overhaul....there were a few flash-centric story springboards that we toyed with during season one of JLU, but none of them panned out...meanwhile, other story ideas WERE working out better so we concentrated on those, put flash on the back burner and before we knew it, season one was almost over, sans flash....

we made sure to bring him back prominently early on in season two, and didn't even end up tweaking his personality as much as we'd expected to....he was still "goofy comic-relief guy", but not as blantantly....also, he truly IS the most difficult superhero to write, we ALWAYS end up "cheating" his powers-usage with varying degrees of success (as EVERY writer who has ever written flash has always had to do, whether it's for comics, live-action or animation)....

and no, no one ever told us "smallville" was more important than JLU (though, it'd be a hard point to argue if they HAD, in the bigger scheme of things) and no, michael isn't and never has been under any kind of "contractual obligation" to appear in any set number of episodes, our va contracts don't work that way....

mystery solved?
 

DerekPowers

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i'd say that solves the mystery.

But, speaking of the Flash and his personality/character, I thought his appearence in "We are Legion" seemed off, or atleast notibly changed from JL. In JL he was very flirty, very much a ladies man, and even a bit obnoxious about it all (just think about the scene w/ Amazo and Mercy, when Amazo picks up the flash's personality). But in WAL, he was all flustered and shy when dealing with Fire. What gives?

I know we talked alittle about this in the WAL talkback, and some good theories were that he's kind of all talk, and when he's confronted by someone he actually really likes, he gets shy. But he was too much so imo. I liked the flirty, more foward Flash. I feel like he's becoming too childish. I mean, he's always been silly and childish, but his flirty nature just gave him a bit of an edge.

Maybe he's matured...I could be totally wrong here, but i could have sworn when JL first premired the creative team said he was supose to be like 18, which would explain the ragging hormones, and would explain them leveling out a few years later in JLU. BUT that doesnt explain how an 18 year old would become a police scientist or whatever it is flash was before his accident.

Does anyone else recall this? I also could have sworn "they" said WW was 26, and also said how Superman was supose to be older and more mature. Anyone remember that or am i crazy?

peace.
 

Sue

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I remember reading here that he was young, probably 18 like you said. But I think you answered your own question, Derek, on why Flash is different. I think it's because he's matured since we first met him.
 

Revelator

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So would it be fair to assume that Lumbly's duties on Alias played a hand in the decision to temporarily replace Jonn with Mr.Terrific?
 

David64

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b.ta) fact is said:
That kinda sucks for them. So much work for both actors, but they still pull it off. I'm glad Michael Rosenbaum can still make time for JLU. I think he's a great Lex Luthor in Smallville, but he's also a great VA for the Flash. Just like Kevin Conroy as Batman or Mark Hamill as Joker, I can't think of anyone else doing the voice of the Flash.
 

Simpler Simon

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b.t. said:
mystery solved?

Solved ;) I guess I used up my "b.t. signal" with that question (not that I ever had the right to use one). Still not sure why the lack of Flash became so hush-hush during the season 1 run, but I'm sure you had reasons.

I guess it was obvious that animation contracts (by the nature of the work) aren't quite as absolute as a live-action show, but now it almost feels like a "you get whatever free time is left over, deal with it" situation. Guess its the industry way...
 
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