TEEN TITANS GO! & DC SUPER HERO GIRLS Interview With Supervising Producer James Tucker (Exclusive)
Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse Supervising Producer James Tucker talks about going from overseeing the DC Animated Universe to bringing together two beloved franchises...
In Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse, Lex Luthor wields an ancient Kryptonian power and unites the world's supervillains to capture the DC Universe's heroes. With only the fan-favourite DC Super Hero Girls left to stop the Legion of Doom, the team must cross dimensions to rescue their fellow superheroes from the Phantom Zone, but a fortuitous wrong turn leads them to Titans Tower...where they find much-needed allies in the iconic Teen Titans!
That's the premise of this awesome blockbuster event, and we can promise you'll have an absolute riot with this hilarious, action-packed crossover. Ahead of its Digital, Blu-ray, and DVD release on May 24, we caught up with Supervising Producer James Tucker to talk about combining these franchises.
We're sure you'll remember that James oversaw the incredibly popular era of DC Animated Universe movies that culminated with Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, while he's also set to co-producer Matt Reeves' Batman: Caped Crusader. When it came to this project, though, the filmmaker had what sounds like a wild time bringing together the DC Super Hero Girls and Teen Titans Go!.
In the interview below, James talks about how the crossover became a reality, adapting to the Titans' unique style of humour, mixing animation styles, and his future hopes for the DC Super Hero Girls franchise. He also shares some insights into making an awesome Super Friends cameo a reality!
We have seen the Teen Titans Go! characters meet the DC Super Hero Girls before, but what led to this particular crossover becoming a reality?
I came to the franchise while working on the end of season one so got to know the show pretty well. I was all in on doing a bigger project with the DC Super Hero Girls, so we started the process and this was something that got brought up by the network and the people in charge when they said, ‘Oh, it would be great to include the Titans.’ We knew that they had previous run-in, but there’s no real continuity with Teen Titans Go!, so we knew when we introduced them to this, we wouldn’t have to go back and retread things that had already been done in the other team-up.
This was more a case of them being really meta. They’re watching the real movie! That’s how we handled it as we knew it wasn’t going to be a team-up per se because we’d see the Titans watching the movie with the audience for the most part. You can do anything with that franchise. You can take them anywhere and put them in anything. You can break reality because there is no reality [Laughs]. It was interesting meshing the two aesthetics. The Titans have a wild aesthetic that’s all over the place, but the DC Super Hero Girls is comedy-based, but there’s also serious stuff and continuity between the episodes. It was a challenge, but I really enjoyed how it turned out.
Many of the DC projects you’ve worked on have been for older fans, so what’s it been like for you to tell stories in a setting aimed at a younger audience?
I like to think I’m versatile! [Laughs] Before I went on to those DC movies, I’d done Batman: the Brave and the Bold for three years. I go between both extremes. I like to do really fun, humorous, witty - not too stupid - projects and more adult stuff as well. The perfect world for me is being able to blend the two where there’s humour with the adult stuff and seriousness in the humour stuff. I don’t have any problems switching between the two.
Bringing the Teen Titans Go! into play means you get to have some fun with in-jokes and meta-commentary, but what about that did you enjoy most?
You know, it was challenging because even though I like fun and wacky, I still enjoy a little bit of structure [Laughs]. The Titans are just complete anarchy, and I remember when they were developing their show early on, they were asking people for ideas. I sat down with the creators, Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, and had no idea what they were going for. I waited to see what they would do and when I saw the show, I realised I’d have to have a concussion to know how to do this show [Laughs]. When it came to this movie, I’d seen a show a lot and had become a huge fan. I love watching stuff where I have no clue how to do it. I’ve learned a lot from watching it over the years, so I knew what felt right for the characters, how to push them, and how not to get them too emotional. It was challenging but lots of fun. A lot of credit goes to Jace Ricci’s script because he did his due diligence and really got into the Titans aesthetic. I know the DC Super Hero Girls appeared in Teen Titans Go!, but I don’t think it ever happened the other way around. That was the trick because it’s one thing to go into their world, but another to introduce them into the tone of what we were doing here. We had to be careful about that. At the core of this movie, between the fun humour, is a serious story and a poignant theme and heart to it. When you introduce the Titans, it becomes a balancing act.
In terms of mixing the DC Super Hero Girls and Teen Titans Go! animation styles, what are some of the biggest challenges that presents?
We had a lot of help because we put everything in front of the Titans producers to make sure they signed off on it. I might look at them and go, ‘Oh, that looks right,’ but I know this from my own personal experience, you can immediately tell if someone is going off track or don’t understand the way we do things. That was the case with the Titans producers because they would notice right away, for example, that Robin’s mouth doesn’t move in a certain way. I’m talking about certain things I wouldn’t have caught with the naked eye because I don’t make the show, I just watch it. They help a lot and their music guy even helped with that great song in the movie. It was a collaborative effort for the most part, but we dealt mainly with the DC Super Hero Girls and got notes from the Titans crew about how to handle their guys. It was a back and forth.
Is it your hope that this Multiverse concept, which is very popular right now, could lead to more crossovers for DC Super Hero Girls beyond just the Teen Titans Go!?
They’re a great set of characters. I really hope so. This movie was wonderful to produce, but it’s a fantastic franchise. It’s its own thing. I don’t know if people are watching it like they ought to be because it’s very DC relevant. The people who made it before I came on knew what they were doing and knew the DC world. If you’re a fan of this universe, I don’t know how you can not want more DC Super Hero Girls.
To get into slight spoilers, though it is in the trailer, can you talk us through what led to that awesome Super Friends scene and how you made it a reality?
It wasn’t tough to get in. Luckily, everyone was on board with it. There have been different times in the history of us doing these movies where some things were off-limits that we couldn’t do. Because everyone knows that the nature of DC Super Hero Girls is friendship, love, and all that stuff, using the Super Friends the way we did was a nice coda to that. It’s a full-circle thing. You know, the DC Super Hero Girls are friends and we end with the Super Friends…it’s a nice little bookend, though we had better animation, of course [Laughs].
I thought it was great how the movie picked up and expanded on so many threads from the show; is it difficult to balance that with making sure this is a story newcomers to both franchises can jump into?
When I came on to the project, I was doing this movie after they’d done the second season, so some of the threads that were tied up were carried over from the first and second seasons. So, I really just left it up to Jace, my writer and co-producer, to do the balancing act. The second season hadn’t really begun airing when I started work on the movie, so I took it on faith that he didn’t make it too continuity heavy. When I finally started seeing the season, it showed me that he’d done a great job of gently tying up the story threads. It leaves you wanting more as it’s not completely definitive. I liked that and think the script handled it well. Like you said, anyone can watch it who isn’t familiar with the series, and hopefully, it motivates some people to go back and watch the series.
As you look to the future, do you think we’ll see more movies with these DC Super Hero Girls characters or are you hoping there might be a season 3?
All of the above [Laughs]. I helped to finish up season one with posting, which is ADR, looping, and music choices. It was all about putting the final bells and whistles on. This movie was the first time I was able to get in on the action, and even then, a lot of stuff here had been established in the second season. I really didn’t have as much control as I normally would on projects like Batman: the Brave and the Bold or the movies. I would love to have a chance to do more with these characters. They’re great. I fell in love with this show watching it. It’s so fleshed out, it looks amazing, and the crew is fantastic and full of nice people. You work on projects that are about something positive and uplifting, it tends to rub off on the crew itself. You work with nice people on nice projects often. I really enjoyed it and would sign up for more!
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Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse is available on Digital, Blu-ray & DVD on May 24. The movie event also premieres on Cartoon Network on May 28 and starts streaming on HBO Max beginning June 28!