In 2001 Cartoon Network aired Justice League, an animated series that saw the continuation from Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series. Bringing the two titular heroes back together again and pairing them with John Stewart as Green Lantern, Barry Allen as the Flash, Hawkgirl, Wonder Woman and the Martian Manhunter. The series introduced us to a number of heroes including Aquaman, Dr. Fate and many more. Fans craved more though and shortly after the second season ended, they satisfied the craving with a follow up show Justice League Unlimited. Giving us compelling stories from exciting characters like Green Arrow, Supergirl and The Question. Unfortunately, as a big fan of both Justice League and Justice League Unlimited I still craved more and these are the ten DC Superheroes I wish made cut for what was an incredible series.
- Starfire: No doubt Starfire never made an appearance because of her role in 2003 Teen Titans, which ran the same time as Justice League Unlimited. She has always followed a line between being a Titan and a Leaguer, perhaps not giving a whole lot of substance or story to the series due to her origin and arc being told in Teen Titans. She is still an entertaining character to have on screen, whether it’s her naïve moments making us laugh or her incredible will and abilities that make for exciting action scenes. Starfire would have absolutely been a fun character to see alongside the Justice League.
- Spectre: As a Spirit of Vengence, the Spectre is arguably one of the most powerful and feared beings in the DC Universe. Able to manipulate time, space and matter the Spectre would have presented himself as an asset during missions in the episodes Kids Stuff and Wake the Dead, putting him up against the likes of Morgan Lafaye and Solomon Grundy. The show also had another magic user with Dr. Fate, I imagine an episode including the Spectre with Dr. Fate, Batman and Etrigan in a battle with other magic users would have made for a compelling story.
- Black Lightning: Despite his lack of popularity during the animated series run, Black Lightning has defiantly made a staple for himself today with his own live action series and more frequent appearances in other media such as a major role in the animated series Young Justice and as a playable skin in the game Injustice 2. Despite his appearance on the show he was still represented through other similar characters such as Static Shock in the episode The Once and Future Thing, Part Two: Time, Warped, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Batman are sent to the future and come across a futuristic version of Static Shock, the same Static from the 2000 series of the same name which also had their own crossover episodes with the Justice League. Another similar version of Black Lightning made an appearance in the episode Ultimatum, when a team of too-good-to-be-true superheroes attempt to discover the truth about their origins. One of those heroes includes a lightning powered character named Juice.
- Swamp Thing: Another character who has more recently gained popularity with his own live action series, an appearance in the films Justice League Dark and Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. Swamp Thing has made appearances in the DCAU previously with a cameo in the Justice League episode Comfort and Joy, many speculate that during a large brawl in a cantina caused by Hawkgirl, you can see a green leafy character in the background involved in the altercation. Swamp Thing has also made his presence in the 2017 film Batman and Harley Quinn. Something Justice League Unlimited did for audiences was give them great episodes based on the background of lesser known characters. Including the introduction to Hawkman, Hawk and Dove and Shazam, the show would have been an incredible platform for a character like Swamp Thing. Perhaps an origin story for the jolly green giant and some interesting interactions between him and other mystical characters such as Deadman and Zatanna.
- Blue Beetle: Most likely the version of Blue Beetle we would see in the series would be Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle after Dan Garrett. In the episode The Greatest Story Never Told, the show introduced us to Booster Gold, a hero from the future that came back in time to be a hero for fame and fortune. What many people don’t realize is one of Boosters closest companions is Blue Beetle, dating back from 1987 in the comic run of Justice League International. The lack of Blue Beetle was somewhat replaced by Elastic Man, but did change the dynamic and comradery that Booster and Beetle shared for the comics. At the time of the shows run Jaime Reyes wasn’t a relevant character in the comics, luckily he was well represented in future animated programs such as Batman: The Brave and The Bold and Young Justice.
- Batwoman: A different iteration of Batwoman made her first appearance in the DCAU in the 2003 film Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, when Batwoman starts destroying shipments of weapons flowing into Gotham by the Penguin, Batman and Robin attempt to unmask the mysterious hero to know what her motives are and if she poses a threat to Gotham City. Without giving away any plot details, the identity of Batwoman left an opportunity to be explored further and could have made for an exciting episode in Justice League Unlimited. Incorporating her with characters like Huntress and Black Canary as a possible replacement for Batgirl and creating a new variation of the Birds of Prey. If Harley Quinn can make that roster, what better fit for them than Batwoman.
- Raven: What makes this entry so high on my list, isn’t just the character of Raven but the lineage that comes with her. Raven is the warden and decedent of a powerful demon, Trigon. As the daughter of Trigon, Raven must be constantly suppressing her emotions to avoid unleashing her true power that was given to her by her father. Along with the Spectre, Trigon is one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe. Trigon and Raven is a character would deserve a two to three episode story arc that would have made for some insane changes to the series. Just like Starfire though, the show Teen Titans was currently running and explored that story. But with someone as powerful and interesting as Raven and her father Trigon, putting them up against the likes of the many mystic heroes in the show would have been mesmerizing to watch.
- Hal Jordan: The Green Lantern Corp was defiantly prominent in the DCAU with Kyle Rayner appearing in Superman: The Animated Series and reappearing in the episode The Return and Jon Stewart representing the Corp for the Justice League throughout the series. Jordan made a brief cameo in the episode The Once and Future Thing, Part Two: Time, Warped, the future is being altered causing Jon Stewart to transform in to Hal Jordan as the representative Lantern for the Justice League. Since that episode I have been asking myself where Hal Jordan was, and what would the series look like with him in it? Jordan didn’t have to be a permanent character for the show like Stewart was, but seeing him as part of this universe battling against his nemesis Sinestro is an iconic image we love to see. That being said, introducing John Stewart to audiences has definitely boosted his popularity and made him a pleasure to see in other media.
- Nightwing: One of the most entertaining story arcs during Batman: The Animated Series, Dick Graysons time as Robin and transformation into Nightwing left us craving for more when Batman: The Animated Series ended. With brief appearances in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, as well as a role in the 2017 film Batman and Harley Quinn it simply just wasn’t enough. Understandably the writers did not want to include too much of Batman and his allies, as too not take away from the other characters throughout the roster. However, we could have seen an opportunity to have Nightwing as a leader considering he has been the leader of the Teen Titans, Titans and Outsiders he could have easily been lead a team of his own and been represented more as a partner next to Batman, rather than a sidekick.
- John Constantine: John Constantine has been widely underrated until today. A wielder of the dark arts, Constantine prefers to not often rely on magic but would rather use his wit and cunning to win a battle. I consider John Constantine as a breath of fresh air when it comes to the DC Universe, as someone who is willing to do the good deed if it benefits him. I have enjoyed many iterations of him tricking and scamming demons and witches in order to win battles, which I believe would translate so well in the world of the DCAU. I have always found the most interesting episodes were the ones that didn’t require big battles and or brawls, but rather the ones that required the heroes to think outside of the box. That’s what John Constantine is all about, trying to find a way out of a situation he most likely got himself into, in the most clever and unique way.
Justice League and Justice League Unlimited has introduced us to so many incredible characters and told some of the best stories on the small screen. But who would you have liked to see?