"Starcrossed" is the second-season finale of Justice League, composed of the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th episodes. It first aired on May 29, 2004.
The League is staking out a conference of world leaders, based on a tip Batman received that a terrorist incident may occur. Superman, as Clark Kent, is watching the conference from inside, among the press corps. Outside, John Stewart steals a few seconds to flirt with Hawkgirl.
Suddenly, a greater menace appears in the sky: an alien battleship that opens fire. None of the U.S. military's weapons can hurt it. Before the League attacks, an even larger alien battleship appears and downs the attacking craft, which crashes. Hawkgirl recognizes the newcomer as a Thanagarian ship.
The ship's commander, Hro Talak, asks to meet with Earth's leaders. He reveals that Hawkgirl has been lying to her teammates: she did not arrive on Earth by accident, nor is she a law enforcement officer; rather, she is a lieutenant in the Thanagarian military, and was sent to Earth as an advance scout, and a sort of ambassador, to prepare for their arrival. Talak explains that for decades Thanagar has been at war with a vicious alien race, the Gordanians. Now the Gordanians have targeted Earth for invasion, and Talak offers to help.John confronts Hawkgirl, asking what else she's kept secret. Uncomfortably, she admits that she and Talak are betrothed.
Having seen the power of the Gordanian ship, Earth's leaders feel they have little choice, and accept the Thangarians' offer. Immediately, they begin constructing a massive force field generator in the Gobi Desert, which they say will provide a planetary defense shield. The Justice League aids in the construction.
Batman is suspicious, as always, and examines the remains of the Gordanian battleship. He finds that all the Gordanians were dead long before the ship appeared on Earth, meaning the attack was a ruse.
As soon as he communicates with the others, the Thanagarians turn on them, taking them prisoner. John tries to fight his way free, but Hawkgirl tricks him into lowering his Power Ring, then knocks him out and takes his ring.
A Thanagarian unit takes control of the Watchtower, while the rest of their forces occupy Earth.
The League is taken prisoner and transported to a holding facility.Hawkgirl returns to the mother ship. Talak commends her on a job well done, but his subordinate, Kragger, is suspicious of her sympathies with the League, and the humans.
The League manages to escape the prison ship, which crashes in an unspecified city. The League decides that to stay hidden, they will need to discard their costumes and assume civilian clothes. Flash protests for "secret identity" reasons, but Batman cuts him off, saying that he (always the detective) has already found out Superman and Flash's alter egos, and then reveals his own (J'onn, Wonder Woman, and Lantern do not have secret identities). The League split into pairs and make their way toward Gotham City, to rendezvous at Wayne Manor.
Aboard the mothership, Hro reveals the Thanagarians' true plan: the force field generator is actually a "hyperspace bypass generator," the last in a series of wormhole relays that will allow the Thanagarians to bypass the Gordanians' defenses and attack their homeworld directly, finally ending the war. But in the process, Earth will be destroyed – to the Thanagarians, a sad but necessary sacrifice. Hawkgirl is horrified.
The League meets in the Batcave, to puzzle out why the Thanagarians are interested in Earth. Hawkgirl appears, giving them data on the project. Batman accepts the information, then coldly orders her out. Before she goes, she shares a private moment with John, returning his ring to him.
But Kragger has planted a bug on Shayera, allowing him to track her to the League's hideout.
As soon as Shayera returns to the mothership, Kragger has her arrested. He plays the recording of her conversation with the League for Hro, revealing both her treachery and her affection for John. Hro is heartbroken, but orders her locked up.
Kragger leads a strike team to Wayne Manor to eliminate the League. Fully powered now, they beat back the attack and take several prisoners.
Batman is in command of their strategy: Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern attack the command ship to shut down the force field protecting the hyperspace generator; Batman, Flash, and J'onn infiltrate the Watchtower using the strike team's shuttle (and with J'onn masquerading as Kragger), and incapacitate the occupation force. Batman explains that he plans to take the Watchtower out of orbit and use it as a missile to destroy the generator. He and the others load the unconscious Thanagarians into the escape pods, but Batman launches the pod with himself staying behind, saying that he has to guide the Tower in manually. "Gentlemen," he says in farewell, "it's been an honor."
While Superman and Wonder Woman battle the Thanagarian fighters, Lantern breaks into the ship to reach the force field controls. Talak is waiting for him, wanting revenge for his stolen love.
As Wonder Woman fights her way through another part of the ship, she passes Hawkgirl's cell. "I should leave you to burn," she says, but releases her.
The generator complete, the Thanagarians begin the activation to open the hyperspace gate.
The Watchtower travels down through the atmosphere, piloted by Batman. As the heat increases, the Tower begins to break up. Hearing where Batman is, Superman breaks off from the battle and flies to intercept him.In the control room, Lantern fights hard against Talak, but loses and is knocked out. . Talak raises his battle axe for the kill, and Hawkgirl appears, telling him to stop. He attacks her, and they battle even more ferociously. He beats her, and she begs him, for the sake of "us," not to kill Earth's innocents. He throws her to the ground.
"There's no 'us' anymore, Shayera. Just a fallen traitor, and a solider with a job to do."
Lantern regains consciousness, and attacks Talak again, but is very weak. As Talak punches him, Lantern taunts him, and an enraged Talak swings his axe, inadvertently hitting the force field controls. In the resulting explosion, he is knocked out and the force field shuts down.
Superman streaks after the Watchtower as Batman, overcome by the heat and smoke, finally passes out. Superman breaks in and pulls him free just before it hits, destroying the generator.
Aboard the ship, Lantern, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman are confronted by more Thanagarian soldiers, but Hro orders them to stand down – their mission has failed, and there's no point in fighting anymore. The Thanagarian forces leave Earth, abandoning Hawkgirl.
At Wayne Manor, Hawkgirl waits while the League debates whether to allow her to remain. Alfred tells her that, regardless of what the others decide, he still considers her a hero. In the conference room, Flash and Wonder Woman are the strongest for and against votes, respectively; J'onn is also sympathetic, and Superman wants to trust her, but warns that there is a great risk in doing so; John is silent. Ultimately, Batman realizes that they're just going in circles, and says that they should just vote.
Superman is about to announce the League's decision, but Hawkgirl interrupts, saying that she's resigning from the League. As she goes, J'onn and Superman say that it's their duty to rebuild the League.
Outside Wayne Manor, John asks Hawkgirl where she'll go now. She says she isn't sure. She tells him that she never lied about one thing: she does love him. Then she flies away, leaving him to say, "I love you, too..."
- Before this episode, the other Leaguers are apparently unaware of Batman's secret identity as Bruce Wayne, except for Superman (who discovered it in "World's Finest" and Wonder Woman (who caught on to it in "Maid of Honor"). However, the fact that Hawkgirl shows up at the Batcave indicates that she secretly investigated Batman and discovered it as well.
- During the fight in the Batcave, Kragger attempts to use one of Mr. Freeze's cold guns on Superman. The gun remains intact, which sets up its use in the Batman Beyond episode "Black Out".
- The results of the vote are revealed in the subsequent episode "Wake the Dead" of Justice League Unlimited. Lantern says he recused himself, and Superman "broke the tie" in favor of allowing her to remain. Based on the conversation in the final scene of this episode, the likely votes were Batman and Wonder Woman against, and Flash and J'onn in favor.
- The Thanagarian-Gordanian war is referenced again in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Hunter's Moon," in which the characters of Paran Dul and Kragger return.
- In later episodes of Justice League Unlimited, it is explained that the crisis involving the hyperspace generator was one of the main reasons for installing a powerful laser cannon on the second Watchtower.
- At the time it was made, the producers were unsure whether the series would continue, so they wanted to make the finale as spectacular as possible.
- Maria Canals was originally cast because of her Hispanic accent, as the producers wanted her character to sound subtly different from the rest. Likewise, the Thanagarians are all voiced by Hispanic actors and actresses.
- Victor Rivers, who voices Hro Talak, is a leading crusader against domestic violence and on behalf of abused women. According to the Part III commentary, he was uncomfortable doing the scenes in which Hro is beating up Hawkgirl.
- During the original Hro/Hawkgirl fight, the script called for him to grab her by the hair and slam her face into the wall; instead, he shocks her with his battle axe.
- The commentary for the episode "The Return" of Justice League Unlimited mentioned that the Thanagarians were going to be shown destroying Oa.
- The Thanagarians return in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Hunter's Moon." According to the Part III commentary, the producers loved Elizabeth Pena's voice work in particular, and one of the primary reasons the episode was written was to give her an opportunity to do more.
- Thanks to Hawkgirl's spying, each of the Leaguers are held prisoner by the Thanagarians by a method that neutralizes their powers:
- Wonder Woman is tied to a pole by her Golden Lasso;
- Superman is exposed to red solar lamps that drain his powers;
- Flash is held in an artificial gravity field that makes his limbs too heavy to move;
- Batman and Green Lantern are deprived of their equipment and held in restraints;
- J'onn is likewise held in an energy field that makes him too weak to move, and unable to phase through his restraints.
- This marks Alfred's last appearance in the DCAU.
- This is the second of three instances in the series when J'onn appears in his human guise.
- This is the first time Flash's face is seen under his mask; it also confirms that he is based on Wally West, the third Flash (after Jay Garrick and Barry Allen).
- During the fight in the Batcave, Batman uses a set of sonic batarangs to sic a swarm of bats onto the Thanagarians; on the commentary, Dwayne McDuffie admits that he "happily stole" this trick from the comics story "Batman: Year One," which was likewise copied in the live-action film Batman Begins. The film Batman Returns also had a similar scene.
- The concept of the Thanagarian hyperspace bypass system destroying the Earth through its use is similar to a plot point in The Hitchhiker's Guide ot the Galaxy.
- There are some similarities between the final scene in Wayne Manor and the final scene in the comics storyline "Tower of Babel," except in that case the League is debating whether or not to expel Batman.
- The title is a reference to the phrase "starcrossed lovers" from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The phrase "starcrossed" indicates predestination - i.e., that certain fates are written in the stars - and that two persons are meant to be together.
- Similar to that play, the episode features two people - John and Shayera - who are genuinely in love with each other, but are tragically forced to be apart by their conflicting loyalties to two warring sides.
- Flash jokingly refers to Alfred as "Jeeves," after P.G. Wodehouse's famous valet character.
- The finale has three battles going in it at a same time:
- The dogfight between Wonder Woman, Superman and Green Lantern against Thanagarian fighters.
- The fight in the Watchtower and then the kamikaze strike on the generator.
- The fight between Green Latern and Hro and later Hawkgirl.
- The Indian restaurant owner from Part II bears a close facial and vocal resemblance to Dr. Padu Banjahri from the Batman Beyond episode "Curse of the Kobra."
- Hro Talak is an anagram of Katar Hol, the real name of the silver age Hawkman.
J'onn J'onzz: They'll be looking for the Justice League. Without our costumes, we are merely ordinary citizens.
(Diana kisses Bruce to hide their faces from a Thanagarian patrol)
Flash: So, Jeeves, do you come with the place or does Master Bruce just rent you for parties?
(Flash causes the giant penny in the Batcave to fall on two Thanagarian warriors)
Superman: Always have to be the hero, don't you?
Hawkgirl: They've been in there a long time.