"Starcrossed" is a three-parter episode and the second-season finale of Justice League. It is composed of the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th episodes, and it first aired back-to-back 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 ship of her people, the Thanagarians.
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. After Hro kisses her in front of John, 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, suspicious of Talak, 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 and that Talak is likely setting them up. He sneaks onboard the Thanagarian mothership as a delegate, before diverting away from the main group and enters the command center. He overhears a communication between Talak and the leaders on Thanagar that that the Gordanians are closing in on their homeworld and nowhere near Earth. Kragger finds Batman and a brief tussle between Batman and some Thanagarians ensues. Kragger manages to knock Batman out, and Talak orders Batman locked up.
The Thanagarians turn on the Justice League, 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 Metropolis. 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. It is tricky, as the Thanagarians figured out that they disguised themselves as civilians and hold checkpoints for city-to-city travel. The citizens assist Bruce and Diana.
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. She tries to convince Talak to build it on a desolate planet or moon but he says that it will throw off their calculations.
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 Power 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. He assaults Kragger for the devastating evidence, and orders an attack on Wayne Manor.
Kragger leads a strike team to Wayne Manor to eliminate the League. Fully powered now, they beat back the attack and take several prisoners. Unfortunately, J'onn is unable to figure out how to pilot Kragger's ship, so he goes deeper into his mind to find out. However, Kragger's mental defenses, manifesting in the form of hawks, attack J'onn, as his wounds appear on his in reality. He is able to topple the mental flame inside Kragger, gaining the information he sought, while leaving Kragger temporarily catatonic.
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, and bids his comrades farewell.
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, determined not to let Batman succeed in his suicide mission and also desiring revenge on Lantern for his "stolen" love.
As Wonder Woman fights her way through another part of the ship, she passes Hawkgirl's cell. Though bitter, she 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 to do battle with her ex-fiancée, who beats her and renounces his love for her.
Lantern regains consciousness, and attacks Talak again, but is very weak without his ring. As Talak punches him, Lantern taunts him, and an enraged Talak swings his axe, inadvertently hitting the shield surrounding the force field control. In the resulting explosion, he is knocked out and the shield drops, allowing Lantern, with Shayera's help, to deactivate the force field.
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 and Hawkgirl are confronted by more Thanagarian soldiers. Wonder Woman arrives to help, but Talak orders his men to stand down – their mission has failed. 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 and Superman are sympathetic; Lantern and Batman are silent. Ultimately, Batman suggests a vote.
Superman is about to announce the League's decision, but Hawkgirl interrupts, deciding to resign from the League. As she goes, J'onn and Superman say that it's their duty to rebuild the League.
Outside Wayne Manor, John shares a brief, emotional moment with Hawkgirl before she leaves, telling John once last time that she does indeed love him.
- 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 "Twilight, Part I," Hawkgirl explained to J'onn J'onzz that she was a Thanagarian law officer stranded on Earth when a group of criminals she was pursuing managed to catch her in a teleporter beam. In this episode, the true story is revealed, along with the reasons for her previous duplicity. This also explains why Hawkgirl looked uneasy regarding the topic of Thanagar:
- In "Twilight, Part I" she looked worried that J'onn could read her mind, when he asked her if she was thinking of home.
- Then, in Part II, she dismissed J'onn suggestion to search through Brainiac's data banks for information about Thanagar.
- While fighting Doctor Fate in "The Terror Beyond, Part I" she recognized some Thanagarian runes, and instantly demanded him to disclose what he knew about Thanagar, in a very aggressive demeanor.
- J'onn says he never could read Hawkgirl's mind. This explains why he was unable to enter her dreamworld in "Only A Dream, Part I."
- 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").
- 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" and its destruction at the hands of Inque in "Disappearing Inque".
- 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 rift between Diana and Shayera is partially healed by the events of Justice League Unlimited, "The Balance."
- 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. Most actors playing Thanagarians were hispanic; others such as Kevin Conroy, Kevin Michael Richardson and Phil LaMarr used a Hispanic accent for the few lines of select Thanagarians.
- 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 battle scene between Hro and Shayera.
- 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.
- During the DVD commentary for Part III, Bruce Timm claims that the creative team made a special white frame for the fans, which can be seen when Hawkgirl gets smacked in the face by Hro Talak.
- In the climactic fight of part III, when Superman and Wonder Woman throw a Thanagarian craft through the control center, the ensuing explosion of the ship is inverted footage from Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, when Batman blows up the locked door of the Jolly Jack Candy Factory.
- The single disc release for the film included a full orchestral version of the Justice League theme, with titles showing the evolution of the relationship between John Stewart and Shayera Hol.
- When Kragger brings Shayera for Treason, Hro is wearing the top of his armor, but when Kragger passes him to put in the Holographic video, it disappears.
- When J'onn fell unconscious in the end of Part I, he reverts to his assumed semi-human form instead of his natural Martian appearance (though this may be due to his semi-human form becoming a default form as it did in comics).
- The background seen in the Batcave, in Part II, is the one used on Batman Beyond, as one can see Terry McGinnis's Batsuit right next to the Nightwing one (though it has an yellow emblem, instead of a red one).
- Hawkgirl hands John his Power Ring with her left hand, but in the holographic video she is depicted holding it with her right hand.
- Batman closes the shutters over the Watchtower's viewports when he takes the Watchtower out of orbit, but in the next scene they are open again.
- 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, after Ra's al Ghul stole various counter-measures Batman developed to neutralize (and even kill) the Justice Leaguers if they should go rogue.
- 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.
- Also similar to that play, the part in the prologue "Both alike in Dignity" about having the same rank, Shayera Hol and Kragger are both Lieutenants. The "from ancient grudge break to new mutiany, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean" can also refer to the Thanagarian-Gordanian war which (according to Hro Talak) lasted for generations which was bloody. The "A pair of Starcrossed lovers" also refers to John and Shayera, like it does Romeo and Juliet.
- 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.
- On the commentary, Bruce Timm jokes that Batman seems to have a death wish, given that this is the second time in Justice League that he has nearly gotten himself killed saving the world (the first being "Maid of Honor.") He took a similarly suicidal risk to save Superman and an island full of of people in Justice League Unlimited, "The Doomsday Sanction."
- The scene when Hro swings his axe into the force field is reminiscent of the James Bond film Goldfinger, when Bond defeats the seemingly invincible thug Oddjob by tricking him into touching an electrified set of bars.
- When General Wells contacts NATO Command to inform them of their problems in combating the Thanagarians, what appears to be a younger Vilmos Egans is present in the line-up.
- When Batman infiltrated the Thanagarian command ship, his disguise is made to make him look like the late Alan Napier, who played the role of Alfred Pennyworth in the 1966 Batman TV Show starring Adam West. Batman even uses a voice similar in sound to Alan Napier.
|Kevin Conroy|| Batman |
High Council hawk (uncredited)
|Susan Eisenberg|| Wonder Woman|
Lois Lane on the phone (uncredited)
|Phil LaMarr|| Green Lantern|
Hawk soldier (uncredited)
Rooftop Punk (uncredited)
|Carl Lumbly|| J'onn J'onzz|
Hawk soldier (uncredited)
|Victor Rivers||Hro Talak|
|Jason Marsden|| Snapper Carr|
Hawk soldier (uncredited)
|Elizabeth Peña|| Paran Dul|
Radar Tech (uncredited)
|Kevin Michael Richardson|| General Wells|
Hawk soldier (uncredited)
Station Hawk (uncredited)
|Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.||Alfred Pennyworth|
|Larry Cedar||Radar Tech|
|Stan Ridgway||Communications officer|
|Richard Doyle||Big Brother Hawk|
|Javier Grajeda||Thanagarian Sentry|
Wonder Woman: Don't be afraid, little man. I won't bite.
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)
(Shayera tries to convince Hro to relocate the hyperspace generator)
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)
Hro Talak: I've beaten you, little man. Any last words?
Superman: Always have to be the hero, don't you?
Hawkgirl: They've been in there a long time.
Flash: No Hawkgirl. No Javelin. No Watchtower. What's gonna happen to the League now? Do we all just walk away?