Exclusive: Wonder Woman voice actor, Susan Eisenberg, reflects on her Justice League journey

7 mins read

In the new Warner Bros. direct to DVD/Blue-ray feature film “Justice League vs. The Fatal Five,” earths greatest heroes face off against power hungry villains from the future. From legendary animator Bruce Timm comes this thrilling adventure slated to excite fans of the DC Animated Universe (DCAU).

Before there was the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe, there was Bruce Timm’s DCAU. Fan favorite shows like “Batman: The Animated Series,” “Batman Beyond” and “Justice League Unlimited” were just a few major building blocks for this universe and are responsible for introducing iconic DC characters to a new generation of fans.

Wonder Woman in Justice League vs. The Fatal Five. Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

When the DCAU ended in 2006, fans were left craving more. Then, when “Justice League vs The Fatal Five” was announced, and then later premiered, fans became overjoyed at the return of their iconic heroes in their classic art style.

Released via digital on March 30, “Justice League vs. The Fatal Five” has been seemingly well received by fans. Reprising their roles for the film, Kevin Conroy (Batman), George Newbern (Superman) and Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman) bring the familiarity and wonder of the DCAU back into the fold. The movie will be available on DVD/Blue-ray and the DC Universe streaming service April 16.

At a 2019 WonderCon panel, which took place at the end of March, Bruce Timm was recorded saying that if this movie proves successful, more will soon follow.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Planet, Wonder Woman voice actor Susan Eisenberg had more to say on the topic.

Susan Eisenberg. Photo by Jim Warren

“When I heard that, I fell off my chair,” Eisenberg said. “They picked me back up and I was just overjoyed.”

When asked to officially confirm if this film was in fact part of the DCAU, Eisenberg stated that it wasn’t originally planned to be.

“I’m not ‘geek’ enough to know all about the continuity,” Eisenberg said. “I’m just not that person, but there is a consensus that they’re drawn like [Justice League: Unlimited] and there’s just a continuation.”   

When “Justice League vs The Fatal Five” was first conceived there wasn’t a #JLReunion movement. This movie was originally a story with newly introduced characters such as Jessica Cruz, Star Boy and Miss Martian, that really weren’t intended to be a part of the DCAU.

Eisenberg stated that she thinks the sway and influence of the Justice League reunion movement pushed animators to change course and really promote a come back.

“They saw that the audience was really clamoring for more of the Justice League,” Eisenberg said.

Conroy, Newbern and Eisenberg are the only original cast members returning for this particular film but if all goes well there’s promise for more original voice actors reprising their roles, including Carl Lumbly (Martian Manhunter), Phil LaMarr (Green Lantern), Michael Rosenbaum (The Flash) and Maria Canal-Barrera (Hawkgirl). Even casting director and all out talent extraordinaire, Andrea Romano, has said that she would come out of retirement to play a part in the reunion.  

“I would love for people to support #JLReunion,” Eisenberg said. “We’re so close to revisiting all of the seven characters and telling a new story for them. Nothing would make me happier.”

The original “Justice League” cartoon premiered on Cartoon Network from 2001 to 2004. The show featured (left to right) Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, The Flash and Hawkgirl. It was nominated for two Emmy’s. Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

Eisenberg was first cast as Wonder Woman, also known as Princess Diana, in 2000.

“There was a big audition for Wonder Woman in this TV show called the ‘Justice League’ and I auditioned,” Eisenberg said. “Then I got a call back and I went to Warner Brothers and met with Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano.”

Eisenberg stated that after meeting Timm and Romano she was shown a planned character picture of Diana and how she would appear in “Justice League.”

“They had me read for them, they gave me some notes and I read for them and that was it,” Eisenberg said. “A few weeks later I found out I got the part.”

Before her casting, Eisenberg’s history with comics wasn’t extensive.

“I had read Archie and I wasn’t in that [comics] universe at all,” Eisenberg said. “I always say that I was focused on my daytime soap operas, which I’m still focused on,” Eisenberg joked. “That is where my nerd energy went.”

After the original cartoon came its equally successful spin-off series, “Justice League: Unlimited.” This new series, which aired from 2004 to 2006, featured a complex storyline and had an abundance of beloved DC Comics characters. Photo courtesy Warner Bros. 

Eisenberg mainly knew about the powerhouse princess from the Wonder Woman TV series starring Lynda Carter but in terms of comics, she wasn’t well informed.

“I mean everyone knows the trinity of course, but I didn’t know about Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern,” Eisenberg said. “I didn’t know about them at all.”

Eisenberg mentioned that she has such a deep appreciation for the story tellers, artists, directors and animators.

“We the actors, we do our part, but it’s a part in this huge whole,” Eisenberg said. “It’s so collaborative and I’ve tried to not only learn more about the comics, but learn more about the collaboration.”

For Eisenberg, it’s extremely important to know all who are involved in a project. She looks to see who’s directing, telling the story and who’s composing the music.

“All that stuff really goes into the storytelling,” Eisenberg said. “In ‘Justice League vs. The Fatal Five’ there are a lot of music cues from the original series. It just gave me chills to hear those original music cues because, if you’re a fan of the show, which I am, revisiting it like that, so unexpectedly, it was just the best surprise ever.”

When talking about “Justice League vs. The Fatal Five”, Eisenberg said it was very exciting to see the film, and this version of Wonder Woman, for the first time.

“When you first see Wonder Woman, it’s like a tilt shot,” Eisenberg said. “You start at her feet and [the camera] tilts up to reveal her. I was sitting next to Bruce Timm during the screening and I can’t tell you, it was so emotional to be in that room sitting next to Kevin, George and Bruce. It was very, very satisfying and so emotional.”

When asked if she ever feels pressure playing such an iconic character, Eisenberg said “never.”

“It’s the highest compliment and it doesn’t feel like pressure it feels like a gift,” Eisenberg said. “If anything, it makes me feel more confident. I love that people remember [the Justice League cast]. We made an impression on people that when [they] read the comics, they’re hearing some of our voices in their heads.”

Eisenberg strives to live up to the legend, honoring Wonder Woman for the fans and drew inspiration for the character with the help of Bruce Timm the creator of the Justice League shows and voice director, Andrea Romano.

“It was their vision of this character I was trying to fulfill,” Eisenberg said. “There wasn’t a comic book that I picked up when I got the job. Primarily, I allowed myself to be guided by them to find that voice together.”

Over time Eisenberg grew more comfortable with Wonder Woman and the character became an extension of the voice actor.

“I can’t believe my good fortune, honestly,” Eisenberg said. “I booked this job in 2000 and here it is, 2019 and were still talking about it. Wonder Woman is the most wonderful, wink, character to portray.”

Eisenberg stated that some actors enjoy portraying villains and the “darker characters.”

“Those characters are amazing but I love playing this heroine,” Eisenberg said. “I think the world needs heroes. I think we have more than our share of villains. To be a voice for a heroine, that is really an honor to me.”

In “Justice League vs The Fatal Five,” Wonder Woman is no different than when we last saw the “Justice League: Unlimited” version of her in 2006.

The Justice League in “Justice League vs. The Fatal Five.” Photo courtesy Warner Bros.

“In this movie, ‘Justice League versus the Fatal Five,’ she’s a mentor but she’s a tough mentor to Jessica Cruz’s character,” Eisenberg said. “They work together and [Diana] tries to show her the ropes, if you will, or show her the sword, and she’s a mature character.”

According to Eisenberg, this iteration of Wonder Woman is not an innocent young woman fresh off Themyscira lost in man’s world for the first time. Diana’s a woman at home in the world, herself and her own power.

“It’s not like, oh wow she’s so much older, because the way I perceive the character is she doesnt age,” Eisenberg said. “She’s ageless. There is a confidence that I think you will see very much so in this movie.”

Eisenberg would love for more people to support the return of the animated Justice League by using #JLReunion and would appreciate people checking out “Justice League vs. The Fatal Five.”

Eisenberg believes that the return of the original “Justice League” and its seven main characters is extremely close to becoming a reality.

“Nothing would make me happier,” Eisenberg said.

“The fans really are responsible,” Eisenberg said. “They ultimately made Young Justice come back. As much as the actors and the creators want things to happen, it really has to be proven to the powers that be that there’s an audience out there that will support it. That’s really, truly the bottom line.”

“Justice League vs The Fatal Five” will be released on the DC Universe streaming app and DVD/Blu-ray starting April 16. The film is already available digitally.

Both “Justice League” and “Justice League: Unlimited” can be streamed on the DC Universe app, depending on your country of residence.

Featured photo of Eisenberg’s Wonder Woman courtesy Warner Bros.

Zack Benz

Zack Benz has been a fan of the Daily Planet since he was eight years old. The Daily Planet has always been a beacon of hope for him and it’s his life’s mission to make it shine in a similar light to so many around the world. Zack graduated with a degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2019.

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