Get ready to be ‘Static Shock’ with the release of the complete third season of the beloved animated series. The two-disc package is available on wb.com/warnerarchive and online retailers. It’s a great series that I watched back in the 2000’s and perfect to revisit or introduce to new fans aka kids or new to the geek world before seeing Black Panther <grrr>
“In the third season, everything sort of got spruced up,” recalls LaMarr, known far and wide for his voice performances in Samurai Jack, Futurama and Family Guy, and his live-action roles for MADtv and Pulp Fiction. “The writing was just as good as ever, but they really raised the stakes. Static’s costume went from homemade to a legitimate super hero costume, Richie became his own super hero in Gear, and that meant there was less sitting back at headquarters – we started going on a lot more duo-action adventures.”
“Moreover, it was so great to finally have a black super hero who didn’t have ‘black’ in his name. I could relate to him. Here’s a kid who is smart, who’s trying to do the right thing, dealing with relatable problems whether it was family or school or friendships. Despite that fact that it was a cartoon that revolved around super heroes, it felt real to me.”
Phil LaMarr starred as Virgil Hawkins/Static for the entire series run and the release of the third season saw a major shift in the show with important guest appearances, upgrade to his tech and integration in the overall universe. Static got a new costume, Richie his BFF/partner-in-crime-fighting became the super hero Gear and the duo fought crime with some major baddies. All of this feels like a direct line to the upcoming Black Panther since Static ‘returned to Africa’ to find his roots, teamed up with the Justice League and Superman. LaMarr & Marsden worked together on the Disney animated series ‘The Weekenders’ which really made enriched their chemistry as friends IRL and animation!
“Static Shock provided a second opportunity to play partners and best friends – which was great because we were already good friends,” LaMarr says. “Our friendship on the show was authentic. And there’s nothing better than getting paid every week to work with your friend.”
LaMarr’s connection to Static appealed to him in so many ways as a fan and as someone who was once a black teenage boy. “As a comic book guy, Static was a dream come true – a character who really felt real to me,” LaMarr says. “I always thought Static would be what I would be if I got powers as a teenager. I loved Spidey and Bats, but I never wanted to be them. There are tortured souls, and everything they do is informed by that guilt. For Static, the worst problem was having to do his homework.
Static Shock: The Complete Third Season featured numerous guest performances from actors as acclaimed and diverse as four-time Emmy Award winner Alfre Woodard (Miss Evers’ Boys, Desperate Housewives, Hill Street Blues), Emmy Award winner Roscoe Lee Browne (Logan’s Run, The Cowboys), Brock Peters (To Kill A Mockingbird, Soylent Green), Golden Globe winner Terence Stamp (Billy Budd, Superman), three-time Emmy Award winner Jean Smart (24, Garden State), Bud Court (Harold & Maude, M*A*S*H), Dennis Haysbert (24, Major League), Golden Globe winner Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite, The Dark Knight), T’Keyah Crystal Keymah (In Living Color, That’s So Raven), Danica McKeller (The Wonder Years), Phil Morris (Smallville), Charles Rocket (Moonlighting), Sean Patrick Thomas (The District), Kimberly Brooks (Mass Effect), Bumper Robinson (The Game), David Faustino (Married With Children), Nicolette Sheridan (Desperate Housewives), David Arquette (Cougar Town), Tia Texada (Third Watch) and rapper Romeo Miller.
Also performing guest roles during Static Shock: The Complete Third Season are the voices of Warner Bros. Animation’s core group of DC Super Heroes, including actors from Batman: The Animated Series (Kevin Conroy, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Arleen Sorkin, Robert Hastings) and Justice League/Justice League Unlimited (George Newbern, Carl Lumbly, Maria Canals Barrera, Michael Rosenbaum), as well as Phil LaMarr himself as the voice of Green Lantern/John Stewart.
“The crossover episodes with the Justice League were so much fun for me – it was great to feel like Static Shock was part of the legacy of the super hero entertainment that I grew up watching and reading,” LaMarr says. “Associating Static with the Justice League sort of legitimized our little show, putting Static on the same level as supers like Batman, Green Lantern and all the rest. Plus getting to act again alongside my Justice League acting pals – Maria Canals Barrera, Susan Eisenberg, Carl Lumbly, Michael Rosenbaum, George Newbern, Kevin Conroy – was a blast, especially because now they were coming to MY house. It was actually a little weird because we were sitting in the same chairs as we always did when recording Justice League – but now I had more lines. Of course, I had two different characters – Static and Green Lantern John Stewart.”
“I thought the writers wrote those scenes as a challenge for me,” LaMarr recalls. “At least they didn’t have them singing harmony or something crazy like that!”
Static Shock: The Complete Third Season features an all-star lineup of writers behind the scripts: Paul Dini, Dwayne McDuffie, Len Uhley, Ernie Altbacker, John Semper, Courtney Lilly and Adam Beechen. For the Static-Superman team-up episode entitled “Toys in the Hood,” Semper crafted a story that was written by Academy Award winner John Ridley (12 Years a Slave).
An episode entitled “Static in Africa” saw the Hawkins family on vacation in Ghana, where Static teams with a legendary African folk hero to combat a group of bandits. The episode was particularly important to LaMarr.
“Static in Africa was a blast for so many reasons,” LaMarr recalls. “It was a thrill to work for the first time with Michael Jai White and Roscoe Lee Browne, as well as my Justice League castmate Carl Lumbly. Carl and Roscoe are guys whose work I’d seen growing up, and to share a studio with them was fantastic.
“Moreover, it was really cool to be able to explore our roots in a Saturday morning cartoon. I had never seen contemporary Africa on Saturday morning – an Africa that was not unlike our own world. We have super heroes, they have super heroes. Africa wasn’t showed as exotica – it was a world where people like us live. And to me, that was a great part of Static Shock. It wasn’t about that Static was black; but he was black. His life, his world – those were real. And that kind of normalization is what’s key to true diversity.”
The Static Shock: The Complete Third Season two-disc set includes the following animated episodes:
Hard As Nails
Static in Africa
The Usual Suspect
A League Of Their Own, Part 1
A League Of Their Own, Part 2
Romeo in the Mix
Toys In The Hood
The Parent Trap
Blast From The Past
Disc Two also includes the Superman: The Animated Series episode entitled “Obsession” (Season 3, Episode 4), which ultimately served as a prequel to the Static Shock episode, “Toys in the Hood” and spotlighted the first meeting of Superman and Static, featuring the voices of Tim Daly (Superman), Nancy Travis (Darci Mason), Bud Cort (The Toyman) and Joely Fisher (Lana Lang).
Warner Archive Collection (WAC) continues to serve as host to some of the most beloved films, television series and animated entertainment in history – and many are now available on Blu-ray. WAC’s canon runs the gamut from restored and remastered Blu-ray classics such as The Americanization of Emily, The Big Sleep, The Great Race, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Victor/Victoria and Yankee Doodle Dandy to adored TV offerings such as Longmire (on Blu-ray), Alice and Family Matters (on DVD) to feature-length animated films, including the recent Blu-ray release of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, to animated TV series headed by recent Blu-ray releases such as Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans, Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Young Justice, as well as a wealth of classic animated series on DVD including dozens of Hanna-Barbera classics. WAC offerings can be found via wb.com/warnerarchive and your favorite online retailer.
I was a HUGE fan of this series and am so happy it will now be available for me to fangirl as well as introduce to my young relatives. Leave a comment below on your favorite episode and whom you plan to introduce to Static!