Young Justice is one of the best superhero TV shows of all time, plain and simple. Its fourth season, Phantoms, ended with the long-awaited wedding between Conner and M’Gann. Reuniting its large cast of characters together for the happy occasion, the show reminded audiences why it’s so beloved, bringing a satisfying conclusion to a season fans had to wait three years for. The future is uncertain for Young Justice, as the notoriously secretive HBO Max remains tight-lipped on whether the show will return for a fifth round. We may not have absolute clarity about what’s next for the show, but the pieces are there for a gripping and thrilling fifth season, and we can make several informed guesses about the show’s direction.
Beyond those plots spelled out for us, Young Justice also set up several storylines in past seasons, and it’s about time we get those payoffs. From characters with unfinished business with the team to arrivals long overdue, Young Justice has more than enough material to provide another gripping and ambitious season. And along with that would certainly come more of the thought-provoking and uncompromising writing we have come to expect from it.
The female furies
Phantoms‘ post-credit scene — because everything needs one of those, apparently — teases the arrival of two major threats to the team and the League. Zatanna’s arc dealt with Mary Bromfield’s struggles to adapt to life after her tenure with the Shazam family. Unsure of herself yet notoriously power-hungry, Mary’s erratic behavior eventually prevented her from becoming one of Doctor Fate’s hosts.
The other threat comes in the form of Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl. In Young Justice‘s universe, Kara’s ship landed on the Phantom Zone. Rescued years later by Darkseid and his forces, Supergirl joins Granny Goodness’ Furies, although it’s unclear whether she is genuinely evil or if Darkseid brainwashed her — a storyline straight out of the comics.
The Furies will make for worthy adversaries for the team, especially now that Miss Martian is one step away from going full goddess. The combined might of Black Mary and Supergirl should be enough to give Miss M. a run for her money, especially if they pretend to be good to infiltrate the heroes’ many organizations. The foe-pretending-to-be-friend storyline has been done to death, including by Young Justice during its season 2 Invasion arc, but there’s a reason why it remains a favorite of writers. It has the potential to create tense and potentially destructive conflict between characters that would otherwise get along famously. Whether openly villainous or shielded behind the false promise of friendship, Black Mary and Supergirl will be major threats throughout season 5.
Heroes in crisis
One of the best storylines in Phantoms was Garfield’s struggle with depression following Superboy’s death. The plot culminated in a cathartic and highly emotional scene where he finally breaks down during a therapy session with Black Canary, accepting that Conner’s death wasn’t his fault and beginning the journey toward recovery. The last episode hints that Black Canary is taking matters into her own hands and creating a facility where superheroes can deal with their mental health and escape from the pressures of the life they lead.
The reveal hints at the show tackling Tom King’s controversial Heroes in Crisis storyline, which dealt with the aftermath of a mass shooting at Sanctuary, a superhero rehabilitation center set up by DC’s Trinity. Heroes in Crisis remains divisive among fans, particularly for its treatment of Wally West and its clumsy approach to mental health. Wally is dead in the Young Justice universe, and it doesn’t seem like he’ll return any time soon. It’s unlikely that the show will go for a straightforward adaptation of the controversial storyline, which is honestly for the best. Sanctuary will probably make an appearance — hopefully with another name, because “Sanctuary” is, perhaps, the single worst name for a mental health facility ever — but the show will focus on the mental health aspect, thus abandoning the murder-mystery angle.
Jason Todd seemingly and unceremoniously died off-screen in the time jump between seasons 1 and 2. However, season three revealed him to be alive, albeit brainwashed and under Ra’s al Ghul’s control. Season 4 brought him back briefly, showing him in control of his body and aware of his surroundings but still serving the Demon’s Head. Many believed Dick’s arc in season 4 would revolve around Jason, however, Dick didn’t receive a proper arc, and the show used his episodes to resolve the Zod conflict instead. Thus, Jason remains on Infinity Island with Ra’s, Sensei, Talia, and a baby that’s most likely Damian Wayne.
After so many hints and glances, Jason needs to play a prominent role in season 5. With Ra’s out of the Light and forming a team of his own, Jason could become his key enforcer, bringing him into direct conflict with the Bat-Family. His appearance could also provide the perfect chance to showcase Dick after sidelining him in Phantoms. Damian’s existence also introduces another compelling element to the storyline, especially considering Batman’s stoic yet loving characterization in Young Justice.
A tale of two sisters (& a clone)
Artemis might be Young Justice‘s best character. Her relationship with her quasi-brother-in-law, Will Harper — Roy Harper’s clone — and sister, Jade, provides some of the show’s most resonant and complex storylines. Her arc in Phantoms took her conflict with her sister to the next level, ending with the potential for a possible reconciliation down the line. The show thrived with the story, delivering a satisfying conclusion to a storyline that began in season 1 and setting the stage for the next chapter in their journey.
Season 5 should continue exploring their family dynamic, especially now that Jade has abandoned her past grudges. Jade’s star-crossed romance with Will and her fractured relationship with her daughter, Lian, are also important for this storyline and should receive ample attention going forward. Young Justice has paid considerable attention to Artemis and Jade’s sisterly bond, and there’s no reason to suspect it will stop doing so in season 5.
Darkseid vs. Vandal Savage
Vandal Savage is arguably Young Justice‘s primary antagonist. More than Darkseid, Vandal is the mastermind behind the series’ tragedies, acting as the Light’s leader and orchestrating every attack against the team and the League. Phantoms delved deeper into his purpose — expanding on the backstory introduced in one of the show’s seminal episodes, the incredible Evolution — and provided more hints about his endgame. The season also clarified his connection to Darkseid, explaining the shaky agreement between them and setting the stage for their ultimate confrontation.
It’s highly unlikely that season 5 will feature an all-out war between Vandal’s Warworld and Apokolips’ forces. However, the game of wits between Vandal and Darkseid has become one of the show’s most intriguing and entertaining aspects, particularly when it involves Vandal’s allies — mainly the scene-stealing, tantrum-throwing witch boy, Klarion. Keeping Vandal and Darkseid in the background can still provide ample opportunity to showcase them every other episode, allowing them to shine during key moments in the season. Their shadows loom largely over Young Justice‘s overall plot, even if it’s not yet time to see these titans fight.