The expansive universe of Young Justice provides ample opportunity for exploring the DC Universe, but with co-creator Greg Weisman's latest feature, Catwoman: Hunted, many fans are left wondering if that universe just expanded beyond the confines of the show. Although the movie enjoys an art style that's closer to the tradition of anime, the characters and world it takes place in prove highly compatible with the events of the animated series.
Weisman spoke to the movie's continuity with Young Justice before its release, but in describing Catwoman: Hunted as "YJ-adjacent," he may have left fans with more questions than answers. What exactly does "adjacent" mean in terms of continuity?
It's easy to see how the events of Catwoman: Hunted could fit into the framework of Young Justice. Centered primarily on Catwoman, who has yet to appear in the animated series, the story heavily features other characters like Batwoman and Cheshire, who bear many similarities to their incarnations in Young Justice without creating any discrepancies. Indeed, much of the creative talents behind the show such as the voice actors remain congruent between the movie and the show, and although the art style is different, many of the designs and features of each world prove consistent.
Weisman previously described Catwoman: Hunted as "YJ-adjacent," relating it to the DC Showcase Green Arrow short film from 2010, which Weisman also wrote. However, "adjacent" may not seem like the clearest answer to the question of whether or not the projects share continuity. In terms of a simple "yes" or "no" answer, saying they're adjacent places the film in an ambiguous middle ground that's convenient for creators who want to remain unfettered by the restrictions of a larger continuity; however, it's confusing for fans whose dogged devotion to the series can so often treat definitions of continuity as though they were scripture.
Probably the best way to think of "adjacent" in this context is that the events of Catwoman: Hunted do not occur directly within the Earth-16 designation that defines Young Justice continuity. Instead, the exact same or merely similar events can be assumed to have occurred within Earth-16, even if audiences don't see those events firsthand. As Young Justice progresses, the series may address events from Catwoman: Hunted to cement the place of those items within the continuity, but until such references happen, fans can't be totally secure in assuming there is a one-to-one correlation.
However, at the same time, there's little to nothing in Catwoman: Hunted that conflicts with Young Justice; indeed, the movie features several characters and elements introduced in the show that flesh out their roles in the world. If the events of the movie do take place in Earth-16, they would need to occur in the past relative to where the timeline of Young Justice sits currently, considering that Cheshire appears to face off against Catwoman on behalf of the League of Shadows despite severing ties with the organization in present continuity.
For fans of the series, treating Catwoman: Hunted as an extension of Earth-16 is a great way to offer depth to aspects of the ambitious world that the main series has yet to delve much further into. Batwoman, for instance, has been featured as little more than a background character thus far in Young Justice, but in her co-starring role in the movie, she receives characterization and backstory that deepens her significance.
With such a massive cast and a storyline that spans over a decade of events, even setting aside the far larger history and mythology references throughout the show, Young Justice could certainly use assistance when it comes to fleshing out its characters and story elements. Weisman may have larger plans or even be leaving himself the flexibility for future plot developments by labeling his latest project as "YJ-adjacent," but for fans of the show, such opportunities to further explore such a rich and storied universe are few and far between. Merely being "adjacent" robs the opportunity for expansion of a certain verve, but fans constantly hungry for more may just have to settle for what they can get.