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The Watchtower and Javelin-7


Built using surplus finances from Wayne Enterprises, The Watchtower is the Justice League’s orbiting space station, where they observe Earth’s activities from afar.  If an emergency arises, there is always a member on Monitor Duty, ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice (courtesy of Cartoon Network’s Justice League Homepage).

The Justice League uses their spacecraft, the Javelin-7, to travel between The Watchtower and wherever they are needed.  The Javelin-7 is an ultra-advanced shuttle capable of reaching very high speeds.  It is especially helpful for Justice League members not able to endure the harsh conditions of outer space (courtesy of Cartoon Network’s Justice League Homepage).

Bruce Timm on The Watchtower:  “It’s The Watchtower, which is modern mythos, but it’s also the Satellite.  To me, it just didn’t make sense to put them all the way out on the moon—it’s just a little bit too far away.  They’re supposed to be Earth’s protectors—why are they millions of miles away?  So we compromised and so we put The Watchtower in space, so it’s a combination of The Watchtower and the Satellite (courtesy of [website name removed]).”

Excerpts from the Justice League Panel at the 2001 San Diego Comic Con:

Bruce Timm:  The reason we gave them a spacecraft is [that] their headquarters is out in space, so they needed a way to get to and from it, but we didn’t want to do Star Trek’s transporters.  I know they’ve had the transporters in the comic books for some time, but for us it just made the show a little bit too easy.  And the idea of Batman saying, “Beam me up, J’onn,” was just a little bit too weird.  So, we gave them a spacecraft.  And it’ll make a terrific toy.

Their headquarters it’s, you know, The Watchtower.  What’s really interesting about this is, well…in the current JLA—in the comics—they have their headquarters on the moon, which is a little far out for us if we’re not [using] a transporter.  They’ve got to go back and forth in the space ship—it’s like, “Justice League, the Earth is in peril!”  “Well, we’ll be there in two days.”  So, we put them in low Earth orbit, like the old JLA satellite.  I just always liked the old JLA satellite.

Dramatically I like it, because it’s nice knowing that there are these wonderful beings floating in space above us to protect us when we get in trouble.  And what was interesting is that in the [series bible], in the description for the headquarters [Rich Fogel] called it The Watchtower, and I came to him and said, you know, “Don’t call it The Watchtower, cause the minute you call it The Watchtower, then it’s got to be like a tower,” and I just went, “Bing!  It’s a tower!”

So that’s why it looks kind of like an old-fashioned tower.  Even the top of it is like an old castle turret and, thematically again, these things were all kind of like gelling—it kind of gave us an overall theme to the show…We know it’s just Superfriends for the 21st century, but it was like “These guys are like knights.”  It’s this whole mythological thing—these guys are like knights in the castle.  They’re like the lord’s protector, you know.  When we get in trouble, they come down and help us.

Courtesy of Revolution Science Fiction and Comics2Film.

Bruce Timm on Batman bankrolling The Watchtower and Javelin-7:  “It made sense to us.  We figured, ‘Who else would have the technology—and the money—to build such a thing (courtesy of Starlog Magazine)?’”

DarkLantern on other forms of transportation to The Watchtower:  “In addition to the Javelin-7, there are other shuttlecraft, referred to in Injustice For All and the comic book series as ‘the shuttle.’  Batman will use ‘the shuttle’ in Injustice For All while the Javelin-7 is in use (courtesy of Toon Zone).



Javelin-7 Model Design Sheet



Over the years the Justice League has had several headquarters—The Secret Sanctuary (hidden in a mountain outside Happy Harbor), the JLA Satellite (orbiting the Earth), and the current Watchtower (located on the Moon) immediately spring to mind—and this current animated incarnation appears to combine elements of the last two.  Its castle turret design, however, is an original concept.

As the show’s creative team decided against teleportation (based on Thanagarian technology in the comics) as a viable means of reaching the space station, the Javelin-7 is the next best thing.  Those who balk at Wayne Enterprises’ possession of machinery capable of interstellar travel need only remember their acquiring of Kryptonian technologies from Brainiac in the Superman episode Knight Time.


Images courtesy of Toon Zone and The World’s Finest.

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