W-logo CHARACTER W-logo
Debut "Injustice for All" (September 2002)
Played by Sheryl Lee Ralph

In the Cartoon Network's Justice League, Cheetah appears voiced by Sheryl Lee Ralph. Her real name was never stated. This Cheetah was once a scientist who was doing valuable genetics research, but her funding was running out, and was unable to perform proper experiments. In a last ditch effort to prove the value of her research, she tested her theories on herself. The result was a mutation into a half-human-half-cat hybrid. She was shunned by the scientific community for her recklessness and ostracized by humanity as a freak. With no alternatives, she turned to crime to fund further research to undo the change. Her first appearance was in the episode "Injustice for All" as a member of the Injustice Gang, and it was supposed to be her last; producer Bruce Timm intended for Cheetah to die a tragic death. She joins Lex Luthor's Injustice Gang for the same reason she became a criminal in the first place: money - but unlike the others, she has little criminal intent, and merely wants to be normal again. When the Injustice Gang succeeds in capturing Batman, she was eventually put in charge of guarding him. She ends up sharing her backstory with him and he sympathized with her. Feeling an attraction to Batman, she began flirting with him and when he returned her gestures the two shared a passionate kiss. When Luthor realizes they have a traitor in their midst, he points the blame toward Cheetah, thanks to a clip from a security camera showing her and Batman making out. She is subdued by The Joker, and then Solomon Grundy takes her away, where he supposedly kills her by petting her to death — a reference to Lennie in Of Mice and Men.

Because she was killed in a typical comic book death — namely being dragged off screen to be executed — some assumed that Cheetah was not really dead and might come back. The series producers argued the point; James Tucker wanted to bring the sympathetic character back, while Bruce Timm insisted that she was an "ex-Cheetah." Cheetah was saved by the most unusual of saviors: an animation error. At the end of the episode, she appears alive and well in the back of the paddy wagon with the other members; once the producers saw the error, they decided it was easier to say she wasn't killed, but still haven't said how she got away from Grundy. Cheetah has made only minor appearances in the series after this, and spoke in only one other episode. Cheetah joins Gorilla Grodd's Secret Society in the 2005–06 season of Justice League Unlimited, though she remains a minor character. Despite the original intent of the producers to have her killed in her first appearance, Cheetah is one of the few Society members to survive the resurrection of Darkseid in the series finale.