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The Joker is nothing compared to Warner Bros. accountants. A Batgirl movie starring In the Heights’ Leslie Grace was essentially all finished and headed for a streaming release on HBO Max, but on Aug. 2 news broke that Warner Bros. was canning the entire movie. Despite (or perhaps because of) the film’s $90 budget, the movie will not be coming out anywhere.
The explanation for Batgirl’s 11th-hour cancelation is complicated and likely involves tax breaks and belt-tightening in the wake of Warner Bros. and Discovery’s recent merger. There are rumblings of even bigger shakeups at HBO Max that could, in a worst-case scenario, eventually decrease the number of HBO Max original shows that get made. If you’re a DC fan, you’re probably a little concerned. There have been so many DC movies announced over the years, and not all of them — most of them, in fact — have not come out. Some never made it out of early ideation, some got stuck in development hell, a Wonder Twins movie got scrapped before it got too far down the line, and now Batgirl got the ax right before crossing the finish line.
Since there are (or were) a lot of DC movies or shows that were supposedly in the works for HBO Max, it seems like a good time to take stock of all the DC titles that, as far as we know, are meant to premiere on HBO Max and haven’t explicitly been canceled by Warner Bros. Please note that many of these titles are vaporware. In some cases, they only “exist” as one 3-year-old report that cites “sources” and we haven’t gotten any updates that they aren’t still in the works as far as anybody knows.
In other words, it’s probably safer to assume the majority of these will never actually come out than to assume the opposite.
Green Lantern Corps series
Originally slotted for a 2021 debut, this Greg Berlanti-produced series about the Green Lantern Corp boasts Pride and Predudice and Zombies scribe Seth Grahame-Smith as the showrunner and will feature Green Lanterns like Alan Scott, Guy Garner, Jessica Cruz, Simon Baz, and Kilowog as they battle Sinestro and other foes. As of May 2022 there were reports that filming for the series would start in “later this year” in Los Angeles. However, there are also recent unconfirmed reports that the show may be cancelled.
Strange Adventures series
Another Berlanti-produced series, Strange Adventures would be an anthology-style series focusing on Adam Strange, a pulpy sci-fi character who is described as an “archaeologist-turned-intergalactic-hero when he’s zeta-beamed to planet Rann.” The show was supposed to premiere in 2021 or 2022, and given that 2022 is more than half over and there have been essentially zero updates, the outlook isn’t good.
My Adventures With Superman series
HBO Max ordered two seasons of this animated series, which boasts The Boys' Jack Quaid as the voice of Superman, in May of last year. The charming-looking show would focus on Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen as they work together at the Daily Planet and go on adventures. There haven’t been a ton of updates recently, but unless something’s changed it will premiere on HBO Max and Cartoon Network in 2023.
Justice League Dark series
This show about DC’s premiere supernatural superhero team, featuring members like Zatanna, Swamp Thing, and John Constantine, was one of the earliest shows to be announced around the HBO Max launch. J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot is behind it, though there haven’t been much in the way of updates and Bad Robot is working on a lot of different projects right now. The closest thing we have to an update is a quote from HBO boss Casey Bloys from February where he basically just said “Bad Robot is a big producer. It’s not like they can only do one thing at a time,” and didn’t confirm or deny if they were actively working on Justice League Dark. More recently, there have been rumblings that Warner Bros. was frustrated that Abrams and Bad Robot haven’t made, uh, any progress on any of the DC titles they’ve laid claim to.
DC Super Hero High series
According to the synopsis HBO Max released in October 2019 when they announced this show, DC Super Hero High “follows a group of students experiencing the fun and drama of adolescence at a boarding school for gifted kids. These teens are just trying to navigate the pressures of high school, but none of them realize that someday they will become legendary DC Super Heroes.” Basically no updates since then.
Hey! This one is actually probably coming out! (Barring another last-minute Batgirl situation, of course.) Batwheels is essentially “What if Pixar’s Cars, but Batman?” A trailer premiered during San Diego Comic-Con last month.
Batman: Caped Crusader series
Bruce Timm, the creator of the original and acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, is returning to Gotham to serve as the showrunner of a new Batman series, and he’ll executive produce it alongside J.J. Abrams and The Batman director Matt Reeves. Comics author Ed Brubaker came aboard the 10-episode first season as a writer in January 2022, THR reported, though a release date is still TBA.
Madame X series
Last June, news broke that J.J. Abrams was heading up another Justice League Dark-related HBO Max show, Madame X, about the DC Universe’s premiere fortune-teller, Madame Xanadu. Given the lack of momentum on the core Justice League Dark show, Warner Bros. possible frustration with Abrams, and whatever’s going on with HBO Max now, you don’t have to be a fortune-teller yourself to know the outlook is hazy at best.
There were dubiously sourced rumors that another Bad Robot Justice League Dark-related show about DC’s favorite foul-mouthed occult detective John Constantine was eyeing actor Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù for the lead role in April of 2022, but there has been nothing official. It's also worth noting we've had Constantine in live action for a few years now on Legends of Tomorrow, and a prior attempt at a Constantine live action series lasted one season before being axed.
The Penguin series
Warner Bros. ordered this spin-off of The Batman, which stars Colin Farrell reprising his role as the Penguin, to series in May of 2022. Given how The Batman was a pretty big success at the box office and appears to have hit in a way that many other recent high-profile DC releases haven’t, The Penguin might actually have a decent chance of coming out, though you never know.
Arkham Asylum series
The Penguin wasn’t the only The Bataman spin-off. There were plans for a Gotham PD show, though in May 2022 that show was put on hold and a new series about Arkham Asylum was said to be in the works instead, though there haven’t been many updates since. Like Penguin, this one will likely depend on how Warner Bros. wants to expand its new Batman-verse.
Val-Zod Superman series
Michael B. Jordan is set to executive produce a project about Val-Zod, a Black Superman from an alternate DC Comics continuity. Further details have been scarce since October 2021 when the show found its writers, Darnell Metayer and Josh Peters.
Black Canary movie
Jurnee Smollett is supposedly reprising her role as Black Canary in this Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey spin-off movie that Warner Bros. announced for HBO Max last August. But, given how Batgirl just got killed at the last minute, combined with the lack of updates on Black Canary and Birds of Prey’s mixed box office reception, this one seems unlikely to come out.
Peacemaker spin-off series
The Suicide Squad star Viola Davis is reportedly in talks to reprise her role as Amanda Waller in a less-comedic Peacemaker/The Suicide Squad spin-off, according to stories from May 2022. Davis is returning in the theatrical Black Adam movie, and the spin-off series may still be in the cards, too. Of course, Peacemaker Season 2 is also in the works, though it sounds like that one is probably safe. For now.
Looking for some sci-fi fun and adventure? Check out Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Warehouse 13, Eureka, SYFY's Resident Alien, Sliders, Intergalactic and more on Peacock now.