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The CW is starting to line up its next wave of potential programming. According to a new report from Variety, the network has handed down a number of fresh pilot orders for some genre project that have been on our radars for a while: Jensen Ackles' Supernatural prequel — currently known as The Winchesters — and the Arrowverse-inspired Gotham Knights.
The former, whose announcement sparked a brief, yet highly publicized, controversy with Jared Padalecki last summer, will focus on the parents of Sam and Dean Winchester around the time they first met. Ackles, who will produce alongside his wife, Danneel Harris, is also on board as narrator.
Robbie Thompson, a veteran writer and producer of the original series, will write and executive produce the pilot. During a recent guest appearance on Michael Rosenbaum's Inside of You podcast, Ackles confirmed that the story is set in the 1970s "when dad got back from ‘Nam." As Variety astutely points out, several Supernatural spinoffs have been attempted in the past with no success.
First announced in late 2021, Gotham Knights will follow Bruce Wayne's adopted son (we're not sure what character this is yet, but odds are good that it's one of the Robins) who joins forces with the children of Batman's enemies when they're wrongfully accused of murdering the Caped Crusader himself. It's a wild pitch, and to be clear, has nothing to do with the upcoming DC Comics video game of the same name (not confusing at all!).
Batwoman writers Natalie Abrams, James Stoteraux, and Chad Fiveash are steering the creative ship. Stoteraux and Fiveash will serve as executive producers with Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, and David Madden. Abrams is a co-executive producer. Danny Cannon (known for helming episodes of Gotham and Pennyworth) has been tapped to direct and executive produce the pilot. At this point, no word on how (or if) this project might connect to the larger Arrowverse. But it is The CW we're talking about, and those heroes always seem to find a way to meet one another in this multiverse eventually.
There's also some news a bit outside the genre-sphere. After his little spat with Ackles, Padalecki is getting his very own prequel endeavor in the form of Walker: Independence. Set in the 1800s, the project centers around Abby Walker, a woman who sets off on a path of vengeance when her husband is killed during a perilous journey to the American frontier. Padalecki, who currently headlines The CW's small screen revival of Walker, Texas Ranger (now just titled Walker) is an executive producer with Anna Fricke and Seamus Fahey (the latter is also writing the Independence the pilot).
Dan Lin, Lindsey Liberatore, and Laura Terry are set to produce.
Of course, it is worth mentioning that a pilot pick-up does not automatically equal a full series order. The CW's high-profile reimaginings of The Lost Boys and The Powerpuff Girls are living proof of that.
In related news, the network ordered "six additional scripts" for Robert Rodriguez's female-led reboot of Zorro. Rodriguez (who is a producer and director on Disney's The Book of Boba Fett) is writing and executive producing the new series alongside Sean Tretta and Rebecca Rodriguez (locked in to direct). Ben Silverman, Rodney Ferrell, Howard T. Owens, and Geoff Clark, Eric Bromberg, John Gertz, and Jay Weisleder are also executive producers.