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'Wonder Twins' movie activates at HBO Max with 'Black Adam' writer attached to direct new DC project

Zan and Jayna of the planet Exxor are coming to HBO Max.

By Josh Weiss
Adam Sztykiel Wonder Twins #1 GETTY CX

Wonder Twin powers, activate! Shape of... a feature film! The Hollywood Reporter has brought word that Warner Bros. will pursue a HBO Max film adaptation of the Wonder Twins property from the DC Universe. Aptly titled Wonder Twins, the upcoming film project already has a writer and director in the form of Rampage and Black Adam scribe, Adam Sztykiel. Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey are attached to produce under their Temple Hill banner, which is known for churning out YA film franchise hits like Twilight and The Maze Runner.

There are no plot details at this time, but it's probably safe to assume that WB and Sztykiel won't stray too far from what made the IP a hit in the first place. Originally created for The All-New Super Friends Hour cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera in the late 1970s, the Wonder Twins are comprised of Zan and Jayna, a pair of shape-shifting alien siblings from the planet Exxor.

Iconic for their skin-tight purple costumes and power-activating fist bumps, the characters eventually made their way into the world of comics not long after their television debut by way of Super Friends #7 (the issue was written by E. Nelson Bridwell and drawn by Ramona Fradon).

Much like Black Adam, the Wonder Twins are not be as instantly recognizable as longtime mainstays like Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Aquaman, and The Flash. If the WB is willing to take a chance on this lesser-known property, however, it could be a sign of the studio starting to understand the rewards to be gained from betting on a dark horse. Just ask Marvel, which successfully turned a talking raccoon and sentient tree into household brands worth billions of dollars.

After the critical and box office failure of Justice League, Warner Bros. is starting to move away from its plans for a wider cinematic universe in favor of director-driven superhero stories capable of standing on their own. Of course, the possibility for all sorts of crossovers will be endless once Barry Allen busts the multiverse wide open in his own movie later this year in The Flash. This Wonder Twins film joins Batgirl as a DC Comics movie headed straight to the HBO Max streaming platform. Angel Manuel Soto's Blue Beetle project starring Xolo Maridueña was originally slated for a streaming release before it was shifted onto the theatrical track for a bow in 2023.

DC Comics rebooted the twins in 2019 via writer Mark Russell (The Flintstones), and artist Stephen Byrne (Serenity). The story finds the duo trying to fit in at South Metropolis High School while working as interns at the Hall of Justice under the guidance of Superman. Appearing at Emerald City Comic Con that same year, Russell described the six-issue miniseries as "the perfect metaphor for the post-millennial generation."

"They are two people from another world who are brought to this planet and see its dysfunction firsthand, and then are somehow expected to fix it," he explained, later adding: "We're handing off a planet that's on the verge of ecological collapse and unprecedented inequality and social problems. It's like, 'Here kids, have fun!' I think that's kind of the position that the Wonder Twins are in."

When it came to drawing the twins for modern readers, Byrne said he wanted to "split the difference between what was going on [in] the style of the Super Friends cartoons in the '70s and what you would expect from a modern DC comic ... They're still wearing their purple jumpsuits, but they have just a little bit more of the modern cool factor to the designs ... In some of [the rejected designs] they had leather jackets and stuff, and it was all a bit too cool. I think for the Wonder Twins, you want to make sure that they maintain that sort of 'We're slightly outsiders, we're slightly dorky' vibe."