Get ready for DC Films to go back to the Justice League fundamentals.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the planed Wonder Twins film at HBO Max has been shelved. The project, based on characters created by Norman Maurer for The All-New Super Friends Hour, was to be written and directed by Adam Sztykiel with Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey producing. KJ Apa and Isabel May were to star as Zan and Jayna, two aliens from the planet Exxor who could shape-shift into any animal (Jayna) or state of water (Zan). Production was slated to begin this summer.
The film was meant to be part of WarnerMedia’s plan to feature two DC-based film on the service per year. But with that company’s change into Warner Bros. Discovery, the plan was altered. THR reports new WBD boss David Zaslav has mandated all DC film projects be made with theatrical exhibition in mind and, according to one source, Wonder Twins was “too niche” for the conglomerate’s realigned priorities. Another problem may have been a $75 million budget; too high for Zaslav, who reportedly wants HBO Max’s original productions to settle in under $35 million.
Sadly, both of these factors suggest the time of more obscure DC Comics characters headlining film projects may already be over. Batgirl and Blue Beetle were approved by the WarnerMedia management for the original HBO Max plan, but the latter shifted to a theatrical release with the former beginning production before the Warner and Discovery merger was complete. We imagine a sequel for Batgirl is unlikely unless it conforms to the $35 million mandate. But we also imagine any plans for characters deemed too niche by WBD will also be cut loose in favor of focusing on six of the main seven Justice League members (sorry, J’onn) — a notion all too familiar across successive Warner management teams and owners going back to the early 2000s.
In the meantime, the television space still offers niche characters a place to shine with HBO Max’s hit series Peacemaker set to return for a second season and new season of DC Universe imports Titans and Doom Patrol on the way. A Penguin series based in the reality of The Batman is also in development. Also, the upcoming CW series Gotham Knights is chock-full of more obscure characters related to Batman, who is himself said to be deceased in the show’s description.