If not even a Batman series has a chance on HBO Max, it really doesn’t bode well for anything else. The deluge of things axed or removed from the once great streaming service continues. After last week’s nigh-Mr. Potterish removal of almost 200 episodes of Sesame Street and dozens of TV shows and movies comes the news that Batman: Caped Crusader, the proposed animated series from Bruce Timm, J.J. Abrams, and Matt Reeves, will no longer be going ahead at the streamer. Unlike the others, however, the series—along with a handful of others in development—will be shopped to other outlets.
This news comes from TVLine. The initial announcement for Caped Crusader came in May of 2021. The series, which sees Bruce Timm return to episodic Batman stories since the groundbreaking Batman: The Animated Series, was to be a complete reboot of the DC Animated Universe. The original key art pointed toward returning to the 1940s-style Film Noir roots of the original comics.
In a joint statement at the time, Timm, Abrams, and Reeves said the following:
“We are beyond excited to be working together to bring this character back to tell engrossing new stories in Gotham City. The series will be thrilling, cinematic, and evocative of Batman’s noir roots. All while diving deeper into the psychology of these iconic characters. We cannot wait to share this new world.”
The series is nearing completion and was expected to hit the streaming service in May of 2023. In January, we learned comics writer Ed Brubaker, famous for his work on Bat-titles like Gotham Central and The Man Who Laughs, would write on the show. Brubaker would also join the above three as executive producers.
This is obviously not the first DC Comics title to have its HBO Max debut scuttled. Just a few weeks ago, Warner Bros Discovery made big news when CEO David Zaslav announced Batgirl would not see the light of day at all, in any format. At the very least, Batman: Caped Crusader will continue production as it looks for a new home. As Cartoon Network was a co-production entity, it seems likely it could end up there. Warner Bros. Animation has a long history with Cartoon Network. Shows like Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold all had homes there.
We’ll keep our pointy ears out for any future news. Let’s hope this version of Batman doesn’t go the way of Batgirl.