Warner Bros. Discovery Reportedly ‘Frustrated’ With Lack of DC Projects From J.J. Abrams

Posted 2022/05/25 3 0

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J.J. Abrams is developing a handful of DC projects for HBO Max, but the streamer’s parent company is getting impatient with how long it’s taking

With the Warner Bros. Discovery merger complete, CEO David Zaslav is taking a closer look at the company’s films and series that are in development. Many of those projects are supposed to be coming from J.J. Abrams, whose production company Bad Robot inked a $250 million overall deal with Warner back in 2019. Abrams is working on original series such as Demimonde and Subject to Change for HBO Max, and also has a handful of DC properties that are in development. However, a new report from the Hollywood Reporter claims Warner Bros. Discovery is expressing frustration with the lack of content the Bad Robot deal has produced thus far.

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Shows such as Constantine, Madame X, and the animated Batman: Caped Crusader are all in the works from Abrams, but production updates have either been scarce or nonexistent. In fact, Constantine and Madame X haven’t even officially been announced despite Warner reportedly seeing scripts for episodes of both. Batman: Caped Crusader was announced last year, but much like Constantine and Madame X, there’s no timeline on when the spiritual successor to Batman: The Animated Series will hit HBO Max. Sources with the Hollywood Reporter are saying the frustration with WBD lies in the fact that Abrams has claimed a handful of different DC characters, but has nothing to show for it. All of these projects are in production limbo, which apparently isn’t sitting well with Zaslav and the braintrust at WBD.


J.J. Abrams is Trying to Build a Justice League Dark Universe

The DC projects that are in the works from Abrams are meant to create a Justice League Dark universe on HBO Max. A film featuring supernatural DC characters such as John Constantine, Zatanna, Swamp Thing and more has been in development hell for years, and it seems like the concept has been carried over into the world of streaming. Bad Robot’s Constantine series is set to be a reboot of the classic character, sharing no connection with the iteration seen across Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. Madame X will be centered around Madame Xanadu, a sorceress whose comic origins can be traced back to the late 1970s. Additional Justice League Dark projects may spin-off from there, but the first two series have to get off the ground first…whenever that may be.


Zaslav is intending to maximize the potential of the DC characters WBD has under its control, so it’s no surprise that he would like to see some actual development on the Abrams projects. The newly minted CEO is not only trying to keep fresh content on HBO Max to keep up with the myriad other streamers out there, but also to be a competitor in the superhero space with Disney and Marvel Studios. Having a company as well regarded as Bad Robot working on different DC projects is certainly a coup for Zaslav, but the deal with Abrams will only pay off once the series see the light of day. Zaslav has already axed one in-development DC property from WBD’s production slate (The Wonder Twins), and more may be added to that list if Bad Robot doesn’t produce in a timely manner.


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