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Batman: Caped Crusader has found a new home at Amazon.
The streamer and retail giant has handed out a two-season order for the animated series, which was originally set up at HBO Max. Caped Crusader landed at the Jennifer Salke-led streamer following Warner Bros. Animation parent company Warner Bros. Discovery scrapping the show in August — more than a year after it was ordered straight to series — amid a round of cost-cutting. Other streamers, including Netflix, Apple and Hulu, also kicked the tires on the project that marks a reunion for executive producers J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves, who previously collaborated on The WB Network’s beloved Felicity.
The animated series hails from Bruce Timm, Abrams and Reeves and was sold to a streaming rival as part of Warner Bros. Discovery’s efforts to monetize content by selling projects to third-party buyers.
Reps for all parties declined to comment as formal deals have not yet closed.
Batman: Caped Crusader, first announced in May 2021, is said to harken back to Timm’s 1990s Batman: The Animated Series, which stands as a benchmark for the Dark Knight’s animated storytelling. Comic book scribe Ed Brubaker is among the creative team and ran a writers room and serves as Timm’s right hand on the 10-episode first season.
The show’s move comes as DC Studios bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran, whom Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav hired late last year, seek to bring order to DC’s properties. The duo has plotted a 10-year plan to tell a unified story across film, TV, gaming and animation, though certain projects will fall outside of that main track. Those include Reeves’ The Batman: Part II and HBO Max spinoff series The Penguin, and, naturally, fare like Caped Crusader that is distributed outside of the company.
Caped Crusader’s move to Amazon comes after Zaslav revealed his film studio would develop more Lord of the Rings movies. Amazon, coincidentally, controls the TV rights to the Lord of the Rings franchise, and now will count Warners’ Batman as part of its service offerings.
“We are beyond excited to be working together to bring this character back, to tell engrossing new stories in Gotham City,” Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Reeves (The Batman) said in a joint statement when Caped Crusader was first announced. “The series will be thrilling, cinematic and evocative of Batman’s noir roots, while diving deeper into the psychology of these iconic characters. We cannot wait to share this new world.”
For his part, Abrams has had a rough go of it lately at Warner Bros. Discovery. The prolific writer, director and producer remains based at Warners with a sizable overall deal but has seen many of his Bad Robot projects scrapped as part of WBD’s recent cost-cutting spree. His plans for a larger Justice League Dark franchise, which was to have consisted of multiple DC Comics shows including Madame X and Constantine, were scrapped. HBO also shut down Demimonde, which was to have been the first original series that Abrams wrote and created since Fringe in 2008. Sources at the time said Abrams was looking for a budget north of $200 million for the show, but HBO execs wanted to keep it in the realm of House of the Dragon, which came in at $125 million. Before Demimonde, HBO Max also dropped plans for Overlook, a spinoff of The Shining that is believed to have been sold to Netflix, though that has never officially been confirmed.
Animation, meanwhile, remains a major area of investment for networks and streamers alike. In addition to repeating well on streaming platforms, in success, original ideas become extremely lucrative thanks in part to the ability to turn characters into lines of merchandising. (See The Simpsons, Rick and Morty, etc.) At Amazon, Batman: Caped Crusader will join a roster of animated fare that also includes Undone, Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, Fairfax, The Legend of Vox Machina and The Boys Presents: Diabolical.
Aaron Couch contributed to this story.
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