Another DC Comics property has gotten the ax at HBO Max.
Strange Adventures, an anthology series from executive producer Greg Berlanti that was to feature some lesser-known characters from the DC universe, isn’t moving forward at the streamer, HBO Max confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. Filmmaker Kevin Smith, who was set to direct and co-write an episode of the series, revealed on his Hollywood Babble-On podcast that the show was dead.
Smith discussed Strange Adventures’ fate in the context of Warner Bros. Discovery’s decision to kill its Batgirl movie, which the company said “reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max.” CEO David Zaslav suggested during WBD’s quarterly earnings call last week that the $90 million film wasn’t big enough to release theatrically, but was too expensive to release directly to streaming.
Strange Adventures, however, met a more common fate in that it never got past the development stage. Sources say the decision to move on from the project was quietly made months ago, before the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger became final, and isn’t related to the recent tax write-down moves by WBD.
Smith said on his podcast that he was writing his episode with Eric Carrasco, with whom he collaborated on several episodes of the Berlanti-produced Supergirl at The CW. It was to have centered on Bizarro and Jimmy Olsen, he said, and he was pursuing — though had not yet signed — Nicolas Cage to play Bizarro. (Cage, a huge fan of Superman comics, had at one time been attached to star in Superman Lives, a Tim Burton-helmed film project that was scrapped in the 1990s.)
“[Dropping Strange Adventures] kind of made sense to me — nobody necessarily knows these characters, and it sounded like an expensive show,” Smith said on the podcast.
Strange Adventures was one of two projects from Berlanti Productions — the other being a Green Lantern series — that HBO Max announced back in October 2019, ahead of its May 2020 launch. Green Lantern received a series order at the time. Strange Adventures, however, was only picked up for development, and after receiving scripts from Smith and Carrasco and several other writers, it didn’t move forward.
Green Lantern remains on track at the streamer, sources say, with Finn Wittrock and Jeremy Irvine set to star and Lee Toland Krieger (Superman & Lois, You) on board to direct the first two episodes. Sources say all involved are taking their time with the effects-heavy show — the priciest series Berlanti Productions has ever mounted — in order to get it right. (Berlanti co-wrote the screenplay for the 2011 Green Lantern feature film, which was panned by critics and considered a flop, grossing $219 million worldwide against a $200 million budget.)
Other DC shows under the Berlanti umbrella, including the final season of The Flash, season three of Superman & Lois and newcomer Gotham Knights at The CW, are also moving ahead as planned.