New details are emerging about the new streaming service WarnerMedia calls “HBO Max”, and it includes a slew of new content for their platform.
First out of the gate: two projects based on DC Comics properties, Green Lantern and Strange Adventures, the latter promising to be an anthology series that’s similar to The Twilight Zone. The Green Lantern show is said to be an “ambitious project” and will be produced by Arrowverse mogul Greg Berlanti.
“Both of these original DC properties we’ll be creating for HBO Max will be unlike anything seen on television,” said Berlanti (Green Arrow, Supergirl), who announced both projects. “An anthology series of cautionary tales set in a world where superpowers exist, and, in what promises to be our biggest DC show ever made, we will be going to space with a Green Lantern television series, but I can’t reveal any more about that just yet.”
Since the 2011 Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds under-performed at the box office, there have been many attempts to do the character justice in a live-action format, including a plan to include the Green Lantern Corps in the DC Cinematic Universe. As late as this year, rumors were swirling that there’d be films made by J.J. Abrams. Hal Jordan has even been teased in the CW’s Arrowverse. Given that the new project is headed by Greg Berlanti, one of the chief architects of the CW’s Arrowverse, many people have hopes that this adaptation will be able to please both newcomers and old fans alike.
Strange Adventures was an anthology series of short sci-fi stories, usually done in the style of the old Tales from the Crypt comics. While not all of the stories found in these issues were stand-alone (Popular DC characters Animal Man and Enchantress originated from these stories), they were usually their own self contained stories detailing the horrors of space and science. The Strange Adventures line of comics will also be returning to print soon, and it will be written by Batman writer Tom King.
This wasn’t everything HBO decided to show off, though. They also announced a new Game of Thrones prequel known as House of the Dragon. Based on the Game of Thrones companion piece, Fire & Blood, the new series will take place 300 years before the main series. It follows the tale of ancient kings of Targaryen and the struggles they faced ruling over the Westeros. Longtime Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik will direct not only the pilot, but several other episodes, as well. Currently, there is no word as to whether the lead writers of Game of Thrones, David Benioff and Dan Weiss, are going to be attached to this project.
Benioff and Dan only this week walked away from their Star Wars trilogy (rumored to be based on the popular Bioware RPG, Knights of the Old Republic) for undisclosed reasons, though some speculate that it might have been due to time constraints they had from their contract with Netflix. If their leaving Lucasfilm was indeed because of schedule conflicts, then it is highly unlikely that they will come back to this prequel series. However, given that this was announced just a day after they left Lucasfilm, people have begun to wonder if this project is the main reason as to why their Star Wars films have been cancelled.
As for pre-existing content, Rick and Morty will have a “library deal” with HBO Max, putting all of the new episodes on the streaming service, as well as all of the older episodes. The series will still be on Hulu, along with creator Dan Harmon’s new show, Solar Opposites. Solar Opposites is about a family of alien refugees trying to live in modern day America, and as such, it will probably attract a very similar crowd that Rick and Morty has.
The effects of this could be devastating for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim viewership numbers. If the early projections about the service are correct (over fifty million subscribers by 2024), then that means that Cartoon Network will have lost one of its biggest draws. This follows Cartoon Network’s recent loss of one of their biggest Toonami shows, Dragon Ball Super, which has no new episodes. Only time will tell if Cartoon Network can get more fresh, original content to try and entice more people to watch their channel. The platform does still have the English dubs of both My Hero Academia and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, two of the biggest animes/mangas currently being shown/being read in the West, as well as the hit sci-fi space opera Final Space, so not all hope is lost for Cartoon Network.
HBO Max will also be the home to Doom Patrol, several Adventure Time animated specials, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, Elizabeth Banks’ DC Super Hero High, Circe, Dune: The Sisterhood, a new season of gen:LOCK from Michael B. Jordan and Rooster Teeth, His Dark Materials, Lovecraft Country, and the Ridely Scott produced Raised by Wolves.
HBO Max will launch in March 2020, and it will cost $14.99 a month. The service is a platform from WarnerMedia, a media conglomerate that owns Turner, HBO, and Warner Bros. As such, we could see some shows from DC Universe Now bleed into the HBO Max lineup.