DC already has a prequel for Batman currently on TV, and are currently developing two for Superman. Fun as that may be, it’s time television stopped building up to the World’s Finest and brought Batman and Superman to TV properly.
DC’s films may be experiencing some turbulence at theaters, but the comic company’s television empire is thriving. The CW’s collection of DC series – colloquially known as the Arrowverse – largely concentrates on lesser-known heroes (with one very speedy exception, The Flash), and has become the bedrock of that network (which previously served as home for Superman prequel Smallville thrived for a decade on the CW), and the Batman prequel Gotham has found something of an unhinged, bonkers creative groove in its current fourth season on Fox.
Related: Why The CW Needs To Cancel Arrow
Looking forward, Syfy is gearing up for yet another Superman prequel, Krypton, which will chronicle the days of Kal-El’s grandfather on the doomed planet. And, following in the footsteps of CBS All Access, DC is starting its own streaming service, currently slated for late 2018, which will be headlined by a live action Titans show – as well as yet another Superman show minus Superman called Metropolis, which will feature Lois Lane and Lex Luthor in the days before the Man of Steel came to town.
With all that on the way, It’s hard to avoid the obvious question: why is DC so reluctant to put Batman and Superman, their two most iconic characters, on the small screen?
This Page: There’s No Reason To Not Do Batman And Superman TV Shows
The DCTV/DCEU Conflict Argument Doesn’t Make Sense
For many years, there’s been a mysterious, ill-defined in-house policy on DC’s heavy hitters showing up not only in live action television but animation as well. Arrow showrunner Marc Guggenheim has often suggested characters like Deathstroke and Deadshot are routinely removed from his show by his corporate overlords when they’re due to feature in a new DC film. The implication seems to be that two concurrent live action versions of the same character will confuse audiences. That’s not only an insultingly reductive assessment of their own audience, it simply ignores the current state of massive, immersive franchises like DC and Marvel, where fan bases are plugged into their favorite versions of characters through social media.
You can still make something of an argument that characters like Deathstroke and Deadshot are low profile enough that the company wants them defined in the public consciousness by the expensive, high-profile film versions where they’re played by A-list movie stars. But DC has already torpedoed that argument for established icons like Batman and Superman. Grant Gustin has played an incredibly well-received version of Barry Allen on the CW’s The Flash, while Ezra Miller has played the character to generally warm returns in Justice League, and will star in the upcoming Flashpoint film. People have had no problem understanding the two adaptations exist in different universes.
Indeed, the DC universe has a longstanding, in-universe mechanism that suggests it exists as a multiverse, where limitless iterations of its heroes and villains can thrive alongside each other. The CW’s Supergirl took things a step further, featuring its own version of Superman, played by Tyler Hoechlin. A non-Henry Cavill Superman appeared on American television in 2017 and the world didn’t end.
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