With the big announcement from Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment today regarding the upcoming launch of DC Universe, we now have a better picture of what we can expect. The initial announcement released and shows that fans can expect new original shows, as we already knew about, in addition to some of the vast library of older films and television shows. There are also comics that will be included with the service and other fandom areas that will be worth exploring when the service launches. But there is still a lot unknown. We are going to break down what we do know and then cover some of what we still need to know. DC Universe has broken things into different categories, so we will do the same.
First up, is the original content, which seems to be what is going to push the service for fans. While nothing new was mentioned, we do have a clearer picture on some of the shows previously announced.
The first series that will debut with the service when it launches later this fall. We have heard things and seen Robin in costume, but we have a better synopsis for the show along with some new images of Robin.
Titans follows young heroes from across the DC Universe as they come of age and find belonging in a gritty take on the classic Teen Titans franchise. Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth, a special young girl possessed by a strange darkness, get embroiled in a conspiracy that could bring Hell on Earth. Joining them along the way are the hot-headed Starfire and loveable Beast Boy. Together they become a surrogate family and team of heroes.
Originally announced when the service was first revealed, the show was expected to release when the service launched since production on the show was announced over a year ago. The show was also far enough along that last year Warner Bros. held a panel at Comic Con, and while not a ton of new info was talked about, it seemed that this was another series that would kick off the service. Today’s announcement stated in a quote that the new original animated offerings (see below for Harley Quinn) would debut in 2019. And that could mean in January or some other later time in the year.
Young Justice: Outsiders features the return of the fan-favorite animated series with a huge cast of DC’s most iconic young superheroes – plus brand-new characters, many of whom are just discovering their unique meta-powers and special abilities. Set against the backdrop of a rich, deep world that touches all corners of the DC universe, the season focuses on meta–trafficking, and an intergalactic arms race for control of these super–powered youths.
The animated Harley Quinn series was announced back in November and other than a piece of concept art and the above logo, not a whole lot has been known about the series. That changed today with a brand new synopsis. This show is also aimed to debut in 2019, but at this point, it would be wise to assume that it will be releasing later than Young Justice since it was announced eight months later.
Harley Quinn follows Harley’s adventures after she breaks up with the Joker and strikes out on her own in this new adult animated comedy. With the help of Poison Ivy and a ragtag crew of DC castoffs, Harley tries to earn a seat at the biggest table in villainy: the Legion of the Doom.
Revealed just last month, the series spins out of the Titans series as the group appears in a later episode of the series. Casting is said to have begun for the series, but it is not expected until next year at this point.
Doom Patrol is a reimagining of one of DC’s strangest group of outcasts: Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Woman and Crazy Jane. Led by the mysterious Dr. Niles Caulder they’re called into action by the ultimate hero for the digital age, Cyborg. Banding together these rejects find themselves on a mission that will take them to the weirdest and most unexpected corners of the DC universe.
Also just announced last month, Swamp Thing has Aquaman James Wan connected to the project and is in the early stages of production with a potential 2019 release date, though it seems this series might be the most recent one to enter production and could be a way out.
Swamp Thing follows Abby Arcane as she investigates what seems to be a deadly swamp-born virus in a small town in Louisiana but soon discovers that the swamp holds mystical and terrifying secrets. When unexplainable and chilling horrors emerge from the murky marsh, no one is safe.
While we knew that the service was developing original content, the real question some fans had outside of when everything would launch was what else would be available. Going off of the official press release, there are some things mentioned, but there are other things that are not. As seen in the trailer, promotional images and lists given by reliable sources, let’s break down as to what we should see.
Live Action Films: Superman (1978), Superman II (1980), Superman III (1983), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Supergirl (1984), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995), Batman and Robin (1997)
Animated Films: Batman Ninja, All-Star Superman, Batman vs Robin, Batman: Year One, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Green Lantern: First Flight, Gotham by Gaslight, Justice League: Doom, Justice League vs Teen Titans, Superman: Doomsday, Batman: Gotham Knight, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1, Batman: The Dark Knights Returns Part 2
Live Action Television: Wonder Woman (1977) (will be available in HD for the first time), The Flash (1990), Birds of Prey (2002), The Adventures of Lois & Clark (1993), Constatine (2014), Adventures of Superman (1953), Superboy (1988)
Animated Television: Batman: The Animated Series (only the first two seasons, but will be available in HD for the first time), Teen Titans, Super Friends, Legion of Superheroes, Young Justice, Static Shock, Max Fleischer’s Superman series, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Batman Beyond,
This is by no means a complete list, just what we are able to deduce from the information given at this point. Although you can probably expect the entire catalog of animated films Warner Bros. has been producing for over the past ten years since films that just released this past year are included on the list.
You can probably expect to see the Batman ’66 show at some point, but certainly not when it launches since the series was just released a few years back for the first time ever. Smallville is another one that will probably be present, but its lack of presence on any list leads us to believe that it isn’t coming until a later date. Other series missing are all of the current CW series and Gotham as those all currently have a deal with Netflix and aren’t expected to be part of the service at least for the time being. One other group that may make its way over is the animated series on CW Seed. But again, those might come at a later date.
Warner Bros.’s other current streaming service, Boomerang, which features classic cartoons from Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry and more, has slowly rolled out certain marquee series since it’s launch while also releasing its own original content. Just looking at the lists above, it doesn’t currently include any of the Batman Unlimited films, LEGO films, DC Super Hero Girls or other original animated direct-to-video offerings. So expect new content to be released as time goes on.
The other big part of what is to come is comics. Marvel has had a digital library of comics for years with Marvel Unlimited, and DC seems to be using the streaming service to get comics into more readers’ hands. While the announcement clearly states that the comics that will be available will be a select curated group, this ultimately means that it is not going to be the same service as what Marvel currently offers.
Some of the titles already announced include 52 (2006), Action Comics (1938), Adventure Comics (1958), Aquaman (2011), Batman (2002), Cyborg (2015), Deathstroke (2014), Detective Comics (1939), Green Arrow: Year One (2007), Green Lantern (2011), Harley Quinn (2013), JLA (1997), Justice League (2011), My Greatest Adventure (1963), Suicide Squad (2011), Superman/Batman (2004), Swamp Thing (1972), Teen Titans (1965), The Flash (2011), and Wonder Woman (2011). While not mentioned in the list provided from DC, Batgirl: Year One appears in the trailer. But again, this does not mean that you will get every issue in these series as seen by the specific years listed for the comics. The lineup will most likely change over time as well.
This also seems like a similar area that DC has previously done with the DC All Access app that launched over two years ago, but rarely sees any updates now. Could the DC All Access app have been a testing ground for some of the other elements for the service? Probably.
DC also mentions that there will be a discussion forum for fans to connect with DC creators. While this is an assumption, expect AMA’s using the forums in the future as anyway DC can leverage fans using the discussion forums will be made. The question does remain on how this will work on the devices that typically are used for viewing and not interacting. Obviously, forums work fine on an app or computer, but on a TV it becomes a whole different game.
Exclusive merchandise will be made available for subscribers. Initially, DC Collectibles will be offering exclusive six-inch action figures based off the Justice League animated series. I would expect that the new location for the Legions of Collectors for Funko may make its way to the service as well since it has yet to be announced where the subscription service would end up and Funko promised it would be available elsewhere in the future. Amazon took over the Marvel subscription box, but DC’s box has yet to appear. Warner Bros. promised in the press release that they would be leveraging their partners for exclusive products and the Funko Legion of Collector’s box makes a ton of sense.
There also is the word of a new encyclopedia of DC characters updated by fans. Sounds a lot like a wiki, and it might very well be. DC leveraging the fans to give updates is a smart thing and especially when paired with the fact they plan on offering premium rewards to fans. What those may be is anyone’s’ guess, but DC launching the DC boutique at conventions and festivals earlier this year may be part of that too.
While not everything that will be available right away, as the service grows more original content will come and more series will debut. At this point, there is a lot of information known, but still, a very important thing to announce is the price. While Boomerang offers content in a similar fashion, it does not offer all of the other stuff this intends to have. Boomerang costs $4.99 per month or $39.99 annually. With the added content, I would expect the DC Universe to be priced at $6.99 per month or $59.99 annually. The other big deal for our international readers is whether or not the service will be available in other areas. Typically services are rolled out to other areas of the world over time, but with something this big, it seems like a missed opportunity to launch without including certain international markets.
To wrap it all up, there will be a lot for fans to look forward to. Time will tell how everything else plays out. With the beta version launching in August, more questions will be answered. Also, expect a panel of some sort at San Diego Comic Con next month with footage from Titans being shown. It is almost completely unlikely that DC would pass up the biggest convention of the year and not use it as a marketing opportunity for one of the biggest things they will release. So what are you hoping to see? What are you willing to pay for the service? Sound off below with your own predictions.