Slash Film

In 2022, WarnerMedia was purchased by Discovery for $43 billion, causing a massive shake-up in the film industry. The newly minted CEO, David Zaslav, announced some dubious plans for the new supra-company, and then proceeded to slash great swaths of entertainment from the Warner Bros./HBO slate, leaving thousands out of jobs. Not only was a nearly-complete “Batgirl” movie just outright canceled, but nearly $2 billion worth of film and TV projects were dropped. This massive kerfuffle left a lot of film and TV fans in a lurch. Some of their favorite shows were being mercilessly axed, while other projects currently in production were shoved into purgatory. Only a few days ago, the upcoming Bruce Timm animated series “Batman: Caped Crusader” was announced to be coming out on Amazon after WB/Disco sold it off. 

Prior to the merger, Warner Bros. had exclusive rights to all the characters in the DC Comics canon, including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of that crew. It was part of the shake-up that led Warner to hire filmmaker James Gunn to oversee a brand new, clean-slate version of a cinematic DC Universe. The Justice League movies from the previous decade were to be ignored and the 90-year-old comic book world was to start afresh. 

While some are excited about the movement forward for the DCU, others felt a pang about the scattering of Batman to, essentially, the four winds. Some even speculated that the Batman character was now in legal flux, owned across several platforms. 

James Gunn, happy to put the kibosh on any and all rumors about the DCU, took to Twitter to clarify that the Batman TV rights are all in one place, and are where they should be.

The Dark Rights

There was an incorrect report circulating, and even repeated on sites like CBR, that the TV rights to Batman “are caught up in a legal limbo involving Fox, Disney and a trio of mergers.” These untrue rumors may have been started by someone who sharply recalls the dispute over the 1966 “Batman” series. That show wasn’t released on home video for decades, only making it to DVD and Blu-ray in 2014. The delay was caused by an inability to negotiate between 20th Century Fox, who owned the broadcast rights to the show, and Warner Bros. who owned the rights to the character. There were also potentially legal disputes over various piece of Batman iconography, including the music, the Batmobile, etc. 

Thanks to that decades-long quagmire, many may still assume that Batman is, in some ineffable way, constantly caught up in legal limbo. 

The “Caped Crusader” sale aside, James Gunn wanted to assure people that the TV rights to Batman are not in flux, there is nothing stopping Warner from making the Batman shows they want, and please, please, please stop spreading false rumors. Gunn has been repeating, in very plain language, that there are no issues. 

Currently, Warner Bros. is in production on a TV series about the Penguin, the supervillain who appeared in Matt Reeves’ 2022 film “The Batman.” Fans have been speculating as to whether or not Robert Pattinson, who played Batman, will also occasionally appear on the series, but nothing has yet been confirmed to the public. Speculation on the matter may be a fun talking point for the world’s many Batman nerds, but until there is a press release or a surprise cameo during actual broadcast, it will remain speculation.

And the TV rights to Batman are in one place. 

Read this next: The 11 Best Pre-MCU Superhero Movies

The post Batman TV Rights Aren’t in Limbo, According to James Gunn appeared first on /Film.

/Film – Batman TV Rights Aren’t In Limbo, According To James Gunn
Author: Witney Seibold
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March 16, 2023

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