- DC’s upcoming streaming service, DC Universe, will launch September 15.
- Its first original live-action series, “Titans,” will premiere October 12, with episodes released weekly.
- DC Entertainment CCO Jim Lee spoke to Business Insider about how DC Universe is different than other streaming services like Netflix.
- He addressed the controversy around the first gritty trailer for “Titans,” and revealed that “Doom Patrol” characters will be introduced in “Titans.”
- Lee also touched on how introducing people to Batman is one of the easiest ways to get new fans hooked on comics and DC Universe.
DC Entertainment and Warner Bros.’ new streaming service,DC Universe, finally has a release date: Batman Day (September 15).
The announcement was made during a live show of “DC Daily,” hosted by Kevin Smith, on Wednesday. The service will be $US74.99 for an annual subscription, or $US7.99 a month. The premiere date for the service’s first live-action original series, “Titans,” is October 12, with each of the 12 episodes released weekly.
DC Universe will include numerous original series, both live action and animated, which are expected to be rolled out following “Titans.” The service will also include a huge collection of digital comic books that span decades of material, including the first appearances of Superman and Batman, and DC-specific film and television adaptations.
It’s this emphasis on fan service that separates DC Universe from other streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon. Netflix in particular is expected to have at least 1,000 original shows and movies by year’s end, but DC Universe is more concerned about being a platform for fans of DC, which is home to classic characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, and more.
“DC Universe is not an attempt to be everything to everyone,” Jim Lee, CCO of DC Entertainment and a veteran comic book artist, told Business Insider. “It’s an attempt to be the most immersive experience for fans of the DC characters and stories.”
Lee said DC was the first comics publisher to offer its comic books on digital platforms the same day they were available in print (in 2011), so DC Universe was a natural next step. The comics industry has managed to sustain print publication for decades, but as with any media, it has had to adapt to technological changes in recent years. Even Netflix has entered the comics game, buying comics publisher Millarworld last year in an exclusive deal to develop TV projects based on its comics.
“We’ve always been very cognisant that fans want to find our material in a way that’s most convenient and find it in the most easily accessible way,” Lee said. “It’s always sort of a mandate to look at technology and trends and figure out the best way to deliver content.”
That evolution may be integral to attracting casual fans or even those who have never read a comic book (to which Lee joked “shame on you!” with a laugh).
Lee said casual fans most likely know DC Comics characters through other media, such as movies and TV, and that DC Universe offers them a chance to dive into the long history where those characters originated: comic books. One of the easiest ways for new fans to immerse themselves in DC mythology is by introducing them to Batman, according to Lee.
“He’s a character who just works on a very high-concept level,” Lee explained. “He was a child who endured a horrible tragedy. He saw his parents killed in front of him and he vows to not let this happen to anyone in Gotham City ever again and he dedicates his life to fighting for justice and being a champion for those that are marginalized. That’s a very powerful concept.”
Lee added that some of DC’s best content are Batman stories, such as “Year One” and “The Dark Knight Returns” – both written by veteran comics writer Frank Miller – so it’s an “amazing experience getting into the history of Batman.”
But for the “Titans” original series, the show’s depiction of Batman’s protege Robin caused quite a stir when the first trailer was released last month. The show’s Robin, played by Brenton Thwaites, isn’t exactly a fan of the Caped Crusader, and the trailer was ridiculed for a scene in which Robin exclaims “F— Batman!” while murdering a group of thugs.
The full trailer is below:
The trailer’s darkness and grisly violence drew criticism from fans online, but Lee thinks fans should wait for the final product.
“It’s a trailer,” Lee said. “It’s a glimpse at some of the series. But at the end of the day the core concept behind the Titans is that they are a bit lost and broken when they start out. The reason they identify with one another is because they are looking for unity and family and connection to people with whom they see themselves. I think that’s one of the elements that’s stressed in that trailer is that these characters – particularly Robin with his ‘memorable line’ – is trying to reject his past because there’s something that’s happened in Gotham and he’s trying to forge his own path and not fall into the same temptations that he saw his mentor [Batman] fall into. So in that respect I think it’s true to the core concept.”
Lee said he’d spoken with Marv Wolfman, the writer and co-creator of the 1980s “The New Teen Titans” comic book series, since the trailer debuted, and that Wolfman had nothing but praise for it.
“[Wolfman] said, ‘Look, if I had the opportunity to tell that story without the limitations that I had back in the 80s, I would have been very tempted to tell it this way because that’s how young people talk and feel – they are very emotive and expressive in their language,'” Lee said. “I think that it’s a gracious way to tell this story and shows that stories have to evolve and change with the times.”
Lee also revealed that characters from another DC Universe original series, “Doom Patrol,” would be introduced in “Titans.” Not all of DC Universe’s shows will be connected in that way, but Lee said that the platform gives creators the freedom to do so.
“We can give showrunners the freedom to find the best way to tell the best possible stories with these characters,” he said.
Other shows expected to come in 2019 are “Swamp Thing,” adult-animated comedy “Harley Quinn,” and the third season of “Young Justice,” rebranded as “Young Justice: Outsiders.”
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