With a two-season order, “Batman: Caped Crusader” is moving to Amazon

The series, by J.J. Abrams, Matt Reeves, and Bruce Timm, was previously developed for HBO Max.

At Amazon, Batman: Caped Crusader has a new home.

The animated series, which was initially planned for HBO Max, has received a two-season order from the streaming and retail behemoth. The Jennifer Salke-led streamer acquired Caped Crusader after Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent company of Warner Bros. Animation, canceled the program in August, more than a year after it was given a straight-to-series order, as a result of a round of cost-cutting measures. Other streaming services, such as Netflix, Apple, and Hulu, have also shown interest in the project that reunites executive producers J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves, who previously worked together on the cherished Felicity series on The WB Network.

As part of Warner Bros. Discovery’s efforts to monetize content by selling projects to third-party buyers, the animated series, created by Bruce Timm, Abrams, and Reeves, was sold to a streaming competitor.

As official deals have not yet closed, representatives for all parties declined to comment.

Batman: Caped Crusader
‘Batman: Caped Crusader’

Batman: Caped Crusader, which was first announced in May 2021, is said to reference Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series from the 1990s, which is regarded as the gold standard for the animated storytelling of the Dark Knight. The show’s creative team includes comic book writer Ed Brubaker, who oversaw a writer’s room and worked as Timm’s right-hand man on the first season’s 10 episodes.

DC Studios executives James Gunn and Peter Safran, who was hired by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav hired late last year, seek to bring order to DC’s properties. The duo has plotted a 10-year plan to tell a unified story across film, TV, gaming, and animation, though certain projects will fall outside of that main track. Those include Reeves’ The Batman: Part II and HBO Max spinoff series The Penguin, and, naturally, fare like Caped Crusader that is distributed outside of the company.

Caped Crusader’s move to Amazon comes after Zaslav revealed his film studio would develop more Lord of the Rings movies. Amazon, coincidentally, controls the TV rights to the Lord of the Rings franchise, and now will count Warners’ Batman as part of its service offerings.

“We are beyond excited to be working together to bring this character back, to tell engrossing new stories in Gotham City,” Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Reeves (The Batman) said in a joint statement when Caped Crusader was first announced. “The series will be thrilling, cinematic, and evocative of Batman’s noir roots while diving deeper into the psychology of these iconic characters. We cannot wait to share this new world.”

Abrams, on the other hand, has recently struggled at Warner Bros. Discovery. The prolific writer, director, and producer is still employed by Warners and has a sizable overall deal, but as a result of WBD’s recent cost-cutting drive, many of his Bad Robot projects have been shelved. He abandoned his plans for a larger Justice League Dark franchise that would have included several DC Comics shows, such as Madame X and Constantine. Demimonde, the first original series that Abrams had written and produced since Fringe in 2008, was also canceled by HBO.

At the time, sources claimed that Abrams wanted to spend more than $200 million on the project, but HBO executives preferred to keep it in the realm of House of the Dragon, which came in at $125 million. Before Demimonde, HBO Max also dropped plans for Overlook, a spinoff of The Shining that is believed to have been sold to Netflix, though that has never officially been confirmed.

Animation, meanwhile, remains a major area of investment for networks and streamers alike. In addition to repeating well on streaming platforms, in success, original ideas become extremely lucrative thanks in part to the ability to turn characters into lines of merchandising. (See The Simpsons, Rick and Morty, etc.)

At Amazon, Batman: Caped Crusader will join a roster of animated fare that also includes Undone, Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, Fairfax, The Legend of Vox Machina and The Boys Presents: Diabolical.