The live-action DC universe is continuing to grow, with a number of films and television series inspired by the publisher’s comic characters. While the film and TV universes have largely been separate over the years, Warner Bros. has recently made a more concerted effort to bridge those gaps, with movies and shows headed to the HBO Max streaming service. Fans have already gotten a bit off an inkling of what all that can entail, with the Peacemaker television series premiering to great fanfare earlier this month, as well as the first official look at the streaming service’s Batgirl movie.
At the moment, a number of additional projects are on the way, including a film for Black Canary and television shows for Justice League Dark, John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and the Green Lantern Corps, as well as multiple spinoffs of The Batman. But with Warner Bros. reportedly hoping to make even more spinoffs and continuations, there’s a lot more that the streaming service could cover. With that in mind, we thought we’d come up with ten suggestions of some (but certainly not all) of the DC titles that would work well on HBO Max.
Justice League International
Yes, the Justice League have had a complicated and evolving journey into live action. Yes, we’ll probably inevitably get a new roster of the Justice League onscreen. But if the dawn of the Justice Society of America in this year’s Black Adam movie (as well as decades upon decades of comics) prove anything, it’s that there can be multiple major superhero teams in the universe at one time. With that in mind, the Justice League International roster — which included more off-kilter fan-favorites such as Fire, Ice, Booster Gold, and Blue Beetle — feels like a perfect fit for HBO Max.
A JLI show or movie could have a sense of humor that puts Peacemaker‘s to shame (they don’t call it the “Bwahaha” era for nothing), while also putting a stamp on some of the lesser-known, but beloved heroes within the League. Plus, the series could realistically work in a fair amount of 1980s flair, in an homage to the group’s roots.
The Terrifics are still a relatively-recent addition to the DC canon, with the team-up between Mr. Terrific, Phantom Girl, Metamorpho, and Plastic Man only debuting in 2018. Initially poised as a tongue-in-cheek take on Marvel’s First Family, The Terrifics grew into its own beautiful thing, combining the more obscure science corners of the DC universe for some reality-warping and emotional adventures.
We know the Fantastic Four are on their way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it would be awfully poetic for DC to make its own stamp on The Terrifics in live-action, either in a movie or a television series. The saga of The Terrifics could also spotlight some of those weirder concepts and elements of the DC universe that might not get thrown into live-action otherwise — which, if Peacemaker has taught us anything, we could definitely use more of.
Speaking of stories that could present wildly different takes on superheroics, it was announced last year that an Hourman movie is currently being developed by Warner Bros and Cherin Entertainment. While it’s unclear where the project will end up, or even what incarnation of Hourman could be at the focus of the film, it feels like the kind of project that could excel on HBO Max.
The film could end up following the first two Hourman incarnations — Rex and Rick Tyler — or it could follow Matthew Tyler, an android created with Rex’s DNA who struggles with superheroics. The Hourman comics of the early 2000s, which starred Matthew and Snapper Carr, the former kid sidekick of the Justice League, grappled with the idea of legacy and coming of age in a uniquely relatable way. It stands to reason that an Hourman film could have the same general tone, while also tying into the larger DC universe and the Justice Society of America.
The mantle of Vixen has been explored in television already, with The CW’s Arrowverse covering two incarnations of the character across live action and animation. Still, there’s a lot of the story of Mari McCabe — a fashion model with the ability to conjure the powers of animals — that is left to be explored. Vixen made history in the comics as one of DC’s first African superheroes, and outside of being a member of the Justice League and the Suicide Squad, multiple solo comics have showcased her own adventures.
A new Vixen series or HBO Max movie could be a globetrotting, high-fashion affair, while also featuring some trailblazing superhero action.
Speaking of young superheroes with endless potential, DC’s Young Animal line gave us the teenage vigilante Mother Panic. Also known as Violet Paige, a bisexual “celebutante” in Gotham City, Mother Panic is equipped with various cybernetic implants and gadgets that give her superhuman abilities.
While decidedly darker and moodier than some of DC’s fare, Mother Panic has a cerebral, punk-rock quality that could easily translate to a standalone TV series or HBO Max movie. Plus, the comics’ tangential ties to Batman lore could allow for another opportunity to further explore Gotham City without needing A-list characters to appear.
Another family-friendly DC corner that seems perfect for HBO Max — either in live-action or animation — is 2020’s Primer. An entry into DC’s young adult line of graphic novels, the story follows Ashley Rayburn, a young girl and budding artist who can acquire new superpowers based on what color paint she wears.
The Primer graphic novel has become a runaway best seller since it was first released, and Ashley was recently introduced into the main DC line through an appearance in Teen Titans Academy. If DC wanted an even larger audience to experience the story of Primer, an HBO Max adaptation seems like the perfect next step.
In terms of teams whose stories could be told on HBO Max, the Metal Men are an off-kilter — but not unreasonable — possibility. The Silver Age group consists of six robots — Gold, Iron, Lead, Mercury, Tin, and Tina — who use an array of powers to fight crime under the tutelage of their creator, an arrogant scientist named Will Magnus. Over the decades since their 1962 debut, the Metal Men have made their way into several comics, animated series, and more.
While the Metal Men are far from a household name, their kooky concept and the elasticity of their superpowers have been regarded by some to be perfect for some sort of adaptation. Director Barry Sonnenfeld was previously developing a film adaptation of the group, and a Metal Men animated movie was confirmed to be in the works this past December. Depending on the cast and animation style, it doesn’t seem out of the question that the Metal Men animated adventure could find its way to HBO Max, allowing fans of all ages to watch it from the comfort of their own home.
Another newer addition to DC lore — but one who already has fans clamoring for a live-action adaptation — is Yara Flor, who currently holds the mantle of Wonder Girl. An Amazon whose tribe hails from Brazil, Yara balances life as a teenager in Boise, Idaho with her calling as a demigod, and crosses paths with a number of allies and adversaries.
While a previous attempt to get Yara a television series on The CW ultimately fell through, HBO Max could give Yara and her world the spectacle and heart-wrenching emotion that Joelle Jones’ original source material deserves. Plus, a potential film or series surrounding Yara could be used to flesh out the larger Wonder Woman universe, something that the movies are currently taking their time in doing.
Far Sector, the twelve-issue miniseries published by DC’s Young Animal line, only began in 2020 — but it has already become a property that fans are eager to see adapted. The series follows Sojourner “Jo” Mullein, the Green Lantern tasked with protecting the City Enduring, a cyberpunk metropolis that has outlawed feelings (and by extension, crime), and the twisty cosmic conspiracy she gets thrown into.
The series’ initial run feels tailor-made for an HBO Max-exclusive film or a limited series, which — if the recent Future State event is any indication — could stand alone or cross over into any parts of the DC multiverse. Sure, there is a Green Lantern series already in the works for the streamer, but Jo’s story is atmospheric, witty, and emotional — and it deserves to be told.