The relationship between DCU, Warner Media’s DC Comics subscription service that combines the ability to watch exclusive shows like Swamp Thing and read a vast selection of the comic company’s publishing archives, and HBO Max, Warner Media’s forthcoming direct-to-consumer streaming platform, has always been foggy. It was unclear what, if any, content from DCU would make its way onto HBO Max (and vice versa, given the high-profile, DC-based projects in development like J.J. Abrams’ Justice League Dark), with HBO Max content chief Kevin Reilly saying earlier this year that they were still figuring it out.
But when the initial programming slate was announced, only a single show migrated from DCU to HBO Max: Doom Patrol, the second season of which is set to debut on both platforms on June 25. But thanks to a new Business Insider interview with Reilly, there is some clarification on the approach to the two platforms and why Doom Patrol is sharing the spotlight.
“There have been extensive discussions around DCU because DC is such a valuable entity to us and the depth of fandom is so important. So we really want to figure out how we walk this line for fans where we have a deep fan engagement, which is why DCU was designed, and a broader fan engagement,” Reilly told the outlet.
Reilly continued: “That is evolving but there were high-end series that DCU produced that felt like, budgetarily, we could handle from a business model better, and bring along and service that swath of fans. “Doom Patrol” was a show we identified that had deep love for it and tucked right into our portfolio.”
Reading between the lines, it seemed like Doom Patrol (a pseudo-spinoff of another DCU series, Titans) was too expensive to have a second season produced exclusively for DCU, but if they split the costs and doubled the show’s exposure, then they could justify production. (Other pricey DCU series like Swamp Thing were shuttered after a single season.) And while it seem like the discussion of what content will travel back and forth is ongoing, an HBO Max representative reached out to Business Insider to say that there were “no current plans for any other DCU show,” which is a very big bummer for those of us looking to watch uncut episodes of the terrific DCU animated series Harley Quinn (which has recently been rerunning on linear channels like SYFY).