Since it launched in May 2020, HBO Max has quietly boasted some stellar original programming, including “Tokyo Vice,” “The Flight Attendant,” “And Just Like That…” and more. But there’s plenty of more original series on the way. In a new interview with Variety, HBO Max’s head of originals Sarah Aubrey supplied updates to many of those titles, including the first spinoff to Matt Reeves‘ “The Batman.”
So, what did Aubrey have to say about “The Penguin,” the first of potentially several spinoffs to Reeves’ film? “”Penguin” will sit immediately after the end of “The Batman” and temporally before the events of the second movie,” confirmed Aubrey. “The show will come out in between the two movies. Now beyond that, it’s fun for the audience to know that it will be a bridge between the two, but the actual release date, I’m not at liberty to say.” Fans already expected this, but good on Aubrey to confirm the series bridges between “The Batman” and whatever its sequel ends up being.
But what about plot details for “The Penguin”? Aubrey described the show as grounded “at that street level” of Gotham as Colin Farrell‘s Osward Copplepot gradually takes over the city’s underworld. “The goal of this is to show what Oz’s life is like and that’s very much in the streets of Gotham, trying to get up and over as only the Penguin can. As a hustler and a strategist with his own ambitions,” Aubrey continued. “It is a great example of having the time over eight episodes to tell a longer-arc character story with a lot of delicious twists and turns and new characters. It’s very much going to be about Gotham at that street level, because he’s not flying around like Batman does. We are all embracing that as a very specific experience for audiences to have.”
Sounds like a winning idea, or at least a better one than “Peacemaker.” Should DCEU fans expect another season of that show, or perhaps another “The Suicide Squad” spinoff that centers on Ratcatcher 2? Aubrey remained mum on anything like that. “I absolutely cannot say a single word about any of this,” said Aubrey. “I will tell you one of the great pleasures of my job is getting a peek inside of James Gunn’s brain, and it is wild and inventive place. I can say with certainty, whatever is coming from him in that neck of the woods is going to be really exciting for me.” Aubrey likely can’t provide updates here because of all the David Zaslav-related upheaval on the DC front this year, not to mention the recent hiring of Gunn and Peter Safran as the new DC Studios co-chiefs.
On another front, Aubrey has high hopes for the new season of the “Sex And The City” spinoff “And Just Like That….” “What you’re seeing this season is all of these characters embracing life,” continued Aubrey. “It’s a very joyful season and I think, in some ways, it feels like iconic ‘Sex and the City’ episodes. Most of all, for Carrie, in particular, in the way her character has always been up for the next adventure or the next love, the next friendship in the city, and you really feel that this season. We’re so excited. I went to the table, I’ve seen the clothes. So I’m voracious, just like everyone.” Expect “And Just Like That…” Season Two on HBO Max sometime next year.
And while that show isn’t exactly a reunion special like the ones HBO Max has done for “Friends,” “Harry Potter,” and “The West Wing,” should fans expect more special like that? Said, Aubrey: “As it stands right now, I don’t have an easy answer to what’s coming next in that space, because each one of those really came about from a creator. I’m open for somebody that’s excited to get the gang back together, because they performed very well for us — but that’s because they’ve had everything the fans wanted from them.” As for a “Harry Potter” original TV series, Aubrey said that nothing is in the works. “We don’t have a series in active development right now,” she said, “But we are very much in that business, because fans are just clamoring for more storytelling.”
Now for a lightning round on other projects. About the “It: Welcome To Derry” series: “You’ll be hearing more concretely about that development very soon… Andy is very involved in every bit of this, so that is the real recipe for success and for delighting fans.” On Greg Berlanti‘s redeveloped “Green Lantern” series: “We remain very excited by the opportunity to make a big four-quadrant space opera with Greg and Sarah for HBO Max.” And will J.J. Abrams‘ “Duster” ever get made? “That is going to be — knock wood — up and running very soon,” confirmed Aubrey. “I’m very bullish about that, and it’s one that J.J. has been intimately involved with and that’s a really fun process to be a part of.”
And that about covers the titles Aubrey mentions in the Variety interview. It’s exciting times over at HBO Max, even as Gunn, Safran, and Zaslav rework Warner Bros. Discovery‘s vision for DC’s future. Despite things being up in the air, an eight-episode series dedicated to The Penguin’s rise to power in Gotham sure sounds nice.