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DC Universe streaming service launch date, Jim Lee interview

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titans dc universeDC
Universe

  • 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 $74.99
for an annual subscription, or $7.99 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.


TITANS ROBINDC
Universe/Warner Bros.

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 cognizant
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.”


DC UNIVERSE Watch 2DC
Universe/Warner Bros.

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.”


doom patrol dc universeDC
Universe

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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