Titans and turtles: All the upcoming superhero sequels, prequels, and spinoffs set for TV
Because we can’t seem to get enough of the Batman mythos these days, yet another TV show based on the world of the Caped Crusader is in the works. Following the fifth and final season of frantic, surreal Bruce Wayne prequel series Gotham, showrunner Bruno Heller proves once again that originality has packed up shop, announcing another prequel series, this time focusing on Batman’s world-weary butler, Alfred Pennyworth.
The alleyways and cityscapes of Gotham City will no longer grace the Fox network following the fifth season of just thirteen episodes, as this new prequel has been set for a ten-episode first season as an Epix exclusive. Suitably titled Pennyworth, there has been no word yet on who will play the iconic butler, but we do know that Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers) will not be reprising his role from Gotham. It reeks of Sony’s failed attempts to bring an Aunt May prequel series to the screen way back when the company was still scrambling to keep hold of the movie rights to everyone’s favorite web-slinger. However, as has been confirmed by various comics and movies, Alfred does at least have an established history of being a badass.
This series is set to explore a new story, tracing Pennyworth’s origins as a British SAS soldier who forms an underground company in 60s London with Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne. As long as it’s not a prequel to Jeremy Irons’s Alfred for the dreadfully dreary DC Extended Universe, the show could be onto something. But there is every chance that it will simply join the endless onslaught of forgettable superhero shows.
If you’re not feeling the superhero fatigue yet, check out the list of superhero spinoffs, sequels, and prequels currently airing and slated for the next couple of years.
A ten episode series focusing on all that boring stuff that happens on Superman’s home planet before it blows up and the all-American Hero starts deflecting meteors and falling in love with Pulitzer prize winning journalists. This series focuses on Kal-el’s grandfather Seg-el, 200 years before his birth and features crowd-pleasing villains like General Zod, Doomsday, and Brainiac.
X-Men continuity has gone completely out the window and these next two shows prove that it doesn’t really matter. Fox is probably just biding its time with vaguely connected concepts to bridge the gap between the eventual absorption into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, anyway. The Gifted takes a cue from Logan, set in an alternate reality where all the X-Men you know and kind of like have disappeared. Instead of Wolverine and all the others nobody can remember, it follows a group of superpowered misfits on the run from a mutant-hating regime. Business as usual.
The Gifted is a solid companion piece to Fox’s long-running X-Men series, but Legion is where things get serious. Featuring Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast) as the mentally unstable son of Professor X (though don’t expect Patrick Stewart or James McAvoy to show up), the first season of Legion received critical acclaim, though couldn’t quite stick the landing with its second season.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Carter. The Defenders. Marvel is intent on taking over all screens, big and small, though God forbid they introduce any of their TV characters into the blockbuster movies. The Runaways is the latest television addition to the MCU, with a practically interchangeable premise from Fox’s The Gifted. Honestly, you may as well just pick one and run with it.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
If Michael Bay’s disastrous TMNT flicks weren’t bad enough, safe to say that the four reptilian street warriors won’t be hanging up their shells anytime soon. Yet another reincarnation of the Ninja Turtles is set for release this year. Frankly, the animation looks gross, but we have to admit that Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) as Leonardo is pretty genius casting.
Cloak & Dagger
Set for release this June, the MCU’s upcoming superhero romance will be vaguely connected to the goings-on of other Marvel characters but still promises to be its own thing. Set in New Orleans, it follows two teens who develop a relationship at the same time as unlocking supernatural abilities that seem to work better when they’re together.
Nowadays, Marvel is essentially producing broad comedies with action set pieces, evidenced by the laugh-a-minute Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok. With about ten separate television shows in syndication, it’s about time its small screen efforts mirrored the comic book zaniness achieved by its blockbusters. New Warriors will follow a group of D-list superheroes, including Squirrel Girl, Mister Immortal, and Night Thrasher. Hopefully it’s as hilariously pathetic as it sounds.
A workplace comedy in the style of The Office but featuring the everyday bozos like us who have to clear up the mess left by Marvel’s most reckless heroes? Count us in.
Teen Titans was the most important animated show for any kid born in the mid to late 90s, though has sadly been replaced by the childish abomination Teen Titans Go! After more than ten years, a live-action iteration is finally scheduled for this year, although fans are a little worried by some newly released set photos that look a little strange to say the least.
DC Super Hero Girls
Based on the popular line of action figures, as long as the female heroes and villains don’t sit around braiding their hair and gossiping about boys, we can consider this feminine-powered animated series a miracle that it’s even getting made.
Everyone seems to be looking for a piece of streaming action and DC Comics is no different. The upcoming “DC Universe” is set to release in the next year, though so far it’s not exactly brimming with content. Yet another Superman prequel, Metropolis is currently in development for the channel, as well as a Harley Quinn animated show, a revitalized Young Justice, and the live-action Titans reboot. Doom Patrol could be DC’s answer to the New Warriors, a spinoff from Titans featuring heroes nobody’s ever heard of.
James Wan (The Conjuring) is attached to a promising new series that could be one of the first projects in a long time to bring back horror to the superhero franchise. That Justice League Dark film is officially dead then, huh?
Shrouded in mystery, but we can’t help but be intrigued by the whispers and rumors surrounding Damon Lindelof’s (Lost) upcoming adaptation of Alan Moore’s seminal graphic novel. Rather than adapting the novel straight up, Lindelof is developing a new set of characters, claiming to be taking cues from FX’s Fargo series. 2008’s Watchmen is still Zack Snyder’s best movie (make of that what you will), but we’re still very excited for HBO’s new take on the source material.
V for Vendetta
Another Alan Moore classic (again already adapted to film), there are always more stories to tell within an oppressive, 1984-style police state being disrupted by a Guy Fawkesian vigilante. Moore famously denounces any and all Hollywood feature adaptations of his work, but maybe he’ll be a little kinder to a long-format British show?