Re: DC Superheroes on TV (CW & HBO Max)
Armageddon Part 1 was okay! Nice to see Ray again. Not sure why he was in the story. Wondered where Joe was. Watching Part 2 tomorrow when it's on Netflix.
I have to say: I agree with Slider_Quinn21 that BATWOMAN might have worked best if Bruce Wayne had been killed off at the start -- and maybe they should have done that even if Warner Bros. said they might be willing to someday let BATWOMAN add Bruce to the cast. BATWOMAN should have said that Bruce died in some final confrontation with the Joker that killed them both, and that it happened a decade ago (although ARROW did refer to Bruce Wayne as though he were alive). Of course, if BATWOMAN ended up getting the license to use Bruce, they could reveal that Bruce survived his off camera death.
Warner Bros. has never given an official statement as to why they license some characters but not others or why they withdraw licenses, so we can only observe their actions and results and infer their intentions.
My sense is that Warner Bros. considers itself a film studio that creates Serious Cinema like Christopher Nolan's Batman movies. When it comes to television, they look at it the way Paramount Studios looks at STAR TREK novels: licensed merchandising tie-ins that keep the brand present and draw in some revenue, but Paramount's core TREK content is TV and the occasional movie and they don't want their licensees interfering with Paramount's primary interests.
Historically, Warner Bros. has looked down on anything that isn't film. In 1995, the comics changed Batman's costume slightly, giving up on the light gray look with light blue mask / boots / gloves / cape / trunks in favour of dark gray with navy blue on top and no trunks. The editor got The New York Times to do a story on the costume change and according to comics veteran Mark Waid, that editor was nearly fired because the article was considered interference with the ramp up to BATMAN FOREVER.
Warner Bros. takes the attitude that they want to control the primary, mainstream, general audience image of Batman and that image is to be whatever they present in their feature films. They are possessive, proprietary, controlling -- and they consider the Arrowverse shows to be outsiders.
The Arrowverse shows are funded and produced largely by Berlanti Productions, an outside studio that licenses Warner Bros. properties for television. The Arrowverse shows air on the CW, a venture between ViacomCBS and the Studios and Networks division of Warner Media; Warner Bros. does not consider the Arrowverse shows to be in-house.
They view the Arrowverse the way FOX looks at the comic book publisher IDW when IDW licensed the X-FILES brand only for their supposedly in-continuity X-FILES comics to be displaced by an actual X-FILES Season 10 on TV. The way Marvel Studios looks at the Sony AMAZING SPIDER-MAN movies starring Andrew Garfield or the FOX movies with the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. Warner Bros. considers Berlanti to be temporarily renting Warner Bros. characters whereas Warner Bros. owns them outright. And Warner Bros. doesn't want renters renovating too much or acting like they own the place and they prefer to only rent out what Warner Bros.' film division isn't using.
I find it unlikely that Berlanti Productions would have produced ARROW and SUPERGIRL if they had been able to access Batman and Superman.
That also seems to be the rationale for why ARROW had an off-camera voice cameo from Harley Quinn but ultimately couldn't use the character. And why ARROW introduced Deathstroke and the Suicide Squad only to see both concepts removed from the show because Deathstroke was marked for a Batman feature and Suicide Squad and Harley Quinn were reserved for the SUICIDE SQUAD film. And why Superman wasn't allowed to appear on camera in SUPERGIRL.
Even the HBO Max shows, which are big budget prestige television, have limited access to the Warner Bros. library. TITANS' first season could only show Batman if Batman were largely out of frame; the second season could show Bruce Wayne but only out of costume and played by an actor in his late 50s so that the 'mainstream' image of Batman would be whoever appeared in JUSTICE LEAGUE or THE BATMAN.
When Superman was allowed to appear on camera in Season 2 of SUPERGIRL, it was at a time when Warner Bros. had decided not to move ahead with a standalone MAN OF STEEL sequel and only feature Henry Cavill as part of BATMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE features. They didn't feel the need to control the mainstream image of Superman and ensure it was for their feature film for Superman because they weren't planning to make one. That's also why Berlanti was finally able to license Superman fully for SUPERMAN AND LOIS.
In addition, there was a period when Geoff Johns, a producer on the Arrowverse shows, had been promoted to Chief Creative Officer of Warner Bros.' DC films division. Arrowverse producers now had the option of contacting Johns directly and he signed off on Deadshot and Deathstroke returning to ARROW. However, after Johns' demotion, ARROW once again lost access to those characters.
In terms of Batman: unlike Superman, Warner Bros. has ongoing ambitions for Serious Cinema and they want people to associate Batman with their movies whether it's Affleck and Keaton in THE FLASH feature or Pattinson in the BATMAN movie. They are less than enthused about loaning out Batman to an outside licensee like Berlanti Productions; they want all attention on Batman going to Warner Bros. movies.
There's also the fact that BATWOMAN's creators are probably less than enthused about having Bruce Wayne appear and take control of a narrative that has been designed to make Ryan Wilder the star.
I don't really see 'sense' in Warner Bros.' attitude. I see controlling possessiveness. I think it was ridiculous that ARROW lost the Suicide Squad and Deadshot and Deathstroke. However, in BATWOMAN's case, it's possibly for the best; if Bruce Wayne showed up, it might not be Batwoman's show anymore. That said, it remains as clear as ever that BATWOMAN does not have the license to use Batman, Bruce Wayne, the Joker, the Mad Hatter, Killer Croc, Nightwing, Red Hood, Robin, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon, Barbara Gordon or Catwoman. So instead, we get Hush, Magpie, the Cluemaster, the Spoiler, and various people with the Mad Hatter's hat, Catwoman's whip, Killer Croc's teeth, the Joker's acid flower, Mr. Freeze's cryogenic chemicals.
I assume that Ryan will eventually be menaced by the Red Hood's dirty socks, Alfred's mop, Commissioner Gordon's glasses, Tim Drake's boots and Dick Grayson's cotton candy machine from the circus. Warner Bros. isn't planning much with those.