Following the sudden departure of Dan DiDio from DC, onlookers were quick to hit the panic button and pronounce DC as DOA. And now there is a rumor they will be taken over by their competition.
Cosmic Book News shared the rumor over the weekend detailing AT&T is unhappy with DiDio’s proposed fifth-generation reboot of DC’s continuity, 5G. The company is allegedly considering licensing out the characters for Marvel to publish while maintaining control of the valued intellectual property.
Lords of the Long Box on YouTube also covered this, noting the rumor might be disinformation cooked up by AT&T and Warner Bros. to gauge fan reaction.
Lords also note the implication Kevin Feige could end up handling DC characters on the cinematic end and bring some into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Feige currently runs Marvel’s publishing too.
CBN points out this isn’t that much of a stretch when you remember Marvel has the deal going with Sony to share Spider-Man and associated characters.
Ethan Van Sciver also talked about the speculation on his live stream. While he doesn’t think AT&T will sell off DC entirely either – they really enjoy Batman – his insider intel tells him the conglomerate is losing interest in comics and might fold the publisher:
“Understand. It doesn’t mean the characters are going to go anywhere. Batman, of course, is a prized possession of AT&T now. AT&T is Batman, and they are going to keep putting out movies and product and toys and all that stuff. Comic books are dead and they are going to close up the publishing house soon. I’ll tell you that a professional who I spoke to recently said, ‘Yeah, I was talking to one of the higher-ups at DC Comics who said that if 5G doesn’t work out, that’s it, AT&T is closing the publishing arm.’ So this is ball game.”
CBN asserts Dan DiDio was called into the AT&T office, fired, and immediately, he exited. The reason purportedly is the former co-publisher “butted heads” with Scott Snyder who didn’t want his work to be tied up and dictated by the 5G relaunch.
Reportedly, AT&T doesn’t want to go through with it as too much is on the line with “the classic characters” in the more profitable film, television, and merchandising ventures.
5G would recast the A-list heroes (much like the failed Marvel Now) with brand-new secret identities and characters in some cases. A black Batman has most notably and infamously been on the agenda. This is problematic for the marketing, promotion, and toys involved with The Batman – which is out next year and stars a white English actor in the lead.
It may also come to pass film and TV writers, such as JJ Abrams (who has a deal with WarnerMedia), to step in and pen the comics. Note, despite the track record of a Greg Berlanti, Hollywood people are outsiders just as DiDio was.
Crisis on DC Universe
The despair that DC Universe will be shut down has renewed due to all the news and rumors. AT&T reviewing their non-sacred assets doesn’t help but, originally, the streaming app was deemed in trouble in the wake of Swamp Thing’s unexplained cancellation.
Sister original programming Titans and Doom Patrol have futures, at least for now. Doom Patrol is expected to air on both HBO Max and DC Universe. Stargirl is premiering as well but will air equally on DC Universe and The CW.
The next crop of DC shows (such as Green Lantern and Strange Adventures) are being developed for HBO Max. What role DC Universe will have in the development of new programming remains to be seen.