HBO Max, as a brand, is no more. In its place, Warner Bros. Discovery is unveiling Max, the long-promised combination of HBO Max and Discovery+. And while the new Discovery shows don’t exactly thrill us, the powers that be at WBD have dropped a lot of new information about Max original series that should help it hang on to the HBO crowd. And perhaps the biggest arrival is The Penguin, the upcoming spinoff from The Batman.
Although the eight-episode series is still being filmed, Max released the first footage from The Penguin in the featurette above. We see Colin Farrell reprise his role as Oswald Cobblepot, the man known as The Penguin. Due to Batman’s actions in the film, Cobblepot now has a clear path to becoming the next crime lord in Gotham City.
The Batman director Matt Reeves is executive producing The Penguin, with Lauren LeFranc as the writer and showrunner. The series’ cast includes Cristin Milioti, Rhenzy Feliz, Michael Kelly, Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Deirdre O’Connell. Clancy Brown and Michael Zegen will also have recurring roles on the show when it premieres on Max in 2024.
Next on the agenda is a Harry Potter TV series. Unlike Fantastic Beasts, this is not spinoff or prequel. Instead, it will be a more faithful adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s original novels than the movies could provide. That means it will have an entirely new cast to play the iconic characters from the Wizarding World. And each season will be devoted to adapting a single book from Rowling’s novels
In a statement, Rowling said “Max’s commitment to preserving the integrity of my books is important to me, and I’m looking forward to being part of this new adaptation, which will allow for a degree of depth and detail only afforded by a long-form television series.”
Thanks to the continued success of House of the Dragon, another Game of Thrones spinoff is coming to HBO and Max. The new series is called A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight. It’s based on George R.R. Martin’s novella series about the Tales of Dunk and Egg. Dunk is the titular knight, and his squire, Egg, is secretly a member of the Targaryen royal family who is destined to sit on the Iron Throne. It’s set a few decades before the events of Game of Thrones.
Martin will executive produce and co-write the series with Ira Parker. Ryan Condal and Vince Gerardis have also signed on to executive produce the series.
Sci-fi and fantasy fans won’t get all of the attention on Max. Horror fans are also going to have a new show of their own as Max explores The Conjuring universe in a new series. Specific details about the show are still under wraps, and James Wan is in talks to return as an executive producer. The Conjuring movies have already had two spinoff franchises, Annabelle and The Nun, and the new show will reportedly continue the narrative of the films. A creative team for the series was not announced.
Younger fans and families will soon be able to enjoy Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai. This animated series will serve as a prequel to the two Gremlins feature films while exploring how Sam Wing, Gizmo’s original owner in the movies, came to possess the Mogwai decades earlier. As seen in the trailer above, Sam first encounters Gizmo when he is a captive in China. But Sam soon takes it upon himself to reunite Gizmo with his fellow Mogwai, even as the deadly Gremlins emerge at inopportune times.
Zach Galligan, who portrayed Billy Peltzer in the two films, will have a guest-starring role on the series. The regular cast includes Ming-Na Wen, James Hong, BD Wong, Matthew Rhys, Izaac Wang, AJ LoCascio, and Gabrielle Nevaeh Green. Tze Chun is the showrunner for the series, and the premiere date is Tuesday, May 23, on Max.
After a long hiatus, True Detective is back for a fourth season, which will be called True Detective: Night Country. All three previous seasons featured genuine film stars in leading roles, and this season is no exception. Jodie Foster is leading a cast that includes Kali Reis, Fiona Shaw, Finn Bennett, Isabella Star Lablanc, Aka Niviâna, Anna Lambe, Joel D. Montgrand, Christopher Eccleston, and John Hawkes. This season, Issa López is taking over as the showrunner while directing every episode. Series creator Nic Pizzolatto remains attached as an executive producer.
Although the premiere date was not disclosed, the logline reveals that this season’s story takes place in Ennis, Alaska. Foster’s Liz Danvers and Reis’ Evangeline Navarro are two detectives who find themselves investigating the baffling disappearance of an eight-man team that ran the Tsalal Arctic Research Station. But there’s more to this case than meets the ice, and Danvers and Navarro may have dark secrets of their own.
In perhaps the biggest surprise of the day, Max revealed that a new The Big Bang Theory spinoff is in development. Or more accurately, Max described it as “a new comedy series derived from The Big Bang Theory,” which is perhaps the most Sheldon thing to say. Series creator Chuck Lorre is developing the show exclusively for Max. That’s unexpected because The Big Bang Theory was a ratings juggernaut for CBS, and the first spinoff series, Young Sheldon, is also a success on the network. Max is the streaming home for the two previous shows from that comedy universe.
After scoring a critical hit in HBO Max’s Mare of Easttown, Kate Winslet is headlining a new project on Max called The Regime. The series is set inside a modern European royal regime as it begins to unravel over the course of a single year. The rest of the cast includes Matthias Schoenaerts, Guillaume Gallienne, Andrea Riseborough, Martha Plimpton, Hugh Grant, Danny Webb, David Bamber, Henry Goodman, Stanley Townsend, Louie Mynett, Rory Keenan, Karl Markovics, and Pippa Haywood. Will Tracy is writing and executive producing the series, but The Regime does not have a premiere date yet.
The final new trailer of the day was for Max’s upcoming six-part documentary Smartless: On the Road. It follows comedians Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes as they tour six American cities while recording live episodes of their podcast, Smartless. Special guests include Conan O’Brien, Will Ferrell, Matt Damon, Jimmy Kimmel, Kevin Hart, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and David Letterman.
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