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DC just canceled The Wonder Twins for HBO Max — form of fail

The HBO Max logo on a phone on top of a keyboard
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

After several difficult years, the DC Universe is finally finding its footing. There’s been plenty to get excited about recently, from the long-requested release of the SynderCut to the critically acclaimed The Batman hitting theatres earlier this year. Not to mention DC has a very promising slate of upcoming movies including the likes of Black Adam, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Batgirl and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

However, it’s not all smooth sailing at the iconic superhero house: The Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab) reports that a planned HBO Max movie starring The Wonder Twins has been scrapped. DC itself hasn’t confirmed the reports, but the trade suggests that the movie's $75 million budget was seen as bloated for a project of this magnitude. 

The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) claims that CEO David Zaslav plans to reign in the budgets of HBO Max original movies. Under his watch films debuting on the streamer will target total costs of no more than $35 million. It's also believed that Zaslav has a "theatrical-first" mindset and The Wonder Twins was viewed as "too niche" to debut in theaters. Rather than reassess and retool, it appears Warner Bros, DC’s parent company, has instead decided to scrap the film entirely. 

The Wonder Twins movie was set to be written and directed by Adam Sztykiel, who has clearly impressed DC bosses with his work co-writing the upcoming Black Adam movie. Kj Apa and Isabel May were pegged to star as the eponymous siblings. Having a director and two leads signed on would suggest the movie was reasonably far into pre-production, but unfortunately, for now, at least, all that work has come to nothing. 

Who are The Wonder Twins?  

DC Comics' The Wonder Twins

(Image credit: DC Comics)

If you’re not well versed in your DC history you may not have heard of The Wonder Twins; unlike many superheroes, the duo didn’t make their debut in the panels of a comic book. Instead, they made their first appearance in the 1977 animated show All-New Super Friends Hour. 

The Wonder Twins, Zan and Jayna, come from the planet Exxor and traditionally wear purple and gold outfits. The duo are shapeshifters, with Zan having the ability to change into water while Jayna is able to become an animal of her choosing — which is, quite frankly, a much better power than becoming a liquid. To unleash their abilities, the duo must bump fists and shout “Wonder Town powers, activate” which is charmingly retro but may have looked a tad goofy in a live-action movie. 

The heroes also have a companion blue monkey named Gleek, who actually made a brief appearance in The CW show Arrow during the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event. The twins themselves have also previously made a few appearances in other DC projects, including an episode of Smallville and a brief cameo in The Lego Batman Movie. 

Some DC fans may feel The Wonder Twins are long overdue their own moment in the spotlight, but sadly it would seem Zan and Jayna are going to have to wait at least a while longer before getting that chance. 

The decision to cancel The Wonder Twins movie has cost HBO Max what could have been a valuable piece of content. And it’s not the first time the streamer has lost the exclusive launch of a DC movie. The upcoming Blue Beetle movie was originally slated for release on HBO Max, but is now getting a full theatrical release before presumably coming to the streaming service at a later date. 

In other streaming news, more and more long-time users are canceling Netflix, as loyalty may be dying in the streaming wars.

Rory Mellon

Rory is a Deals Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on deals, gaming and streaming. When he’s not scouring retailers for PS5 restock or writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found attending music festivals and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.