Money. It’s an important thing to all of us, whether we like to admit it or not. We need to to pay our bills. We need it to eat. We need it to have fun. Plus, it’s nice to get paid for the work that you do, right? Especially if you’ve already done said work. Some cry foul when comic book writers and artists get in a tiff over not being paid what is owed them. I am not one of those people. Everyone should be paid fairly and in a timely fashion for services rendered, no matter their job.
Someone should really tell DC Comics this. The publisher is unsurprisingly behind on paying their past (and probably present) artists and writers. So much so Warner Bros. is having to get creative to work around the headaches and roadblocks caused by the lack of proper payroll operations. Yes, this is where I start telling you that certain characters and storylines will be off limits for the DC Cinematic Universe in the near future. All information, by the way, comes from anonymous sources within both companies.
It’s frustrating, but that’s what happens when you don’t pay people like the Kirby Estate, Gerry Conway, Jim Starlin, Frank Miller, etc. what they are owed. It costs you the usage of their creations, from Darkseid to Jason Todd to Carrie Kelly. Sure, we are getting some heavy elements from “The Dark Knight Returns” in next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but don’t expect a lot of Miller beyond that. In fact, some of it was even scaled back during production due to the above issues.
This has been a problem for awhile now, but what most reminded me of it was the revelation yesterday that Jena Malone is playing Barbara Gordon in Batman v Superman. There were rumors circulating last year that she was playing Carrie Kelly and while they ultimately proved untrue this week, that wasn’t originally the case. In both the discarded David Goyer draft and the early Terrio draft, Malone was meant to be Carrie Kelly. Issues with owing Frank Miller money caused that to be changed.
Will the film be declaring that the dead Robin is Jason Todd? Probably not, and it has nothing to do with the crazy fan theory that Jared Leto’s Joker is a now-insane Jason Todd. It’s simply because DC owes both Gerry Conway and Jim Starlin money. Until they pay up, usage of Todd as a character is not possible*.
This doesn’t mean that the film will instead declare Dick Grayson or Tim Drake to be the dead Robin. It just means that we probably won’t get a name for said deceased Boy Wonder at all, at least not in BvS. Perhaps they will have something worked out by the time Ben Affleck directs his solo Batman film? Perhaps not. Only time and DC’s cheapskate nature will tell.
Bottom line? Until DC Comics gets their collective heads straight, expect this to become and issue for Warner Bros. more and more often in the coming years.
* – POTENTIAL SPOILERS: Before anyone brings up Todd in relation to his usage in the Batman: Arkham Knight game that just came out, I ask you this: Is his never ever directly spoken as “Jason Todd”? Or is he simply referred to as Robin or Jason? You’ve gotta love legal distinctions like that which allow DC to use a character juuuuust enough, but not so much as to have to cut a check to someone. Are you shaking your head at cheapskate shenanigans right now? Because I am.