Most people know of Batman: The Animated Series, largely known as one of the most beloved DC Comics projects of all time. Not only that, but it helped shape the character over the years, including introducing one of his iconic villains for the first time - Harley Quinn herself.
Many might be aware that the Dark Knight's animated outing kickstarted one of the first connected DC franchises ever with the DC Animated Universe - known by some as the Timmverse or Diniverse after its creators Bruce Timm and Paul Dini.
Some of the eight DCAU series that spanned a whopping 14 years even managed to reach a similar level of hype and praise to the Batman adventures that started it all, such as 2001's Justice League and 2004's Justice League Unlimited.
Sadly, however, it looks like it might become very difficult to revisit these nostalgic times after early 2023.
4 DC Superhero Series Are Leaving HBO Max
HBO Max has announced what is coming and going from their service in January 2023, and it includes four DC animated series - two of which are generally to be among the best DC superhero content ever brought to screens.
Justice League (2001 - 2004)
After Kevin Conroy's Batman and Tim Daly's Superman were introduced in their own series, the Justice League came together for a three-season run with the fresh leads of Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl, bringing together the seven core members.
Justice League Unlimited (2004 - 2006)
Serving as a direct successor to Justice League, the Unlimited sequel series explored a greatly expanded heroic roster with the seven staple members being joined by rotating guest stars week-to-week. This may be the fullest and most fleshed-out DC Universe adaptation ever brought to screens.
News of Justice League Unlimited's streaming departure comes just days after DC Studios CEO James Gunn was asked whether series such as it and Young Justice are influencing his plans to reboot DC's live-action universe, to which he responded "definitely."
Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008 - 2011)
Batman: The Brave and the Bold set its sights on young audiences with a lighter and comic-like take on the Dark Knight that focussed on weekly team-ups with a wide variety of DC's biggest heroes.
Aquaman (1967 - 1969)
Aquaman was created as an abbreviated 30-minute of The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure and featured a classic take on the Atlantean ruler with his Aqualad sidekick - along with a few team-ups with other Justice League members.
Everything Else Leaving HBO Max in January 2023
Some other popular movies and shows departing from HBO Max in January 2023 can be found below:
- The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, 2021 (HBO)
- In the Heights, 2021 (HBO)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, 2016
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, 2018
- John Wick, 2014
- John Wick: Chapter 2, 2017
- John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, 2017
- Jurassic Park, 1993 (HBO)
- The Lost World: Jurassic Park, 1997 (HBO)
- Jurassic Park III, 2001 (HBO)
- Kick-Ass 2, 2013 (HBO)
- Life of Pi, 2012 (HBO)
- Rango, 2011 (HBO)
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2007 (HBO)
- Zero Dark Thirty, 2012
A Justified Tax Write-Off, or Just the Norm?
It's unclear what is behind the Justice League shows and everything else being taken off the service.
It could be life as usual—streaming rights are strange, so movies and shows can cycle through various different services over time. On the other hand, this also means that all of the above projects could easily make their return to HBO Max in the future.
Some might be worried that Warner Bros. (WB) could be using these as tax write-offs, a cost-cutting move the company's new CEO David Zaslav has been making multiple times over the last few months. The biggest examples of this are the infamously canned Batgirl film and the recent drama with Westworld.
Thankfully, these departures are almost certainly not due to cost-saving measures.
The biggest indication against this possibility is the inclusion of blockbuster hits such as John Wick (which has a fourth installment on the way) and classic franchises like Jurassic Park. That's not to mention how most of these projects weren't even made by WB in the first place.
As for where these shows and movies might be heading next, that, sadly, remains unknown. But they'll no doubt land somewhere sooner rather than later.