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‘Batman’ Prequel Series ‘Pennyworth’ Canceled After 3 Seasons

The announcement comes a day after the grand plan for the DC Universe was unveiled

A day after James Gunn and Peter Safran, the co-CEOs and chairmen of the newly formed DC Studios, unveiled their streamlined plan for the DC Universe going forward, a wayward DC-based series has been cut loose.

TheWrap has confirmed that “Pennyworth,” which aired on Epix for two seasons and HBO Max for its third, has been canceled.

An HBO spokesperson provided the following statement: “While HBO Max is not moving forward with another season of ‘Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s Butler,’ we are very thankful to creator Bruno Heller and executive producers Matthew Patnick, Danny Cannon and John Stephens, along with Warner Bros. Television, for their brilliant, unique, gripping depiction of the origin of Alfred Pennyworth, one of the most iconic characters in the Batman world. An incredible blend of action, drama and humor, for three seasons, ‘Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s Butler’ has taken fans on a mind-bending ride into Alfred’s eccentric world and the beginnings of cutting-edge super heroes and super villains.”

The series, simply titled “Pennyworth” while on Epix, was clumsily renamed “Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s Butler” when it moved to HBO Max. (As you can imagine, social media went nuts over the new title.) Devised as a prequel/spinoff series for “Gotham” (which wrapped up in 2019) by Heller (who created both series), “Pennyworth” starred Jack Bannon as the young version of Alfred Pennyworth, who long before he worked for the Wayne family was an intelligence operative, with Ben Aldridge (who stars in this weekend’s “Knock at the Cabin”) appearing as Thomas Wayne, father to Bruce Wayne aka Batman.

On Monday Gunn and Safran shared their vision for the first few years of the DC Universe (beginning in 2025), a unified vision for a single story that will stretch across television, movies, animation and videogames. Their inaugural slate includes new “Superman” and “Swamp Thing” movies and TV shows devoted to “Green Lantern” (called “Lanterns”) and “Wonder Woman” (for the pre-Diana “Paradise Lost”). Projects outside of this centralized narrative, dubbed DC Elseworlds, include Matt Reeves’ “The Batman: Part II” (out in 2025) and Todd Phillips’ “Joker” sequel, due out next year.

“Pennyworth,” in other words, would have been a part of the DC Elseworlds projects. Gunn and Safran said those would be few and far between and have to be “special” in order to get the go-ahead, leading to speculation that whatever had been developed before their arrival would be heavily scrutinized. Oh well. At least we know that Pennyworth lives a long and happy (?) life as Bruce Wayne’s butler and confidant.

Variety first shared the news.