Epix Puts In Series Order For New Batman Prequel Series

Posted by at 12:58 pm on May 16, 2018

The MGM-owned premium cable network Epix has handed out a 10-episode, straight-to-series order for Pennyworth, a drama set in the Batman universe from Gotham showrunner Bruno Heller.

The series will revolve around Alfred Pennyworth, the best friend and butler to Bruce Wayne (aka Batman). The series is not a Gotham spinoff but rather an entirely new story exploring Alfred’s origins as a former British SAS soldier who forms a secret company and goes to work with Thomas Wayne — Bruce’s billionaire father — in 1960s London. Sean Pertwee, who plays Alfred Pennyworth on Fox’s recently renewed Gotham, is not involved. Casting has not yet begun and the series is set in a completely different universe despite hailing from Heller and producers Warner Horizon. (Others who have played the Alfred role include Jeremy Irons, Michael Gough, Michael Caine, Alan Napier and William Austin, among others.)

Pennyworth is based on DC characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. Heller will pen the script and executive produce. The drama marks a reunion for Heller with Gotham’s Danny Cannon, who will exec produce and direct the pilot as he did with the Fox Batman origin story.

“As genuine fans of these classic DC characters, as well as the incredibly talented Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon, we couldn’t be more excited to make Epix the home of this series,” Epix president Michael Wright said. “We can’t wait to work with Bruno and Danny — along with Peter Roth, Susan Rovner, Brett Paul and the team at Warner Horizon — on this fantastic origin story.”

Gotham, while not a ratings breakout, has been a respectable performer for Fox and earned an abbreviated 13-episode renewal for a fifth and final season. The order helps Gotham hit the 100-episode milestone needed to be sold in syndication, which would create a financial windfall for indie studio Warner Bros. TV. (Heller has an overall deal with the studio.)

“Michael and his colleagues have created the perfect venue for original storytelling, and all of us working on Pennyworth are thrilled to be on the Epix slate,” Heller and Cannon said in a joint statement.

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