HBO Max has ordered Dead Boy Detectives to series. The show will be a live-action story based on characters originally created by Neil Gaiman for DC and introduced in The Sandman comics.
Dead Boy Detectives was initially ordered to pilot last September, with Supernatural writing alum Steve Yockey serving as writer and showrunner.
An unusual twist on a ghost story, Dead Boy Detectives follows two dead teenagers, Charles and Edwin, and their living, psychic friend, Crystal Palace, who solve mysteries together. The network described the show as “a lot like a vintage detective series — only darker and on acid.”
When the pilot was announced, Yockey said:
“I’ve been obsessed with this comic for a long time, so it’s a true passion project. And Jeremy [Carver], Berlanti Productions, DC, WBTV, HBO Max — they’re all encouraging me to run with every wild, bizarre, and unsettling choice. The result is going to be really dark fun.”
Created by Neil Gaiman, Matt Wagner, and Malcolm Jones III, the Dead Boy Detectives as comic characters debuted in 1991’s The Sandman #25. In this initial iteration, two boys, Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland, died in the early 20th century but chose to remain on Earth to form their own crime-solving detective agency. The characters reappeared in several limited runs.
Dead Boy Detectives won’t be the first time that we’ve seen the titular characters on screen instead of paper, though — the boys appeared in Doom Patrol season 3, with Sebastian Croft and Ty Tennant playing Charles and Edwin, respectively. Back in November, HBO Max confirmed that they would be recasting both characters for the Dead Boy Detectives pilot.
In the HBO Max series, Charles is played by Jayden Revri (The Lodge), Edwin is played by newcomer George Rexstrew, and Crystal Palace will be brought to life by Kassius Nelson (Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events).
In addition, Variety‘s November exclusive stated that the cast also includes Alexander Calvert (Supernatural, Arrow) as Thomas The Cat King, Briana Cuoco (The Flight Attendant, Harley Quinn) as Jenny, Jenn Lyon (Claws) as Esther, Yuyu Kitamura (Mother Tongue) as Niko, and Ruth Connell (Supernatural, For the Love of George), who will play Night Nurse, a demon that controls the flow of souls in the afterlife — a character that Connell has previously played in Doom Patrol.
Dead Boy Detectives is the latest of many works linked to Gaiman which have been adapted for screen. Good Omens will soon release its second season through Amazon Prime, and the same network is already readying an adaptation of Anansi Boys. Fans are eating up every crumb Netflix provides about the upcoming live-action version of The Sandman, and Starz’ American Gods has three seasons under its belt. Dead Boy Detectives should be right at home on HBO Max, though, as the streamer is the home of DC’s Doom Patrol — while not (yet) being marketed as a spin-off, Dead Boy Detectives will likely have some links or similarities to the much loved show, hopefully providing the series with a solid fanbase to start with.
Yockey wrote the pilot episode and serves as showrunner. Yockey, fellow Supernatural writer Jeremy Carver, the Arrowverse’s Greg Berlanti, and Sarah Schechter of Berlanti Productions all serve as executive producers.
There’s no news yet on when the series might start filming, but stay tuned for updates!