KJ Apa and Isabel May‘s Wonder Twin powers aren’t going to activate after all. DC‘s live-action Wonder Twins film has been canceled just over a month after the two were cast in the lead roles of Zan and Jayna. It was seemingly a casualty of the Warner Bros. Discovery merger which saw a $3 billion cost-cutting measure touted by Discovery president David Zaslav. At a $75 million budget, the film was also quite expensive for a streaming-only release without much hope for a major return in the eyes of Zaslav.
Wonder Twins would’ve been an intriguing film if only for its unique heroes. The titular twins have yet to appear in a major film, though they have gotten some screen time through shows like Smallville, The Flash, and Teen Titans GO! Originally introduced back in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon The All-New Super Friends Hour as a way to potentially skew the show to a younger demographic, the Wonder Twins were a pair of aliens that stood out for their ability to shapeshift, albeit in a very wacky way. Jayna was lucky enough to transform into any animal she desired, but Zan had the unenviable power to take any form of water. It was hilariously and cruelly unfair and would’ve played well towards the comedic angle DC has seemingly mastered with recent releases like The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker.
Moreover, the film would’ve had Adam Sztykiel, who was already tapped to direct Dwayne Johnson‘s upcoming film Black Adam, at the helm to write and direct with Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey tapped to executive produce. Sztykiel could’ve taken the premise and ran with it given his track record which includes another action comedy with The Rock in Rampage. Production would’ve begun on the film over the summer in Atlanta. Instead, the film only lasted three months in development.
The cancellation of Wonder Twins signals a larger strategy change from Zaslav who seems to view big-budget, in-theater releases as the way forward. Warner Bros. Discovery has moved some of its recent productions off of HBO Max and to the big screen including Blue Beetle which is now slated for a theatrical release in 2023. More importantly, Warner Bros. Discovery and DC seem to want to capitalize on some of its already successful creatives and properties, hence the doubling down on the likes of Matt Reeves and James Gunn.
Wonder Twins is just the latest casualty in the line of DC films announced then unceremoniously axed at a later date. Next on the docket for DC at HBO Max should be Batgirl which is due out this year assuming it also is not given the big screen priority. Filming wrapped on the Leslie Grace-led film back in April.