Perhaps the most persistent of the many criticisms that have dogged DC’s attempts to compete with Marvel at the box office have been those relating to the grim, often humorless tone of the films. Though last summer’s ‘Suicide Squad‘ bucked that trend – so aggressively that some critics described it as overcompensation – it remains to be seen if future entries will follow suit.
But whatever form DC’s upcoming films take, it’s safe to say we won’t be describing their televised offerings as humorless anytime soon. In case the healthy dose of comic relief on shows like ‘The Flash’ isn’t enough, it will soon be joined by a full-blown sitcom set in the DC Universe. Airing on NBC, ‘Powerless‘ will introduce us to the employees of Wayne Security, a division of Wayne Enterprises that specializes in developing products for people who may find themselves in the crossfire of the next superhero smackdown.
In case the setting at Wayne Security wasn’t enough of a link to the wider DC Universe, we learned this weekend that the character played by Alan Tudyk, who had previously been identified as Del Heller, has been rechristened as Van Wayne. Van is the cousin of Bruce Wayne, and as such, his addition to the cast means that the show is now only one degree of separation from Batman (though I wouldn’t bet on the Caped Crusader making an appearance anytime soon). It should also be noted that rather than being an original creation of the series, Vandeveer “Van” Wayne has his roots in the comics, having first appeared in 1962’s ‘Batman #148′. Like so many Batman characters of the era, Van’s creation is commonly attributed to Batman co-creator Bill Finger in collaboration with artist Sheldon Moldoff.
While we don’t know exactly when or under what circumstances this change was made, it seems likely that it came after the show was officially picked up by NBC, a time that also saw the departure of the series’ creator Ben Queen (no relation to a certain Emerald Archer, as far as we know). It was at that point that the company at which the show is set was changed from an unnamed insurance company to Wayne Security, so while there may not be any official word on the subject, it seems pretty clear that the producers simply wanted the show to have more tangible connections to one of the most famous denizens of the DCU.
In conjunction with this reveal, the network has released a new trailer for the series on Twitter. That trailer is available here:
— Powerless (@NBCPowerless) January 13, 2017
Powerless stars Alan Tudyk, Vanessa Hudgens, Danny Pudi, Christina Kirk and Ron Funches. The series will premiere on February 2, 2017 on NBC.