With the third season of Doom Patrol finally premiering later this week, it seems like the right time to explore one of the new potential, exciting spin-offs that may be coming. The idea of bringing Edwin Payne, Charles Rowland, and their friend Crystal Palace into the mix with the beloved rag-tag team was first announced by DC on April 22nd, 2021. What may have initially felt like a one-time guest appearance was confirmed to be officially in the works as a one-hour series on HBO Max.
The initial reports of the development for the Doom Patrol spinoff came from Production Weekly on September 2, 2021, and were later backed up by Variety. The episode count for this new project as is unknown, but the boys will be introduced fairly early in season three of The Doom Patrol. So who exactly are these “Dead Boy Detectives” and how do they fit in with the other misfits that live in the Chief’s estate? Let’s dive into their rich history to find out.
The comic series Dead Boy Detectives was created by none other than Neil Gaiman, who is known for the graphic novel The Sandman and for his critically acclaimed Eternals over at Marvel Comics. Gaiman introduced the characters of Charles Rowland and Edwin Paine in The Sandman #25 (April 1991) prior to developing an ongoing series in December 1993 over at DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint. An imprint that wishes to explore adult content that didn’t exactly fit with the mainline at DC. The same imprint that The Sandman, Preacher, and Y: The Last Man. The comic series tells the story of two ghosts who instead of moving on to the afterlife, decide to stay Earthside and become detectives. Their cases usually involve crimes that involve supernatural aspects.
Edwin Paine is a boy who was murdered in 1916 while attending boarding school. He spends a cool 80 years in Hell, where he is stalked by a monster continuously down a long hallway. All this time in Hell jaded him in many ways, even more so when you factor in he was only there due to a “clerical error.”. One day, he is returned to Earth along with many other souls of people who also died in the school. That’s where he meets his detective-partner-to-be, Charles Rowland. Charles is, at that point, still quite alive.
Others at the boarding school begin dying around the two boys, although Rowland survives a bit longer than others (thanks in huge part to Edwin helping him). Eventually, Rowland ends up dying and decides to stay on earth with Edwin. Together the two decide to work together to solve mysteries around the Earth. Initially, it is just the two boys, however, when Dead Boy Detectives got their own run they teamed up with Crystal Palace. Crystal is a medium that helps the two ghosts solve crimes.
From the announcement by DC of the cast and characters making their way into the show, it seems that some of the histories of these characters are changing just a bit. In the show, Edwin Payne’s story will stay relatively the same, however, it looks like Charles Rowland’s story is being changed just a bit. The announcement indicates that Rowland died in 1989 from “hypothermia and neglect”. Though together, with Crystal Palace (a medium that was saved from demon possession by the ghost detectives), these detectives can and will solve any supernatural mystery that comes their way.
Ty Tennant was tapped to bring Edwin Payne to the screen. Tennant’s other acting credits include the series War of the Worlds, Tolkien, and an episode of Casualty. As you may have guessed by his surname, Tennant has Doctor Who lineage and is the son of Georgia and David Tennant. Charles Rowland will be played by Sebastian Croft whose claim to fame is playing young Ned Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones. The role of Crystal Palace will be played by Madalyn Horcher. She starred in 2014’s American remake of Broadchurch titled Gracepoint. As well as a YouTube Original titled Origins. It seems that all three stars are relatively new to the scene, however seem like good fits for their respective roles.
The series that is currently in development is being written and executively produced by Steve Yockey along with executive producers Jeremy Carver, Greg Berlanti, Sriracha Schechter, and David Madden. The latter three are producing via Berlanti Productions. No directors are currently attached to the project, however, the pilot is expected to begin shooting sometime in November.
Doom Patrol will begin streaming on September 23, 2021, exclusively on HBO Max. Dead Boy Detectives is expected to begin filming in November 2021.