ComicBook reported that overrated filmmaker/occasional comic scribe Smith described in his podcast a screenplay he’d pitched to Warner Bros based on The Question, which according to him was turned down because it was too dark:
“I had that recently where we pitched a thing, and first I pitched it at like one place and they were like ‘holy f-ck we love this’ and I was like thanks and they’re like ‘we want to do this instantly and we’re gonna find out like if the character is spoken for somewhere else in the company.’ And then they came back ‘well it is spoken for someplace else in the company, but they don’t have plans for it and they’re very excited to hear your plans.’ So I was like right on and they were like ‘look, if they say yeah, it’s happening.’ And you hear that all the time in this business and sh-t. And we pitched and the people that we pitched to were like ‘it’s dark’ and I was like ‘well, I mean, you know but it’s also funny’ and they’re like ‘but it’s dark’ and so they didn’t go for it. And it f-cking died there. So rather than it, and it was for another thing that somebody else owned, but I have brought enough to it where I was like ‘this will totally work without their f-cking thing’.
Smith went on to explain that he has since turned that idea into a comic book, changing out the various elements related to the Warner Bros. intellectual property. He also explained that the property that he was pitching was actually a project involving DC Comics’ The Question. This isn’t the first time Smith has said he’s wanted to do something with The Question. Back in 2019, Smith was asked what Marvel or DC property he’d want to adapt as a Netflix series and he said at that time he’d love to do something with The Question. This time around, however, Smith said he got closer than he ever had, but he also said that the decision to take his idea and apply it to something else without DC was inspired by Robert Kirkman.
Okay, good for him if he decided to go the indie creator’s route, but too bad he had another of a zillion dark-themed ideas in mind. It may have had comedic elements, but it’s still no excuse. Yet this is quite a surprise, considering WB did go full-on for the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy. Presumably, since this wasn’t something involving Batman, but rather, a different character whose premise was mostly dark, Smith’s project could’ve been a lot more ghastly and over the top, humor or not, but if he really wanted to turn it into a Netflix series, it wouldn’t shock me if it did bear PC elements, seeing what a pretentious mess the TV channel is, and Smith’s Masters of the Universe revival looks to be PC-laden itself.
Even so, would WB have turned down his proposal today? Maybe not, assuming this was over a decade ago when he first wrote the pitch, and today, there’s only so much obsession with darkness as opposed to light. For now, it’s decidedly good they turned down Smith’s screenplay. The Question stories originally developed by Steve Ditko and Denny O’Neil deserve far better than whatever Smith had in mind.
Originally published here.