Technology

DC’s Pennyworth Just Renamed For HBO Max Debut – And It’s Stupid

The Strange World of Warner Bros. The DC shows and movies have gotten a little clunky since Pennyworth has just been tweaked. The series, which follows former British SAS soldier Alfred Pennyworth a few days before he worked with Bruce Wayne, will be renamed due to release on HBO Max this October.

Now “Pennyworth” will be called “Pennyworth: The Origin of Butler Batman”, which is too ridiculous. In the online media industry, this is what we’d call SEO stuffing, as the new HBO Max show has a title that now clumsily includes the word “Batman.”

Check out the teaser trailer, which even has a cutscene that reads “Before Batman, there was Alfred.”

This could well have been done so that anyone searching for “Batman” on HBO Max now sees Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman’s Butler in their results. We didn’t do this search before, but now that the show has been renamed, it does appear in the middle of HBO Max’s Batman results.

This may have been done to make the show’s title more understandable, as well as keep its original title so existing audiences can find it. However, there is a much cleaner solution that gives you a prettier and shorter title. Like Nick Turner (will open in a new tab) from BusinessWeek, everyone already associates the main character with Alfred, why hide this name from the title of the show? Even “Alfred Before Batman” would be a less clumsy title.

Using “Better Call Saul” to explain Pennyworth

Since Pennyworth is sort of a prequel, DC’s decisions for this series can be viewed through the lens of another prequel, Better Call Saul (the best show on TV right now). There is almost no titled Saul Goodman in this series as it is mostly about how Jimmy McGill (and later Gene Takovich) became Saul Goodman and what he lost along the way.

Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul

(Image credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)

So we’re looking at Pennyworth’s plot to remember that it’s about Alfred before Bruce Wayne called him by that name. In this series, Mr. Pennyworth set up a security company in 1960s London and later works with Thomas (Ben Aldridge) and Martha Wayne (Emma Paetz). The series shows him becoming the Alfred we later know and love, so the series can be excused for using a different name.

So, there are meta arguments for the creative rationale behind this show’s title (and its newer, lengthened title. However, “Better Call Saul” was a branding that was more than popular prior to the show’s release. This slogan was used throughout the series” Breaking Bad” and there’s even an episode of Breaking Bad called “Better Call Saul”.

Analysis: Who the hell came up with this?

Pennyworth: The Origins of Batman’s Butler came to HBO Max from Epix, which aired its first two seasons. And his arrival comes at a very turbulent moment for both Warner Bros. and DC. Discovery content and best streaming service.

First off, the nearly finished HBO movie Max Batgirl just got scrapped for not being high enough and being taxed. Now the merger of HBO Max and Discovery Plus makes things even more unreliable.

That’s why I have to wonder whose idea this new title was. It’s like someone was given the task of putting “Batman” in the name of the series, and we were given the title equivalent to a camel (a horse drawn by a committee).

At least it’s still called Pennyworth. And we still doubt that anyone will refer to it by its full new name.

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