In an unexpected move announced in February 2023, the upcoming HBO Max series Dead Boy Detectives is no longer set to be released by that platform and will instead be distributed globally by Netflix instead. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming series.
The Flight Attendant creator Steve Yockey adapted Dead Boy Detectives from the comics and serves as showrunner alongside Beth Schwartz (Arrow) on the series that stems from Warners and Berlanti Productions.
Yockey commented at the time of the original series announcement back in April 2022:
“I’ve been obsessed with this comic for a long time, so it’s a true passion project. And Jeremy, Berlanti Productions, DC, WBTV, HBO Max — they’re all encouraging me to run with every wild, bizarre, and unsettling choice. The result is going to be really dark fun.”
Dead Boy Detectives is produced by Greg Berlanti and will join YOU, another series of his at Netflix that didn’t perform well on its original network and had to be acquired by Netflix.
This is another Netflix series involving Neil Gaiman after the mega-hit The Sandman from 2022, which was renewed for a second season.
The series comes at a strange time for Warner Bros. Discovery (the parent company of DC Comics), which is trying to slash costs while keeping its streaming service competitive. It also comes at a time when DC is implementing a brand new plan with its DC Studios division. The series notably doesn’t fit into James Gunn’s new vision for the DCU, and that opened the possibility for Netflix to pick it up instead.
What’s the plot of Dead Boy Detectives?
The detective duo of the dead boys Edwin and Charles first appeared in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman #25 issue. Later on, they got their own “spinoff” comics.
Here’s a description of their story in the comics:
“Edwin Payne and Charles Rowland are no different than most boys. They love adventure, games and spending time outdoors. They’re curious about girls, curious about life and particularly curious when it comes to mysteries. You see, Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland happen to be two of the best detectives in England. Note that we didn’t say living in England. That’s because Edwin and Charles aren’t living in England. In fact, they’re not living at all. Edwin (died 1916) and Charles (died 1990) met their ends early in life. And that’s when things started getting interesting.
Since their deaths, the young detectives have solved some of the most harrowing mysteries to hit the hallowed halls of St. Hilarion’s School for Boys. However, there’s one great mystery they haven’t yet cracked—the mystery of their own deaths. Now, in a gripping new series full of secrets and surprises, Edwin and Charles will begin unraveling the truth of their demise. But they won’t find it on their own. They’ll be helped by Crystal, a young girl with a gift for technology and a strange link to the undead. Together, this unlikely group of gumshoes will journey from the bustling streets of contemporary London to the virtual world of Japanese-influenced videogames to dangerous worlds perched somewhere between now and nevermore, all in a search for answers about life, death and all that comes after.”
Is the show connected to The Sandman? Yes, according to Neil Gaiman the show resides in the same universe, as confirmed in a Tweet on April 20th. What’s on Netflix contributor Ashley Hurst went into detail for us on how exactly the two shows connect.
Sandman Universe, I think it’s safe to say now.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) April 20, 2023
Here’s the logline for the Dead Boy Detectives series:
“Dead Boy Detectives is a fresh take on a ghost story that explores loss, grief, and death through the lens of Edwin Payne and Charles Rowland…and their very alive friend, Crystal Palace. It’s a lot like a vintage detective series — only darker and on acid.”
Who is cast in Dead Boy Detectives?
George Rexstrew and Jayden Revri play the title characters, dead British teenagers Edwin Payne and Charles Rowland. Kassius Nelson (Last Night in Soho) plays Crystal; the series also stars Briana Cuoco, Ruth Connell — who reprises her role as Night Nurse (HBO Max’s Doom Patrol), Yuyu Kitamura as Niko, and Jenn Lyon as Esther.
In HBO Max’s Doom Patrol, Edwin and Charles were portrayed by Sebastian Croft (Heartstopper, Hogwarts Legacy) and Ty Tennant (House of the Dragon).
Rounding out the cast includes:
- Alexander Calvert as Thomas The Cat King
- Lukas Gage as Cat King
- Max Jenkins as Kingham
- Caitlin Reilly as Litty
- Rochelle Okoye as Goddess / Lilith
We’re waiting for confirmation on a few more actors/actresses – we’ll update or post separately once we get word back.
What’s the production status of Dead Boy Detectives?
Filming for Dead Boy Detectives began back in November 2022 in Vancouver, Canada. At that time, production was expected to wrap by March 20, 2023, so they have approximately one more month of filming to go.
— Adam Davies (@ChewieAdam) February 10, 2023
Filming reportedly had mostly wrapped up by April 2023, according to multiple Instagram and Twitter posts.
On April 6th, Jayden Revri (who plays Charles Rowland) posted on Instagram that he had concluded his part of filming, saying in a caption:
“And that is a wrap for me on S1 of Dead Boy Detectives
I am so excited to share this chracter and this project with you all. Massive thank you to @steveyockey76 for believing in my and leading our ship.
And to my partners in crime @georgeextrew & @kassiusnelson for keeping me sane.”
That sentiment was shared by Marc Laliberté posting on April 6th:
“That’s a wrap on Season 1 of Dead Boy Detectives. What an incredible gift of a show that just kept on giving with every new script and every new director. It took a village to bring another one of Neil Gaiman’s incredible worlds to the small screen.”
Steve Yockey confirmed all production on season 1 had concluded on April 19th.
— Steve Yockey (@SleepyPanda76) April 19, 2023
Since the show’s wrap, the writers have all been striking (joined by the actors in July), with the writing staff picketing Netflix in late May 2023:
— Steve Yockey (@SleepyPanda76) May 23, 2023
Episode titles, writers and directors for Dead Boy Detectives
It was confirmed back in April 2022 by Variety that Dead Boy Detectives will have eight episodes, which is the standard series episode count.
The series pilot is helmed by prominent TV director Lee Toland Krieger, whose credits include such Netflix titles as Shadow and Bone, You, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and more. Other directors confirmed on the project include Andi Armaganian, Pete Chatmon, Glen Winter, and Amanda Tapping.
Chatmon directs episode 8 of the series (the series finale) that’s titled “The Case of the Hungry Snake.”
- Episode 101 – Pilot
- Episode 102
- Written by: Shoshana Sachi
- Episode 103
- Written by: Ian Weinreich & Kristy Lowrey
- Episode 104
- Written by: Joshua Conkel & Kristin Layne Tucker
- Episode 105
- Written by: Kelli Breslin & Jeremy Kaufman
- Episode 106
- Written by: Beth Schwartz & Oscar Balderrama
- Episode 107
- Episode 108 – The Case of the Hungry Snake
- Written by: Ross Maxwell
- Directed by Pete Chatmon
We do have other episode titles (but not the order just yet):
- The Case of the Creeping Forest
- The Case of the Dandelion Shrine
- The Case of Devlin House
- The Case of the Lighthouse Leapers
- The Case of the Two Dead Dragons
- The Case of the Very Long Stairway
What’s the Netflix release date for Dead Boy Detectives?
Netflix hasn’t announced the release date for Dead Boy Detectives, but given its production schedule that is expected to conclude this Spring, a late 2023 release seems possible, but 2024 sounds more likely and in line with how the streamer schedules its releases.
Before we leave you, we’d highly recommend following @Detective_News on X. They’re an excellent fan page for the show that will no doubt be growing exponentially in the coming months and years.