What Secret Plans Are There For The ’66 Batman TV Show At Comic-Con?

riddler batman 66 tvWe’ve been talking with multiple individuals about what’s afoot for Batman at Comic Con, and there seems to be something big happening that has to do with the 1966 TV series.

The thing is… nobody is in agreement about what exactly these secret plans, showpiece or announcement might be.

As you may be aware, there’s been no DVD release for the show as yet. Reasons for this appear to include a dispute between 20th Century Fox, who own the actual footage, and Warner Bros. who own the Batman and his likeness, though there’s often said to be rights issues with some of the music, costumes and even the Batmobile design too.

If it’s true that the show is about to reach DVD and maybe even Blu-ray, this may well all be down to Warner Bros. decision to make a Watchman movie. Why? Well, here’s how that particular twist was reported by a pre-Bleeding Cool version of Rich, way back in 2008:

The situation has Fox filing suit against Warners and other connected companies over the rights to produce and distribute the upcoming Watchmen movie, based on contracts signed a considerable while ago. And it appears that they have a very good case indeed.

But do Fox really want to make a Watchmen film of their own? Do they want the money from the Warners Watchmen film? Do they want a cut? A payoff? Or just holding up a rival?

None of the above. Sources tell me that Fox want the 1960s Batman TV series. Currently Fox own the TV footage, but Warner Bros own the characters and trademarks, via their ownership of DC Comics. The rights to a DVD release have been held up for a long time now, and this case looks like it may be the instrument to release them.

If the deal was made, it never became public. And it would also have been necessary for Fox to then follow through with a a good number of other new deals, both with the actors and various other rights holders involved.

Perhaps that all works with the timing – from 2008 until an announcement this week. It’s not impossible.

The plot thickened last Summer when it became clear that Warner Bros. would be releasing a line of consumer products themed around the TV series, from action figures to beach towels.

Could it be that they made a deal with Fox that went something like “You can release the series if we release the merch?”

Well, yes. That’s entirely possible. We don’t know how Warner Bros. cleared the way with Fox to be able to release all of these lunchboxes and t-shirts and the like, but surely allowing a DVD release would be their one main bargaining chip?

So, one party has told us that there’s going to be some kind of announcement to do with the series in San Diego, and it’s expected – not absolutely confirmed – to be a home video release.

Another has told us that there’s going to be something to do with Batman ’66 on the exhibition floor.

And a third, entirely separate voice has piped in with a sounds-too-good-to-be-true tip-off that there will be free, giveaway sample discs at the show, maybe even inside the Warner Bros.-sponsored bags that all attendees will receive.

It might all be true, it might all be some kind of misunderstanding, but that so many people have spoken up in just a few days is pretty compelling to me. And is it really just a coincidence that the Batman ’66 comic book is receiving a print release this week? Or is it another part of a carefully co-ordinated marketing scheme?

We’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we can what exactly is going on.