If you're a DC Comics fan, if I say the name Pennyworth to you, odds are pretty good that you'll know exactly who I am talking about. If you're even deeper into the Batman lore, you'll know that he is far more than just a butler. It seems that Warner Bros. Discovery doesn't want to leave that to chance, as it announced a name change for the Pennyworth series, entering it's third season on HBO Max.
The series will now feature the far more wordy title of, Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman's Butler. In the first two seasons we have seen Alfred Pennyworth, brilliantly portrayed by Jack Bannon, show that his story runs far deeper than that of a simple butler. He's an SAS agent, a businessman, quite the ladies man and someone who has had to do unspeakable things to survive and do what he needs for the people that he loves. Bottom line, this is a show that you can and will enjoy without Batman even being a second thought.
Sure we still have Thomas and Martha Wayne, played by Ben Aldridge and Emma Paetz respectively, but Martha isn't exactly a Wayne yet. The seeds are there, but trees can take a long time to grow. Don't expect to ever see a cape and cowl on this show. So the butler reference in the title is as off base as you can get. Alfred is trying to survive in a war ravaged London, not figure out how to make a bed with a perfect seem and solve the problem of a flawless omelet. There is no buttling (if that's a word) going on here.
This series does explore the early relationship between Alfred and the Wayne family, but it is so much more. You could say the same for Thomas and Martha. Again, if you've been watching the show while it was on EPIX or following my coverage of the show over the years, you would already know that.
It's just a title though, right? What's the big deal? I've always said on the podcast that drawing in a general audience, and not just super fans, is vital to the survival of any show. In this case, I think that can do more harm than good. Rather than market the show properly, simply sticking Batman on the title and trying to spoon feed viewers who this character is, you're really misrepresenting what the show will ultimately be about. You're setting people up to tune into one thing and get another. That or you're turning off potential viewers by making them believe they're about to watch a show about a butler. Can't blame these uninformed viewers, can you?
Will this keep me from watching this show? Absolutely not, because I know what to expect. The action, character depth and exciting new landscape ahead for Season 3 is what I'm coming back for. I'll even be a good solider and use the title that I'm given to talk about the show. So...here it goes.
Pennyworth: The Origin of Batman's Butler will begin it's third season this October on HBO Max. The first two seasons are already available on the streaming service. If you're not caught up yet, now is the time to do that. You should also search this site and listen to our podcast for our coverage of the first two seasons of the show. That will be your best gateway into the series, and will truly tell you what to expect. Keep checking back for more coverage, and until then, enjoy this first teaser that was released by HBO Max.
Credit: EPIX/Warner Bros. Television