Speculation On DC’s Question Leads To Rights Confusion

by Erik Amaya


Getting The Question — DC Comics’ favorite recovered objectivitist and social crusader — into one of its television or film projects would be a holiday wish come true.
In fact, Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim has wanted to use the character since the show’s first season, when he told me he was resigned to never getting Nightwing to appear. But it seems his wish to bring Vic Sage into the Arrowverse has been obstructed by someone else’s plans for the character. As he recently told an audience at ACE Comic Con (via comicbook.com), “I always feel like that character would be a great fit with the tone of Arrow. Again: it’s not our characters, it’s DC’s characters, and they’ve got other plans for The Question.”
Pressed to expand on that that answer, Guggenheim said he was unaware of anything specific, but theorized something must be in the works otherwise the character would be in the Arrowverse already.
Because Warner Bros. Television and Berlanti Productions are considered separate entities from DC Entertainment, every character used on the show must first be cleared. This is also the reason why you only ever get passing references to Ted Kord on Arrow and why Booster Gold is not a Legend of Tomorrow.
The Question rests next to Ted and Booster on the list of notable DC characters the Greg Berlanti-produced CW shows have yet to use because DC will not clear them. Guggenheim’s beloved Dick Grayson is another example. 20th Century Fox’s television division — soon to be a Disney company — has the broadcast television rights to Batman and its associated character in perpetuity thanks to a deal National Periodicals made in the 1960s. In fact, Arrow‘s recent name-only shoutout to Bruce Wayne had to be approved by the top levels of DC Entertainment even though it was just a punchline. Previously, the suggestion that Harley Quinn was in an A.R.G.U.S. lockup in the show’s second season reportedly led to the producers of Gotham filing a complaint while also garnering the attention of Warner Bros. Pictures. The film studio allegedly barred the show from using Deathstroke, Deadshot and other Suicide Squad characters in its third season; derailing plans for that year’s storyline.
Which leads back to The Question. Who controls the character? For a time, Batman‘s Renee Montoya assumed the identity, suggesting it may be part of the old Fox TV deal. Or, like Booster and Ted, the original Vic Sage version of the character is held in reserve for something else. In any event, it’s a shame a character who would fit so well in the series cannot be used. Especially as previous prohibitions on Deathstroke and John Constantine have been relaxed this season.
But if you want to speculate, there is another unnamed Berlanti/DC show being developed for The CW. Will The Question’s time finally come at last?
Arrow returns January 18th.

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