Is Dead Boy Detectives Connected to Doom Patrol?

In Netflix’s ‘Dead Boy Detectives,’ two teenage boys take the supernatural world by storm when they start a detective agency to solve cases relating to the dead and all things not categorized as normal in the mortal world. The protagonists of the story are Edwin Payne and Charles Rowland, who are the same age (with seven decades between them) and dodge Death while solving one case after another. What makes the show interesting is that it has connections with other already-existing shows. Because it is based on the DC Comics characters, who appear in several other comics, including but not limited to ‘Doom Patrol,’ one is bound to wonder how the Netflix show, if at all, is related to HBO Max’s series.

Dead Boy Detectives Was Originally Conceived as a Doom Patrol Spinoff

The characters of Charles and Edwin made their first on-screen appearance in HBO Max’s ‘Doom Patrol’ Season 3. In the episode titled ‘Dead Patrol,’ they are called for help by Larry and Dorothy after the rest of their team is killed. Charles and Edwin, along with Crystal, help bring back the dead Doom Patrol members by traveling into purgatory, where they encounter the Night Nurse, another important character in the ‘Dead Boy Detectives’ universe. The characters of Charles and Edwin are played by Sebastian Croft and Ty Tennant, while Madalyn Horcher appears as Crystal and Ruth Connell as the Night Nurse.

‘Dead Patrol’ acted as a backdoor pilot for a series that HBO Max had already planned to develop. The episode gives the audience the necessary information about the background of the characters and already puts Crystal with the boys. In 2022, the show was ordered to series, with the actors from the HBO Max series set to reprise their roles. Soon, however, the plans changed, and the series was dropped by HBO Max. Reportedly, this decision was made because the series, like a couple of other DC universe-related shows, did not fall in line with the new landscape that DC executives James Gunn and Peter Safran had in mind.

Instead of getting completely canceled, the show found a new home on Netflix, though the names attached behind the scenes remain the same. The series is co-created by Steve Yockey, who also served as a writer on the ‘Dead Patrol’ episode. Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, and Jeremy Carver (who developed ‘Doom Patrol’) also remain attached to the now-Netflix series. The show also benefits from the involvement of Neil Gaiman, who created the characters in the first place.

Image Credit: David Bukach/Netflix

The move to Netflix came with a lot of changes for ‘Dead Boy Detectives,’ as it opened the door for its connection with Netflix’s ongoing series, ‘The Sandman.’ It must also be noted that the first appearance of Charles Rowland and Edwin Payne is in The Sandman comics, which gives a wider base for overlap between the shows. The move away from HBO Max meant that the characters had to be recast to ensure a fresh start. Due to this, Croft, Tennant, and Horcher were recast, with Jayden Revri, George Rexstrew, and Kassius Nelson appearing as Charles, Edwin, and Crystal, respectively. However, Ruth Connell kept her role as the Night Nurse, though she received quite a makeover.

To build a connection with ‘The Sandman,’ the series went through rewrites, with new details added and several plot threads changed, along with the overall vibe of the series, to match it with the parent series. However, this also meant a complete disconnect from ‘Doom Patrol,’ which means that any hope that the fans may have had regarding a crossover between the series is out of the question now.

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