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Netflix Is Bringing the ‘Dead Boy Detectives’ to Life

Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland with a living boy in Dead Boy Detective

The Dead Boy Detectives managed to survive the DC Studios shakeup and will officially be getting their own self-titled series. Dead Boy Detectives has been in development for several years now, recently switching hands from HBO Max to Netflix following James Gunn’s and Peter Safran’s hiring as co-CEOs of DC studios. Given how long it has been in development and the fact that updates have been fairly few and far between, some fans have worried that the series might not happen. However, Netflix has saved Dead Boy Detectives from becoming one of HBO Max’s doomed projects, and viewers are hoping it will drop on the platform soon.

Who are the Dead Boy Detectives?

The Dead Boy Detectives are Charles Rowland and Edwin Payne, and they first appeared in comics published under Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics. Created by Neil Gaiman and Matt Wagner, the duo made their debut in Gaiman’s Sandman comics before getting their own miniseries. Rowland and Payne are two boys who died while attending boarding school. Payne died in 1916 and spent several decades in hell before escaping and returning to the place where he died. There, he meets a living boy named Rowland, who also tragically dies at the school. The two meet up as ghosts and decide to stick together and investigate supernatural mysteries.

Rowland and Payne have appeared in live-action before, in HBO Max’s Doom Patrol, in which they were portrayed by Ty Tennant and Sebastian Croft, respectively, and impressed fans enough to nab their own series. Sadly, HBO Max decided to recast the roles of Rowland and Payne, much to the disappointment of Tennant and Croft’s fans. However, many are still interested to see this new adaptation of the Dead Boy Detectives. Here’s everything we know about the series so far.

Dead Boy Detectives release window

Dead Boy Detectives does not yet have an official release date. After it was ordered to series at HBO Max early last year, many had hoped for a 2023 release date. However, the show is still currently in the process of filming, and the switch to Netflix likely means we won’t be getting Dead Boy Detectives until sometime in 2024.

Dead Boy Detectives cast

Jayden Revri as Devin in Fate: The Winx Saga

HBO Max has tapped Jayden Revri and George Rexstrew for the lead roles in Dead Boy Detectives. Revri, best known for appearing in Fate: The Winx Saga and The Lodge, is playing Rowland. Meanwhile, Rexstrew, a relative newcomer to the film industry, will star as Payne. Joining them is Kassius Nelson, best known for starring in Last Night in Soho and A Series of Unfortunate Events, who will portray the lead role of Crystal Palace. In the comics, Palace is a living physic medium who befriended and joined the Dead Boy Detectives after they saved her from demonic possession.

Tulsa King‘s Michael Beach has also been cast in the series as Tragic Mick, a walrus trapped in a human body who runs a magic shop and occasionally teams up with the Dead Boy Detectives. Joshua Colley, who starred alongside Rebel Wilson in Senior Year, will portray Monty, a teenager with an affinity for astrology who can see ghosts and develops a huge crush on Payne. Meanwhile, Lindsey Gort has signed on to play Maxine, a “quirky librarian” with a “big, messy secret.” Gort has already appeared in the DC universe before, as Amy Rohrbach in Titans, but it seems she’ll be playing a wholly new role for Dead Boy Detectives.

David Iacono, who recently starred in The Summer I Turned Pretty and The Flight Attendant, will portray a villain in the series named David the Demon. Iacono’s Flight Attendant co-star Briana Cuoco will also appear in the series as Jenny the Butcher. Lukas Gage, star of The White Lotus season 1 and You season 4, will appear as the Cat King, a feline spirit. Meet Cute‘s Yuyu Kitamura will play Niko, a boarding school student who wants to join the Dead Boy Detectives, while Justified‘s Jenn Lyon will appear as a witch who is obsessed with children and immortality. Meanwhile, Ruth Connell will reprise her Doom Patrol role as Night Nurse for the series.

Dead to Me‘s Max Jenkins and Hacks‘ Caitlin Reilly will portray Kingham and Litty, respectively, two dandelion sprites who like to pester the Dead Boy Detectives. Rounding out the cast are John Brotherton as Seth Von Hoverkraft (Palace’s father), Lauren K. Robek as Disguise, Sarah Desjardins as a character named Shelby, Alix West Lefler as Emma, Sharon Taylor as Officer Parris, and Rochelle Okoye as Goddess.

Dead Boy Detectives plot

Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland by Dead Boy Detectives
(DC Comics)

It is anticipated that Dead Boy Detectives will largely follow the premise of the comic books and will be a supernatural detective series. The story centers on Payne and Rowland, who decide to solve supernatural mysteries with their living friend Palace instead of departing for the afterlife. However, the creators and crew behind Dead Boy Detectives have also promised a pretty dark and macabre tale. The show’s official description reads:

A fresh take on a ghost story that explores loss, grief, and death through the lens of Edwin Payne and Charles Rowland, two dead British teenagers, and their very alive friend, Crystal Palace. So, it’s a lot like a vintage detective series — only darker and on acid.

Hopefully, the show will also explore the relationship between Payne and Rowland. In the comics, there were always hints that Payne was in love with Rowland, though his sexuality was never officially addressed. In Doom Patrol, the show does make Payne’s feelings for Rowland clear, which particularly excited viewers. With the casting of Colley as Monty, we know the show will have at least one LGBTQ+ character, but there is quite a bit of room for the series to be even more representative.

Dead Boy Detectives episode count

Back in April of 2022, when HBO Max officially picked up Dead Boy Detectives, they ordered an eight-episode series. Even though it moved over to Netflix, it appears that the eight-episode count has stuck with the series.

Is there a trailer for Dead Boy Detectives?

Unfortunately, Dead Boy Detectives has not yet released any first-look images, teasers, or trailers. However, filming is well underway, as confirmed by Gaiman back in January. He also commented on the quality of the upcoming series. Dead Boy Detectives started filming back in November and it was reported that production was tentatively looking to wrap by March 20. It’s likely that Netflix will announce a release date and drop a trailer relatively soon after.

(featured image: DC Comics)

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Rachel Ulatowski is a Freelance Writer, blogger, and aspiring author. As a Freelancer Writer she hopes to give readers the same comfort and enjoyment that she finds in all things nerdy and noteworthy, as a blogger she enjoys snarking on YouTubers and reality stars, and as a future novelist she hopes to raise awareness for child abuse through literature.