According to The Tracking Board, Warner Bros. is finally moving forward with Justice League Dark, their horror-tinged film about a group of supernaturally-gifted heroes. The project regained traction at the studio when producer Scott Rudin stepped in to take it over and push it across the finish line. Things are apparently moving quickly, as the script is currently getting a rewrite and will soon be shopped around to directors ahead of an expected 2016 shoot. There’s no word at this time of a targeted release, but one would assume either late 2017 or (likelier) early 2018 is the goal.
Guillermo Del Toro previously developed the project. While he is no longer attached to direct, he remains on board as a producer and they are apparently still using the script that he came up with. No story details have been released for the film to date, but TTB states that they’ve heard that it “involves a series of ancient tomes stolen by a madman hellbent on the destruction of humanity. When he learns of this, occult detective John Constantine seeks out a group of heroes that specialize in the mystic and arcane in order to save the world.” That sounds about right.
Del Toro had previously pegged the roster as including the likes of Swamp Thing, Zatanna, Etrigan the Demon, Deadman, and The Spectre, among others. Personally, I’m hoping Doctor Fate makes the cut as well. This will actually mark the first “superhero shared universe” film to go into horror territory, which is something that not even Marvel has explored yet. There aren’t too many fronts that WB can sail ahead of Marvel on, but this is certainly one of them. “Constantine” had his own short-lived series recently on NBC, but WB still desires to keep their television properties separate from their films, so it was never connected to the DC Cinematic Universe. As a result, Matt Ryan will not be reprising the role of Constantine on the big screen for this, although you can see him pop up in it again on “Arrow” this season.
This marks the second team-based picture greenlit for WB’s emerging DC Cinematic Universe that deals with mostly lesser-known characters. The first, David Ayer’s villain-filled Suicide Squad, hits screens next August. The film apparently will indeed be in-continuity with the current slate of DC films (aside from Sandman, which remains its own thing), although any crossovers with other characters such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc. are not expected to happen until a later date.
Speaking of connectivity, while the current assumption is that this film will carry the Justice League Dark title, I suspect it will instead skew in favor of the alternate one previously touted by Del Toro: Dark Universe. Why? Because it’d be more than a little weird for Warner Bros. to toss out a film called “Justice League Dark” in between the releases of Justice League: Part One and Justice League: Part Two when it has no direct connections to either. Even if Dark Universe isn’t used, expect the studio to give the project a non-JL title when all is said and done, even if only to help audiences differentiate between the two (potential) franchises.
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