When it comes to Justice League Dark, the folks at WB are convinced there is gold up in them thar hills!
It really all started right after Justice League Dark rolled out of the initial New 52 wave, and not even a year later Guillermo del Toro was announced to be working on a film called Dark Universe and it would center on John Constantine attempting to recruit Swamp Thing, Deadman, Etrigan, Zatanna and the Spectre with Jason Woodrue/The Floronic Man taking part in the fun as well. Every time I heard it talk about it, it sounded like a loose adaptation of Alan Moore/Stephen Bissette/Rick Veitch/John Totleben/Stan Woch‘s “American Gothic” arc.
During that time, a Constantine show came and went on NBC, but del Toro insisted Dark Universe would be his next project after Crimson Peak. Eventually, reality stepped in and he knew he had to step aside. WB then hired Doug Liman (The Edge of Tomorrow) to direct the film they were now pretty firm in calling Justice League Dark – it probably didn’t help that Universal was already working on their own Dark Universe shared world…that also came and went.
Liman eventually left the project too, and it had been pretty radio-silent after that point, though even after that departure, they still took the time to show everyone in Hall H at SDCC 2017 a Justice League Dark title card as part of a film slate that has only partly come to fruition. That same year, a Justice League Dark animated feature also debuted.
But now there’s new potential life in the idea, as JJ Abrams‘ Bad Robot, having just inked a television and film deal with WB, is kicking the the tires on not just a film, but a potential series of them and television projects too, all centered on the characters within Justice League Dark.
It’s early days as Deadline says, and there’s no indication yet whether Abrams himself will direct any of these potential films:
This deal is all very nascent and at this point in time there aren’t any specific projects or characters that are being specifically developed out of the franchise. I understand that Bad Robot’s Head of Motion Pictures Hannah Minghella and Head of Television Ben Stephenson will soon be taking meetings with talent reps and their writing clients on which characters will get their own projects.
But it’s still a bit of a fascinating twist. When Bad Robot signed their huge deal with WB, it felt almost certain an Abrams’ directed Superman movie would come with it. With his childhood best friend, Matt Reeves, directing Batman, how could that not happen? But maybe it was too obvious a move, and perhaps this gives JJ more leeway to do something a little more interesting. I’m once bitten, twice shy here, but maybe this third time will be the charm.
Also, these days, Wonder Woman is the leader of the team, and it’s hard to imagine the studio heads wouldn’t make that pairing happen at some point, bringing in Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman to shore up the team with one really well-known player.