There are no projects on Warner Bros.’ slate of DC superhero movies that have had roads as winding as weird as The Flash movie and Justice League Dark. Both have had seemingly countless directors and writers attached over the last few years (with The Flash even cycling through several release dates), and neither have so much as frame of footage to show for it. And while The Flash has now settled down with Andy Muschietti and Christina Hodson on writing and directing duties, Justice League Dark (which once had none other than Guillermo del Toro set to direct) has remained adrift. That might finally be about to change.
Deadline reports that JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot is “developing both film and TV ideas” set around the characters in Justice League Dark. In other words, in addition to the team movie (which this was always in development as) it sounds like they’re considering solo movies and TV series for certain characters. For those unfamiliar, Justice League Dark encompasses a number of the supernatural and magical heroes and anti-heroes of the DC Universe, including Zatanna, John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Deadman, and others. There’s enough characters and rules of dark weirdness that need to be established that this could sustain a little cinematic universe of its own, without necessarily needing ties to the increasingly nebulous DCEU.
Of course, there are a couple of inherent problems here. Swamp Thing was recently (and brilliantly) realized as a TV series in the DC Universe streaming service. Unfortunately, the show was canceled during production and found its episode order cut short, for reasons that still remain conflicting and unclear. 10 episodes of Swamp Thing do indeed stream on DC Universe, and it’s difficult to imagine how another TV series could do things better than this one did. Maybe this could mean there’s hope to continue this series, but I wouldn’t count on it.
And then there’s the matter of John Constantine. Matt Ryan has been playing the cynical modern mage on television since 2014. Like Swamp Thing his solo series, NBC’s Constantine, was canceled too soon after one season, but Ryan’s perfect embodiment of the character garnered enough fan support that Warner Bros. TV brought him back for guest appearances on Arrow, and later as a series regular on Legends of Tomorrow. Ryan’s Constantine remains a fixture of that latter show, and while a Hellblazer TV series would certainly work if given the HBO Max treatment it’s almost impossible to picture another actor in the role at this time.
On the other hand, a character like Deadman would be unbelievably perfect for a supernatural, R-rated Quantum Leap type TV series, so there’s still plenty of room to play and explore here.
Still, Deadline cautions in their report that it’s unclear if Abrams himself will be involved as director since everything is in such early stages. And when Abrams signed a massive deal with Warner Media in 2019 to develop both original projects and WB IP, it seemed inevitable that he would eventually take a hand in the DC slate. Still, most fans expected he would apply his nostalgic approach to a property like Superman, a character he flirted with in the early part of the 21st Century. We’ll see if anything comes to pass with Bad Robot and the Justice League Dark corner of the DCU, and we’ll update you if it does.