The characters of DC’s Justice League Dark may finally make their way to the screen. The small screen that is. Back in January it was revealed that JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot was “developing both film and TV ideas” around Justice League Dark, and it looks like the first stop for these characters it the small screen: on HBO Max. The news comes alongside word of another horror-tinged production for the streaming service, a spinoff of The Shining called Overlook.
“What an amazing start to our association with the wildly imaginative Bad Robot team under J.J. and Katie,” said Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer, HBO Max and President, TNT, TBS, & truTV in a statement. “What could be better than an original J.J. idea and then Warner Bros. letting them loose on iconic I.P. from Stephen King and the DC Universe and to provide more must-have programming on HBO Max.”
Justice League Dark is…pretty much what it sounds like: an assortment of supernatural characters and anti-heroes who explore the darker, murkier, magical areas of the DC universe. Justice League Dark has loooooong been in development as a movie for Warner Bros., but after a parade of directors (including Guillermo del Toro) marched through its cobwebbed halls, the project seemed to evaporate until Bad Robot became interested in it again. Still, the concept has proven popular enough to support several animated movies and a number of comic book series.
It’s interesting that the press release says that Abrams and Bad Robot are developing a series based on “characters in the Justice League Dark universe” rather than specifically a team show itself. In other words, I’d be surprised if they actually went ahead and called this show Justice League Dark when the time comes, but we’ll see how that all plays out. So who could those characters be?
Well, there’s a whole bunch of ’em. But the major players are John Constantine (currently being played perfectly by Matt Ryan on Legends of Tomorrow), Swamp Thing (who had a brilliant but prematurely canceled series on DC Universe last year), Deadman (who could support a series all on his own, now that I think about it), The Phantom Stranger (who sure would be a great host for a horror anthology series set in the DC Universe), Zatanna (who is long overdue to break through in the pop culture mainstream), and Jack Kirby’s Etrigan the Demon (who is just crying out for a Guillermo del Toro movie). Any combination of the above would make for a fascinatingly weird jaunt through the darker corners of the DCU.
But if HBO plans on using Constantine or Swamp Thing, they should take a good hard look at some of the actors they already have in their stable. You simply aren’t gonna find a better John Constantine than Matt Ryan, and Derek Mears was similarly perfect (and in some incredible makeup and costuming) as Swamp Thing. We’re probably quite a way off from hearing anything about that, though.