Justice League Dark: J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Boards DC Comics Project
Deadline is reporting that J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production house is boarding Warner Bros.’ long-gestating DC Comics title Justice League Dark for potential film and TV outings. No specific projects have yet to emerge, with Bad Robot’s Head of Motion Pictures Hannah Minghella and Head of Television Ben Stephenson now taking meetings with different writers to hone in on which of the DC supernatural characters will be explored.
Bad Robot signed an exclusive deal with Warner Bros. last year, and has been expected to climb aboard one or more DC properties after the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Abrams is also creating an original epic sci-fi fantasy series titled Demimonde for HBO. It is unknown if Abrams himself will direct either the film or the show based on JLD.
Justice League Dark has been in and out of development for quite some time. An animated feature film based on the concept was released in 2017, but filmmakers as varied as Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) and Andy Muschietti (IT) have been courted by the studio. Filmmaker Joseph Kahn (Torque, Detention, Bodied) created an elaborate pitch reel for the project, including an animation test he had created to show Swamp Thing in action. Screenwriter Gerard Johnstone (Housebound) was last heard to be polishing the script in late 2017.
The comic book Justice League Dark team made their debut during DC’s “New 52” publishing initiative in 2011. A paranormal-leaning super team, the group featured the likes of John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Zatanna, Frankenstein, Deadman, Madame Xanadu and The Phantom Stranger among its ranks. Prior to Liman’s involvement and departure, Guillermo del Toro had been attached to direct the Justice League Dark movie, which was set to be titled Dark Universe. Since then though, Universal Pictures used that moniker for their attempt at rebooting their classic monsters, so the film (should it ever be made) will likely carry the Justice League Dark title.
The character of Constantine was already the subject of a hit 2005 movie starring Keanu Reeves, with the character later ported over to the small screen for various TV superhero franchises and animated projects. Swamp Thing had two feature films in Wes Craven’s 1982 Swamp Thing and Jim Wynorski’s 1989 The Return of Swamp Thing, along with three seasons of a live-action USA series (all starring Dick Durock). He was the subject of a 1991 animated series and a 2019 DC Universe live-action series which was cancelled before hitting the streaming service.