Justice League Dark: Bad Robot Developing Film & TV Projects Based On Warner Bros. DC Comics

Anthony D'Alessandro

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EXCLUSIVE: I hear that Bad Robot, through its new deal at Warner Media, is exclusively developing both film and TV ideas based on DC’s Justice League Dark universe at Warner Bros.

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.

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Justice League Dark (or JLD team) first appeared in the September 2011 issue of Justice League Dark #1 featuring such superheros, mostly occult and offbeat, as John Constantine, mystic and fortune teller Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Shade, the Changing Man, and Zatanna. The roster is much larger, and members joined later on, with Swamp Thing being added in issue 19. Other members of JLD include Andrew Bennett (a centuries old vampire), Black Orchid (a shapeshifter), Doctor Mist (a spy who worked for villain Felix Faust), Frankenstein (a erudite creature), Pandora (based on the Greek character), Nightmare Nurse (a healer of supernatural wounds), among several others.  Given their powers, they typically handled situations outside of the scope of the traditional Justice League, which includes Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Aquaman and The Flash. The JLD title and team were created by Peter Milligan, with art by Mikel Janín.

Again, this is all so early, so it’s not specific yet if Bad Robot boss J.J. Abrams will be directing any of these projects. Minghella on the feature side will work with Warner Bros. President of DC-based Film Production Walter Hamada, while Stephenson will work in correlation with the Warner Bros. Television Group including President & Chief Content Officer Peter Roth, President Susan Rovner and President Brett Paul. Following the $1 billion-plus success of Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Abrams is currently meeting with potential showrunners for his HBO epic sci-fi fantasy drama Demimonde. The series follows a world’s battle against a monstrous, oppressive force. It’s the first series solely created by Abrams since the 2001 ABC drama Alias.

A sampling of some JLD universe properties that were previously adapted for the screen and TV:

There was a Justice League Dark animated film made in 2017 for the home entertainment market starring Rosario Dawson, Alfred Molina, and Nicholas Turturro.

The character of John Constantine was adapted into the 2005 Warner Bros. feature Constantine starring Keanu Reeves which grossed close to $231M WW. In the movie, Constantine was an exorcist and a demonologist and in the Justice League Dark comics, he’s a Liverpudlian magician who became the leader of JLD, but is then ousted and replaced by magician Zatanna. She’s been in the DC universe for some time, created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson, and first appearing in Hawkman #4 (November 1964). Constantine was also turned into a NBC series by Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer and ran for 13 episodes from October 2014 to February 2015.

To date there’s only been one Swamp Thing feature, released in 1982 and directed by Wes Craven. The DC digital service, DC Universe, ran one season of Swamp Thing, last summer which James Wan’s Atomic Monster produced, created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson.

 

 

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