Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker director and mega-producer J.J. Abrams wants to develop the last batch of DC characters we expected through his Bad Robot outfit and their deal with WarnerMedia.
Deadline reports Abrams and Bad Robot’s deal with Warner Bros. gives him the exclusive privilege to develop TV and film projects based on Justice League Dark and its expanded universe.
Things come into focus when you consider, for as long as the Abrams-Warner Bros. agreement was being worked out, it could be a contributing factor in rumblings we’ve heard all year and unexplained moves made in DC film and TV.
For instance, there is speculation a new live-action Constantine project is in the works from Mattson Tomlin, co-writer of The Batman beside Matt Reeves.
Matt Ryan plays John Constantine on TV and there is rumor of interest on Warner’s part in bringing Keanu Reeves back for another film.
Then there’s the cancellation of DC Universe Original show Swamp Thing produced by James Wan and his Atomic Monster company. We know the decision came from on high at WarnerMedia and their brass said they own “no sacred cows” although no reason was given aside from a transient claim of budget cuts.
However, a Swamp Thing feature film is said to be in development and it probably won’t have anything to do with Wan or his people. J.J. Abrams was closing his deal at the time and may have called dibs on Swamp Thing for a movie that’ll hit theaters or HBO Max. It might be a case of what J.J. wants, J.J. gets.
Everything initially pointed to Abrams adapting Superman with a new actor, Green Lantern, and/or Justice League proper. Those may still be on the table but Abrams seems to be either aiming lower on the totem pole, for now, or setting up for a hostile takeover of DC’s litany.
Maybe, maybe not; all this is in an early stage anyway. Bad Robot’s Head of Motion Pictures Hannah Minghella and Head of Television Ben Stephenson, Deadline notes, have yet to take meetings with clients and reps to discuss what “characters will get their own projects.” Also not even known yet is if Abrams will direct any of them or what kind of hands-on role he intends to take up.
Mainly a team since 2011, JLD encompasses a stable of characters, including Wonder Woman, who deal in magic and the paranormal. John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Deadman, and Zatanna are some of the other renowned members.
Those characters assembled for a DC Animated Universe feature in 2017 starring Matt Ryan, Jason O’Mara, Rosario Dawson, and Jerry O’Connell. A sequel titled Justice League DARK: Apokolips War is due out later this year.
Justice League Dark was in development as a feature for years. At first, under the title “Dark Universe,” Guillermo Del Toro was tapped to direct. He later jumped ship, giving the reins to Doug Liman but he dropped out too and the project was shelved in 2017.
The feature is reportedly back on according to Daniel “RPK” Richtman and Abrams could be the man bringing it to life.