Warner Bros. has spent years trying to carve out the Justice League Dark corner of the DC universe in live-action. The supernatural team is packed with DC's magical faces including Constantine, Zatanna, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Swamp Thing, and more.
Going back to 2016, The Bourne Identity director Doug Liman was slated to helm a Justice League Dark movie - which has since seen concept art surface online - but he ultimately dropped out. Even further back, Guillermo del Toro was working on his own adaptation of the supernatural team that similarly fell through.
Several of the characters have since shown up on television, but the drive to bring the team together in their own project continues. J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot have recently been working on his own Justice League Dark franchise for HBO Max as part of his current deal with Warner Bros.
The Hollywood legend has revealed plans for a whole franchise of projects on HBO Max centered around members of Justice League Dark, with series planned for Constantine and Madame Xanadu. Now, in the wake of DC's mass cancellations under the new Warner Bros. regime, an update has been offered on the plans.
HBO Max Developing Avengers-Inspired Justice League Dark
Variety revealed in a recent report that J.J. Abrams' Justice League Dark series for HBO Max is being developed as an "Avengers-style show" from Bad Robot. Abrams and Bad Robot have long been reported to be developing Justice League Dark as a franchise for HBO Max with spin-offs for Constantine and Madame Xanadu.
According to the article, Constantine and Madame Xanadu remain in active development, with the former having scouted locations with plans to start shooting in early 2023. The promising development updates follow HBO Max's cancellation of Batgirl and many other DC projects under the new Warner Bros. Discovery regime.
The Hollywood Reporter described earlier in the year how Abrams has "laid claim to a number of DC characters" in this corner of the universe, but has yet to show anything for it, leading to frustration at the studio. Warner Bros. has reportedly seen scripts for Constantine and the pilot episode of Madame Xanadu.
Constantine, which is written by Guy Bolton, has been said to lean into horror themes, with rumors indicating Gangs of London's Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù is being eyed for the role.
What's Going On With JJ Abrams' Justice League Dark?
Almost two years have passed since the first reports circulated to suggest J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot were working on this Justice League Dark franchise. With the filmmaker having laid claim to DC's entire supernatural universe and also being involved with a Superman movie, it isn't surprising Warner Bros. is growing frustrated with the lack of output from Abrams.
But with Constantine placed to film early next year, things finally appear to be moving on Abrams' DC plans. So, provided Warner Bros. Discovery doesn't decide to cancel Justice League Dark too, news ought to be coming soon on casting and crew for Constantine in advance of filming.
There's no telling yet what other projects will come before the eventual Justice League Dark series, but the promise of Avengers inspiration may imply the majority of the team will. Constantine and Madame Xanadu appear to be the furthest along, so they ought to come first, perhaps followed by characters like Deadman and Zatanna.
As Warner Bros. is placed to scrap HBO Max in favor of a replacement service merged with Discovery+, there's no telling where these projects will go. But the top contenders ought to be either HBO or whatever streamer replaces the current endeavor.
J.J. Abrams previously opened up about his feelings about working in the DC universe and how it can be "a double-edged sword." Read what Abrams had to say here.