Another upcoming DC movie has been abandoned by Warner Bros.
Weeks before the studio hired James Gunn and Peter Safran to helm DC Studios and a franchise reboot, Emerald Fennell was tapped to write a solo film based on Zatanna, a magician from DC Comics with actual magical powers.
Now that Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the final film of the former DCEU has arrived, and with fans looking forward to the debut of Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters, Emerald Fennell has confirmed the fate of her own DC film.
Another DC Movie Officially Cancelled
When asked about the status of her Zatanna movie and if it has a place under Gunn and Safran's new DC Studios regime, Emerald Fennell told Josh Horowitz, "No. No, it's not happening." Fennel went on to explain the reason why:
“No. No, it’s not happening. It was, you know what, I loved… So this was all before 'Promising Young Woman', actually. So, this was something I was working before 'Promising Young Woman' and it was when J.J. Abrams had just arrived at Warner Brothers and was going to reboot the Dark Universe and… they were going to kind of make this new kind dark, sort of, villain universe, or hero/villain universe. And I just thought he was the coolest. His team at Bad Robot, Hannah, his producer at Bad Robot, was so cool, and so interesting."
Despite Zatanna being a comic book heroine, Fennell confessed that she initially didn't know "a huge amount about the superhero genre" and approached the film from the perspective of "how does one make a movie like that for people like me:"
"And because I love genre of all kinds… so much of 'Promising Young Woman' and and 'Saltburn' are prodding at a specific genre, that I’m definitely interested in like, ‘Oh okay, I don’t know a huge amount about the superhero genre. It’s not a genre that I naturally gravitate towards.’ So I was like, ’Okay, well, I’d love to… how does one make a movie like that for people like me, who maybe don’t know so much, and wouldn’t necessarily buy a ticket the first time around.' So it’s sort of that kind of thing. I’m like, ‘Okay, this is interesting.’ And Zatanna is just a really, really cool character."
As for Warner Bros. canceling the project and knowing her Zatanna script will remain unrealized, Fennell was surprisingly accepting, saying, "things change. It's the classic studio stuff" and that it was still "really fun to do in the end, whether or not it would been like remotely makeable:"
"And yeah. But I think, just like everything, I did write it. It was complicated, because, I think, the regime, the things change. It’s the classic studio stuff. Classic studio stuff. J.J.’s incredible. His team are incredible and I think it just.. I wrote, in the end, I think, a script that is reasonably demented… in a good way, I think. But in the end, I think the whole universe… was changed. But that’s fine. I love writing. I love writing. I love working with people, so it was kind of really fun to do in the end, whether or not it would been like remotely makeable.”
Warner Bros. Made Zatanna Disappear
This past year has been a rough road for both DC fans and creators.
Not only have the remaining films from the former DCEU consistently underperformed at the box office, but Warner Bros. has continued to scrub DC projects from its streaming platform.
And, despite optimism for DC Studios' upcoming reboot, learning of canceled projects, such as Emerald Fennell's Zatanna, leaves fans and artists wondering what could've been.
It also sounds like Fennell's take on the film and the character would've truly been unique and different from the formulaic superhero origin story fans have become all too familiar with in recent years.