The Hollywood Reporter ran an article yesterday about how Warner Bros. is currently in the process of moving some of their less kid-friendly DC Comics movie projects, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s Sandman adaptation, over to their New Line Cinema division.
Buried at the very end was the most distressing news the article contained: Guillermo del Toro is no longer directing Justice League Dark, by far the one future DC film venture I wanted to see made more than anything.
Alternately known as Dark Universe (a title I prefer as it would have avoided confusion with the upcoming two-part Justice League movie), Justice League Dark would have brought together several of the DC imprint Vertigo’s greatest supernatural heroes, including John Constantine (who already received his own movie back in 2005 and was recently the star of a short-lived NBC series), Swamp Thing (star of two low-budget movies in the ’80s and a weekly series on the USA Network in the early ’90s), Zatanna (a recurring character on the final three seasons of Smallville and a constant presence in DC’s animated series), and Deadman. Jason Blood was also heavily rumored to be part of the team as the Demon, and del Toro had also expressed an interest in having the Spectre be a part of the adventure.
It has never been confirmed if Justice League Dark would be included in the DC Shared Universe line-up of upcoming features based on their classic comic books, though del Toro apparently thought that was the case. The Hollywood Reporter article indicated that the director’s busy schedule, which includes a Pacific Rim sequel for August 2017 and many others still in active development, was the primary reason for his departing Dark. Del Toro had been looking forward to bringing these fabled icons of Vertigo’s mature readers-targeted comics to the big screen, especially his personal favorite Swamp Thing, so we can mark this down as another great loss for fans of comic book cinema. The film still remains in development, and hopefully a worthy director will be hired one of these days to make Justice League Dark a reality.
As I mentioned at the beginning, Sandman will now join any and all future Vertigo-based DC features at New Line Cinema, along with the Shazam movie set to co-star Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam, which seems to confirm that it will not be part of the DC Shared Universe.
Guillermo del Toro’s next film, the Gothic supernatural drama Crimson Peak, opens theatrically on October 16, 2015. We can still expect Pacific Rim 2, which is now being distributed and partially financed by Legendary Pictures’ new home Universal Pictures, on August 4, 2017.