While most of the attention as of late has been directed toward DC’s tumultuous live-action extended film universe and its ever-growing line-up of superheroic TV dramas, one shouldn’t forget about the equally robust world of direct-to-video animated films based on the company’s comic book properties. The current focus of DC’s animated movie arm is Sam Liu and Bruce Timm’s upcoming adaptation of the classic Alan Moore graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke, which features the return of iconic voice actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to the roles of Batman and The Joker, and is also the first animated DC project to receive an R rating from the MPAA.
Fans have wondered whether The Killing Joke would signal a darker direction for the DC animated film universe going forward, and a new bit of info suggests that a darker path is indeed where things are headed. As first noticed by an eagle eyed Redditor named Andyporras, the BBFC has recently approved and classified something called A Sneak Peak [sic] at Justice League Dark, which will seemingly be a near 8-minute video preview that appears as an extra feature on the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of Killing Joke. Odd spelling error aside, this classification by the BBFC serves to effectively confirm that a Justice League Dark film is next on the animated DC film slate, despite no prior mention of such a project’s existence by either DC or Warner Bros.
For those unfamiliar, Justice League Dark was a monthly comic book series that ran from November 2011 to March 2015, and featured a team of DC’s more supernaturally inclined heroes that handled bizarre situations not exactly tailored for folks like Superman or The Flash. The Justice League Dark roster changed occasionally as time went on, although a few of the more prominent members included John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Zatanna, Madame Xanadu, and Frankenstein’s Monster.
The arrival of Justice League Dark to the film landscape will be the culmination of a fairly long journey, as writer/director Guillermo Del Toro had been trying to get a live-action movie adaptation of the series off the ground since 2012, only to see his project continue to end up back in development hell. Presumably due in part to the endless delays, Del Toro eventually abandoned the film in 2015, although DC and Warner Bros. maintain that it’s still coming regardless.
At least some members of Justice League Dark were also planned to make an appearance on the recent Constantine TV series starring Matt Ryan, but NBC saw fit to cancel the show before those plans could come to fruition. While animation and live-action are certainly too very different branches of filmmaking, at least it looks like readers will finally get to see Justice League Dark hop out of the comic pages and onto their TV sets. With that said, one wonders how long it’ll take fans to create a petition urging DC and WB to bring in Ryan as the voice of Constantine.
The existence of a Justice League Dark animated movie has yet to be officially confirmed, but we’ll keep you updated on any further news.