It seems that one of the few DC Comics film properties in the works that isn’t being set up directly by Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is Justice League Dark. The project was originally being developed by Guillermo del Toro, but he left the film earlier this year after turning in a (supposedly excellent) screenplay to Warner Bros./DC.
Though some feared that the project would die as a result, there have been a number of casting rumors of late which suggest that Justice League Dark is still very much alive. The latest round of rumors indicate a shortlist of directors who are being courted for the project, including a director who’s played in the world of dark supernatural mayhem before.
JoBlo is reporting that the frontrunners to direct Justice League Dark are Fede Alverez (director of Evil Dead (2013)) and the filmmaking team of Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado (directors of Big Bad Wolves and an ABCs of Death 2 segment). Given that WB allegedly wants to begin production on the film in early 2016, a final decision should be made sooner than later. As it were, del Toro reportedly worked with the studio before his departure to help find a director for the project, though it’s unknown if he was involved in narrowing down the list to these choices.
Given that the directors all have a background in horror, it’s likely that the studio hopes to play up the more horrific aspects of the Justice League Dark team. Unlike the Justice League of America, the JLD focuses on supernatural threats and situations that are considered “unfit” for the JLA to be involved in. It will certainly have a darker and more supernatural tone than more mainstream films such as Batman V Superman and the eventual Justice League films, though it may be part of the same shared universe.
Justice League Dark is one of the more ambitious films in the current DC slate, similar in ways to Suicide Squad in that it doesn’t focus on a team containing the “Big Three” of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. While the version of John Constantine that appears in the film will be the third version of the character we’ve seen in live-action, many of the team’s members are lesser-known supernatural heroes who have only been seen in animated form (if that.) This marks a big departure from the past, when every live-action project centered around Batman or occasionally Superman.
Some fans are obviously going to be disappointed in the director of the film since Justice League Dark was such a passion project for del Toro. Given the reception that Evil Dead and the ABCs of Death series have gotten, they may be less worried now about where the project is headed. The news that the film will supposedly use del Toro’s screenplay is encouraging, however, and should provide a solid foundation for another director to build upon.
Justice League Dark is rumored to begin production in 2016 with no release date currently set. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14th, 2019; Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern Corps on June 19th, 2020. Untitled Batman and Superman solo films will be coming at dates TBD.