The blockbuster release of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy may close out this year's major comic book-based films, but the fall television season will see the premiere of several comic book adaptations. FOX will debut the Batman prequel series Gotham, the CW will bring back the hit show Arrow along with its spinoff The Flash, and NBC will premiere its highly-anticipated Hellblazer adaptation, Constantine.
Meanwhile, on the film side of things, Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro has been developing a film - currently titled Dark Universe - that sort of resembles the New 52 series Justice League Dark. The comic book features John Constantine as a central character, who battles evil supernatural forces alongside a roster that includes Deadman, Shade, Madame Xanadu, Zatanna and others.
As WB and DC (finally) expand on their newly established cinematic universe with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016, a big question was whether or not the movie universe would intersect with any of the DC-based TV shows. DC's Geoff Johns recently answered that question in the negative.
Now, during a discussion with IGN (via CBM) about his upcoming Crimson Peak and Pacific Rim 2, Guillermo del Toro was asked where the Justice League Dark project stands. Del Toro confirmed that the movie in the scripting stage, with Warners and the director seeing "eye to eye" on the what the movie will be.
When asked about DC and WB's intention to keep the universes separate - and the possibility of including the character The Spectre - del Toro had this to say:
"I would love to have The Spectre in it, because he's one of the most..absolutely, beyond moral characters in this universe and he does crazy things...but, I'm happy with...they're doing that with 'Constantine.' What I made clear to them is that the TV series will not affect the movie and they said that's okay. They said you can have independence. Now, if we see the TV series and we can mesh with it or cast the same actor depending on where the movie is going, I would be happy to consider that."
Del Toro listed a possible character roster, as well, which could include "Etrigan the Demon, Deadman, Swamp Thing, Zatanna, Constantine, The Floronic Man, and many, many others."
Del Toro's comments are not exactly a contradiction of Johns' edict that the TV and movie universes will remain separate, but if del Toro can go on record as saying he's open to the idea, will this change the perception of the other forthcoming DC-based television properties? Gotham and Constantine will air on FOX and NBC, but Arrow and The Flash live on The CW, which is partly owned by Warner Bros., so if any show would crossover with DC's movie universe, it would presumably be one of those two.
Also, keeping the two media continuities "separate" doesn't mean that the TV shows won't exist somewhere within the movie universe. Still, could the TV version of John Constantine really appear in Justice League Dark? The JLD film would be an ideal project to expand on the mystical/supernatural aspects of the DC universe, which, if rumors prove true, could be introduced with Shazam in 2016.
Would a Justice League Dark movie work without John Constantine? Possibly, given the richness and (arguably) marquee-worthy nature of the other characters, such as Deadman, Etrigan and Swamp Thing. If WB and NBC could work out a deal, though, a crossover could result in a one-of-a-kind synergy and a unique species of fan goodwill. That is, assuming the show's a success.
Dark Universe is currently in development. Constantine debuts Friday, October 24, 2014 on NBC.