No matter what comes of all the recent rumor-mongering about Batman vs. Superman - whether the Man of Steel sequel lays the groundwork for a Justice League movie or focuses solely on the conflict between the Man of Tomorrow and the Caped Crusader - there is one thing we can say for certain: Warner Bros. is finally putting together a DC Cinematic universe.
Those plans include a handful of new television series, in addition to the ongoing Arrow TV series and the potential Flash spinoff. Not to mention, Wonder Woman is being prepared to make her debut in the new age of superhero entertainment, be it on a TV show, her own movie or a cameo in an upcoming tentpole headlined by one of her fellow Justice Leaguers. So, the question is, where does Justice League Dark fit into WB/DC's grand scheme?
The JLD movie is the brainchild of Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim), based on the comic book series (started in 2011) where characters such as Swamp Thing, John Constantine, Black Orchid, Deadman, the Frankenstein creature and Madame Xanadu - superheroes with dark magical powers and/or fantastical abilities - join forces, in order to battle mystical threats that aren't so much up the Justice League's alley. In fact, del Toro has been talking about the project a fair amount over the past year, following on the heels of his planned The Incredible Hulk TV series for Marvel Studios falling off the track (and into the depths of development hell).
So far, the only developing DC project we've heard about that seems to present a challenge to the JLD movie is NBC's Constantine television series from Man of Steel writer David S. Goyer; though, del Toro has already claimed it's possible for the duo to coexist peacefully. However, during a more recent interview with Cinefilos.it (via Coming Soon), the filmmaker admitted that JLD still needs to find its place in the larger DC universe, before it will be able to continue moving forward.
Here is what he told Cinefilos.it, to be exact:
"We're still [working on 'Justice League Dark'], writing, and hopefully it will happen but there are no developments that are new. We're still at Warner Bros., they are making plans for the entire DC universe. All the superheroes, all the mythologies, and part of that is Justice League Dark. They're planning on TV, movies, and all the media, so we have to fit into that plan."
Indeed, many of the DC Universe discussions on the Screen Rant Underground Podcast over the last year have been focused on speculation about what WB's DC plans might entail. Marvel Studios is pioneering the cohesive shared cinematic universe model, with everything from theatrical movie releases to the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. being set in the same world; and thus, often directly impacted by story developments and events that occur in other Marvel projects. Might WB/DC follow suit by concocting its own shared universe? (Short answer: Not necessarily.)
Marvel and DC comic book properties - as well as their movie/TV interpretations - are different kinds of beasts (not better or worse, per se), so there's an argument to be made that a property like Justice League Dark doesn't need to be integrated into the DC Universe in the same manner as it would in more the inter-connected MCU. As such, while projects like Man of Steel and the upcoming Gotham Central TV series fit the heightened, yet emotionally-grounded template, del Toro's JLD could stray further away from that creative approach.
Then again, there is certainly a middle-ground between the more fun serial genre fare like Thor: The Dark World - or the light-hearted fantasy comic book adaptations like del Toro's Hellboy II: The Golden Army - and the serious modern mythology vibe of films like Man of Steel. As del Toro indicated, Justice League Dark just needs to find that sweet spot in the DC Universe, where it won't stand too far apart from its peers; and yet, still be very much its own thing.
Be sure and let us know how you think Justice League Dark will/should fit into the DC Universe, in the comments section below.
More on Justice League Dark as we hear it.