Justice League Dark Coming To The DCU?

By Jessica Scott | Updated

swamp thing justice league dark

While a Justice League Dark movie was previously developed by Guillermo del Toro (he even got to the writing stage on it), the legendary filmmaker says that he doesn’t see the film getting revived by James Gunn and Peter Safran’s DC Studios any time soon – at least not with him at the helm. According to CBR, he loves the characters in this oft-overlooked DC team but doesn’t want to get involved with such a huge franchise at this point. “You don’t get a manicure from a big machine,” he says, “that’s what I learned – you lose a few fingers.” 

So, even if a revival of his Justice League Dark project ever were to be put back on the table by the controversial new administration at the DCU, del Toro has already said he wouldn’t be a part of it. In his trademark blunt fashion, he stated: “As Donny Glover would say, ‘I’m too old for this s***.’”

This is unfortunate, however, because del Toro has been attached to the Justice League Dark live action film since way back in 2013. He was set to direct the movie and wrote a script for it, which never saw the light of day before the project was canceled. 

Justice League Dark’s bad luck didn’t stop there, though. Once del Toro was out, Doug Liman came in as director with del Toro remaining attached as a producer. But Liman didn’t stay either. He left the project because he never felt that the script got to a point that was “special enough” to make the project worthwhile.

justice league dark

For fans curious about what could have been, del Toro gave a few hints about his version of the Justice League Dark team in 2021. He said that he used “a bit” of the opening of Alan Moore’s origin story for Constantine and threw in the relationship between Abby Arcane and Swamp Thing.

He also included the moment when Deadman (a former acrobat in the circus and current ghost) possessed a body and planned to explore what it would be like to suddenly be given consciousness in that way. His Justice League Dark team would also have included Etrigan, Klarion the Witch Boy, and Zatanna.

Recently, the DCU has seen a major overhaul, with multiple projects being eliminated before they even really began. Aside from Justice League Dark’s question mark of a future, one other such casualty is a third movie in the Wonder Woman franchise, which was abandoned when Patty Jenkins, who acted as both co-writer and director, refused to make the changes that the studio wanted her to make to the script. Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel series was also cut short.

It is unclear whether the Justice League Dark show would go on if del Toro were no longer attached to the project. For now, though, he seems pretty adamant about not wanting to get involved with DC Studios as it is being run now. 

Perhaps in an alternate universe where the DCU was not such a juggernaut (or at least under different management), we could see an awesome film about a darker, more anti-heroic version of the Justice League we’re used to. But for now, we’ll just have to stick with rereading the Justice League Dark comics and wondering what might have been.