Zatanna: Controversial Writer Chosen To Write Movie

By Hayden Mears


DC fans have awaited a live-action Zatanna movie for years now, but it wasn’t until recently that Warner Bros. confirmed the veracity of the long-swirling rumors. And there still aren’t too many details so far. Even what WB has shown off – mainly a logo for the movie – may be subject to change. It is still too early to say how Zatanna will fit into the DC Extended Universe. Maybe HBO Max’s Justice League Dark series will have something to do with it? Only time will tell. Speaking of time, let’s backtrack a bit and go through some of the character’s history.

Promising Young Woman Director Writing The Zatanna Script

promising young woman

Variety has reported that Promising Young Woman writer/director Emerald Fennell has been tapped to write the script for Zatanna. Fennell has courted some controversy due to the very divisive nature of her directorial debut, but it has also become an awards darling. The film has managed to nab five Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actress for star Carey Mulligan. It looks like Warner Bros. wants some top-tier talent to tackle the first feature film appearance of Zatanna. Whether or not Fennell will end up in the director’s chair has not yet been confirmed.

Zatanna’s Medium-Hopping History

zatanna first appearance

Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Murphy Anderson, Zatanna first graced comic pages in 1964’s Hawkman #4. She uses her magic by reciting incantations comprised of words spelled backwards. She is a long-standing associate of the Justice League and shares a romantic interest with John Constantine. In the New 52 timeline, she is a major player in the Justice League Dark series, which builds upon her ties to all things occult and also puts a greater focus on her as a character and team player.

As exciting as it is that Zatanna is getting her own movie, it won’t be the first time she has appeared in live-action. She first popped up as a popular television show was ending. Serinda Swan portrayed the character in the final three seasons of the fan-favorite series Smallville. But because we haven’t seen her in live-action in over ten years, it’s high time we experience just how powerful she is in an even bigger way.

On the animated side of things, Zatanna first appeared in the beloved Batman: The Animated Series. Julie Brown voiced her then, with Camilla Luddington lending her voice to the character in 2017’s animated Justice League Dark movie and its sequel, the continuity-ending Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. She has also shown up in Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans Go!, and countless other animated stories.

She’s In Video Games, Too!

injustice game

In the video game realm, Zatanna has been a playable character in the wildly popular, maddeningly fast-paced Injustice: Gods Among Us console game, a non-playable character in DC Universe Online, and has even popped up in LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.

Zatanna is an incredibly powerful sorceress, one who combines her years of training as a stage magician with her talents as an actual magic-user. Her father, Giovanni “John” Zatara, is also ridiculously gifted in the magical arts, and usually shows up as a supporting character in the comics.

Have you kicked butt as Zatanna in any of the previously mentioned games? If you haven’t, consider giving her a whirl. She’s pretty great.

Who Will Play Zatanna On The Big Screen?

zatanna justice league dark

This is not known yet, but interest in her casting is active. The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil expressed interest in portraying Zatanna early last year. Beyond her, there has not been too much written or said about who is going to play the role.

Zatanna’s live-action casting will obviously be extremely important to the character’s continued success, and it will be interesting to see who ends up nabbing the part. Hey, maybe voice actress Camilla Luddington will pull a Katee Sackhoff and jump from the animated realm to live-action. She did a phenomenal job in both Justice League Dark animated features and it would be great to see another voice actress get more love from fans.

Who Will Direct?

the prestige feature

Your guess is probably as good as ours here. Again, there is very little that has actually been confirmed aside from the fact that Zatanna’s movie is definitely happening. We will definitely keep you updated on what’s happening, when it will happen, etc. We just don’t know this piece yet!

In the meantime, start speculating about who would be a good choice for the role and what kind of movie it should be. The possibilities are endless. Maybe a Christopher Nolan-esque, The Prestige-style film?

When Can We Expect The Zatanna Film?


That, too, remains unknown. We don’t know how high Zatanna is on DC’s list of priorities, and we likely won’t for quite some time. Sadly, with films such as Aquaman 2 and the Robert Pattinson-led The Batman confirmed to be on the way, it is unlikely we will hear more about this anytime soon. After all, Warner Bros. is still gearing up for James Gunn’s highly anticipated Suicide Squad movie, which is currently slated for a hybrid release in theaters and on HBO Max in August. The studio also has a number of other popular movies on the way. But hey, that just gives us more time to speculate!

She may not be an A-Lister like the members of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but Zatanna is a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully, her live-action movie puts her back on the map.