Zatanna


  • Studio: DC
  • First Created: 1964
  • Created By: Gardner Fox & Murphy Anderson

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.

That being said, all good things quickly came to an end where the movie plans were concerned. With the James Gunn-led shakeup at DC and Warner Bros. we know the fate of the Zatanna movie.

ZATANNA MOVIE HAS BEEN CANCELED

Along with a number of other planned DC movies and series, Zatanna didn’t make the final cut when it came to the upcoming lineup. James Gunn and Peter Safran are leading a new charge where this franchise is concerned and the Zatanna plans weren’t part of it, at least for now.

EMILIA CLARKE WAS RUMORED TO PLAY ZATANNA

Updates about the Zatanna project has been sparse, but one name that consistently pops up in reports — including as recently as March 2021 — is Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones fame. So far, nothing has been confirmed, and there could very well still be other actresses in the running.

Whether or not she’s being considered, The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil expressed interest in portraying Zatanna in 2020. Beyond her, there has not been too much written or said about who is going to play the role.

Instagram artist g_reenzo created a great a fan image of Emilia Clarke as Zatanna above.

ALEXANDRA DADDARIO AND ANYA CHALOTRA HAVE BEEN IMAGINED AS ZATANNA

Of course, the lack of official word hasn’t stopped hopeful artists from promoting their own fan castings. For example, Instagram artist mizuriau posted an image nominating Alexandra Daddario of Percy Jackson fame as the DC sorceress.

Then there’s a Reddit User credit themselves as Odd Eye who did their best rendition of The Witcher‘s Anya Chalotra as Zatanna.

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.

EMERALD FENNELL WAS WRITING THE 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 WAS FIRST INTRODUCED IN 1964

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.

ZATANNA APPEARED IN INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US

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.

NO DIRECTOR HAD BEEN NAMED FOR THE FILM

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?

PRODUCTION HAD STALLED ON ZATANNA

For a while there, Zatanna appeared to be a go. Emilia Clarke was the supposed front-runner to star as Zatanna Zatara, the DC mistress of magical arts. Of course, fans also clamored for their favorites, with Alexandra Daddario and The Witcher’s Anya Chalotra getting some love.

Even The Good Place’s Jameela Jamil tossed her top hat into the ring saying she would love to portray the powerful magician. But ever since it was first announced that Zatanna would become a DC film, there has been complete radio silence.

Perhaps this is why Emerald Fennell has since moved on to other projects. Fennell was tapped to write the script. SHe is the highly touted scribe who has put her time in on shows such as Drifters and Killing Eve as well as the Carey Mulligan-starring film, Promising Young Woman. With Zatanna in a major holding pattern, Ms. Fennell has moved on to Saltburn. And Giant Freakin Robot did have the exclusive that Zatanna was in danger of being canceled.

So, what gives? That question is becoming more and more difficult to answer. Perhaps we need to take a look at J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot for the answer.

JJ ABRAMS BAD ROBOT DEAL POSSIBLY IMPACTED ZATANNA

It goes without saying that Warner Bros. is not getting the bang for their Bad Robot buck. Back in 2019, Abrams and his Bad Robot company signed a five-year deal to have the production company produce several films with the hope that they could breathe some life into the DC brand.

Hopes were high as Abrams had Warner Bros. execs excited that he was looking at DC characters such as Madame Xanadu and John Constantine. He was looking at Fennell’s Zatanna. He was also looking at Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Superman. To date, not one of these projects has materialized and at this rate, Abrams’s deal will expire with the man making off with hundreds of millions in false promises.

Now, it could be unfair to toss Abrams and Bad Robot under the bus like this. For all we know, he could be well into the planning stages in all of these movies. But that’s the problem, its “for all we know.” Three years into a massive deal one would expect a lot more noise coming from Bad Robot and Warner’s besides Warner’s frustration. To David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, that $250 million deal with Bad Robot is looking like a horrible investment.

Where that puts the future of Zatanna is truly anyone’s guess. It’s clear, though, that the project is on hold and there are strong rumors out there that the project has been completely scrapped. We’ll keep you updated when more news about the status of Zatanna becomes available.

WARNER BROS CANCELED BATGIRL

And with all of this, we know that Warner Bros. has had a massive shakeup in their content department of late. This biggest domino to fall was the cancellation of Batgirl which had already completed filming and had cost $100 million dollars for the production. But WB saw fit to chalk it up as a tax write-off and never let it see the light of day.

It was an unprecedented move from the studio and set of a chain reaction that saw other projects like The Wonder Twins get canceled before they could ramp up production.

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