“How Justice League Dark Can Fit Into The New DCEU”
With the recent emphasis of magic within the DCEU, it may finally be the perfect time for DC Comics and Warner Bros. to debut the Justice League Dark on-screen. DC has recently hit a streak of luck at the box office, with both Aquaman and Joker breaking the $1 billion mark wide-open. While it seems as if the studio is taking a step back from the shared universe approach, it seems as if the success of Joker has emboldened the studio to take more unorthodox risks when it comes to their pantheon of characters.
Justice League Dark has been in development as a film for over a decade. In that time, the project has passed hands back and forth, with Guillermo del Toro officially dropping out as director in 2015. Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman stepped in to take over in August of 2016, only to immediately drop the project the following year. However, just this month, it was announced that J.J. Abrams production company Bad Robot had signed a multi-million dollar deal with WarnerMedia to produce content for the supernatural team, on both television and film.
Since the future is looking bright (or dark, depending on your outlook) for the DC Comics adaptation, now might be the perfect time for the obscure group to make their first appearance on-screen. Since debuting in September of 2011, the group has become a popular mainstay in comics, with a rotating roster of DC’s premiere supernatural characters. However, with the recent expansion of magic into the DCEU, the team’s original roster of characters might have the perfect shot at becoming just as big as the members of the original Justice League.
The Justice League Dark is a team made up entirely of the DC Universe’s most powerful supernatural and magically inclined characters. While the current roster is made up of Wonder Woman, Detective Chimp, Man-Bat, Swamp Thing and Zatanna, rumors from the Bad Robot/WarnerMedia deal make it sound as if there’s a distinct emphasis on the original incarnation of the team. That group, which debuted in 2011’s Justice League Dark #1, is comprised of John Constantine, Deadman, Zatanna, Madame Xandau, and Shade the Changing Man. Each member of the team has their own unique powers and expertise in a distinct corner of the DC Universe.
John Constantine has been many things, but he most frequently lies in the gray area between hero and con man. He’s a cynical British warlock and occult detective with a sarcastic demeanor and a brilliant mastery of all things magic; be it spells, incantations, or curses, which he frequently uses to trick and ensnare demons and monsters (and in his early days, his fellow humans). Zatanna is similar, albeit more altruistic and virtuous than her British counterpart. She’s a stage magician and actual hero who inherited her abilities from her father, a Golden Age superhero known as Giovanni “John” Zatara. As such, she can cast spells and incantations as long as she says them backward. She’s been a frequent member of the Justice League as well as a longtime friend to the Dark Knight.
Deadman is the alter ego of Boston Brand, a circus acrobat who performed in a red costume and white corpse makeup until he was murdered by a contract assassin known as The Hook. Brand was revived by the Hindu god “Rama Kushna” and granted the ability to possess any living being he encounters. Shade, The Changing Man, is an alien from the planet Meta with the ability to inhabit the body of human beings (with the unfortunate side-effect of killing them). In his Post-Crisis debut, he jumped into the body of a serial killer named Troy Grezner, but he’s been several different people since then. He also wields an M-Vest, a piece of technology that allows him to warp reality to a limited degree.
Madame Xandau is the younger sister of Morgana le Fay and the Lady of the Lake, both characters present in Arthurian legend. Due to her immortality, Xandau has lived through centuries and advised rulers of great kingdoms, only to end up in the present-day operating a fortune-telling parlor where she helps her clients with troubles of the supernatural variety. Madame Xandau is the conduit that brings the Justice League Dark together, foreseeing a cataclysmic event that requires all of their individual abilities to combat.
With Shazam, the most recent film to actually take place in the DCEU, we see the first real expansion of magic into the universe. The island of Themyscira and the Amazonians are technically magical in nature due to their affiliation with the Gods, but we don’t spend as much time emphasizing that side of them as we do with Shazam. The film follows Billy Batson, a young boy who’s bestowed the powers of Shazam by an ancient wizard with the same name. When Billy calls out his name, he’s placed inside the body of the wizard’s champion, a grown man with super strength, super speed, flight, and lightning manipulation, among other powers.
In the film, the Rock of Eternity is the place where the wizard grants Billy his powers, and is also where he inevitably decides to make the lair for him and the rest of his newly-discovered Shazam Family. But in the comics, it has a wholly different purpose, one that might become extremely relevant to the Justice League Dark. Geoff Johns’ Shazam #1 opens with the reveal that when his brothers and sisters were slaughtered by the Seven Deadly Sins, he chose to seal off the Rock of Eternity along with all other magic on Earth. It’s not expressly stated by the movie, but the implication may be that when Billy was bestowed the powers of Shazam, the Rock of Eternity not only gifted him with magic but potentially others all across the world. If JLD decides to go that route, this could be the perfect explanation as to why magic and magic users are suddenly so prevalent within the DCEU.
The traditional Justice League can tackle any number of villainous opponents, be they human or extraterrestrial in nature. They’ve also stood up against their fair share of universal and multiversal threats, due to the sheer variety of their powers as well as the nature of their relationship as a team. However, with one of their strongest members at a significant disadvantage to magic, and most of their powers coming from a distinctly scientific wheelhouse, some entities may just be a bit out of their league.
Because of the unique nature of their abilities, the Justice League Dark find themselves frequently facing off against threats too horrifying, supernatural, or simply bizarre for the traditional Justice League to face. The first time they teamed up, they fought an enraged version of the Enchantress who’d been separated from her host body, June Moon. Eventually, the team discovered the threat Xandau had foreseen coming was a vampire uprising facilitated by Cain, the father of all vampires. And now that the wizard Shazam is dead and the Rock of Eternity is opened up, there’s the potential for not only the Seven Deadly Sins to return, but for all manner of unnatural creatures and beings to emerge on Earth. With threats like these, it’s easy to see how a cinematic or television adaptation could keep the characters fresh by differentiating them from traditional superheroes.
With Shazam pivoting the universe in a decidedly fresh direction, DC truly has the opportunity to set itself apart from Marvel by emphasizing an aspect that the MCU has shied away from. Justice League Dark is a franchise that’s been on the backburner for a while, but now is the perfect time to introduce a group of characters that are crazier and more bizarre than any superhero group on-screen right now.
If you want to read more Like this articles, you can visit our Social Media category.