Despite the departure of Guillermo Del Toro, it’s now apparent that the JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK adaptation, otherwise known as DARK UNIVERSE, is moving forward under the guide of Scott Rudin. Del Toro is still staying on as a producer, though he’ll no longer direct.
Sources confirm that Rudin is moving quickly on this one, making updates to the script and approaching directors. The project is now a priority for Warner Bros., with our sources also reporting that the studio is looking to shoot the superhero team-up film in 2016. Niija Kuykendall, Nik Mavinkurve, and Jon Berg are overseeing for Warner.
Dark Universe has been in development for several years, on a different track from Warner’s other DC titles. Del Toro, who both scripted and was set to helm, proved to be a major champion for the take, which introduces a horror spin to the DC superhero universe. When Del Toro opted out this past summer in favor of Pacific Rim 2, many fans were skeptical if Dark Universe would recover, though that’s clearly not the case.
While the film’s plot has generally been kept under lock and key, we’re hearing that it involves a series of ancient tomes stolen by a madman hellbent on the destruction of humanity. When he learns of this, occult detective John Constantine seeks out a group of heroes that specialize in the mystic and arcane in order to save the world. Though the film’s heroes have not yet been announced, save for Constantine, Del Toro had mentioned that Swamp Thing, Deadman, Zatanna, and Etrigan The Demon will likely make up the team.
Dark Universe is based on the comic series Justice League Dark written by Peter Milligan, illustrated by Mikel Janin and first published in November, 2011. The film, which would introduce both mysticism and the supernatural into DC’s Cinematic Universe, is similar in premise to another of Warner’s superhero team-up films, Suicide Squad.
Dark Universe and Suicide Squad are only the latest team-up/crossover films planned, as Justice League is still in the pipeline as well as a Blue Beetle/Booster Gold film, which has Arrow, Supergirl, and The Flash series creator Greg Berlanti behind the wheel. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the first of Warner’s DC team-up pics, releases March 25, 2016.
The group established in Dark Universe will separately co-exist with the main Justice League team, much like how Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy operate individually from the Avengers. Though, the plan is to eventually bridge the worlds and plant Dark Universe members in other DC titles.
The character of Constantine was recently introduced to audiences on the NBC series of the same name, though that series was abruptly cancelled. The character, played by Matt Ryan, will also appear this season on Arrow, but will be recast for the film. The character also appeared in a film of his own in 2005, played by Keanu Reeves.
Rudin is a prolific producer who’s known for consistently working on a library of titles from the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson, Noah Baumbach, David Fincher, Wes Anderson, Aaron Sorkin, and the Coen brothers. With his hands in dozens of projects, it’s not surprising that he’s been tapped to shepherd Warner’s ailing Dark Universe.
Rudin’s latest project, Steve Jobs, opens wide this weekend. He recently wrapped on Ben Stiller’s comedy sequel Zoolander 2 and is next starting on The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter, which stars Josh Brolin and Danny McBride.
Clark Allen | Associate Editor