Following the announcement a few months ago that writer and director J.J. Abrams will be bringing a live-action Justice League Dark series to life on HBO Max, it appears that two of the rumored spin-offs may have now been identified, and they are none other than Zatanna and Constantine. Abrams first-look deal with WarnerMedia was first reported earlier this year, with Bad Robot’s Justice League Dark series seemingly just the tip of the iceberg for Abrams and his team.
“What an amazing start to our association with the wildly imaginative Bad Robot team under J.J. and Katie,” former HBO Max chief Kevin Reilly said during the show’s initial announcement. “What could be better than an original J.J. idea and then Warner Bros. letting them loose on iconic IP from Stephen King and the DC Universe and to provide more must-have programming on HBO Max.”
Both Zatanna Zatara and John Constantine are long-time members of Justice League Dark as well as being hugely popular characters in their own right, so it makes sense to branch out from the central team-up show and put the focus on them for their own separate adventures. Both characters have appeared previously in live-action on the small screen, with a version of Constantine currently appearing in The CW’s Arrowverse played by Matt Ryan, while Zatanna made a few appearances during Smallville played by Serinda Swan. Fans responded well to both actor’s iterations of their respective characters, but, despite this, it is likely that Abrams will start from scratch with his take on the dark heroes of DC.
Making his first appearance in The Saga of Swamp Thing in 1985, the role of Constantine has also been portrayed on the big screen by John Wick star Keanu Reeves, with fans crying out for a sequel ever since the actor exploded back onto the scene with the hugely popular franchise about the dog-loving assassin. Rumors began spreading some time ago claiming that Abrams was working on a new take on the character, though at the time it was not known whether this would be for the big or small screen. Whether Abrams will look at bringing back Reeves for the title role remains to be seen, but considering that the actor has stated his desire to return in the past, and with the audiences love for Reeves still at an all-time high, it is likely that he will be contemplating it.
Zatanna meanwhile made her debut in DC Comics back in 1964 and has made appearances in a number of animated series including Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited and Young Justice, as well as her live-action appearance on Smallville. Much like Constantine, rumors have circulated for some time claiming that development is underway on a standalone Zatanna movie, which is said to be separate from the upcoming Justice League Dark series that Abrams and Bad Robot are producing for HBO Max.
Justice League Dark will follow an alternate branch of the Justice League that is dedicated to dealing with mystical and supernatural threats. Its founding members include Deadman, John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, Shade, the Changing Man and Zatanna. Abrams and HBO Max’s Justice League Dark has yet to set a release date. This news was buried in a separate story from The Hollywood Reporter.