If there’s one thing DC fans know about the Justice League, it’s that the team comes in all shapes and sizes. There’s the standard Justice League, the Justice Society, the Justice League of America, and even Justice League Dark. That last one in particular has captured the imaginations of fans over the last few years, with longstanding rumors of a potential movie keeping us continuously intrigued. We’ve just learned that a Justice League Dark seems to indeed be on the way, but not in the manner that we anticipated.
A new update to the British Board of Film Classification website seems to shed some new light on DCs upcoming Justice League Dark project. It appears that the release of Batman: The Killing Joke will feature an eight-minute sneak peak at a DC animated version of the band of anti-heroes. This means that, while we will still be getting a Justice League Dark movie in the near future, it will come in the form of animation, rather than live-action.
Although it’s a relatively recent creation in the DC lore, Justice League Dark has already gone on to develop a cult following – pun very much intended. It centers on a group of darker, magic-based anti-heroes such as John Constantine, Deadman, and Zatanna as they square off against villains rooted in the occult. The term "dark" refers to the type of black magic that the League often faces off against, but it also refers to the deep, dark places that these stories often take the characters. In a mythos full of colorful personalities and superheroes, Justice League Dark represents a more noir-esque take on the DC lore.
Warner Bros. had long toyed with the idea of producing a live-action Justice League Dark until recently. Gothic horror icon Guillermo del Toro had even expressed immense interest in the project until recently dropping out in order to continue his work on Pacific Rim 2.
At the end of the day, a fringe property like Justice League Dark might be better suited for the animated treatment than a live-action film. DC’s track record in the world of animation is arguably stronger than it’s record in the world of live-action adaptations, and a cartoon version of the titular team could at the very least gauge audience interest for a live-action version somewhere down the line. If a Justice League Dark cartoon performs well with critics and audiences, then that could be enough to show WB that a live-action movie is worth the investment.
At this early stage, we still don’t know much about the Justice League Dark adaptation aside from its chosen format. We will surely know more once Batman: The Killing Joke becomes available later this summer on July 23 (Digital HD) and August 2 (Blu-Ray).