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While the Justice League heroes often get the bulk of the recognition on the big screen, there is another League with its own die-hard fanbase. Justice League Dark is DC's answer to its gothic villains and supernatural storylines, and a film about the paranormal hero team almost came together under the direction of The Shape of Water's Guillermo del Toro a few years back. The exact lineup of the group remains somewhat unclear because Justice League Dark often employs a rotating ensemble, but del Toro has finally come out and admitted that Swamp Thing and Etrigan the Demon were the two biggest characters that inspired his vision. Del Toro addressed the project and explained:
It's a WB property, I am not sure I can comment. Suffice to say that Demon or Swamp Thing mean to me what Batman and Superman mean to most mortals- perhaps even more. S[w]amp / Abigal love was a great source of inspiration for me.
Swamp Thing and Etrigan the Demon are arguably two of the more outlandish Justice League Dark characters in the DC canon. Swamp Thing is a scientist named Dr. Alec Holland who finds himself transformed into a hideous monster after a tragic accident, while Etrigan the Demon is a supernatural anti-hero who shares a soul with a mortal man named Jason Blood. Both have stories that seem to genuinely resonate with Guillermo del Toro (particularly Swamp Thing's relationship with Abigail Arcane), and for him, they have a level of iconography that's arguably on-par with what most people think of Batman and Superman.
This shouldn't surprise any of you that have kept up with Guillermo del Toro's work over the years. The Mexican filmmaker has established a reputation as a modern master of the monster movie, and many of his most notable films involve complex emotional relationships with otherworldly beasts. This is even noticeable in his work on The Shape of Water, which is garnering Oscar buzz for its depiction of a bizarre love story between a woman and a mysterious sea creature.
This tradition is also alive and well in Guillermo del Toro's own comic book movies. Both Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army centered their respective stories on the titular anti-hero's struggles with love and belonging, so it seems like there's some apparent shared DNA between del Toro's work on that franchise and what he would've done with Justice League Dark. The director didn't say anything about specific plot details during his recent Reddit AMA session with fans, but it's clear that he has a particular point of view that tends to gravitate towards misunderstood monsters living among more human heroes like John Constantine and Zatanna.
Although it looks like Justice League Dark isn't happening with Guillermo del Toro behind the camera, we can still appreciate his work on The Shape of Water, which is now in theaters.