Justice League Dark has been mired in the pits of development hell ever since Guillermo Del Toro first announced he was working on the film in 2013 - which is rather fitting, when you consider that an actual demon is a core member of the team.
When the Pan's Labyrinth director dropped out of the project last year, it seemed as though hell would freeze over before fans would ever see the Justice League Dark claw its way into cinemas. However, it soon became clear that DC were still invested in the property after unveiling a trailer for an animated adaptation due in late 2016.
However, the news that Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman had left the Gambit project at Fox to helm a live action version of Justice League Dark still came as a surprise. Many were shocked that the likes of Constantine and Swamp Thing are finally set to join the ranks of the DCEU.
Despite lacklustre reviews, Suicide Squad proved that darker anti-heroes could still earn big bucks at the box office, so it's probably no coincidence that the studio are pushing forward with a Justice League Dark movie just a few weeks after its release. The newfound popularity of characters like Harley Quinn and Deadshot with mainstream audiences proves that even a largely unknown property like Justice League Dark could strike a chord with cinema-goers. There's just one thing...
Who The Hell Are The Justice League Dark And Why Should We Care?
As a relatively new addition to the DC Universe, Justice League Dark don't have the brand recognition of their mainstream counterparts, the Justice League. However, that doesn't make them any less important.
After the likes of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman failed to stop Enchantress, sorceress Madame Xanadu assembled the Justice League Dark in order to fight magic with magic. They sure would have come in handy when the Suicide Squad took on a cinematic version of the Enchantress in their own movie this summer, but no matter. Harley Quinn and her playmates saved the day anyway.
Since their formation in 2011, the Justice League Dark have enlisted everything from angels to vampires onto the team. In spite of many line-up changes, there six antiheroes who are widely considered the 'core' of the team, and without whom an adaptation would feel incomplete. While we wait for casting announcements to roll in, read up on to learn everything you need to know about these six principal team members, who count an acrobatic ghost and a giant plant monster among their ranks.
Origin: Constantine's origin has been shrouded in secrecy for years and what little we know has been retconned a number of times now. The one constant in John's life has always been an unstable family upbringing and a journey to uncover the secrets of magic. Along the way, Constantine may or may not have burned his own family to death and strangled his twin brother in the womb with his own umbilical chord.
Powers: Known as the world's most dangerous con man, Constantine often uses his fists and his cunning to win situations before resorting to his vast archive of spells, which include everything from teleportation to telekinesis. As if that wasn't enough, John has also mastered a number of stage magician skills such as escapology and hypnosis.
Why Constantine Deserves A Place On The Team: Few characters in the DC universe are as morally complex as Constantine. Despite his intrinsically selfish nature, John also feels a nagging responsibility to help others too, which makes him dangerously unpredictable, yet also a valuable asset in the fight against supernatural evil. Also, it's about time Constantine was finally treated properly after a sub-par Hollywood movie and a short-lived TV series besmirched his good name.
Origin: Back when he worked among the living, Boston Brand found fame as a circus trapeze artist before his untimely murder at the hands of an assailant known as The Hook. After his death, a Hindu god called Rama Kushna gave Deadman's spirit special abilities that would help him to avenge his death and to possibly haunt mansions in his spare time.
Powers: As a ghost, Deadman can do everything that your average ghost can do, such as float, walk through walls and moan loudly — but what sets him apart is the ability to possess any living thing and control their body. During possession, Deadman can communicate with the living and once he's moved on, the host has no recollection of what they did under Brand's control. Fortunately, Deadman is a hero, so nothing too dodgy goes on there.
Why Deadman Deserves A Place On The Team: Deadman is hardly your traditional superhero, but his unique position as a disembodied spirit offers a unique perspective that could be played for either laughs or chills depending on the direction that Justice League Dark will take.
Origin: Zatanna initially worked as a regular stage magician until she discovered that she had inherited a genetic aptitude for casting spells from her father, a celebrated sorcerer in his own right. When Zatara suddenly went missing, Zatanna searched the world for him, joining the main Justice League team along the way. At some point, Zatanna bought a truckload of fishnet stockings as that's all she seems to wear, regardless of the weather outside. Priorities, Zatanna.
Powers: Zatanna is one of the most powerful magic-users in the DC universe. By reciting a spell backwards, Zatanna can warp reality itself in whatever way she desires. However, the drawback of this unique approach to spell-casting is that Zatanna's voice also becomes her greatest vulnerability. Cue numerous comic book story lines where men gag Zatanna to rob the sorceress of her power.
Why Zatanna Deserves A Place On The Team: With her unique power set and memorable look, Zatanna has become a firm fan favorite over the years. She's appeared in everything from TV's Smallville to the beloved Young Justice cartoon, but always as a supporting character. It's about time that the young magician finally took to the center stage and became one of the premier heroines of the DCEU.
Origin: In an attempt to repopulate the earth with more trees, scientist Alec Holland created a formula to enhance plant growth, but was seemingly killed soon after in an explosion. As he burned to death, Holland fell into a swamp, where the chemicals transformed him into some kind of humanoid plant. Later on, Swamp Thing's origin was retconned so he became an elemental entity that had absorbed Holland's memories, believing itself to be human. Sure beats being bitten by a radioactive spider.
Powers: Not only does Swamp Thing possess control over all forms of plant life, the creature can also reconstruct his body using local vegetation, no matter how much of it is destroyed. The petition for some bizarre Swamp Thing vs Groot crossover starts here, guys.
Why Swamp Thing Deserves A Place On The Team: Swamp Thing is currently most well-known for the Wes Craven live action adaptation from 1982, and that's... unfortunate. The character is far more complex than this low-budget movie would suggest, combining environmentalist tendencies with existential issues to create a truly unique superhero who deserves more recognition.
Etrigan the Demon
Origin: While his origins have been changed more than once by DC Comics (because, comics), Etrigan is essentially a demonic being from hell who was bonded to a human host called Jason Blood for all eternity.
Powers: As one of the most powerful demons in the DC Universe, Etrigan possesses a vast range of abilities, including hellfire, telepathy and the strength to take on Superman one-on-one. Etrigan also has a sado-masochistic streak where pain actually brings him pleasure, which can be both useful and also kind of gross when you think about it.
Why Etrigan Deserves A Place On The Team: If you think the Suicide Squad's members are bad-ass villains, Etrigan is a an actual demon from hell, trumping even the cannibalistic tendencies of Killer Croc. As if that wasn't strange enough, Etrigan is also a master of rhyming - literally everything he says is riddled in verse, making him one of the most unique and memorable characters on the Justice League Dark roster.
Origin: As a descendant of those who survived the submergence of Atlantis, Madame Xanadu is naturally gifted with a penchant for magic, which she developed over centuries while courting lovers such as Merlin - yep, that one - and future teammate, the demon Etrigan. You'd think that Madame Xanadu would be more picky about her partners - she is immortal after all. But each to their own, we guess!
Powers: In addition to being immortal, Madame Xanadu possesses a number of magical gifts, including precognition, levitation and teleportation. Her parlor is also full of numerous magical artefacts of immense power, but Xanadu rarely uses these herself, instead preferring to simply safeguard them to ensure that they don't fall into the wrong hands.
Why Madame Xanadu Deserves A Place On The Team: Madame Xanadu made a deal with Death itself to stay alive forever. As if that wasn't impressive enough, the occult hero has also worked hard to become the ultimate authority on magic in the DC universe, which eventually led to her forming the Justice League Dark. She's the key to the whole team.
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In addition to these six 'heroes', magical entities like the Spectre and Phantom Stranger probably aren't too far behind. However, Warner Bros. haven't confirmed the official lineup of Justice League Dark yet, which means that we don't know who may end up joining the group.
Who knows - we may even see some of the regular Justice League make an appearance too. Batman and Zatanna do share some history after all, and Batfleck does like to appear in every DCEU movie going, it seems!
Which member of Justice League Dark is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below!