Warner Bros. Pictures has been trying to develop a film based on some of its dark, occult superheroes for years now with little forward progress, despite the involvement of some high-profile actors and filmmakers at various points. That appears to be changing, however, with a new report indicating that Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman has been hired to helm Dark Universe — the film previously known as Justice League Dark — after departing the X-Men spinoff Gambit.
According to Variety, Liman will take over directing duties from Guillermo del Toro, who had long been the film’s most vocal supporter and was in line to both write and direct the movie, only to get sidetracked by other projects.
Plot details regarding Dark Universe have remained scarce over the years, but the film is expected to draw inspiration from the Justice League Dark series published by DC Comics. That series brought together some of the publisher’s supernatural heroes — and antiheroes — for adventures that fell outside the comfort zone of the more mainstream characters, often featuring occult threats.
Earlier reports on the film indicated that the cast of characters would include occult investigator John Constantine, who’s already been the subject of a 2005 movie and a recent, now-canceled television series, as well as Swamp Thing, the monstrous star of two movies (one directed by Wes Craven) released during the ’80s, along with both a live-action and animated television series.
Expected to join John Constantine and Swamp Thing in the film’s cast are the wandering spirit Deadman, the sorceress Zatanna, and the rhyming demon Etrigan.
There’s no official release date or timetable for production on Dark Universe at this point, although the studio has several dates set aside in 2018 and 2019 for unidentified projects. Michael Gilio, who WB hired to pen the script for its Treasure Island movie with director Paul Greengrass, is reportedly working on the script for Dark Universe.