Sources have confirmed that Warner-Discovery has just axed a planned Zatanna film project.
The live-action film debut of one of DC’s most powerful mages – initially planned to debut on HBO Max – will now not be going forward. This is the latest in a long line of DC properties to find themselves being slashed. Most notable among these canceled projects is Batgirl, a $90 million dollar film starring Leslie Grace. This was to be the second modern appearance of Michael Keaton in the role of Batman. However, unlike Batgirl, Zatanna is going to be shopped around to other platforms.
Warner-Discovery’s “Zatanna” Cancellation Expanded Consequences
Nevertheless, this is still a major blow to producer J.J. Abrams, who had been in preparation to adapt the recent Justice League Dark series for the DCEU. For those unaware, the team is usually associated with the supernatural side of the DC Universe. Its roster has boasted not only Zatanna, but Swamp Thing, John Constantine, Man-Bat, and even Wonder Woman herself. Abrams had also lost the planned Constantine series he had been developing, as well as a sci-fi series entitled Demimonde. The only consolation is that Abrams’ contract with Warner-Discovery is still intact, albeit with fewer projects. It could also be a blow to singer Dua Lipa, who had allegedly been pursuing the role of Zatanna in the DCEU.
Zatanna is the daughter of Golden Age magician/superhero Giovanni “John” Zatarra. After losing her father to supernatural circumstances, she chose to follow in his footsteps in the hopes of rescuing him. Although having great potential in magic, she can only cast spells by reciting them backwards.
A successful stage magician, she also has been a previous member of two Justice League rosters and has had an on-again-off-again dalliance with Constantine. Over the years, she’s had many adaptations in both animated and live-action projects. She first debuted in Batman: The Animated Series, voiced by actress Julie Brown, and later Jennifer Hale in the connected Justice League Unlimited. She then had a larger role in the animated Young Justice, voiced by Lacey Chabert, which followed her progression from teenage heroine to adult mentor. Chabert would reprise the role later in the animated Justice League Action!
Another teenage version of her can be found on DC’s Super Hero Girls, voiced by Kari Wahlgren. She has also had prominent roles in the animated features Justice League Dark and Justice League Apocalips War, voiced this time by Camilla Luddington. To date, her only live-action appearance was in the eighth and ninth seasons of Smallville, embodied by Serinda Swan.
As to which platforms are currently being researched for the TV option, everyone will have to wait and see if this magic act finds a welcome stage. And the same can be said of the fate of other DC properties under evaluation by Warner-Discovery.