HBO Max and Warner Bros. Discovery have apparently pulled the plug on their planned adaptation of the DC Comics character Zatanna.
This news comes from The Hollywood Reporter and is part of a spate of cancellations in the wake of Warner Bros. Discovery’s merger and the company’s desire to restructure its slate of superhero movies.
Apart from Zatanna, other projects that have been affected by the company’s cancellations include Batgirl and a planned Constantine series. Batgirl was in its final stages before the entertainment company decided to scrap it with the desire to save money on taxes.
Last year, HBO announced that it had tapped the actor, writer, and director Emerald Fennell to write the movie’s script. Fennell penned Promising Young Woman, which earned her an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2020. She also received nominations for the Best Director and Best Picture for the film. What’s more? Fennell served as showrunner for the second season of Killing Eve.
In light of this news, it seems that might have been for naught. However, following the cancellation of Batgirl, there had been speculations of such an occurrence.
The planned Zatanna film, as well as the Constantine series, are part of the J.J. Abrams-led Justice League Dark project, which was unveiled to the public in 2020. The project is a collaboration between Abrams’s Bad Robot production company and Warner Bros and the intention was for it to bring minor heroes and villains of the DC Universe to the big screen.
Unfortunately, HBO Max’s cancellation of both Zatanna and Constantine, the frontrunners of the project, doesn't bolster confidence in the initiative.
While Zatanna has appeared in numerous DC Comics animations, her live-action features are sparse and include an appearance in Smallville. However, she has yet to make a DCEU appearance.
Fortunately for fans of the character, Zatanna isn’t completely dead. The planned live action film is currently being pitched to other streaming platforms, alongside Constantine. Given J.J. Abrams’s pedigree in the movie industry, there is a high chance either or both of them will find a home, and work will resume soon enough.
For now, Black Adam, The Flash, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom are some of the few DC Universe films that Warner Bros. Discovery is proceeding with. However, Aquaman has since had its release date pushed back. Hopefully, the company completes its restructuring efforts soon and begins to develop more titles.
Black Adam is out in theaters on October 21st.