DC’s Zatanna Movie Will Be Big, Scary and Very Dark Teases Writer Emerald Fennell

Promising Young Woman director and writer Emerald Fennell has now offered some insight into how she is approaching her DC movie debut, Zatanna. Warner Bros. tapped Fennell to pen the script for Zatanna earlier this year, and she has discussed her desire to craft something “big and scary,” as well as praising the studio for giving her the freedom to create the movie she wants even while working within the realm of a big-budget superhero property.

“There are lots of things about her that felt like they could be really, really interesting. And it’ll be an opportunity to make something really quite dark. And that appealed to me, to make something big and scary. I love that stuff…The scale of [these movies] is so massive and so thrilling. Like, why wouldn’t you want to write something like that when you can write huge, massive, crazy sequences and fights? Normally you’re like, how can I show this in the smallest cheapest way [laughs]? To have complete freedom to really let your imagination run wild is such a joy.”

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Known for her association with both the Justice League Dark and more specifically John Constantine, Zatanna is both a stage magician and an actual magician, like her father Giovanni “John” Zatara. As such she has many of her father’s powers relating to magic, typically controlled by speaking the words of her incantations spelled backwards. The character made her DC Comics debut back in 1964 and has made appearances in a number of animated series including Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited and Young Justice, as well as her live-action appearance on Smallville, in which she was played by Serinda Swan.

Little is currently known about the Zatanna movie, but it is expected that the plot will follow the title character’s search for her father whilst exploring her mother’s mysterious background, something that she is often occupied with in the comics. Whether any other characters from the pantheon of DC superheroes will feature is also currently unknown at this time, the project has been described as “standalone” on several occasions, suggesting that Zatanna will battle the forces of evil solo.

Zatanna is also said to be included in director J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot’s upcoming Justice League Dark serial project for HBO Max, though this will reportedly be separate from the upcoming Zatanna movie. Justice League Dark will follow an alternate branch of the Justice League that is dedicated to dealing with mystical and supernatural threats. Its founding members include Deadman, John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, Shade, the Changing Man and Zatanna. Abrams and HBO Max’s Justice League Dark has yet to set a release date.

As for Emerald Fennell, she has been on the receiving end of much critical praise, as well as a plethora of awards, ever since the release of her black comedy thriller Promising Young Woman last year. Starring Carey Mulligan as a vigilante seeking to avenge the death of her best friend who was a rape victim, the movie was recently nominated for several Academy Awards, winning for Best Original Screenplay. After Promising Young Woman, seeing what Fennell has in store for Zatanna is certainly an exciting prospect indeed. This comes to us from Empire.

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