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‘Justice League Dark’ Movie: A Who’s Who Guide to Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Dark Universe’

DC Comics
We've been hearing a lot about this 'Justice League Dark' movie Guillermo del Toro is planning, the latest update coming from the director himself confirming he is indeed working on a script, currently titled 'Dark Universe,' to pitch to Warner Bros. Coming off of 'The Dark Knight Rises' and planning its own answer to the 'Avengers' phenomenon (i.e. that 'Justice League' movie), the studio seems committed to the development of superhero movies, especially with 'Man of Steel' on the horizon. So as random as this project might sound, there is a possibility it could see the light of day. In the event that should happen, one question needs to be answered: who the hell are these superheroes?

Fans of DC and Vertigo comic book characters will know what Guillermo del Toro is talking about when he references Swamp Thing, The Spectre, Zatanna and Constantine, but as far as the mainstream audiences are concerned, they might as well be left in the dark.

Justice League Dark is a subset of the Justice League focusing on magic and the supernatural. In the comics, Superman and his fellow heroes encountered an out-of-control being known as Enchantress, a powerful sorceress who wiped the floor with the Justice League. Acting as a Professor X. of sorts, the immortal Madame Xanadu foresaw this event and brought together the members who would soon become the first members of the Justice League Dark — occult detective John Constantine, the ghost-like Deadman, the vivacious sorceress Zatanna, Shade the Changing Man and the astral-projecting Mindwarp.

Over the years and various comic book storylines, however, many other characters have popped up, some of which del Toro has mentioned to be some of his childhood favorites. Though the director has kept hush hush on certain characters in his script treatment as not to give away the specific story he's adapting, here's a closer look at some members of this band of superheroes to help you get familiarized with the 'Dark Universe' world.


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John Constantine

 
 

You might remember the name John Constantine from the Keanu Reeves-starring flick ‘Constantine,’ but the character is so much more in the comics. The occult detective and leader of Justice League Dark recognized his affinity for the dark arts at a young age, but one day of neglect led to the death of another person, throwing Constantine on the path to master the occult ways and prevent those demonic forces looking to abuse their powers.

 
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Deadman

 
 

Boston Brand was a self-centered trapeze artist whose primary concern was fame and wealth, until the day an assassin took his life as a means of initiating himself into the League of Assassins. The Hindu Goddess Rama Kushna chose to save him by bestowing him with the ghost-like ability to possess any living being in order to solve the mystery of his own death. Ultimately, Deadman became a hero, stuck in between life and death, who used his power to benefit the innocent and prevent others from living their lives in the same callous manner he once did.

 
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Zatanna Zatara

 
 

Zatanna and her top hat and wand have appeared in a number of ‘Justice League’ cartoons. She’s the stage magician who’s illusions and spells are actually real – she retains the ability to alter reality as she sees fit, usually opting for the more creative magical spectacles in battle. Her father died as a result of the magic she now wields, and it’s up to her to master her skills and avoid the same fate.

 
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Swamp Thing

 
 

Alec Holland was once a botanist who sought to benefit humanity through his plant research until he was murdered in an explosion set off by Anton Arcane, a being of death. Magical forces saved his soul, transforming him into Swamp Thing, a being consisting of plant life and possessing the ability to manipulate it. As Aquaman protects both humanity and ocean life, Swamp Thing does so for the environment. Guillermo del Toro cited this character as being one of his childhood favorites and is inferred to be included in the initial script treatment.

 
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The Spectre

 
 

Although not a member of the original Justice League Dark team, The Spectre was mentioned recently by Guillermo del Toro as appearing in the current script treatment. The Spectre is God’s Vengeance incarnate, seeking to bring His wrath against the evildoers of Earth. During Lucifer’s rebellion against the Almighty, the angel Raguel, once siding with Lucifer, tried to repent. In turn, God wiped the being of his memories and transformed him into The Spectre to seek justice for those who’ve been murdered and wrath against those who sin against Him. As such, The Spectre is a being of immense power.

 
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Shade the Changing Man

 
 

Shade, aka Rac Shade, aka Shade the Changing Man, is an agent of an alternate dimension known as the Meta-Zone who accidentally teleports to our own after he's framed for treason and sentenced to death. His strange jacket is known as an M-Vest, which bestows the wearer with invulnerability, flight, and the abilities to cast illusions and in some cases alter reality. Though he was one of the original Justice League Dark members, he soon left for the Suicide Squad, described as a covert black-ops government strike team.

 
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Mindwarp

 
 

Jay Young (or Mindwarp) was first recruited by Madame Xanadu to join the Justice League Dark in their attempt to stop Enchantress. Young retains the ability to project an astral form he refers to as a seizure soul, which can be either tangible or intangible and take different shapes. He was one of the members to leave the team early on as his abilities were becoming too difficult to control.

 

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