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SYFY WIRE Justice League Dark

'Zatanna' the next DC Comics film on the way, written by Oscar nominee Emerald Fennell

By Josh Weiss

Oh, ho, ho, it's magic, you know...Warner Bros. and DC Films have hired Oscar nominee Emerald Fennell to write the screenplay for an upcoming feature centered around the magical character of Zatanna, Variety confirmed Monday afternoon. The titular role has yet to be cast. 

J.J. Abrams is producing the feature under his Bad Robot banner, although it's unclear whether the famed illusionist will also make an appearance in the Justice League Dark series over at HBO Max. Zatanna is now Abrams' second DC film project following the recent announcement that he was developing a new Superman movie with writer Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson, Zatanna made her comic book debut in 1964's Hawkman #4. She is famous for her supernatural abilities, an affiliation with the Justice League Dark (a team that fights more extra-dimensional threats), and a romantic past with paranormal investigator John Constantine.

Zatanna Zatara (that's her full name) is a skilled mystic, who can conjure up anything simply by reciting certain spells backwards. She hides her true powers via her day job as a stage magician. Having lost her father to the dark side of wizardry, Zatanna is committed to fighting against those who would use magic to hurt others. While the character has never shown up on the big screen, she has made appearances in Smallville (where she was played by Serinda Swan) and numerous animated and video game releases. Most recently, she was voiced by  Camilla Luddington in Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.

Fennell's directorial debut, Promising Young Woman, is up for four Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture. In particular, the Best Director category made history with nods for two female filmmakers (the other contender being Eternals' Chloé Zhao for Nomadland). Fennell is also known for several acting roles and for serving as showrunner on Season 2 of Killing Eve.