Justice League Dark: Your Pre-Movie Primer

Movies DC
Movies DC

Fans of the DC Comic Universe are no doubt familiar with the Justice League. But what about another team — Justice League Dark? An animated film focused on the bizarre crew is set for release before Zack Snyder’s live-action Justice League movie. So, to get fans ready for the Justice League Dark’s movie debut, we’re looking at who this mysterious group is.

Who Are the Justice League Dark?

The Justice League are the paragons of truth, justice, and freedom. Comprising of some of the most powerful and recognizable characters in the DC Comics Universe, the Justice League serves as the first line of defense in almost every world-threatening scenario. But, there are some situations that are too much for even the Justice League to handle, specifically when it comes to magic and mysticism. This is where the Justice League Dark steps in.

Justice League Dark (left to right: Jason Blood, Deadman, John Constantine, Zatanna, Black Orchid)

Officially appearing for the first time in Justice League Dark #1 in Sept. 2011, the Justice League Dark is a relatively new team in the DC comics world. The series has garnered popularity due to the unique situations the team faces and their emphasis on supernatural forces.

 Justice League Dark’s Origins


In the comic series, the dark counterpart of the Justice League was initially formed to combat Enchantress, who many may recall was the villain in the recent Suicide Squad film. After Enchantress is separated from her human host, June Moon, she becomes more insane than usual. She terrorizes nearby towns and kills many civilians with her magic. This caused the Justice League to respond, which didn’t go well for them.

After the defeat of the Justice League, it became evident that a team of folks who understood supernatural forces on a more intimate level should come together to stop the Enchantress. This led Madame Xanadu to form the original Justice League Dark. And their adventures were only beginning after Enchantress was beaten.

Justice League Dark Movies

Dark Universe

A few years after the Justice League Dark’s first comic appearance, fans started hoping to see the team on the big screen. Rumors began to spring up surrounding a possible live-action film about the team which would be called Dark Universe. Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow) was even unofficially announced as its director. However, studios have released little else regarding details for this project and no official release date is set. Fortunately, Dark Universe isn’t the only upcoming movie based on the Justice League Dark.

Justice League Dark


Justice League Dark is an upcoming animated film that is part of the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. The movie is the 27th film of the direct-to-video series and is scheduled for release in 2017.

While full of enough references to have fanboys squealing with delight, the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series are also accessible for general audiences. In these films, they use familiar characters to help newer fans relate to characters they may be less than familiar with. In the case of Justice League Dark, Batman will make an appearance to bridge the gap between the previous movies in the series and the new faces in this film. (In fact, Fandom got to interview two actors from the film at New York Comic Con. Take a look.)

Not much is officially known about the Justice League Dark film, but from what information we do know, Madame Xanadu is not the leader of the team. Instead, the studio has heavily implied that John Constantine will step into the role as the leader that he eventually rises to in the comics.


The original Justice League Dark team consisted of John Constantine, Deadman, Zatanna, and Shade the Changing Man. While the roster has changed many times during the series, only a few will appear in the upcoming movie.

John Constantine

constantine comic justice league dark
John Constantine

Constantine is a detective, conman, and skilled magic user who works his cunning and knowledge of the occult to defeat enemies. First appearing in The Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 in 1985, Constantine served as the lead character of the comic book series Hellblazer from 1988 to 2013.


Zatanna is a well-known character in the DC Universe as a part of the Justice League, assisting them with various supernatural threats. She also becomes the leader of Justice League Dark later in the series. She’s a stage magician and actual magician who has the ability warp reality and cast spells by speaking backward. Ytterp looc thgir?



Deadman is the ghost of former circus trapeze artist Boston Brand. He has the ability to possess any living thing. While being a ghost does sound cool, most people cannot see or hear Deadman, making his existence pretty lonely.

Etrigan the Demon


While not a member during the original run, it looks like the upcoming film will include Etrigan the Demon. Etrigan is, as his title implies, a demon from hell. The devil has tendencies that often make him more suitable of the antihero title. Etrigan is bound to the human Jason Blood. As a result, Jason’s influence often means that Etrigan stays on the side of good. Etrigan has superhuman physical attributes, a healing factor, and is an expert in maleficium or “malevolent sorcery”.

Swamp Thing

 from the Justice League Dark comics
Swamp Thing

One of the more popular characters of the team is Swamp Thing. Once the human Alec Holland, he’s now a marsh monster with superhuman strength and the ability to shapeshift his plant-like body and control all plant life on Earth. While initially created for a horror series, Swamp Thing has evolved to become a defender of the environment and the Earth.

Black Orchid

black orchid from Justice League Dark comics
Black Orchid

The last confirmed character of the team is Black Orchid. Many characters have had this name in the DC Comics Universe, but the most recent is Alba Garcia. This Black Orchid is a human-plant hybrid. She has all of the powers of her past incarnations, including superhuman strength, speed, shapeshifting, and the ability to fly.

Due to the success of the superhero film genre, it’s only a matter of time before the Justice League Dark gets its turn on the big screen. Until then, fans and newcomers alike can look forward to the Justice League Dark animated movie. It’ll be a welcome new addition to the DC animated universe.

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