Back in November there were reports that Guillermo Del Toro was in some way involved in developing a movie around some of DC Comics' darker and more esoteric characters (Swamp Thing, John Constantine, etc). Proof that a game is afoot comes this morning, with Del Toro confirming to IGN that the project, formerly referred to as Heaven Sent, is now tentatively called Dark Universe, and that a writer - as yet unrevealed - is almost attached.
"I'm working on it," says Del Toro. "I'm writing the outline, and we're in talks with a very, very good writer. He accepted, and people are going to be happy with who we've chosen. I've been courting him and I think he's the perfect guy for this job."
Dark Universe, it seems clear, is somewhat akin to DC's Justice League Dark, a recent series teaming DC heroes who are supernatural rather than traditionally super: part of DC's push to de-clutter its decks and fold its Vertigo-type characters into its main "universe". Del Toro hints to IGN that his roster for the film will cover Hellblazer's John Constantine, slinky magician Zatanna and her father Zatara, Swamp Thing, Deadman, The Demon and The Spectre.
Constantine, of course, was last played in the film of the same name by Keanu Reeves in 2005, while we haven't had a screen Swamp Thing since 1989. Last we heard, Supernatural's Eric Kripke was developing Deadman for a TV series, but it's unclear where that now stands. Del Toro had been at work on bringing the character to the movies for some time before, so it seems likely Dark Universe will envelop some of his earlier efforts, should it go ahead. Joel Silver, meanwhile, had a Swamp Thing in the works a while ago, but with Silver's recent departure from Warners, that's probably now been absorbed back into the Green.
It's another hero team-up movie in a market perhaps already saturated by The Avengers and the upcoming Justice League, but says Del Toro, "The movement for this happened before [The Avengers]. They were already galvanised to launch Justice League and to make their universe cohesive. With Man Of Steel DC are really very confident with what they have. They're now feeling that they have two pillars, Batman and Superman... There's a foundation they can now build on. Hopefully Dark Universe will happen."
We'll keep you posted, as always.