Emerald Fennell‘s feature directorial debut Promising Young Woman has become the unexpected dark horse this Oscar season, earning the writer-director raves for her cotton candy-colored ode to female rage. Now Fennell is set to work her magic as the writer on Zatanna, Warner Bros.’ new comic book movie and the latest female-led DC superhero film after Wonder Woman.
Variety reports that Emerald Fennell has been tapped to write Zatanna, the first big-screen theatrical outing for the DC Comics heroine. The movie comes from Warner Bros.’ DC Films and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions. The role of Zatanna has not been cast yet, nor has a director been named.
Created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson and introduced in 1964’s Hawkman #4, Zatanna is a magician and considered one of the most powerful sorcerers in the DC universe. She inherited her magical abilities from her father Giovanni Zatara, who was also a stage musician and a Golden Age comic book hero.
This theatrical feature film marks the big-screen debut for Zatanna, who first appeared in live-action on later seasons of the CW show Smallville, played by Serinda Swan. More significantly, the Zatanna movie marks the first DC heroine to headline a DC Films entry after Wonder Woman — recently announced female heroes like Supergirl (to be played by The Young and the Restless star Sasha Calle in The Flash) make their debuts in supporting roles instead of standalone films.
Zatanna has long been associated with the Justice League and Batman, but with Zatanna’s upcoming debut in the DC Extended Universe, it’s possible that Warner Bros. is rebuilding the long-delayed Justice League Dark movie. She is a founding member of that more supernaturally-inclined superhero team, alongside her frequent romantic interest, John Constantine. Guillermo del Toro was once attached to the Justice League Dark film being developed by Warner Bros., but left in 2015 after the project was stalled for years.
Zatanna is an intriguing choice for first solo DC hero after Wonder Woman. A lesser-known heroine after the princess of Themyscira, Zatanna does allow for Warner Bros.’ DC Films to go weirder and wackier than they’ve ever gone before, by virtue of her supernatural abilities. And Fennell could certainly be the writer who would be unafraid to tackle the thornier parts of women’s stories — she’s tapped into female rage and grief with the Oscar-nominated Promising Young Woman, which she wrote and directed, and has worked as showrunner on season 2 of the British spy series Killing Eve. She’s a great talent with a razor-sharp writing style who could take DC’s next solo female hero in a much bolder direction than Patty Jenkins has with Wonder Woman.
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