I thought about writing the headline backwards, but that would have been too irritating to search engines. Variety reports that writer/director Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) has been assigned to write a big-screen appearance for Zatanna for DC Films and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions. The only frustrating part of that news is that it does not include whether or not she’s been asked to direct.
With Bad Robot involved, this points to the ongoing WarnerMedia saga of “What do we do with DC? What is Marvel doing?” That’s not reflecting on Fennell or Zatanna; it’s just that less than a year ago Bad Robot was announced as shepherding the remains of the long-gestating Justice League Dark project — strictly for HBO Max. Both Zatanna and Constantine have been mentioned as possible series on that streaming service, but with Zack Snyder’s Justice League reviving the idea that he could do a Justice League 2 Much Slo-Mo for theatrical release, WarnerMedia may be thinking the master plan is to take these characters back for movies. The master plan this week, anyway.
Created in the early 1960s by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson, Zatanna may legitimately be DC’s first legacy hero. Before Zatanna, there was her father Zatara, created by Fred Guardineer, who first appeared in Action Comics #1 with another famous DC superhero. The ability to perform real sorcery by speaking words and commands backward turned out to be a genetic trait passed down to his daughter, who has worked off and on with the Justice League since her first appearance. Like her father, Zatanna covers up her abilities by posing as a stage magician, a trick most recently borrowed in WandaVision.
In live-action, Serinda Swann played Zatanna on Smallville, in a fairly accurate representation. She’s also been in videogames, animated movies, and animated series. Here’s hoping that Fennell gets to stay the course, and later gets announced as director on the project. Ecaps siht hctaw.