Justice League Dark concept art

For years, Doug Liman, the director of The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow, and the upcoming movie that will literally launch Tom Cruise into space, was attached to direct Justice League Dark, a sort of oddball superhero team-up movie for Warner Bros. which would have featured lower-tier characters like Swamp Thing, Zatanna, Constantine, Deadman, and Jason Blood appearing together in live-action for the first time. Liman left the project in 2017, and now some concept art from his abandoned version of the movie has made its way online. Check it out below to get a sense of what he had in mind for this unconventional, horror-tinged superhero film.

Freelance illustrator Houston Sharp, who has created concept art for movies like Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman 1984, and Rampage, did some work on Liman’s version of this movie, and shared some Justice League Dark concept art on his Instagram page.

As someone who saw the Wes Craven Swamp Thing movie when I was a kid and knows next to nothing else about the character, I’m struck by how primal and cool this version of the character looks when compared to the earlier live-action versions. It’s like if Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy went to college and started hanging out with the goth kids. It’s a much bigger, much more elemental version of the character than we’ve seen before; even Joseph Kahn’s rejected pitch didn’t make him seem quite that hulking and towering of a presence.

Those are the only two pieces of new concept art that we can embed here, because the third piece that Sharp shared, which involves “Klarion, the corpse of a boy possessed by flies,” is a bit too graphic for us to publish. It’s not that the character design is too gory or brutal to show – it’s what he’s doing that’s the problem. The character is looking through a window at John Constantine and an unnamed woman having sex, and according to the photo’s caption, this weird fly-covered corpse boy “politely asks Constantine for a turn with his whore.” That’s…um…not exactly something you’d expect to see in a big budget comic book movie that doesn’t have the word “Deadpool” in its title, and it makes me wonder just how far Liman wanted to push the envelope with his version of this story.

Even though we won’t ever see his version, we’ll likely see Justice League Dark in a different form relatively soon. J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot was crafting at least one TV show and movie version of the property, and as of this April, the TV show was officially in development at HBO Max.

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