DC’s Zatanna Movie Has Nabbed Promising Young Woman’s Emerald Fennell

Cover of Zatanna #12 by Amanda Conner.
Cover of Zatanna #12 by Amanda Conner.
Image: DC Comics

Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman is currently up for the Best Picture award at this year’s Oscars, its star Carey Mulligan has been nominated for Best Actress, and Fennel herself may get Best Director and Best Screenplay. And now she’s going to write a movie based on DC Comics’ arguably third-most famous magician.


Not to knock Zatanna—she’s a fun character who dresses like an old-school magician’s assistant and her spells require her to simply say words backward—but she’s definitely less popular and well-known than say, John Constantine or Raven. Still, that’s not to say this isn’t awesome news which comes this afternoon via Deadline (who also nicely reminded readers Zatanna Zatara was created for DC Comics in 1964 by created by Gardner Fox and artist Murphy Anderson).

It’s still rare enough any time a studio manages to hire a supremely talented woman like Fennell—who also has written for and produced Killing Eve and starred in Netflix’s The Crownto write or direct a movie about a superhero that it’s cause for celebration, as is any superhero movie about a female character. Zatanna is not the character I would have expected but bully to the studio for continuing to focus on female heroes while simultaneously failing to make a Flash movie for years.

You may recall, Serinda Swan—who went on to play the Inhumans’ Medusa for Marvel—has already played the magician in live-action on Smallville. The Zatanna movie is being produced by Warner Bros. and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot. No other details are known, because of course they do not exist yet, but I’m sure Fennell will have the choice to direct the film if she wants to. Feel free to cast your choice for the role in the comments.

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Rob Bricken was the Editor of io9 from 2016-18, the creator of the poorly named but fan-favorite news site Topless Robot, and now writes nerd stuff for many places, because it's all he's good at.



I am so freaking excited for this! Zatanna is one my favorite DC characters and I absolutely LOVED her mini-series in the Seven Soldiers of Victory by Grant Morrison. My dream is for them to adapt that comic. All I know is she better wear her iconic outfit at least once, like, she is a show woman, there is no excuse. They better not touch that god awful costume they gave her in the nu52. Fucking leather pants and boustiere.