What Can Zatanna's 'Smallville' Episode Teach Us About 'Justice League' & 'The Avengers' Movie Team-Ups?

SmallvilleCan Jon Favreau's reality-based "Iron Man" share the same universe as Kenneth Branagh's fantasy-focused "Thor"? What about the space-faring "Green Lantern" film and Christopher Nolan's gritty take on Batman?

These are valid concerns both for fans and movie executives as Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment plan live-action adaptations of "The Avengers" and "Justice League," respectively.

While they're difficult questions to tackle, some hint at the answers could lie in an installment of the television series "Smallville" (titled "Hex") which debuted last season. In "Hex," the powerful magician Zatanna interacts not only with the super-powerful Clark Kent, but also with Green Arrow, a street-level vigilante with no superpowers to speak of.

MTV News spoke with "Hex" writer Bryan Q. Miller (the new writer of DC's "Batgirl" series) to get his take on how to integrate magically-gifted characters into a live-action comic book world.

"Magic is always hard on our show," Miller said. "On the page, not just from a budget standpoint like on TV, you can do anything with magic. When you have real people walking around on TV—fictional characters—you have to somehow ground what's happening. Magic can just be limitless, and if it's limitless, where does the conflict come from? How do you stop Zatanna when something goes wrong?"

"When we saw [Zatanna] in 'Hex,' she was just getting a handle on her magic — that was kind of our approach to [solving] that," the writer added. "She wasn't totally, totally awesome [at magic] yet, which made it a lot easier to wrangle what she could and couldn't do. It's a matter of skewing it and handicapping it a little bit so that you can wrap a story around it."

In terms of "Smallville," then, both grounded and fantasy-filled comic characters can coexist in a live-action platform. But perhaps the comparison isn't fair, since "Smallville" focuses on the eventual Superman, who is almost as far from a reality-based character as it gets.

A live-action team-up between Zatanna and a more plausible vigilante like Batman—particularly Nolan's interpretation of the character in "The Dark Knight"—could prove trickier, according to Miller, but it's still not out of the realm of possibility.

"That is a question for people well above my pay grade," laughed Miller. "It would certainly be challenging, but nothing is impossible."

What do you think, Splash Page readers? Can fantasy and reality blend together seamlessly on the big screen, as we're hoping to see in "The Avengers" and "Justice League"? Can a character like Zatanna coexist in the same universe as "The Dark Knight"? Weigh in on the debate in the comments section below or on Twitter!