DC cancels upcoming New Gods, The Trench superhero films from Ava DuVernay and James Wan
Both directors are still working on other DC adaptations, but viewers will not get to see their visions of New Genesis or the ocean floor anytime soon.
Darkseid is, but the New Gods are not. In the wake of the DC supervillain's prominent appearance in Zack Snyder's Justice League, Warner Bros. has pulled the plug on Ava DuVernay's previously-announced New Gods film that would have dealt with similar characters and mythology. Unfortunately, it does not appear to be an April Fool's Day joke. The news was originally reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
"As part of our DC slate, some legacy development titles including New Gods and The Trench will not be moving forward," Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Films said in a statement. "We thank our partners Ava DuVernay, Tom King, James Wan, and Peter Safran for their time and collaboration during this process and look forward to our continued partnership with them on other DC stories. The projects will remain in their skillful hands if they were to move forward in the future."
DuVernay tweeted her disappointment Thursday afternoon, writing, "I'm upset that the saga of Barda, Scott, Granny, Highfather and The Furies ends this way. Diving into Kirby's Fourth World was the adventure of a lifetime. That can't be taken away. Thank you for your friendship. And remember...#DarkseidIs."
Originally created by legendary writer-artist Jack Kirby when he left Marvel for DC in the '70s, the New Gods are a race of technologically advanced celestial beings split between two opposite planets, lush green New Genesis and harsh fiery Apokolips. The former is ruled by the peace-loving Highfather, while the latter is ruled by Darkseid, an intergalactic tyrant determined to find the Anti-Life Equation and conquer the universe by removing free will. Though the Snyder Cut featured appearances from Darkseid (Ray Porter) as well as his lackeys Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) and Desaad (Peter Guinness), there was no mention of New Genesis or its champions like the warrior Orion, the escape artist Mister Miracle, or the reformed Apokoliptian Big Barda.
We here at EW were certainly looking forward to a DuVernay-led New Gods movie. Back when it was first announced in 2018, we published a whole dream-casting list, which you can still read if you want to fantasize about what could have been. We also extensively covered Mister Miracle, the comic book miniseries written by Tom King (Batman), who had been working on the film script with DuVernay.
"I'm so incredibly proud of the work we did, it was such a joy seeing you bring your passion and talent to these characters," King wrote in a reply to DuVernay's tweet. "I really felt Kirby's legacy was being honored here and I wish we could've kept going. That one Barda/Scott scene where…damn."
How's that for a tease? Ah, well. Maybe Snyder will get to flesh out the New Gods mythology in possible Justice League follow-up movies, or maybe no one will adapt the material for a while. In any case, Kirby's original comics are still available and very much worth reading, bursting with imaginative concepts and mind-blowing spectacles that big-budget superhero movies still struggle to match. The more modern take on Mister Miracle, which was illustrated by Mitch Gerads on top of King's writing, was one of EW's favorite comics of the last decade in its own right.
On top of New Gods, The Trench is also hitting the can. James Wan's planned Aquaman spinoff would have had more of a horror vibe and further explored the mythology of the monsters who dwell on the ocean floor. Don't cry too much, though: Wan is still set to direct Aquaman 2, and will executive produce a new Aquaman animated series for HBO Max.
DuVernay, too, is staying involved with DC adaptations, just in other mediums with other characters. She is currently developing a Naomi TV series for the CW.