DC Films Canceled Ava DuVernay New Gods, James Wan Trench Spinoff
For fans of DC movies, it can seem like the people in charge of them almost always seem to make the wrong calls. The latest decision likely to upset fans involve a project based on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World and a spinoff of Aquaman. A new report today reveals that DC Films canceled the New Gods movie helmed by Ava DuVernay, and The Trench led by James Wan. While these movies have been in development for awhile and likely are casualties of COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, putting these projects aside seems like a mistake. At the very least, the New Gods film is one that fans are especially eager for after seeing the release of the Snyder cut of Justice League on HBO Max. The New Gods story is all about Darkseid, the villain introduced in the film. Which is precisely why DC Films put it on the shelf.
Image via DC Comics
In fairness, of the two projects, Wan’s The Trench does feel like the one that makes the most sense to put aside. We’ve still yet to get a sequel to Aquaman some three years after its release. It would make sense for DC to prioritize that sequel rather than a spinoff horror film about the trench full of aquatic horrors. Yet, the rationale for shutting down New Gods makes very little sense.
Let’s put aside the fact that DuVernay is deeply involved with Warnermedia. She’s got a limited series based on the DMZ graphic novel coming. She’s also developing a CW series based on Naomi, a DC Comics hero. Also, she’s going to be the face of One Perfect Shot for HBO Max. Though it’s not an exclusive arrangement. She is working on an Octavia Butler adaptation for Amazon. Duvernay made a statement, via a tweet to her co-writer, Tom King.
“Tom, I loved writing NEW GODS with you. 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.”
Tom, I loved writing NEW GODS with you. 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 pic.twitter.com/XyyIjcB8Wv
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 1, 2021
King replied saying he was proud of their work and what “a joy” it was to work with her. He also said that what they wrote honored the legacy of Jack Kirby.
DC Films put out a statement of their own:
“As part of our DC slate, some legacy development titles including New Gods and The Trench will not be moving forward. 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.”
Image via DC Comics
The report went on to say that the decision that cancelled New Gods had nothing to do with Ava DuVernay or Tom King’s story. Rather, they said that since a version of Darkseid appeared in the Snyder cut of Justice League, they wanted “distance” between it and the character’s next appearance. This decision boggled the minds of fans on Twitter. Given DC’s embrace of the multiverse and the permanent cliffhanger at the end of Snyder’s movie this feels more like a missed opportunity than any kind of good business.
A prequel to who Darkseid is and what he wants could allow DC to salvage the kind of connected universe they so desperately craved when they first brought Snyder on to chase Marvel’s heels. That DC Films canceled New Gods, especially with a talent like Ava DuVernay attached, seems to have sapped any goodwill from fans both excited and disheartened by Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Perhaps it’s a money thing or just a crowded slate of upcoming films. Perhaps their claim that revisiting these stories with these storytellers is more than just lip service. But, for now, both The Trench and New Gods are dead.
What do you think? Are you upset DC Films canceled New Gods from Ava Duvernay and The Trench from James Wan? Share your thoughts below.
Featured image via DC Comics
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.