Did Zack Snyder’s Justice League Derail Ava DuVernay’s New Gods?

Darkseid grabs a weapon as a spaceship looms in the background behind him in Zack Snyder's Justice League.

Darkseid arrives on Earth in a flashback in Zack Snyder Justice League.
Screenshot: Warner Bros.

When Warner Bros. announced in 2018 that Ava DuVernay had signed on to direct a New Gods movie written by comic book writer Tom King, the news was intriguing—If only for the promise of the creative team potentially bringing in people like Mr. Miracle, Big Barda and Granny Kindness on the silver screen. While it seemed at first that New Gods was meeting in time after Warner Bros. ‘ initial announcement, on the studio changed your tone earlier this year.

New Gods wouldn’t have been the first time the DCEU has focused on Apokolips, but it might have spent more time digging into locals other than Darkseid, which was slated to feature in 2017 Justice League but was replaced by Steppenwolf in Joss Whedon’s version. When WB took New Gods and that of James Wan The trench (which was actually a secret black manta project) off his production list, it seemed possible that the decision was partly motivated by Zack Snyder Justice League, the the long-rumored director’s cut, where Darkseid played an important role.

Based on recent comments from DuVernay on what happened with New Gods, this may have been the case. During an interview on Andy Cohen’s SiriusXM show last week, DuVernay explained how, after signing with her global development agreement with Warner Bros. in 2018, she immediately began browsing the studio’s DC Comics IP catalog and identified the New Gods as characters she was interested in. “I loved New Gods, which is the project that got scrapped,” DuVernay said. “The studio decided they didn’t want to pursue a certain part of this comedic world, based on certain things that were going on with another movie in this world.”

According to DuVernay, she wasn’t even able to completely finish working on New Gods‘with King before Warner pulled the plug out, and the director’s reference to “another movie in this world” seems to relate to Zack Snyder Justice League, the only other recent film project featuring characters from DC’s Fourth World. Much more screen time for Darkseid was one of the main selling points of Zack Snyder Justice League, and while the director’s cut was much less in synchronization with some of the other recent WB DCEU projects, the studio flirts with a multiverse have left open the potential for him to play a role in the future of the cinematic universe.

While much of Snyderverse’s perspective on Darkseid existing alongside DuVernay might have complicated the understanding of the Fourth World audience to some extent, Warner Bros. recently bet on several iterations of characters like the Joker and Batman being box office draws. It’s interesting to wonder if the powers felt when trying to adapt classic Jack Kirby comics into a live-action movie might be too difficult, or if the studio might just wait to present this tradition to a wider audience. .

What is gonna be really interesting to see in the future what ends up being of DuVernay and co-executive producer Jill Blankenship next adaptation of Naomi for the CW. As new as Naomi’s character is, it wouldn’t be too surprising if ideas familiar to New Gods fans appear on the show, especially given DuVernay’s involvement.

Zack Snyder Justice League is now streaming on HBO Max, and Naomi premieres on The CW sometime in 2022.

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