Warner Bros. Confirms Ava DuVernay's New Gods 'Will Not Be Moving Forward'

Ava DuVernay arrives for the 72nd Annual Directors Guild of America Awards on January 25, 2020.
Ava DuVernay arrives for the 72nd Annual Directors Guild of America Awards on January 25, 2020.
Photo: Jean-Baptiste Lacroix / AFP (Getty Images)

On Thursday, some disappointing news came out of Ava DuVernay’s anticipated project from Warner Bros. film slate. According to The Hollywood Reporter, WB confirmed that it will not be going forward with DuVernay’s film, New Gods.

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DuVernay had been developing the project with comic book writer Tom King since 2018, which would’ve highlighted characters created by the late comic artist Jack Kirby.

“As part of our DC slate, some legacy development titles including New Gods and The Trench will not be moving forward,” Warner Bros. and DC told THR 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.”

“Tom, I loved writing NEW GODS with you,” DuVernay, who was clearly very passionate about this comic book lore, wrote on Twitter following the news release. “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.”

THR reported additional context:

The projects are being shelved but like many comic characters, could come to life down the road. DC Films, led by president Walter Hamada, is leaving the door open to revisit these properties in the future, but insiders note that when it became clear the upcoming DC slate did not have a natural spot for New Gods or The Trench over the next few years, execs believed it was best not to leave the filmmakers hanging in development without a clear end in sight.

DC is currently building an interconnected slate in which projects will feed in and out of the big screen and the small, with films such as James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad (Aug. 6) spinning off into the John Cena-led HBO Max series Peacemaker, and Matt Reeves’ The Batman (March 4, 2022) spawning its own Gotham-police-department-focused show.

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The anticipation for New Gods was very real—personally, I’m pretty sure I saw someone ask about it just about every time DuVernay tweeted something or some news came out about another project she was working on. As time went on, I became curious about its progress, especially considering the global pandemic era and its effect on the Hollywood industry.

Prior to the studio’s official announcement, actor Ray Porter (who portrayed the mega-villain Darkseid in Zack Snyder’s Justice League) took to Twitter to support Ava and encouraged fans to “stop pestering” the director about it, to which DuVernay responded, “Thank you, Ray. You’ve been nothing but gracious towards me. Appreciate you. And fans who supported. I’m told the studio will be speaking about their recent decision about NEW GODS characters soon. I hope our paths cross one day, sir. If not in the Fourth World, then in another.”

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DuVernay’s relationship with WB may not be extending to the Fourth World, but she is still working with the studio family tree given her upcoming project Naomi, which got a pilot order at The CW earlier this year.

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Plus, DuVernay’s ARRAY recently acquired Shantrelle P. Lewis’ directorial debut In Our Mothers’ Gardens, which will be released in select theaters and hit Netflix on May 6. Lewis describes the upcoming doc as “a beautiful tribute to the complex relationships between Black women connected by lineage and love.” If there’s one thing DuVernay is sure to have, it’s a packed slate of projects.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

DISCUSSION

Zero problem with this. She had a crack at CGI scifi extravaganza and it was terrible. Wasn’t a good idea of a follow up for either party, but I hope she gets to spend time with Stagecraft, or another set of collaborators and develop that.