Image from the New Gods comic

Lately, we have witnessed the DC movies reach a point of unusual contrast in their legacy with (most) fans excited over Matt Reeves’ new take on Batman and The Snyder Cut’s release evolving from hashtag to reality while the future of DCEU as a canonical shared universe remains up for debate. Yet, it is the fate of The New Gods, which is to be helmed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay, that has continued to raise the most questions among fans.

The film is based on a Fourth World mythology within DC Comics that follows a race of powerful, celestial beings who reside outside the publisher’s known multiverse. The New Gods make up some of the most iconic characters from the mind of late comic book artist extraordinaire Jack Kirby, including heroes like Big Barda or Mister Miracle as well as Darkseid or Granny Goodness, who represent some of the most pure and ruthless evil in the history of illustrated fiction. Needless to say, the mere idea of the acclaimed director behind powerful films like Selma and the Emmy-winning Netflix original docuseries 13th bringing these characters to life on the big screen is especially exciting.

However, that excitement would evolve into impatience, and later into uncertainty over whether or not this highly-anticipated project was still worthy of our anticipation or, more accurately, if it was even happening anymore. Well, admittedly, there is only so much we can confidently say about the current status of The New Gods, but perhaps we can use what we know to help reach a quantifiable answer to the question of what really is going with this flick. The following is a comprehensive breakdown of the most significant updates in the development of his long-awaited DC movie, starting at the very beginning.

Ava DuVernay on The Daily Show

Ava DuVernay Signed On To Direct The New Gods In March 2018

It was shortly after the release of her Disney-produced interpretation of Madeleine L'Engle’s high concert fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time when Ava DuVernay’s next big budget adaptation was announced. In the middle of March in 2018, the filmmaker was chosen to helm a film based on Jack Kirby’s acclaimed New Gods characters which, according to Deadline, would not be canon to the DCEU, despite Variety’s report of the opposite. Fans were quick to voice their approval over the choice of director, not just for DuVernay’s past successes, but for when she had previously cited a New God as her favorite superhero.

Big Barda

Early 2019 Reports Suggested The New Gods Roles For Big Barda, Mister Miracle And Granny Goodness

Ava DuVernay’s favorite comic book hero is Big Barda, who is also one of the several characters that fans were understandably quick to assume would appear in her DC movie. By January 2019, nearly a year after The New Gods was first announced, an article by The GWW claimed the fierce, Apokoliptian warrior and her heroic lover Mister Miracle would the lead film and face off against the Female Furies and their leader, Darksied’s bizarrely terrifying accomplice Granny Goodness. Unfortunately, was no real confirmation of the characters’ involvement at the time, however, since the script had not even existed yet.

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Mister Miracle and Big Barda

Comic Book Writer Tom King And Ava DuVernay Began Penning The New Gods In July 2019

That was until the following summer (in July 2019, to be exact) when the public was assured that the screenplay for The New Gods was finally in progress. At that year’s San Diego Comic Con, Tom King (known for recent Batman comics and the 2016 run of The Vision that WandaVision is heavily inspired by) revealed that he was preparing to write the script within days with director Ava DuVernay, whom he would later openly praise as a genius on par with Jack Kirby. The announcement would come with no further plot details, until just a number of days later.

Darkseid

Ava DuVernay Confirmed Darkseid And Female Furies Are In The New Gods Later July 2019

One of the most thrilling The New Gods updates came from Ava DuVernay’s Twitter on July 30, 2019, with the famous quote, “Darkseid is,” confirming that the main antagonist of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World would appear in the film. She would follow this up with another exciting tweet posted the same day assuring fans that Granny Goodness and the Furies would appear to give Mister Miracle and the director’s favorite superhero, Big Barda, trouble. This would soon lead to much fan speculation over casting, specifically over who would star as Darkseid, which would come to a head an entire year later.

Ray Porter a Darkseid in Zack Snyder's Justice League

In July 2020, Ray Porter Could Not Confirm If He Will Play Darkseid In The New Gods

Fans openly wondered if Ray Porter would play Darkseid in The New Gods in response to Zack Snyder’s earlier reveal that he was originally chosen for the role in Justice League, but inquiries increased after he was asked back for the Snyder Cut in 2020. That July, the actor was unable to confirm if he would reprise the character in New Gods, but did tweet his blessing for Ava DuVernay to “cast whoever she wants,” which the director replied to by thanking the “gentlemen and true artist.” Outside a few fruitless rumors suggesting Kathy Bates was considered to play Granny Goodness, that would remain the last genuine piece of information regarding casting, and the film as a whole, until later that year.

The New Gods

Ava DuVernay Assured She Is Still At Work On The New Gods In December 2020

With a lack of substantial updates for a worrisome amount of time and the film industry at its most fragile amid the outbreak of Covid-19, the uncertainty surrounding the future of The New Gods would reach its peak in 2020. As it turns out, fans should have interpreted that silence as a sign of hope as Ava DuVernay would explain in a December tweet how the pandemic actual gave her and Tom King the chance to dig deeper into this world and the “mind and musings of Jack Kirby.” By offering a way to look at the brightside of the “surreal” circumstances of the past year, the director assured fans that The New Gods, like Darkseid, is.

So, as far as we can tell, The New Gods is still happening and is conscious to avoid development hell with Ava DuVernay serving as its confident guide - even as her hands are full with a number other projects on the rise. I suppose, in an effort to keep looking on the bright side, the extensive and often mysterious wait has only increased our anticipation for this comic book movie epic. Has it had the same effect on you?

Are you still excited to see The New Gods?
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