Warner Bros hasn’t been shy over the years with announcing DC movies, and some of them have seen the light of day, like Shazam! and Birds of Prey. But there are a lot more movies that are either lingering in development hell or have just been shelved. We can now count Aquaman spinoff The Trench and Ava DuVernay’s New Gods in the latter category.
Warner Bros and DC announced today that these two movies will not be moving forward, saying the following in a statement to THR:
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.
When it came to The Trench, THR’s sources claim that the Warner Bros brass felt that the upcoming Aquaman 2 was “enough” for exploring the underwater corners of the DC Extended Universe. It was briefly considered turning The Trench into a streaming offering, but nothing came of that, though it was also noted that if there’s eventually more of a demand for adventures set in DC’s Atlantean kingdoms, the project could be revisited.
As for New Gods, evidently Darkseid’s presence in Zack Snyder’s Justice League complicated plans for this “sprawling tale” covering the Fourth World mythology. As such, it was decided to put more space between the four-hour superhero team-up tale and any future stories that highlight the New Gods. Ultimately The Trench and New Gods’ shelvings reportedly came down to there simply not being natural spots for them on the DC film slate, so executives felt it was, as the article put it, “best not to leave the filmmakers hanging in development without a clear end in sight.”
So if you were looking forward to seeing more of the creatures that attacked Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry and Amber Heard’s Mera in Aquaman, or were excited for characters like Mr. Miracle and Big Barda to score the cinematic spotlight, this is surely disappointing news. However, it’s important to note that James Wan, who was producing The Trench, and Ava DuVernay, who would have directed New Gods and was also co-writing the script with Tom King, have other DC projects coming up. Wan is preparing to direct Aquaman 2, and DuVernay is working on both The CW’s Naomi series and HBO Max's DMZ series.
For the most part, DC’s upcoming lineup of movies consists of DCEU offerings, including The Suicide Squad, Black Adam, The Flash and Shazam! Fury of the Gods, to name a few. So far Matt Reeves’ The Batman is the exception to that rule, as it’s confirmed to be set in a separate universe. The same may end up being true for the Superman movie J.J. Abrams and Ta-Nehisi Coates are working on, but for the most part, even if the DCEU isn’t striving for the same kind of interconnectivity anymore that the MCU has, this reality as a whole will continue to expand with various self-contained stories. And as already mentioned, maybe years from now, the WB and DC brass will decided that The Trench and/or New Gods are worth revisiting, though by that point, it’s a good bet that new creative talent would be attached.
As always, we here at CinemaBlend will keep you apprised of all major updates concerning the DC film franchise. For now, scan through our upcoming DC movies guide to learn what else this superhero franchise still intends to deliver to the public.