Comic book fans received a couple of big blows today. While there are more than a few upcoming DC movies in the works, it's been reported that Warner Bros. is no longer moving forward with either their planned Aquaman spin-off, The Trench, or the developing blockbuster based on Jack Kirby's The New Gods. What made the latter project particularly exciting is that it had lined up Ava DuVernay and comic book writer Tom King to collaborate on the script – and based on their responses to today's news on social media, they are as sad as we are to see the project come to an end.
It was about 30 minutes after the trade report about The New Gods not moving forward went online that Ava DuVernay released a statement to her followers on Twitter. In the post she remarked on not only how much fun she had working with the wonderful cast of alien characters that Jack Kirby created, but also noted her appreciation for the friendship with Tom King that blossomed from their time working together. Check out her post below:
It was all the way back in March 2018 that DC first hired Ava DuVernay to shepherd forward a big screen version of The New Gods, but what's interesting about it not moving forward is that it has seemingly been in active development for that entire time. In July 2019 Tom King told fans at San Diego Comic-Con that the script was being written imminently, and even just this past December there was an update from DuVernay saying that the COVID-19 pandemic had provided the opportunity to dig even further into Jack Kirby's creations. But now, sadly, the filmmaking adventure has come to a premature end.
Tom King directly responded to Ava DuVernay's post less than 15 minutes after it went live, and shared similar sentiments – adding how impressed he was with DuVernay's understanding of the characters. And to be extra mean, he decided to also tease a scene from The New Gods that we'll apparently never get to see.
So why is The New Gods movie not moving forward? That's the million dollar question, and there doesn't seem to be an official answer. The statement from Warner Bros. announcing the projects cancellation doesn't say anything that even resembles an explanation, and even suggests that it isn't totally dead, but instead just dead for now ("The projects will remain in their skillful hands if they were to move forward in the future.") It's possible that it's a matter of resource allocation – with the studio wanting to put more focus on some projects more than others (namely projects not named "The New Gods" or "The Trench."
At the same time, what also can't be ignored in this situation is the recent release of Zack Snyder's Justice League on HBO Max, which features a few of the characters that surely would have been a part of Ava DuVernay and Tom King's The New Gods. Is it possible that their vision for the characters contrasted so much with Snyder's that it didn't make sense to move forward with the duo's version in the immediate future?
Given the excitement that Ava DuVernay and Tom King have for this would-be blockbuster, hopefully this isn't The End for everything that they've been working on. Obviously it would be great if things change and their script gets turned into a live-action film, but if that never happens perhaps it could at the very least get made as one of the franchise's very popular animated features. Time will tell!