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Ava DuVernay Will Direct ‘The New Gods’ for DC’s Extending Universe

The ‘Wrinkle in Time’ director’s next film is bound to be another epic spectacle.
Ava Duvernay Directing Selma
Paramount Pictures
By  · Published on March 16th, 2018

The ‘Wrinkle in Time’ director’s next movie is bound to be another epic spectacle.

Game-changing filmmaker Ava DuVernay proved her blockbuster mettle with A Wrinkle in Time. Although reception of the film has been tepid from some, DuVernay’s ambitious storytelling in the movie is still absolutely laudable. Even just as a book adaptation, Wrinkle is a very faithful movie that stretches the boundaries of imagination and possibility, and does plenty for young girls, especially girls of color.

DuVernay has been getting better and better opportunities over the years — she was the first woman of color to direct a $100 million live-action film — and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, she will follow-up Wrinkle with another project with a budget above the $100 million mark.

Deadline reports that DuVernay is in final negotiations with Warner Bros. to direct a new superhero tentpole, The New Gods, based on the classic Jack Kirby comics. Kirby, known as the co-creator of iconic superheroes like Captain America, set up shop at DC after leaving Marvel behind in the 1970s. He then created his “Fourth World” metaseries which included the New Gods.

Set in a time after the Old Gods perished during Ragnarok, the New Gods — of which there are many scattered across the planets New Genesis and Apokolips — are a fictional race of characters that possess a wide variety of superpowers between them such as super strength, stamina, and speed. They are actually immortal as well, except for a sensitivity to a mysterious substance, Radion. Generally, though, they live up to their godly title.

This isn’t the first time DuVernay has been courted by the superhero movie business. Marvel approached her to direct Black Panther before hiring Ryan Coogler; DuVernay turned down the offer, citing creative differences. There was a period of mourning of what could have been DuVernay’s vision, but the world has since witnessed what she can do with that kind of budget. A Wrinkle in Time is a visual feast, blending top-notch technical feats in production design, costumes, and sound with an important, empowering story of girlhood. It’s easy to imagine the same kind of visual richness in The New Gods and be excited about it.

The New Gods could also be an extra cool gig for DuVernay given that in December 2017, she revealed on Twitter that one of the main players in the saga is, in fact, her favorite superhero. DuVernay gave a shout out to Big Barda, a female warrior who left the service of the villain Darkseid. Despite being raised to fight for Darkseid’s Female Furies, Big Barda became committed to combating the nihilism she had been ingrained with for so many years. Again, as evidenced by A Wrinkle in Time, there is immense power in optimism as long as there is a willingness to change for the better. This is something DuVernay is familiar with handling onscreen to great effect, and to see it transposed into another mythology-rich storyline will definitely be a treat.

A small selection of characters of note in the New Gods universe includes Orion (the noble main character in the original New Gods comic), Highfather (the ruler of New Genesis) and Granny Goodness (Darkseid’s minion who trains the Female Furies). We’ve obviously seen godlike aliens in the DC movieverse before, but these are brand new characters who feel about as left-field as the Guardians of the Galaxy were to the onscreen Marvel franchise.

As noted by Deadline as well, The New Gods will apparently operate from a position of relative disconnection to the rest of Warner Bros.’ existing DC properties. Like Michael Bay and his Lobo movie, there’s no DCEU baggage for DuVernay to handle. That said, the world will be watching her as they did when Patty Jenkins was first announced for Wonder Woman. Warner still has to do a lot to get DC adaptations back on track after a rocky few years, but hiring DuVernay is a step in the right direction.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)