It has been announced that Ava DuVernay, fresh from directing Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, will next be heading up a movie about the DC Comics’ New Gods franchise. However, whether or not it will be part of the DC Extended Universe is open to question, with Deadline’s report implying that it is but Variety specifically saying that it is not.
The New Gods were created by famed comic book writer Jack Kirby in the 1970s. Originally they were intended for a story starring Marvel’s Thor, being a set of “new gods” to contrast with the Asgardian “old gods”; when Kirby jumped ship to DC Comics, however, he brought the idea with him and worked them into a new thing.
A race of vastly different aliens who are semi-immortal, the New Gods inhabit two related but vastly different worlds: the idyllic New Genesis, ruled by the Highfather, and the dystopian Apokolips, ruled by Darkseid, who has gone on to become something a “main villain” for the entire DC Universe.
Other important characters from this franchise include Orion, the son of Darkseid, but who was raised by the Highfather and strives against his evil heritage; Scott Free/Mister Miracle, who was raised on Apokolips but escaped to Earth; his wife Big Barda, a servant of Darkseid won over by Scott’s love; and the Forever People, a group of New Genesis residents who are a cross between a superhero team and a troop of hippies. It is unclear which of these characters, if any, DuVernay’s film will focus on.
The New Gods have already appeared in the DCEU: Steppenwolf, one of Darkseid’s top generals, was the main villain of Justice League, leading an invasion of Earth along with an army of Parademons, mindless minions made by infecting humans with Apokoliptian technology. Furthermore, Justice League was originally planned as a two-part film, with the sequel apparently including Darkseid himself; this was teased in the “Knightmare” sequence of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but ultimately canned. As a result, many fans found the franchise’s portrayal of the New Gods underwhelming, with Steppenwolf coming off both generic and narmy.
Does Warner Bros. see the New Gods as already ruined in the DCEU, or will they take this as a chance to redeem them? For now we can only speculate.