Ava DuVernay has tapped comic book writer Tom King to join her in the fire pits of Apokolips for DC’s New Gods movie. DuVernay is directing New Gods, the first big screen adaptation of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World stories, an epic cosmic saga of good and evil that is crazier than Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and the most mind-boggling elements of classical mythology combined. She’ll now also co-write the script for New Gods with King.
The New Gods is the story of two planets, Apokolips and New Genesis, engaged in an endless struggle. At the heart of their war, the Apokoliptan dictator Darkseid trades his son, Orion, to New Genesis leader Highfather for his son, Scott Free (better known as Mister Miracle). Darkseid, of course, was mentioned in the Justice League movie (and would have been included in a potential sequel), but it’s not clear, even unlikely, that this movie will have direct ties to that element of the DCEU. I wrote more about the importance of the New Gods movie here.
King is an Eisner Award winner and arguably the hottest writer in comics at the moment. He has been writing Batman since 2016, crafting a headline-grabbing run, and he recently wrapped Heroes in Crisis, a controversial take on how trauma affects DC superheroes. But what makes him perfect for New Gods is his work on Mister Miracle with artist Mitch Gerads. The 2018 saga was a modern look at Jack Kirby’s cosmic escape artist, Scott Free, and his struggles with anxiety and depression after dealing with the unspeakable horrors of cosmic warfare. Mister Miracle is a masterpiece, likely the most important superhero comic of the decade, and it’s likely to rack up more Eisners at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.
Through Mister Miracle, King was able to touch on most of the major players within the New Gods mythology, from Big Barda, Orion, Lightray, and Highfather to cosmic dictator Darkseid, so he has already demonstrated a thorough grasp of both the more out-there elements of the concepts as well as an ability to humanize them. It’s not clear yet what shape the New Gods movie story will take, but it’s unlikely to be an adaptation of the introspective and surreal Mister Miracle. Hopefully the movie will be the first 100% pure distillation of Jack Kirby’s visionary style yet realized on film (Thor: Ragnarok certainly wore its Kirby influences on its sleeve).
Last week, word broke that King was being removed as writer of DC’s Batman comic, which sent a ripple through fandom. King had long said his Batman run was intended as a 100 plus issue epic, and the news that it would instead end with #85 sparked speculation. It’s not clear if his commitments to New Gods spurred the early end of his Batman tenure.
No cast or release date for the New Gods movie has yet been announced, but you can find the complete schedule of upcoming DC superhero movies here.
The Wrap first reported this news.