This is unexpected, but incredible news. Ava DuVernay will direct a New Gods movie, bringing more of Jack Kirby’s most famous DC creations to the big screen. DuVernay currently has the visually spectacular A Wrinkle in Time in theaters, and has been public about her love for Big Barda, the wife of Mister Miracle, one of the key players in the New Gods and Fourth World saga.
The New Gods is the story of two worlds, the warlike Apokolips and the peaceful New Genesis, each populated by immensely powerful beings with fantastic technology. Darkseid is the evil dictator of Apokolips, and he swaps sons with Highfather, the leader of New Genesis, and each child is raised on the opposite world. Darkseid’s son, Orion, becomes a troubled champion of New Genesis, while Highfather’s son (raised by Darkseid) revolts and becomes the super escape artist, Mister Miracle. This barely scratches the surface, but take Lord of the Rings and Kirby’s Thor comics, shoot them way out into the cosmos, and you’re getting there. Kirby’s New Gods saga was a powerful influence on the first Star Wars movie, and you can see echoes of it in both the Masters of the Universe toy line and the 1987 movie.
The New Gods were arguably Jack Kirby’s purest, most undistilled creations. Initially created while he was still working for Marvel, they didn’t see publication until he left to go to DC Comics in 1970. There, he introduced an entirely new cosmic mythology to the DC Universe, one that quickly became the cornerstone of the company, and that continues to be used to this day. The New Gods‘ Darkseid remains one of the greatest villains in all of comics, and DC trots him out whenever they run out of world beating threats. He was long intended to be the villain of the Justice League movie before they went with his uncle Steppenwolf, instead.
We caught glimpses of New Gods and Fourth World concepts introduced to the DCEU in Batman v Superman (Darkseid’s ominous symbol, the Mother Box that was the catalyst for Cyborg’s origin) and other characters were key to the Justice League movie, notably the film’s villain Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons. But according to a report in Deadline, this will stand alone from the rest of the DCEU. Deadline also expects a writer will be announced soon who will “work closely with DuVernay.”
There’s no word yet on how many films Ms. DuVernay is signed for, but done right, New Gods could easily support a trilogy of films, perhaps an entire cinematic universe of its own. While Warner Bros. continues to look for a direction for their superhero universe, New Gods can safely occupy its own corner of the cosmos, unconcerned with the doings of Batman or the Justice League, and instead tell the kind of epic (in the real sense of the word) stories you normally associate with the Lord of the Rings films or the original Star Wars trilogy, all with spectacular visuals.
There is no release date currently set for New Gods, but you can find the complete schedule of upcoming DC superhero movies here.
Ms. DuVernay confirmed the news in the best possible way, too…