Ava DuVernay’s New Gods and James Wan’s The Trench Aren’t Happening

Well, this is a bummer: Warner Bros. and DC Films have taken Ava DuVernay’s New Gods and James Wan’s The Trench off their development slate. The news comes with the tiniest sliver of hope; the Hollywood Reporter quotes a statement that ends, “The projects will remain in their skillful hands if they were to move forward in the future.” But that’s a big “if.”

DuVernay expressed her disappointment—and her appreciation for New Gods writer Tom King—on Twitter:

New Gods, an adaptation of Jack Kirby’s comic (pictured above), was first announced in 2018. The next year, DuVernay was clearly deep in development when she answered fan questions on Twitter. It’s possible part of the issue with New Gods was that the film would have included Darkseid, who appears in Zack Snyder’s Justice League; almost all of DC’s current and upcoming films (except the upcoming The Batman) exist in the same universe, and the close-together appearances could make continuity a challenge.

The loss of the film doesn’t mean the director is done with DC, though, as she’s also adapting Naomi for The CW.

Wan’s The Trench was a horror-leaning spinoff of the director’s Aquaman, focused on a some deadly amphibious creatures from that film. According to THR, “It was also considered a possibility for streaming, but is more of a stand-alone story rather than having a strong tie-in to Aquaman or the rest of the DC universe.” Wan is still attached to direct Aquaman 2, which is expected to start filming later this year.

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