Zack Snyder’s Justice League Axed Ava DuVernay’s DC Movie New Gods
New Gods director Ava DuVernay suggests a studio clash over Zack Snyder’s Justice League axed the DC Comics movie inspired by the Jack Kirby comic book saga. The Selma and A Wrinkle In Time filmmaker inked a deal with Warner Bros. in 2018 to write and direct her New Gods pitch, later adding a co-writer familiar with the Fourth World: Mister Miracle and DC Comics scribe Tom King. Despite multiple updates affirming the DC Extended Universe-set standalone was still in the works at Justice League studio DC Films, Warners confirmed in April DuVernay’s New Gods and Aquaman spin-off movie The Trench were dead in the water and would not move forward.
The ax came down just two weeks after the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the Man of Steel and Batman v Superman filmmaker’s long-anticipated director’s cut of his never-finished version of Justice League. The R-rated, four-hour Snyder Cut introduces Darkseid (Ray Porter), a New God and the warlord ruler of Apokolips, revealed as the big bad behind Steppenwolf’s (Ciarán Hinds) thwarted invasion of Earth.
In a new interview with Sirius XM, DuVernay says the studio decided against pulling on threads set up by Snyder in a version of Justice League that Warner Bros. had already declared to be outside of their connected canon.
“I loved New Gods, which is the project that got axed. The studio decided that they did not want to pursue a certain part of that comic world based on some things that were going on with another film in that world,” DuVernay revealed. “So, before I even was able to kind of complete my script with Tom King, they axed it. But I already had two projects going.”
DuVernay remains in the DC business as a director and executive producer on DC-Vertigo adaption DMZ for HBO Max, part of her existing overall deal with Warner Bros. Television, and DC superhero series Naomi, which DuVernay developed for the WarnerMedia co-owned CW.
In 2019, DuVernay confirmed Darkseid and The Furies for New Gods. Porter, whose performance as the villain was excised by replacement director Joss Whedon in the theatrical cut of Justice League, supported DuVernay’s New Gods and tweeted the “brilliant filmmaker” should “cast whoever she wants” for the role. Last May, Porter revealed he had not had talks with DuVernay about reprising the role but expressed hopes to return.
Snyder, who is not expected to return to further expand his “SnyderVerse” corner of the DCEU, revealed plans for Darkseid to be the villain in a Justice League 2 and 3. Snyder’s five-film arc would have culminated in a Lord of the Rings-style finale in Justice League 3, with Superman (Henry Cavill) leading the Justice League and the Armies of Men, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) leading the Amazon warriors of Themyscira, and Aquaman (Jason Momoa) leading the armies of Atlantis into battle against the dark forces of Darkseid in his pursuit of the Anti-Life Equation.
This past February, Snyder confirmed his Justice League would set up two sequels and New Gods.
“Yeah, there’s a little bit of a [tease for the New Gods],” Snyder told I Minutemen. “Let me just say this: in this movie you see DeSaad, you see Darkseid, you see one other in the throne room of Apokolips [Granny Goodness]…And I think the implication is that the rest of them are there, for sure.”
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is now streaming on HBO Max.