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Warner Bros. Drops Ava DuVernay’s DC Film ‘New Gods’ and Won’t Revive It Without Her

James Wan's "The Trench" isn't moving forward, either.

Ava DuVernay backs academy bias statement. File photo dated 24/02/19 of director Ava DuVernay, who has backed actor David Oyelowo's statement claiming members of The Academy that hands out the Oscars said they would not vote for civil rights film Selma after the cast showed support for a black man who died in police custody. The Academy has said it is "committed to progress". Issue date: Friday June 5, 2020. Stars of the movie, as well as DuVernay, wore T-shirts bearing the slogan "I Can't Breathe" for Selma's New York premiere in 2014. They were the words gasped by Eric Garner, who died after a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold in July 2014, months before Selma's release. See PA story SHOWBIZ DuVernay. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire URN:54020800 (Press Association via AP Images)

Ava DuVernay

AP

As Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe expands (“The Suicide Squad,” “The Batman,” “The Flash”), it’s also reportedly contracting. Two films as announced by The Hollywood Reporter will not be moving forward as part of the studio’s DC slate: Ava DuVernay’s tentpole “New Gods” and James Wan’s Aquaman spinoff “The Trench.”

“As part of our DC slate, some legacy development titles including New Gods and The Trench will not be moving forward,” Warner Bros. shared in a statement with IndieWire. “We thank our partners Ava DuVernay, Tom King, James Wan and Peter Safran for their time and collaboration during this process and look forward to our continued partnership with them on other DC stories. The projects will remain in their skillful hands if they were to move forward in the future.”

“I’m upset that the saga of Barda, Scott, Granny, Highfather and The Furies ends this way. Diving into Kirby’s Fourth World was the adventure of a lifetime. That can’t be taken away,” DuVernay said on Twitter.

DuVernay, who first flexed her tentpole muscles with Disney’s 2018 “A Wrinkle in Time,” has been developing “New Gods” since that same year, with celebrated comic book writer Tom King (a writer on the “Vision” comics). Together, they were bringing to the screen characters created by the late, great Jack Kirby. DuVernay still remains a DC player, as she’s currently co-writing and executive-producing the series “Naomi” for The CW via her Array Filmworks and Warner Bros. Television.

The villain of “New Gods,” Darkseid, recently had a major appearance in Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” director’s cut on HBO Max, suggesting the studio might want to put space ahead of any further appearances.

James Wan’s “The Trench” was intended as a horror-centric spinoff of “Aquaman,” turning on a group of amphibious predators first introduced in the late 2018 box office smash. The script was written by Noah Gardner and Aidan Fitzgerald. Still, Wan remains in the DC universe as he’s set to start shooting “Aquaman 2” for Warner Bros. later this year.

According to THR’s sources, “DC Films, led by president Walter Hamada, is leaving the door open to revisit these properties in the future, but insiders note that when it became clear the upcoming DC slate did not have a natural spot for ‘New Gods’ or ‘The Trench’ over the next few years, execs believed it was best not to leave the filmmakers hanging in development without a clear end in sight.”

Warner Bros.’ continuously unspooling DC slate also includes “Black Adam” (July 29, 2022) and “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” (July 2, 2023). A third “Wonder Woman” film with Patty Jenkins is in the works, as well as a new “Superman” from producer J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Ta- Nehisi Coates.

IndieWire has reached out to Warner Bros. for further comment.

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