Ava DuVernay’s New Gods and James Wan’s The Trench are no longer being developed at Warner Bros., according to The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, and Variety. The two films, set to explore two of the more unusual parts of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), seemed like they could have been interesting diversions from the tone and style established in films like Justice League and Batman v Superman. But in the turbulent world of DC film adaptations, nothing is certain.
James Wan made a pivot to superhero movies with Aquaman in 2018, bringing an action-packed, slightly more goofy energy to a cinematic universe that was sorely needing something fun. As a spin-off, The Trench was Wan returning to the horror roots he established with Saw and The Conjuring. The film was supposed to focus on the creepy deep sea fish kingdom Aquaman joins forces with in Wan’s original DC film.
New Gods could have been even more critical to building out the DCEU, exploring New Genesis, the home planet of the New Gods and rivals to Darkseid, who is essentially the Thanos of DC comics. DuVernay would have been the first woman of color to helm a DC superhero film had New Gods gone forward. Love & Basketball director Gina Prince-Bythewood similarly made history when she was attached to direct a Spider-Man spinoff. Now, both projects have been cancelled.
Despite Warner Bros.’ decision to move on, DuVernay celebrated the work her and writing partner Tom King did on the project:
Tom, I loved writing NEW GODS with you. 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. Thank you for your friendship. And remember… #DarkseidIs pic.twitter.com/XyyIjcB8Wv
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 1, 2021
As is often the case in Hollywood, just because either project is no longer in development, doesn’t mean DuVernay or Wan can’t return or won’t continue to play with WarnerMedia’s superhero-shaped toys. In a statement provided to press, Warner Bros. said it looked forward to a continued partnership and that “[New Gods and The Trench] will remain in their skillful hands if they were to move forward in the future.”