Just weeks after finally releasing The Snyder Cut, WB revealed that two anticipated DCEU films from Ava DuVernay and James Wan will no longer be moving forward. The studio and DC said in a statement, “As part of our DC slate, some legacy development titles including New Gods and The Trench will not be moving forward. 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.”
New Gods would’ve featured Darkseid, one of the most formidable villains in all of DC Comics, who recently appeared as the primary (if mostly behind-the-scenes) antagonist of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. DuVernay had been developing the project with King, a prominent comic book writer, and shared a heartfelt post on Twitter in response to the news:
Meanwhile, The Trench was intended to be a spinoff of Wan’s 2018 hit Aquaman, exploring the monstrous creatures dwelling in a grim abyss at the bottom of the ocean. That project was being developed by Wan and Safran, from a script written by Noah Gardiner and Aiden Fitzgerald. Wan is currently still attached to direct Aquaman 2, which is set to begin filming this year.
It’s interesting to note that Warner’s statement indicates that DuVernay and Wan will be welcomed back to their respective projects should they be picked back up in the future. So, there’s still a chance we could see New Gods or The Trench somewhere down the road, although that possibility seems unlikely for now. (Then again, we did just see The Snyder Cut, so who knows?)
It’s unclear whether either project was considered for release directly on HBO Max, Warner Bros. premiere streaming service. The studio made the controversial decision to simultaneously release its entire 2021 slate of films in theaters and on the streaming service for an exclusive one month period, with its most recent blockbuster Godzilla vs. Kong debuting earlier this week. If, for example, there was concern that The Trench might cannibalize some of Aquaman 2‘s audience, why not push the former as an HBO Max exclusive? And considering Darkseid just made his movie debut in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, another HBO Max exclusive that isn’t even considered to be part of the official DCEU canon, why couldn’t room be made for DuVernay‘s take on the New Gods?
It’s also unclear whether Warner’s decision to pull the plug on New Gods had anything to do with Darkseid getting absolutely embarrassed in his introductory scene in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, but it is my responsibility to assume that it did.