Ava DuVernay Sheds Some Light On Why Her New Gods Movie Got The Chop

Although their overall track record isn't all that different from most other studios currently in the superhero movie game, Warner Bros. has had to work overtime lately to erase the reputation they've garnered in recent years for being a little too eager to put the cart before the horse. Remember when DC triumphantly unveiled an exciting new movie slate years before "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" even released? Fully half of those buzzy productions never ended up seeing the light of day, with only "The Flash" escaping the carnage of those shelved projects and officially making it onto WB's release schedule (though it experienced more than its fair share of setbacks on its long journey out of development hell). 

With all that recent history hanging over the studio's head, it's little surprise that fans responded poorly to the news earlier this year that the "Aquaman" spin-off "The Trench" and Ava DuVernay's "New Gods" were canceled. While we've since received a little more information on what we missed out on with James Wan's film, we've remained in the dark about why exactly "New Gods" was put on the backburner. Recently, however, DuVernay herself opened up about watching the project fall apart from her own perspective.

Roads Not Taken

Generally speaking, neither studio or director tend to be forthcoming about movies that never quite made it to the finish line – just ask Edgar Wright, after all. But DuVernay is in a rare position of still working with the same studio on multiple ongoing projects despite their past differences. As we saw during this year's DC FanDome event, DuVernay is currently hard at work on her "DMZ" series for HBO Max and previously helped develop "Naomi" for The CW as part of her overall deal with Warner Bros. When it came to deciding whether to move forward with "New Gods," the name-brand filmmaker reveals that the studio had its reasons for moving on. 

In an interview with Sirius XM (via Comic Book), DuVernay had this to say:

"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. So, before I even was able to kind of complete my script with Tom King, they axed it.

It's been fun to play in that world, even though it's not the big movie, we're making some pretty big things with DC."

Talk about taking the high road. DuVernay steers clear of any specifics, but this would seem to confirm many of the rumors at the time. WB, as the idea goes, was uncomfortable with having "Zack Snyder's Justice League" and its wealth of new footage — primarily the storyline featuring the villainous Darkseid — streaming on HBO Max at the same time that DuVernay's "New Gods" would be in development, which also would've involved Darkseid as its chief antagonist. This would appear to be a pretty thin excuse when you consider how much the studio has taken pains to uphold the theatrical cut of "Justice League" as the canonical version, not to mention the fact that audiences seem to be handling multiple Batmans (Batmen?) currently running around with DC's blessing, with yet another one on its way.

Ultimately, DuVernay seems to have made her peace with this development and hasn't let this setback slowed her down whatsoever. "DMZ" will premiere on HBO Max sometime next year.