New Gods and The Trench

Warner Bros. has canceled two of their upcoming DC superhero-related titles – New Gods, which was going to be directed by Ava DuVernay, and the Aquaman spin-off The Trench. Reasons for the cancelations vary – New Gods was set to have Darkseid as a villain, and Warner Bros. apparently doesn’t want to return to that character so soon after Zack Snyder’s Justice League, whereas the studio thinks an Aquaman sequel is good enough and they don’t need to worry about spin-offs set in that world.

THR has the scoop that New Gods and The Trench have been canceled by Warner Bros. “As part of our DC slate, some legacy development titles including New Gods and The Trench will not be moving forward,” Warner Bros. and DC said. “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, based on characters created by legendary comics creator Jack Kirby, was going to be directed by Ava DuVernay, while The Trench was a horror movie set in the world of Aquaman, featuring the monstrous creatures first spotted in James Wan’s film. Wan was going to produce, with a script by Noah Gardner and Aidan Fitzgerald. The reasoning behind these cancelations? With New Gods, WB seems to be concerned about bringing back villain Darkseid, who was just seen in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. And as for The Trench, “sources say that the upcoming Aquaman sequel was considered enough.”

This sounds genuinely silly to be – Aquaman was a huge hit, so why not keep expanding that world beyond a sequel? And who the hell cares if Darkseid just appeared in another movie? THR also adds that  “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.”

On top of that, Warner Bros. and DC seem to want to get back to creating a big shared cinematic universe. Aside from Matt Reeves’s The Batman, the upcoming Warner Bros./DC TV and film slate are all meant to exist together, with hopes that the upcoming The Flash will “lend clarity to the future of the Justice League.” Again: this strikes me as silly. Trying to cobble together a big shared superhero cinematic universe a la Marvel is what got Warner Bros. in trouble to begin with. Meanwhile, Joker, a completely stand-alone movie, was a major hit and took home multiple Oscars. The lesson learned should be that it’s wiser to forge ahead with strong individual movies than worry about a cinematic universe, but it’s clear the Warner Bros. doesn’t agree with that.

Meanwhile, Ava DuVernay posted the following on Twitter.

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