What’s the significance of Warner Bros’ latest announcement regarding the DC cinematic universe? Who are the New Gods and why are they more important to DC today than they were in the 70s?
Back during the heyday of Jack Kirby’s career, he was fighting Marvel for more credit on his artwork and greater control over editorial decisions. It got to the point where he threatened to quit, and the competition heard.
DC, eager to lure the best artist in comics to their side, promised complete creative control over whatever Kirby came up with behind their doors, plus prominent, front-and-center credits. The offer was irresistible, and Kirby jumped sides. Taking advantage of the creative freedom, he concocted a biblical-sized epic; a giant war between space gods. The comic used none of the familiar characters that DC was known for, and the concept was much wider in scope than everything else the company was putting out at the time.
DC didn’t know what to make of it and neither did readers. It didn’t help that Kirby’s strength was in drawing, not in writing — much of the plot was incoherent and the wooden dialogue was downright laughable. Sales slowed to a crawl and Kirby had to abandon the New Gods until the 80s, when DC requested more.
The most valuable thing DC got out of the deal was Darkseid. The villain of the New Gods storyline became the Big Bad of the DC Universe and a truly formidable foe for Superman and the Justice League. He was almost included in the movie last year, but WB wisely decided to save him for later (otherwise they’d have to top him somehow).
So that brings us to today. Kirby’s contribution to the DC mythos is now stronger than ever, with many of the characters introduced in the New Gods comic (Orion, Metron, Mister Miracle, Big Barda) heavy hitters in the comics. It makes sense, then, that WB is interested in making a New Gods movie.
They’ve signed on award-winning director Ava DuVernay, who most recently directed A Wrinkle in Time. DuVernay is a big fan of Kirby and her favorite DC superhero is Big Barda. DuVernay didn’t release a public statement of her own, just this quote from Jack: “Our dreams make us large.”
The studio is now looking for a screenwriter. The New Gods movie is early in development and does not have a release date.
So who would you cast as the evil granny?