This is no April Fool’s joke: Just a few weeks after Zack Snyder’s Justice League hit HBO Max, Warner Bros. asserted its confidence in its DC properties by…canning two of the most anticipated entries into its comic-based movie universe.
Today, WB announced that it would be putting Ava DuVernay’s New Gods adaptation and the horror-centric Aquaman spin-off The Trench on the shelf. “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 in a statement. “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.”
While it makes a bit more sense that The Trench might sink, seeing as the DCEU is moving towards more standalone film entries (and that producer James Wan is already busy getting ready for Aquaman 2), New Gods getting canned is a blow. DuVernay would’ve had a big sandbox to play in for these weird Jack Kirby characters—who don’t really have anything to do with the current DC slate at all. Aside from Darkseid. Oops. That Snyder Cut might’ve cost DuVernay a job. While that film was still in development, The Trench already had a script from Noah Gardner and Aidan Fitzgerald.
It seems like WB and the DCEU are hammering out their future more solidly now, with eyes on The Batman and The Suicide Squad blazing a new trail for the superhero universe where alt stories can pop up alongside standard interconnected fare. It was clear after Endgame blew records out of the water that DC was going to have to make moves to stay competitive in this superhero paradigm, but it’s sad that it’s already cost two of the more interesting sounding films in development.