Thoughts On Ava DuVernay Directing DC’s “The New Gods”

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Warner Bros made what might be construed as a “shock” announcement yesterday evening, as Variety reported that A Wrinkle In Time director Ava DuVernay would be directing an adaptation of DC’s “The Fourth World” SagaThe New Gods.

The New Gods and its related mythologies were created by comics legend Jack Kirby in the early 1970s, and had a very mythological/”Ancient Astronauts”-type feel. An epic about the citizens of two diametrically-opposed twin planets—Apokolips and New Genesis. Everything in these stories had a sort of…deeper, almost spiritual import, as if Kirby had figured out the deeper archetypal implications of the Superhero and distilled it.

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Ava DuVernay

Which is all to say—not your standard “run of the mill” superhero comic book stuff (though a lot of key DC mythos & characters, such as Darkseid, come from The New Gods).

Maybe the perfect project for a director with a fresh perspective—I mean, it is called The “New” Gods, after all)—but some fans are unhappy with the choice of DuVernay. They feel that because her A Wrinkle In Time recently disappointed at the box-office, she doesn’t “deserve” to direct The New Gods. They feel she is being allowed to “fail upwards” only because of her gender and race.

These individuals conveniently forget that white male directors are allowed to “fail upwards” ALL THE TIME, continually getting big-budget features to do even thought their previous one bombed. And even a non-white director like M. Night Shyamalan was given, what, three, four, five+ “second chances” before he hit again last year with Split? I mean, Shyamalan directed **The Happening** and still got more chances.

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So to declare that DuVernay’s day is done, she needs to pack up her camera, etc…

I also have to point to a successful female director like Mary Harron who wasn’t offered any big movies after her 2000 film American Psycho. The film is a pop-cultural icon and launched Christian Bale’s career…and yet nobody in Hollywood was interested in cultivating her as a director the way so many “edgy” male directors were. Now she directs TV. It’s a fucking travesty. People still express surprise when I tell them a woman directed that movie.

9781401274757And another big issue is, The New Gods is a key part of the DC Comics mythos…but it’s not exactly a household name, know what I mean? These older properties need FRESH PERSPECTIVES in order to survive their aging fans. People who have been comic book fans for decades take for granted that these characters and concepts are going to “survive.” They shouldn’t.

I mean, look past comics to something like classic cartoons. Me and my peers—and those older than my peers—assume a property like Popeye the Sailor is really well-known. We assume kids know who Popeye is. We shouldn’t do that. We should be barely doing that with properties like Peanuts and Garfield. We need to have a dose of perspective.

Having a director like DuVernay on board puts The New Gods on the map. It gets people asking: who are The New Gods? Entertainment sites write articles about The New Gods. It keeps The New Gods alive. Whereas if they stay locked up in this hermetically-sealed fan-cave, it’s just not going to happen.

Last point: Warner Bros snapping DuVernay up from Disney so quickly is just good popcorn. (The director had also turned down Black Panther) These studios are just so bitchy towards each other.