You’d be forgiven for forgetting, for however briefly, that Warner Bros. is still making DC Comics superhero movies; the entertainment giant straight-up whiffed on Comic-Con this year, allowing Marvel to suck up all the oxygen in the room, and depriving Wonder Woman fans of life-giving teasers and trailers from the movie’s still-in-the-works sequel. But while we might not be getting a movie where Ben Affleck goes insane over the great and terrible obligation of being Batman, there are still some interesting DC projects in the works—including Ava DuVernay’s film adaptation of Jack Kirby’s New Gods.
DuVernay shed some fresh light (and also a little all-consuming existential evil) on the film this week, answering questions on a variety of topics on Twitter, and confirming a couple of major villains for the piece. Most notably (if not especially surprising, given both his place in Kirby’s comic book cosmology, as well as hints of his existence in movies like the not-entirely-whisked-under-the-rug-yet Justice League), DuVernay was kind enough to confirm that universal heavy Darkseid will show up, presumably as the film’s big villain.
As Deadline noted earlier this afternoon, that does present something of a problem for DC, on account of Thanos. (That guy! Always causing trouble!) See, DC’s rock-jawed, tyrannical, freedom-hating baddie has a few similarities to Jim Starlin’s finger-snapping overlord, because, well…Starlin (admittedly!) kind of ripped Kirby off when he was coming up with the character. But regardless of who stole from who, Warner Bros. still has to deal with the fact that the wider public knows who Thanos is, and is way less clear on a guy whose name sounds like a Star Wars religious entity with a spelling problem. (It doesn’t help that Kirby’s other god-like-heroes-who-battle-while-embodying-basic-human-concepts, The Eternals, are already in development at Marvel.)
Still, if someone can thread the needle, it’s probably DuVernay, who was also happy to note that another set of iconic Kirby characters—The Female Furies—will be popping up in her film, too. Raised in an evil orphanage—all public services are pretty much evil on Darkseid’s world of Apokalips—the group are a persistent enemy of the forces of good, except for their former leader, Big Barda, who gave up evil after falling in love with her husband, living embodiment of freedom Mister Miracle. (Recently featured together in the excellent Mister Miracle miniseries—written by DuVernay’s New Gods collaborator, Tom King.)
Darkseid and the Furies are all big characters in the world of the New Gods mythos, so the biggest takeaway here isn’t necessarily their inclusion, so much as the confirmation that the ever-busy DuVernay is still hard at work on this film. For all the simplicity of his character—loves evil, hates freedom, has an unflattering taste in hats—really good depictions of Darkseid, like Michael Ironside in the old Justice League and Superman cartoons, are capable of radiating menace in a way few other villains can (fancy golden gloves or no). So it’s reassuring to know that not even the fucked-up state of the wider DC Universe can stop the big man from showing up to toss an Omega Beam or two around when the time finally comes.