One cannot softshoe the New Gods movie. If you’re going to tackle Jack Kirby‘s whacked-out ’70s space opera featuring sci-fi twists on Greek mythology and scrappy insectoid do-gooders, then you need to strap on your sharpest cleats and unleash a bloody racket upon the stage. New Gods is a mad comic book tale that cannot hide behind The Matrix leather and handsome Hollywood casting. There is no bending the vision to your idea of cool. The adapter must recognize the cool in its weird and embrace its glorious oddity. If the filmmaker flinches, the audience will turn away as well.
Ava DuVernay is no flincher. Whatever you thought of A Wrinkle in Time, you must admit that she went wild in her interpretation. Based on what little we’ve seen so far regarding her next cinematic outing, it appears that her New Gods will go even bigger and dare to be bolder.
When a fan tweeted a plea for a little news on the project to get us through these days of self-isolation doldrums, DuVernay happily replied with a teeny but significant bit of information. She’s currently working on a fourth draft (alongside co-writer and comic book scribe Tom King), and the film will feature the character All-Widow. That right there is a promise. Her New Gods is going to deliver on Kirby’s lunacy.
Because you asked so nicely… working on fourth draft of a scene featuring All Widow this week. xo https://t.co/mZgPQdE8dD
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 6, 2020
All-Widow is the Queen of the Bugs, a race of humanoid insects that evolved from the “micro life” of New Genesis, a.k.a. the New Gods’ home planet. These creatures live in colonies beneath the surface and are seen as lesser lifeforms than the deities above. They’re the ultimate underdogs, biding their time until their skills will be required by the great rulers of the galaxy.
If All-Widow is present in the film, that most likely means we will also see the appearance of the Bug champion Forager. When his dominion comes under attack, Forager flees the colony seeking aid from the New Genesis ruler, Highfather (their Zeus). He is treated as a nuisance, but his persistence persuades the Highfather’s son Orion to join in his cause. Together, Forager and Orion prevent the destruction of the Bug species, and Forager worms his way into a mighty sphere of influence.
I would not expect characters like All-Widow or Forager to be front and center of The New Gods. If you think of these roles in terms of Marvel’s The Avengers, Forager is the equivalent of The Vision or Hawkeye, but obviously far weirder. He’s a little flavor to spice up the mix of square-jawed heroism. Orion is the Iron Man; All-Widow is Laufey the Frost Giant, and the Highfather is Odin.
All-Widow means DuVernay is reveling inside a massive universe. One stroll through her Twitter feed unveils her glee for Jack Kirby’s kingdom. She’s clearly in love, and that passion is what gives us the most excitement. You want a filmmaker who adores the canvas on which they’re creating. You want a filmmaker who recognizes Kirby’s oddity as genius and not something in need of tinkering or repair. DuVernay’s tweet is saying, “Don’t worry, I got you.” We’re in good hands.