Despite the diminishing returns of the DC Extended Universe films as a whole, Warner Bros. still has quite an ambitious slate of upcoming superhero projects in the works. From Lobo to Justice League Dark to Booster Gold, it seems as though some of DC’s most unexpected properties are all destined to head to the big screen. Nevertheless, many were taken aback when it was announced that A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay would helm a film based on arguably one of the most out-there concepts in mainstream comics – the New Gods.
This isn’t just huge news for comic book fans, though. With A Wrinkle in Time, DuVernay broke new ground by becoming the first female person of color to direct a live-action film with a $100 million-plus budget. Now, she’s poised to repeat this landmark achievement at Warner Bros., which – in addition to being the second live-action DC Comics film to be directed by a woman after Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman – is likely to generate interest in The New Gods from non-comics readers, as well.
So, with that in mind, who and what are the New Gods, exactly?
Created in 1971 by the legendary Jack Kirby, the New Gods are beings who evolved to nigh-perfection because of their proximity to the Source – a limitless energy field responsible for all life in the known universe. However, the New Gods themselves actually live in a realm outside of traditional space and time; a realm known as the Fourth World. This realm was separated from the rest of the universe during a war that destroyed the Old Gods and their planet, Urgrund, which also resulted in the formation of the two planets the New Gods inhabit – New Genesis and Apokolips.
Essentially allegories for Heaven and Hell, New Genesis, ruled by the Highfather, is a beautiful and idyllic planet with an abundance of vegetation and wildlife, as well as a floating city called Supertown, while Apokolips, ruled by Darkseid, is a fiery and polluted industrial dystopia. Still, despite the stark contrast in the living conditions of their respective denizens, both New Genesis and Apokolips boast highly advanced technology, far beyond that of Earth.
Practically as soon as New Genesis and Apokolips were formed, the two planets became locked in an eternal war of good versus evil. Eventually, though, a peace treaty of sorts was reached when Highfather and Darkseid agreed to exchange their newborn sons. As such, Highfather’s son Scott Free (the future Mister Miracle) was sent to live on Apokolips, while Darkseid’s son Orion would be sent to New Genesis. However, both would grow up to become heroes in their own right, even serving stints on the Justice League.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a deeper dive into the history of some of the more prominent New Gods, themselves.