Warner Bros. Animation and award-winning writer/director/producer Ava DuVernay are developing a high-end serialized animated family television series based on the #1 New York Times and USA Today best-selling book series Wings of Fire, from author Tui T. Sutherland. The Studio secured the exclusive rights to the sought-after publishing phenomenon for DuVernay in a highly competitive situation with multiple parties bidding for the middle grade fantasy book series, which thus far has spawned 15 novels, three graphic novels and four short stories.
WBA is producing the project with DuVernay, who serves as executive producer, through her ARRAY Filmworks production company. Dan Milano (Glitch Techs), Christa Starr, Tui T. Sutherland and WBA’s Sam Register (Teen Tians Go!) are also on board as executive producers.
With more than nine million copies in print and available in 16 languages, the Wings of Fire book series is an epic adventure set in a world entirely ruled by dragons. Across two continents and 10 tribes, the series explores vicious wars, enduring friendships, and heroic quests that span generations of fascinating dragon characters.
This marks the first animated project for DuVernay as part of her exclusive overall deal with the Warner Bros. Television Group. For WBTVG, DuVernay is currently producing the OWN/Warner Horizon Scripted Television series Queen Sugar and Cherish the Day, as well as the HBO Max/Warner Bros. Television pilot DMZ, based on characters from DC.
Ava DuVernay is in the DC Comics property business as she’s working on her second property for the comic publisher. DuVernay and HBO are adapting the second American Civil War comic DMZ. DuVernay is currently working on New Gods adapting the Jack Kirby DC Comics creations. HBO and DC Comics have the same parent company, AT&T.
DMZ was published by the DC imprint Vertigo and followed a young man as he navigated the maze that is the DMZ of Manhattan which separates the split American nation of the former federal government and Free States. Wood worked on the series with co-creator and artist Riccardo Burchielli and it was released from 2005 to 2012. John Paul Leon also provided art on the series, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, and colored by Jeromy Cox.
The television series focuses on a female medic on the island who tries to keep the residents alive while also trying to find her lost son.
This is the second series that HBO has produced based around a civil war. Confederate was a planned series that was developed for the channel by David Benioff and D. B. Wess. The concept was the American Civil War ending in a stalemate and some described it as “slavery fan fiction.” That project was scrapped due to public reaction.
DMZ too is a stalemate civil war story, without the slavery, which indicates HBO is looking for this narrative to play to a certain demographic.
He’s tackled Mister Miracle, but now writer Tom King is taking on the whole New Gods as he’s joined Ava DuVernary to co-write the upcoming film. DuVernary revealed the news via a Tweet.
King’s Mister Miracle maxiseries was praised as one of the best comics of the year when it was released. Mitch Gerads provided art for that project and it won multiple awards making numerous “best of” lists.
New Gods was created by Jack Kirby and involves two warring alien groups, New Genesis and Apokolips. Darkseid, the unseen villain of the Justice League film, is a despotic ruler of Apokolips. To bring “peace,” Highfather, the ruler of the New Gods, and Apokolips trade their children. Scott Free, Mister Miracle is raised by Apokolips, while Orion is raised by Highfather. Scott rebels from his adoptive father.
DuVernary was announced as the lead and director of the project in March 2018 and is a long time fan of the New Gods as she has revealed that Big Barda is a favorite character of hers.
Barda was one of the main characters in King’s Mister Miracle and is an elite warrior who breaks away from Darkseid and falls in love with Scott Free, aka Mister Miracle. The two become rebels fighting Darkseid’s totalitarian rule.
Deadline is reporting that director Ava DuVernay is closing a deal and will dive into Jack Kirby‘s creations with The New Gods for Warner Bros.
This is another big budget film for the director whose film A Wrinkle in Time opened this past weekend. That film was released by Buena Vista, a division of Disney, a competitor to Warner Bros. in both film and comics.
This is the second female director Warner Bros/DC has brought onto a project. Patty Jenkins was the first and her Wonder Woman went on to gross over $800 million worldwide.
It is believed this will be a freestanding film not connected to the DC Cinematic Universe. That move is interesting as Steppenwolf was the villain of Justice League and Darkseid has been looming over that film universe.
The director is a fan of Kirby’s creations stating that her favorite superhero is Big Barda.
Kirby’s creations debuted in the early 70s and involves two warring factions, those of New Genesis and those of Apokolips. Think of it as a combination of a lot of different mythological backgrounds. Known as the “Fourth World,” the New Gods can currently be seen in Mister Miracle written by Tom King with art by Mitch Gerads as well as appearing in various series of DC Comics.
This is a massive sandbox to play in and it’ll be interesting to see where it all goes from here.