HBO Max continues to strengthen its roster by tapping Ava DuVernay to direct the pilot of its new series DMZ. This is DuVernay’s second project based in the world of DC Comics and her fourth project with a WarnerMedia subsidiary. Readers may remember the announcement in March of 2018 that DuVernay would be directing the film adaptation of New Gods for Warner Bros.
The desire to see DuVernay direct a project from the comic world has been building since 2015 when rumors that she would be directing Marvel’s Black Panther surfaced. While she did consider it, DuVernay eventually passed. Asshe stated to Essence Magazine, “I’m not signing on to direct Black Panther. I think I’ll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be. Marvel has a certain way of doing things and I think they’re fantastic and a lot of people love what they do. I loved that they reached out to me.”
The Selma director partnered with Warner Bros. in 2018, signing a multi-year contract worth $100M. This deal followed after she became the first woman of color to direct a $100M plus film with Disney’s Wrinkle in Time. DuVernay’s has also worked with Warner Bros. on the projects Queen Sugar and The Red Line. Peter Roth, Warner Bros. TV Chief Content Officer, had this to say about DuVernay, “We have had the great pleasure of working with her on Queen Sugar and The Red Line, and we are extremely excited about the new stories she has to tell.”
DuVernay will be working alongside showrunner and writer Roberto Patino on the DMZ pilot. Patino was a writer for Sons of Anarchy and an executive producer and writer on Westworld; he also has an overall deal at Warner Brothers. DMZ, which takes place during America’s Second Civil War sometime in the near future, is the brainchild of writer Brian Wood. His original collection was published in 2005, ran for seven years, and contained 72 issues.
DMZ is scheduled to start production soon, with a start date in the early months of 2020, which coincides well with WarnerMedia’s plans on launching HBO MAX mid-2020.