Ava DuVernay is expanding beyond the comic book world of Naomi via her upcoming CW series of the same name, premiering Jan. 11. And that could leave the door open for potential crossovers with other popular superhero series on the same network.
“We got a lot of information in the first two episodes which means: we get to make up cool new things,” DuVernay said during the show’s TCA presentation on Thursday. “In terms of crossovers, we’re not thinking about that right now. She’s on her own path and I really think this is the first part of the Naomi-verse. People need to be trying to crossover into here! So we’ll see what happens, but you won’t see any crossovers in Season 1. We’re focused on Naomi’s journey singularly.”
Based on the eponymous comic book series that debuted in 2019, co-written by Brian Michael Bendis and David F. Walker and illustrated by breakout artist Jamal Campbell, the show follows a teenage girl’s journey from her small northwestern town to the heights of the multiverse. When a supernatural event shakes her hometown to the core, Naomi (Kaci Walfall) sets out to uncover its origins, and what she discovers will challenge everything we believe about our heroes.
When the series kicks off, Naomi is unaware that she has any powers to speak of. But as the first two episodes unravel, she learns about her abilities gradually. This helped Walfall ease into becoming a teen superhero.
“As [Naomi] is finding out, I’m finding out which is really helpful as an actor,” she shared. “How I embody the powers in episode 2 is going to be different than how I embody those powers in episode 11. I think that allows me and the character to grow. I work out so I can stay fit but also maintain energy, which is helpful as she goes, getting better and better in each episode.”
Naomi features a diverse cast of talent including Daniel Puig, Camila Moreno, Mouzam Makkar, and Cranston Johnson. DuVernay says her goal goes beyond just representation into normalization.
“It’s not about representation, it’s about normalization,” DuVernay said. “We’re doing really muscular things that relates to race and gender and class but we’re doing it by playing it normal like it’s just a part of the everyday. I say it kiddingly but it’s real. The more you can portray images without underlining or highlighting them and putting a star next to them. By showing a different type of hero that centers a girl, a Black girl, that centers different kinds of folks. We start to make that normal and that’s a radical and revolutionary thing.”
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