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'Naomi' TV creators address comic book changes and DC-verse crossover rumors

Ava DuVernay & Jill Blankenship discuss comic book narrative changes and possible DC crossovers.

By Tara Bennett

Naomi, the latest DC superhero series from The CW, drops Jan. 11 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and fans of the network's ever-growing TV universe want to know if and how this latest series might connect to the overarching narrative. Based on the 2019 comic written by Brian Michael Bendis and David F. Walker with art by Jamal Campbell, Naomi the TV series will be loosely based on that run with a much expanded narrative and ensemble cast. 

At today's Television Critics Association Winter 2022 virtual press day for the series, executive producers Ava DuVernay (DMZ) and Jill Blankenship (Arrow) told reporters that Naomi's (Kaci Walfall) comics origin story as a popular, average teen in the Pacific Northwest who is obsessed with Superman will carry through into the series. 

"When I first heard her origin story, I thought it must be mine," DuVernay said of her initial interest in adapting the comics. "The steps to becoming powerful and realizing your destiny, and the steps to being who you are meant to be was interesting to me."

Teaming with Blankenship, who is the showrunner of the series, DuVernay said the comics team graciously ceded any day-to-day input into the series so they could make their own interpretation.

"They said this is our baby and you take her and raise her like you want," DuVernay said. "That is a gift they gave to us, to say, 'Take it and do your thing.' And our series takes a different path than the next series of the comics. We think Naomi can hold multiple interpretations," citing Spider-man as a recent example. "And we’ve enjoyed that freedom."

Asked how much of the TV story is tied to comic book narrative, DuVernay said comic book readers would recognize a lot in the first two episodes, but then the story will start to go into new directions. Blankenship added, "Throughout the writing process, we viewed the comic as our foundation and then we charted our own course. We always want to keep the spirit of comic, which is a young, black, coming-of-age story for Naomi surrounded by her friends and family in a joyful way."

As for specifics, DuVernay said they were in an edit for Episode 7 today and just finished the script for Episode 13. Otherwise she was vague in only confirming that, "We make up a lot of new, cool things."

However, DuVernay did reveal that there would not be any DC crossovers within the series during its freshman season. "We're not thinking about it right now," she said adamantly. "We consider this the first part of the Naomi-verse so we will see what happens here. But there are no crossovers in Season 1 as this is firmly her story."

Naomi premieres on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 9:00 p.m. ET.