Ava DuVernay Drawn to ‘Black Girl Superhero’ Nature of ‘Naomi’

Naomi on The CW
(Image credit: The CW)

Naomi premieres on The CW January 11. From Ava DuVernay and Jill Blankenship, Naomi stars Kaci Walfall and follows the journey of a cool, confident, comic book-loving teen as she pursues her hidden destiny.

The show is based on the characters from DC.

Cranston Johnston and Alexander Wraith are also in the cast. 

Walfall said she came upon the comic books the show is based on after she began working on it. “I’m an avid reader, but I hadn't read comic books before the show,” she said at a press event last week. “I, however, was a big fan of the DC shows. I watched Supergirl religiously in middle school and I've watched The Flash. So I was a fan of the film world a bit, but I hadn't read the comics before.”

DuVernay was drawn to the project because of the “Black girl superhero” context of it, she said. “I was like, well, you know, you gotta tell me more. That's gotta be mine,” she said. “And so when I heard the origin story, I said, well, this must be mine because it was different [from] most fully formed superheroes, where we just dive into the comic and she's who she is, and she knows everything that's going on. This was really the steps to becoming yourself, the steps to realizing your destiny, the steps that it takes to become who you're meant to be. And that's something that was very interesting to me.”

DuVernay's film work includes Selma and A Wrinkle in Time, and her TV projects include When They See Us.

DuVernay and Blankenship executive produce with Sarah Bremner and Paul Garnes of Array Filmworks. Array Filmworks produces the series in association with Warner Bros. Television. 

Blankenship said the DC world reaches a wide array of viewers. “What's so lovely about the world of comics, and DC specifically, is that there's really something for everyone,” said Blankenship. “And in it, you get to touch on all these different places and all these exciting characters. And when it comes to crossovers that kind of thing, I think nothing is ever off the table.” ■ 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.