Excitement is continuing to build for Wonder Woman, the fourth film in the DC Extended Universe — and the first movie to star a female superhero in over a decade. Fans are waiting with a strange, heady mix of tension and eager anticipation; on the one hand, DC has had a troubled time in setting its universe in place, but on the other, every trailer and clip for Wonder Woman has looked gorgeous. This week, I got the privilege of meeting with representatives from Warner Bros., and I learned just why Patty Jenkins is the right woman for the job!
She's Wanted to Do 'Wonder Woman' for a Long Time
There's a real irony in that Patty Jenkins is best known for what she describes as the "super-dark" Monster; she actually cut her teeth in the film industry making superhero short films! For Patty, Wonder Woman is an iconic hero who has always deeply resonated with her; she first approached Warner Bros. about making Wonder Woman as far back as 2004! Year after year, she approached the studio with the same request; finally, in 2008, Warner Bros. was finally ready to sign off on the film.
2008, of course, was a big year for superhero films. We saw Marvel Studios make their debut movie Iron Man — I'm sure you don't need reminding about what a landmark event that turned out to be for the company. Even at this early a stage, Warner Bros. was considering Wonder Woman, and they wanted Patty's involvement. There was just one snag; Patty was pregnant. The timing just wasn't right, and it briefly looked as though the film would be made without her involvement. As we all know, though, Warner's plans fell through.
Patty Jenkins has always wanted to tell one specific Wonder Woman story: the origin. Her goal is to do for Wonder Woman what, back in 1978, Richard Donner did for Superman; she wants to tell an iconic origin, launching a superhero movie franchise that will stand tall and strong. Time and again this week, figures from Geoff Johns himself to Anna Obropta, Production Liaison on Wonder Woman, talked about their simple goal; to ensure that Patty's vision is carried out.
"She's My Superman"
For Patty Jenkins, Hollywood had been a surprising place. She'd grown up the daughter of a single mom, and feminism was simply assumed; the idea that Hollywood would fear putting a woman in a starring role just never made sense to her! As she observed several times, Hollywood was fine making movies that starred a talking dog, but — not a woman? But as the years have passed, she's noticed a change in Hollywood; hits like The Hunger Games have woken Hollywood up to the fact that female leads can work just as well as male leads. Now, there's a willingness to try it out, something she'd never seen before.
Against this backdrop, though, Patty's striving to make Wonder Woman something of a unique figure. She completely rejects the trend of making superheroes darker, angrier, and edgier. Discussing the tone of superhero films, she happily observes that Wonder Woman is perhaps a little lighter than the #DCEU to date. Her goal here is to present Wonder Woman as her Superman, a figure of hope and optimism who leaves us all wanting to be the best person we can possibly be. She truly stands for the best of us.
Perhaps one of the most exciting things about this film, though, is that Patty stresses it isn't some 'feminist agenda'. No — Wonder Woman herself must never be lecturing, never be scolding. Instead, the character shines a light on the absurdity of sexism; after all, she's simply never lived in a world where a woman is thought lesser than a man, and so we get to view the strangeness of it all through a fresh pair of eyes.
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All in all, I have to say that I was left absolutely thrilled. Patty Jenkins has a clear vision for Wonder Woman, and it's an impressive one; she truly aims to make the iconic Wonder Woman movie, a film that she hopes will stand the test of time just as Richard Donner's Superman did. What's more, the excitement at Warner Bros. was palpable, and the whole team seemed absolutely committed to bringing Patty's vision to life. This could be good!
Are you looking forward to 'Wonder Woman'?
(Poll Image Credit: Warner Bros.)