With all the contention surrounding Batman v Superman's bad reviews and the recent DCEU executive shake-up, it's easy to overlook the one movie in DC's upcoming lineup that is sure to be awesome. This is, of course, 2017's Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins.
Everything we've heard about the film so far sets it up to be one of DC's best offerings in years — the plot will follow Gal Gadot's Diana Prince as she takes it upon herself to help humanity in World War I, earning her title of Wonder Woman in the process. There's tons to explore here, from the war-torn setting to Diana's own coming of age story.
This is something we don't often (or ever, really) get to see for female heroes, and if actress Gal Gadot's recent comments are anything to go by, Wonder Woman's new origin story is sure to drag the DCEU out from the shadow cast by Batman v Superman.
Gal Gadot Gets Diana
From the start, Gal Gadot has faced criticisms for her portrayal of Diana Prince. This is thanks to her body shape — in the comics, Wonder Woman is usually (not always!) drawn with a full figure, tall, imposing, and muscly.
As soon as Dawn of Justice was released however, even her harshest critics were silenced, and claims that she was "too skinny" to play Wonder Woman were overruled by how well Gadot played the role. She might be thin, but the Isreali army graduate definitely knows her stuff when it comes to a fight, pummeling Doomsday and grinning when he finally landed a punch.
Even beyond the fighting itself, Gadot really understands what it means to play Wonder Woman. We may not have seen much of her in Batman v Superman (a valid criticism of the film), but whenever she was onscreen Gadot wowed us with her perfect balance of grace and dignity, with her considerable power just under the surface of her facade.
But that's the modern day Diana. The woman we meet in 2017's Wonder Woman is far from the somber ex-heroine in Dawn of Justice, as Gadot explained to SciFiNow.
"In 'Batman v Superman,' you are being introduced to a very experienced, dark Wonder Woman. She has been around for a while. Something happened 100 years ago that made her not want to be involved in a man’s world. However, we are going to tell the entire coming of age story of Diana. We’re going to see how she becomes Wonder Woman. She is very different to the Diana that you see in ['Dawn Of Justice']. She is more naïve and she’s purer. She is a young idealist who does not yet understand the complexities of life."
Since Batman v Superman was released, fans have been wondering why Diana was hesitant to don her iconic costume and leap into the fray.
When we first encounter Diana in Dawn of Justice she's sneaking around Lex Luthor's lair, but her motivation is not exactly heroic. Rather, Diana is just trying to retrieve the damning photo of her in 1918, to protect herself from Luthor's metahuman obsession. It's not until Bruce Wayne emails her with the evidence of her fellow metahumans that Diana starts on her path back to heroism, and ultimately she chooses to don her costume once again to protect humanity from Doomsday. And it's awesome.
A Century Of Horrors
But how did Diana get so jaded in the first place? Wonder Woman's solo movie will go a long way to explain why she "turned [her] back on humanity", and from Gadot's comments it seems that a great deal of the 2017 film will deal with how this happened.
Of course, Wonder Woman isn't all heartbreak and shell shock — Gadot also talked about how this is in many ways a new origin story for Diana, which is exciting within itself.
"I think that the heart of the movie is about the coming of age of Diana. Diana is so passionate about life and she is so passionate about love and truth and justice — and she is very inspiring, even to me. One of the reasons why Patty Jenkins agreed to do this movie was because of the core story. The action is fantastic. You will have action — but we have a very, very solid story to tell."
It's heartening to hear that even amongst the WWI conflict Wonder Woman will be an inspirational and hopeful story, after Batman v Superman's determined grimness.
This will be the first time we've seen a female superhero get a coming of age movie, too, which is really exciting. (Supergirl gave Kara Danvers a coming of age tale, but this is the first time we've seen something similar on the big screen.) We're going to get to see how Diana went from an idealistic Amazon princess to battle-hardened warrior, and what harsh lessons she had to learn along the way.
Becoming A Hero
Diana Prince has had a few origin stories in her time, as the DC comics continuity rebooted and shifted its canon. So far, it seems as though Wonder Woman will draw heavily from the original version of the story, as Steve Trevor crash lands on Themyscira.
In William Marston's original Wonder Woman comics, Steve Trevor is a pilot in the Second World War who is saved by Diana from his crashed plane. The two fall in love as she nurses him back to health, and Diana is inspired by him to fight the good fight in WWII. From the leaked set pictures, it looks like a similar version of the tale will play out in the film, but this time Steve's not alone — more pictures showed German soldiers facing off against Amazon warriors, which is sure to be an exciting battle.
According to the first footage reel, Diana will be inspired by Steve in Wonder Woman to fight in WWI, mirroring her journey in the comics.
And here's where we can start to see Gadot's comments about Diana's naiveté come into play — it's already been explained that Diana is struggling against her fellow Amazonians in the debate of what to do about humanity, and whether they should involve themselves in human affairs.
"These Amazons were once created to protect man's world, but they've since abandoned it. Diana's asking constantly, 'Why don't we go do what we were created to do and protect man?' And they say, 'Because they're not worth it.' This takes her on a journey into our world."
But it's not just about Diana being inspired to fight. According to Patty Jenkins, Diana's quite inspirational herself.
"The best thing about Wonder Woman is how good and kind and loving she is, and yet none of that negates her power"
It seems that Wonder Woman will also reveal how Diana's role in WWI set her up to be the hero we know her as, the legendary Amazon warrior who fought to protect humanity.
With any luck we'll get to see how Wonder Woman becomes a symbol for truth and justice, as she is chronologically the first superhero in the DCEU (which neatly parallels Captain America's role as the MCU's first Avenger).
Although tragedy probably awaits Diana on Flanders Fields, it's heartening to know that Wonder Woman will be the uplifting, exciting, and action packed movie that Diana has always deserved. Roll on 2017!
What are you most excited to see in Wonder Woman?