Why has it been so difficult for Wonder Woman to make her way to the big screen? One thing worth noting is that the most recent female superhero movies have all be spin-offs of big grossing male superhero movies: Daredevil's Elektra and Batman's Catwoman being the last two examples. You could even make an argument that Wonder Woman will be something of a spin-off of Batman vs Superman but everyone knows that Wonder Woman is very much her own character and plays second fiddle to no one.
2006 & Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman
And it isn't for lack of trying as none other than Joss Whedon himself tried to bring the character to the movie screens in 2006 and even managed to get as far as the script and concept art stage. Unfortunately the stigma of the box office bombs of 2005's Elektra and 2004's Catwoman were still in the air and no one wanted to risk the money on a Wonder Woman movie that has all the epic scale of Joss Whedon's Avengers, complete with a giant, fire breathing "Khimaera" causing mass destruction. (You can find Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman by following the link here.)
Nearly ten years later, it is evident that the fear still hasn't subsided from the money lost on the female superhero movies of the past. Emails discovered during the big Sony hack of last year show studio executives still shaking in their Brooks Brother suits over the prospect of moving forward with a female superhero movie. And the rumors and reports surrounding the development of Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman are full of the same bet hedging, uncertainty and fear of going big and "epic".
Searching for Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman
DC and Warner Bros have been casting a wide net when it comes to finding the right script to green light for Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman movie. After the first script was rejected, reports emerged of the studio put five different writers to work on five different concepts while executives developed their own story ideas. Original Wonder Woman director Michelle MacLaren was among these executives pitching their ideas and the studio so roundly rejected her idea that she parted ways citing the old "creative differences" excuse.
The response from the studio was that MaLaren's vision for the character was "vastly different from the studio’s view" and her epic, Braveheart inspired story was too heavy on action when the studio wants something more character driven. This can easily be read as meaning that Warner Bros has the same fears as the other studios and doesn't want to spend too much money on Wonder Woman after every other female superhero movie has ended up under-performing at the box office.
Why else would the creators of a comic book superhero movie balk at moving forward on an epic, action-packed story? It's the same reason Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman movie didn't move forward and can only be attributed to fear and uncertainty. They say numbers don't lie but the fact is that so much progress has been made in the quality of the superhero movie in the time since Elektra and Catwoman that studios should expect audiences to have a much different set of expectations when it comes to going to see something like Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman's Built-in Audience
The whole idea of creating a shared universe also ensures a built-in audience to these kinds of movies as well. Marvel likely knows quite well that people will turn up to see the much more obscure Captain Marvel movie because the movie ties into the big picture of the MCU's Phase 3 storyline leading up to Avengers: Infinity War. Warner Bros and DC are building towards the Justice League and with Wonder Woman making her debut in [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870), the studio should be showing confidence that audiences will be showing up to see the movie that is being released only months ahead of Justice League: Part 1.
Wonder Woman is set to begin filming this fall and the hope is that whichever Wonder Woman movie that does get the green light from the studio can find the right balance of action and "character-driven" tone that they're looking for. The fact that Warner Bros wants a character driven Wonder Woman rather than a big action heavy epic hopefully won't result in another poorly conceived movie like Elektra or Catwoman that will continue to give the female superhero movie a bad name. We're in the golden age of superhero movies and 2016 will likely go down as the biggest year for the genre - here's hoping Wonder Woman will be part of the celebration.
What do you think? Which vision of Wonder Woman do you share - the epic action movie or the more character driven story? Take to the comments and let us know what kind of Wonder Woman movie you would like to see!