[Update: Fear not, Wonder Woman fans - "Iris" was just a code name for the casting breakdown to avoid being leaked to the public. So much for that idea. Check below for more details.]
In the past decade, Warner Bros. has tried to develop both a Wonder Woman film – directed by Joss Whedon – and a TV series – created by David E. Kelley of Ally McBeal fame. Needless to say, neither of those projects were successful in the slightest.
According to Entertainment Weekly, The CW has hired a casting director for the project – which has yet to receive a pilot order – and is getting ready to send out a notice for the role of young Wonder Woman. Courtesy of Deadline, we now know that the character’s name will be “Iris,” not Diana of Themyscira (nor Diana Prince, Wonder Woman’s occasional alter ego in the comic books), and that they’re looking for actresses in their early to mid-twenties who are 5’8″ or taller.
Here’s the full breakdown for the role:
“She comes from a remote, secluded country and until now has spent most of her life as a soldier and a leader on the battlefield. Because of relentless brutality of her life at home, Iris looks at our world with absolute awe and astonishment. She’s delighted and just as often horrified by the aspects of everyday life that we take for granted: skyscrapers, traffic, ice cream. It’s all new and fascinating and sometimes slightly troubling to her. Iris is completely unschooled in our world, our culture, our customs. And she’s completely inexperienced at interpersonal relationships. She has no social filter, does not suffer fools, and tends to do and say exactly what’s on her mind at all times. She’s bluntly, refreshingly honest. She can tell when you’re lying to her. And she doesn’t have time or patience for politics or tact because she’s too busy trying to experience everything our world has to offer. There are too many sights to see and things to learn and people to care for. Hers is a true, noble, and generous heart. And she will fight and die for the people she loves. Iris is a fierce warrior with the innocent heart of a romantic and she will fight to the death to make the world safe for innocents and true romantics everywhere.”
So, yeah, her name is Iris. You can probably expect quite a few comic book fans to express frustration with regard to that little revelation, and justifiably so. One wonders what the point of changing Wonder Woman’s real name is, aside from purposefully annoying the hell out of fanboys and girls alike. Then again, I can totally envision a bunch of studio execs sitting around a table saying to themselves, “Princess Diana … Princess Diana … that name sure rings a bell for some reason. Oh – oh, golly gee! Princess Di! Well, that does it, we can’t have the young people confusing this Diana with Diana, princess of Wales! A biopic series would never sell with the 18-35 demographic.”
While Amazon will almost certainly attempt to replicate the success of The CW’s other superhero show, Arrow – after all, there’s already talk of a crossover – you can probably expect it to simultaneously try to draw in more of the female audience with a larger emphasis on romance and so-called “soap opera” elements.
And frankly, that could very well be a good thing. Shows like Veronica Mars, The Vampire Diaries, and Teen Wolf are proof that this sort of creative combination – typically male-oriented genres combined with typically female-oriented genres – can yield not only great ratings, but also legitimate quality.
Furthermore, the character breakdown above makes the show sound like a fish out of water concept, not unlike The CW’s upcoming Sex in the City prequel, The Carrie Diaries. Might we see Iris (if that is her real name) fresh off the boat from Themyscira, getting into all kinds of crazy teenage scenarios here in America? Hell, the showrunners would be remiss if she didn’t.
We can speculate about Amazon for hours on end, of course, but there are still a number of questions that remain. Namely:
- Is “Iris” the character’s actual name? Or is it a fake name she gives herself while she explores our world?
- Will Amazon be steeped in magic and mythology, as the Wonder Woman comic book is? Or will it be hyper-realistic, a la Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and, to a lesser extent, Arrow? (And if the latter is true, in what way exactly will this character be Wonder Woman?)
- Will Iris from Amazon eventually become the Wonder Woman of the forthcoming Justice League film? Or is this a totally unrelated project, a la Smallville/Superman Returns?
- Can we expect to see the same sort of supervillain/superhero guest stars on Amazon that we’re seeing currently on Arrow?
There are probably more questions, all of which you can leave in the comments section below. Ultimately, there’s no rule that says that a show like this can’t be a runaway success, critically and otherwise. We’ll have to wait and see if that’s what it becomes, and before that, it has to actually receive a pilot order. I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened fairly soon, too.
Check back for more Amazon news as this story develops.
Update: Amazon writer Allan Heinberg and DC Entertaintment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns have both taken to Twitter to assuage fears that Wonder Woman’s new name would be “Iris.” Check out the tweets below:
Merciful Minerva!So much for using code names to avoid internet speculation.;)— Allan Heinberg (@allanheinberg) November 30, 2012
If a WW show happens her name is of course DIANA. Codenames (like IRIS) are used in casting a lot to try and avoid speculation. #TV101 :)— Geoff Johns (@geoffjohns) November 30, 2012
So there it is. “If” a Wonder Woman TV series happens, you can probably expect the character therein to be called Diana. Fan crisis averted?
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.