Joss Whedon Discusses His Defunct ‘Wonder Woman’ Movie

Published 3 years ago by , Updated March 17th, 2014 at 10:15 am,

Numerous DC comics fans have expressed their frustration about how superhero staples like Batman and Superman have long thrived in cinematic form, while classic Amazonian warrior Wonder Woman cannot seem to catch a break – as far as (good) contemporary television or film adaptations go.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon was attached to bring Diana of Themyscira to the big screen back in 2007, but that film project ultimately fell by the wayside. That didn’t exactly hurt Whedon, though, seeing how he would go on to write and direct The Avengers; all the same, a Wonder Woman movie (sadly) still only exists in theoretical form today.

Whedon is no slouch when it comes to creating strong and varied female characters, be it Buffy, Zoë Washburne on Firefly, Adelle DeWitt on Dollhouse, Kitty Pryde in his Astonishing X-Men run – or even Akima in the Whedon-scripted animated (financial) flop, Titan A.E.. So, logically, he seems like just about the perfect choice to bring Wonder Woman to life in film form.

That said, here is what Whedon had to offer Rookie Magazine, with regards to what his take on the powerful (and sexy) superheroine:

“[Wonder Woman] was a little bit like Angelina Jolie [laughs]. She sort of traveled the world. She was very powerful and very naïve about people, and the fact that she was a goddess was how I eventually found my in to her humanity and vulnerability, because she would look at us and the way we kill each other and the way we let people starve and the way the world is run and she’d just be like, ‘None of this makes sense to me. I can’t cope with it, I can’t understand, people are insane.’ And ultimately her romance with [classic Wonder Woman love interest Steve Trevor] was about him getting her to see what it’s like not to be a goddess, what it’s like when you are weak, when you do have all these forces controlling you and there’s nothing you can do about it. That was the sort of central concept of the thing. Him teaching her humanity and her saying, OK, great, but we can still do better.”

Christina Hendricks Talks Wonder Woman Joss Whedon Discusses His Defunct Wonder Woman Movie

Some fans might not be so impressed with the implication that Whedon aimed to portray Diana as somewhat of a lost soul – without the guidance of “her man,” that is. When worded like that, Whedon’s version of the character sounds a bit too similar to the (as our Kofi Outlaw put it) “soapy ‘Smallville’-type character” that Diana had been reduced to in the recent (failed) Wonder Woman television series reboot.

It could be argued that what Whedon is really talking about here is basically a role-reversal of the classic dynamic between Superman and Lois Lane. In other words, Diana would still have been a powerful and self-sufficient warrior; one who simply gains additional insight into the inner workings of humankind through her (intimate) relationship with an everyday human man, Steve Trevor. That dynamic might have also bore a resemblance to that between Buffy and (vampire) Angel on BtVS, as well as Echo/Paul on Dollhouse and even Kitty Pryde/Colossus in Whedon’s X-Men comic work.

That’s all to say: Whedon’s ideas for a Wonder Woman movie sound interesting, but perhaps a bit too similar to what he’s done in the past. So maybe it’s for the best that he’s instead spreading his (artistic) wings more by handling The Avengers.

Will Refn be given the chance to make a 'Wonder Woman' movie?

Drive helmer Nicolas Wending Refn (see above) has been expressing his desire to make a Wonder Woman movie for a while now, but it sounds like he has more of a non-traditional (and, frankly, refreshing) approach to the character in mind than Whedon did. Said the auteur about his version of Wonder Woman:

The whole idea of a woman who is basically more powerful than any man – and who will always be that, and comes from a society of women who are more powerful than men – is an interesting theme that I think can be very contemporary.”

Refn’s hopes of making such a comic book film – possibly, with actress Christina Hendricks - may never be realized either, partially because of his somewhat unorthodox approach. Still, many a fan would definitely support Refn being given the opportunity.

As for the role of Diana: we may now have a perfect real-life, dark-haired, badass candidate for the part, based on early word of mouth about Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) star Gina Carano’s turn in director Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming thriller, Haywire


Feel free to let us know your own feelings about Whedon’s take on Wonder Woman – and what actress/director pair you would like to see bring the character to life on the big screen – in the comments section below.

Source: Rookie (via JoBlo)

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  1. The idea that have for weekly wonder woman TV series’. Would be that character of Steve Trevor would be a private investigator that work’s for an private investigation agency that is run by the character Etta Candy. And the character of Blankmanship is a Police detective that comes to Etta candy and Steve Trevor for help on cases. And that Diana prince a.k a. wonder woman becomes his partner in solving cases.

    Or other routes that wonder woman TV series’ could go that Steve Trevor is a lawyer that work’s for a law firm that is run by Etta Candy. Or that Steve Trevor is a public defender and that Diana prince becomes his secretary.

    This is how I would as a executive producer would approach making an pilot for new Wonder woman pilot for new series’ based on her character.

    1.I would do the pilot as two hour TV movie centering on wonder’s woman origin story.
    2. I would use redesigned Bikini outfit that was used in David E. Kelley’s failed wonder woman pilot. Or maybe even go with design of wonder woman outfit that has a 1940’s look to it but with modern day design to it.
    3.Wonder woman villain in the pilot would villain that she faced off against in the comic’s like cheetah.
    4.I would try to get Lynda Carter to play Queen Hippolyta the Queen of Amazon’s and Diana Prince’s mother.
    5.I would use one of the Hawaiian Island ’s to stand in for Paradise Island . The First scene that I would have seeing Diana prince would on Paradise Island finding Steve Trevor
    6.I would show Diana Prince competing in the tournament and winning it.
    7.I would have a scene showing Queen Hippolyta giving her daughter Dania Prince the lasso of truth, Bullet proof bracelets. And then finally the wonder woman outfit.
    8. The second hour would begin with her arrival in America . And defeating the villain and saving Steve Trevor.
    9.And the final scene would become his sectary or beginning his partner in solving crimes.
    10.The opening credits for wonder woman pilot would be wonder woman comic book cover’s from 1940’s to present day. And that wonder woman theme music should in body what her character is al about.

    • That sounds like a great idea…id watch it

  2. Gia Carano/Guillermo Del Toro = DREAM TEAM

  3. Gia Carano/Guillermo Del Toro = DREAM TEAM!

  4. Joss is a genius, to me Diana would be definitely confused with the world, coming from the world of the spirited Amazons into the world of man. She’d be a bit more ruthless than just a simple peacekeeper though, like one who would use violence to achieve peace. So there would be an element of danger to her that made others untrusting of the character.
    To me she wasn’t really relatable either, which is maybe why it’s hard to write a likeable character for her. Which is why Joss’ take on her is fantastic! I love how he sees Steve Trevor as someone who’s trying to bring some humanity into the character, and that she is able to learn through him. I also think that would help bring out her inner personality too, i’d love to see a different wonder-woman than what the golden/ silver age has depicted with the ‘strong, ultimate woman’, i mean yes she obviously has to be powerful, but when i think of wonder woman that’s all that comes to mind. spice it up a bit! give her an actual personality! complete with quirks, that’s what i want to see :)

  5. Christopher Nolan and Gina Carano

  6. I have thoroughly enjoyed the trailers with Angelina, and was very disappointed that it never came. I love everything Whedon’s done. No one could do it better. Just don’t cast Brad as Steve, PLEASE.

  7. Joss Whedon back to Wonder Woman. …she needs you

    Joss Whedon stay in The Avengers!!!

  8. Jamie Alexander or Gina Carano with Peter Jackson and Kevin Smith as director and producer.

  9. Jessica Alba as Wonder Woman

  10. I’d almost like to see a World War 2 start to Diana’s story the same way they have done with Cap.

  11. I hhad an idea for Wonder Woman and it goes like this. Say that their magic mirror gets TV and radios singals. And Diana gets upset watching the news showing People getting hurt. Wene asking her mother why they can’t help she shows her A secret room. Inside is A display case holding the WW uniform. And around the walls newspaper clippings showing WW’s WW2 career. Up to the early 50′s wene she is acussed of being A commie. And her mother exclames “They will never learn,so why should we help them”. This would be a good way to have Linda Carter play Hypolta. This also means Dianas mother was the WW2 Wonder Woman.

    • I really like this idea, but the problem that I had was that I ran into this wall because there’s still too much comparison to other characters stories that’ll make this feel less like her OWN story. For example, this story being compared to Captian America or Black Canary and there are others out there as well. With me I’d be extremely interested if they made her character feel more like she has her own original material instead of just completely following behind Greek mythology because based on her current interpretations she doesn’t feel like she is apart of American mythology (which for the record doesn’t really exist but I use comic book superheroes as our stand-ins and it works quite well considering our brief history) or all that original. Superman and Flash have bits of their own character inspired by mythology of the past but have been developed into becoming their own mythology. That way over a couple decades she’s refreshed and truly her own woman. It could be done much sooner or maybe kicked off in a movie if you can give future writers enough material in the film to work with for the newer take. But these are just words of a fan’s dream, curious if anyone else would be interested in a more original interpretation of her character??

      • For the record, I’m not saying to abandon her origin or Greek mythology but instead embed her story with more diverse aspects that transcend it beyond Greek mythology like they did with the Flash. It can be done but it’d take more effort and work from a writer stand-point. And yes, I am kinda critical of the past 70 years of writing. There have apparently been alot of ups and downs as I’m going back over decades worth of comic books but they were interpreted more light-hearted as opposed to today’s standards so there is some lee-way room. A revision is still needed for Wonder Woman but it may never get done right by Detective Comics. I’m a bit aware of Azzarello’s run with the series and I’m not done reviewing it because he’s not done at the moment but I’m not as big of a fan of it because of various differences I have with his interpretation as opposed to changes I’d want to see, make, and combine those renditions with what I’ve noticed online of where alot of fans agree and disagree on with how to handle her character going forward from the reboot. A movie at this point will establish and benefit this character more than a T.V. show. Just some advice, it’s actually just a little too late for Warner Bros. to be talking about introducing one of the Trinity (regardless of how you feel about Wonder Woman’s inclusion in the Big Three) to modern audiences through a television program considering the market and challenges ahead. They could do both, but they’d have to be more strategic than simply establishing a basic origin accepted and setting up how she lives her life on a day-to-day basis. Topics that could be quickly covered in any medium. My recommendation is to not introduce a show that focuses itself from a singular perspective but instead broadens the scope of the DC Universe that’ll be presented in all live action mediums. The CW’s “Arrow” is potentially limiting itself to a certain niche (good or bad thing??) and Marvel’s “S.H.I.E.L.D.” CAN easily be countered if that’s a major concern. Although when I’m thinking about an organization like theirs in real-life, “Blackwater” and other organization’s tend to come to mind. Curious about what all goes on in the minds of the people in charge of making these decisions. Good Luck, I mean it.

  12. I think that, if he could make a family friendly film, Quentin Tarantino would be a wonderful director to create a Wonder Woman film. If you look at his films like Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, and Death Proof, you see he can create women that have a depth while kicking ass. Plus, his views are ALWAYS refreshing. He’d just have to modify his typical language to make it a summer tentpole.

  13. OMG, I hope to see a powerful, awesome, epic Wonder Woman movie before I die! But if they are going to rush through it and make a corny one so that a justice league movie could be made, then leave Wonder Woman alone. Don’t ruin her image and the way the little girls in us who grew up idolizing her see her. don’t make her trashy or weak, but keep her femininity and kind nature like she was in the original WW comics. but when it came down to kick ass, she kicked ass! and cast a beautiful girl who looks beautiful even without make up, tall and is athletic. cast with someone new–there are so many female actresses out there. casting her with any well-known actress will ruin her image. Plot would be the same as in the comics, but in the modern era (to align her with the others for justice league). Instead of Steve Trevor ending up on her island, how about Bruce Wayne?? in the batman reboot, at the ending of the movie, after he fights the villian, he crash lands through the veil that hid the island and this introduces Wonder Woman!

  14. I would like to see a Wonder woman movie, I think that she should appear, at least at first, as the Greek War Goddess from Kingdom Come. The Wings are optional and ornamental. Wonder woman now can fly on her own. It might even be nice to have a small fight scene with a baddy in the air where the baddy rips off the wings thinking she will fall but have her turn and say they are for decoration then smite him. The Shield may also be optional but it could work well as a distance weapon if attached to her golden rope, kinda of like how Jackie Chan uses a Hook and chain. Erica Durance would make a nice WW, but who ever there will have to be staging, she is an Amazon after all.

  15. Actors are not *just* cast based on looks, and hair an makeup can do wonders.

    Lucy Lawless and Angelina Jolie are too old to play the roll (and they know it!) if you want to launch a multi-movie franchise. There are plenty of young, versatile, under-30s out there who could do justice to her grace, honor, strength, and *internal conflict over what is good and what is bad* (you know why Nolan’s Batman is good? it’s cause he’s dealing with personal quandaries throughout the film, and that is way more interesting than a shiny breastplate).

    It’s fun to fantasize – and these older actors are still fantastic – but ultimately unrealistic.

    Also, you don’t need to “fill out” the costume – it’s called “padding”, and every girl over 12 knows how to do it.

  16. That chickiepoo from the hunger games, she would be just old enough to pull it off sam rami

  17. I agree with other people comments like you should make her strong,powerfukl,and able to kick alot of butts but she should keep her image as a women.Also, I thnak you should use an actress that looks like wonder women but also looks young about 25 or somewere around that age because when people look at wonder women they see a young women going to find herself in another world

  18. Alexandra Daddario who played AnnaBeth Chase from “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” can make a great casting role playing Princess Diana “The Amazing Amazon”.

    Here is the rest of the supporting casting:

    Cate Blanchett as Queen Hippolyte,
    Paul Walker as Steve Trevor
    Claire Danes as Etta Candy
    Drew Barrymore as Athena
    Kate Hudson as Antiope
    Bruce Greenwood as Gen. Phil Driscoll
    Jane Seymour as Julia Kapaetelis
    Kate Winslet as Vanessa Sandsmark

    Elaine Hendrix as Baroness Paula Gunther
    Hugh Laurie as Ares
    Marcia Cross as Cheetah/Dr. Barbara Minerva

  19. all the materials about the wonder woman is in the comics do the movie base off that. also get the writers of the comic to be a counsel of the movie. the movie may end up being a block buster at the box office! thank you for reading.

  20. Why not start with the beginning. So many young adults aren’t familiar with WW because all they’ve seen is Batman and Superman. I suggest starting with WW creation myth, why the Amazons were on the secluded island of Themyscira and Diana’s journey to become WW.

  21. If it were me making this film, I would:
    1) Remember that Diana is a Warrior and a princess. Her island origins are paramount to her character and provide the alienation necessary to allow a general audience to connect with her alienation. We have all felt out of place somewhere, ideologies, upbringing, talents and abilities that set us apart.
    2) Ares would have to be your central nemesis, but not because he’s after Diana. it would be inadvertant but still be associated with her setting up the big reveal.
    3) Steve Trevor would become your vehicle for the clash; again inadvertant, maybe as a pawn of some sort.
    4) NO invisible Jet- Come on she can fly and a culture that is stuck in the ancient past would not have jets (Invisible Galleys maybe)
    5)The defining Battle would have to take place in NYC because of the UN and her need to address her Nation’s entry into the world stage.
    6) aND WHO CAN HAVE A GOOD MOVIE without the great betrayal.
    I am working on a treatment of this. i will post it to my blog in pieces and then once complete i will post it again all together.

  22. The animated 2009 Wonder woman was very good. Much thought went into it. The same approach needs to happen with a live action film. Take some tips from the animated movie ansd dig deep into the character. Also though, have WW comment on our currrent female society like the animated film did. Have her put people in there place and have her kick a*s on the toughest male chuvenist around. Of course make her mega feminine (and hetro). I don’t think she should fly. She should have great leaping and climbing powers. Sort of like how the hulk bounds from place to place. Keep the costume as close to the original as possible. Putting some crazy new garb on her could really bomb.

  23. I like his idea of a pilot but to sustain a series you need an ongoing conflict like on Smallville. Some issue like the amazons trying to keep Paradise Island a secret or Ares using humans to destroy Wonder Woman and America. Ares could have humans serving him who want to cause conflict like another big war or World War III. Ares could give these agents super powers to fight Diana. Both would be good long term story lines. Wonder Woman should be a complete innocent to man’s world. Her feminist values would be test and come head to head with ours. She might want to leave and go back to Paradise Island and this could be another on going issue. Maybe she does go back and another amazon takes her place who is more corrupt or working for Ares.

  24. All I’m saying is if they ever make a Wonder Woman movie, she better be able to fly like she does in the Justice League series. Otherwise any attempts is guaranteed to bomb. I saw clips of the failed Wonder Woman TV series, it was disgusting to see she couldn’t fly. The graphics and action scenes was so crappy it was a joke. Director didn’t even put effort into his work. Nevertheless, the actress who play Diana must be at least 6 feet tall..

  25. For a Wonder Woman to be successful ,she should possessed amazing powers to attract more people to the movie. Lots of mind blowing actions , It is important that you have the right actress for the role . Miss Erica DURANCE, Lois Lane in Smallville is so perfect for the lead role . Not an ‘A’ list , but she will be an excellent choice .

  26. Joss Whedon would do better than any director out there. i like his take. but NOT Angelina that’s a horrible choice. i would want some one who could be homie and strong. the ultimate mix between wife and warrior. essentially a mother. a loving pissed off mother. preferably an unknown lead. i don’t think there is any mainstream Hollywood star that would fit. shannon woodward is the best choice right now. she would be perfect. and on a side note if they ever cast a she-hulk for avengers cameron diaz would be perfect for it.

  27. Personally I would love to see a Wonder Woman movie and I think Joss Whedon would only enhance her strong and beautiful nature. It’s a shame that hit superhero movies have only been the ones about the men… It would be great to see a woman up on the big screen who can be a role model to both women and men alike.
    I truly hope that this dream will be reignited and done.

  28. In a feature film, Diana’s introduction the world of man would be shocking. And if that quote really was from Whedon then I’m surprised.

    Regardless of Diana’s confusion about the world, she is a goddess. She would adapt. And because she’s never known love before Steve Trevor, this really would be an ample time to break this ridiculous man/goddess relationship. And steer it towards her true love.

    Love story aside, Diana’s more in keeping with what the Amazon philosophy would be about and there are too many characters which could rear their heads and cause all kinds of grief. For instance, because her first feature would be about her origins, bring a story arc that would revolve around her mother — the possible identity of her father — her role as an Amazonian princess for Earth — how Wonder Woman finds the inner strength to actually care about a planet whose sole intent is destroying itself (this again lending itself to the idea that Superman has this same altruist value).

    Devastation would be a likely foe, and could create so many questions that can be answered through plot and reveals. Devastation is the anti-Wonder Woman and therefore forces Diana’s hand to act.

    First things first. Who is she? What are her values? Would she actually let herself be confined in the small world of Steve Trevor or would she stand as a giant to act as a fellow guardian to Earth (with Superman, et al). I’d say to make her believable and spectacular, she’s greater than all the parts she’s been given. She’s not a secretary or a nurse or has a secret identity.

    If you want people to notice Wonder Woman, then unleash her greatness on the universe.

  29. Check out this awesome Wonder Woman film on YouTube if you’re a Wonder Woman fan!