Poor Diana of Themyscira (better known as Wonder Woman) cannot catch a break when it comes to live-action film and television appearances. First, Warner Bros. pulled the plug on Joss Whedon’s Wonder Woman movie - allowing the filmmaker to instead find massive successive in the superhero genre with The Avengers - then, last year, NBC’s rebooted Wonder Woman TV series failed to make it past the pilot stage (due to very negative pre-release responses).
Reports are in that Warner Bros. and its CW television network have begun their own effort to bring Wonder Woman back to the small screen – with a live-action TV series focused on the character’s origins, bearing the working title Amazon.
The CW show will take place prior to Diana’s days as a lasso-wielding costumed defender of liberty and pop-culture feminist icon – similar to the network’s young Clark Kent/Superman series Smallville. As such, the Wonder Woman origin series might forgo having the character suiting up at all; or, to quote the Vulture report, “instead of a ‘no tights, no flights’ rule, ['Amazon'] might have a ‘no bracelets, no crown’ mandate.”
NBC discovered the hard way how difficult it can be to make a non-campy Wonder Woman costume, as the various models featured in its reboot pilot were given an indifferent reception at best, hostile at worst. It’s perhaps a wise move on the CW’s part, then, to forgo the patriotic outfit altogether with Amazon. Moreover, the series could stand apart from other superhero TV series by setting its action on Diana’s Amazonian island home, rather than the real-world backdrops for Smallville and CW’s upcoming Arrow television show.
It depends, partially, on what route CW plans to take story-wise with Amazon. One direction would lead to a show that resembles a serious version of Xena: Warrior Princess, following the adventures of a youthful Diana and her feisty Amazonian warriors-in-arms. Another approach would be to follow Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Diana learning to juggle her superheroine duties with the struggles that come with being an adolescent woman.
Amazon is only in the script stage of development at this point, without the guarantee of a pilot. The scribe assigned to the task is Allan Heinberg, a onetime writer and co-showrunner on such series as Sex and the City, Gilmore Girls, The O.C., and Grey’s Anatomy. In other words: Heinberg’s a specialist when it comes to soapy drama and CW’s preferred brand of female-centric entertainment – but not who comes to mind as far as ideal candidates to deliver a serious, action-packed Wonder Woman show.
Heinberg does boast solid comic book cred, though, as he has worked on Marvel’s Young Avengers series, collaborated with Geoff Johns on a multi-installment Justice League story back in 2005, and even wrote Wonder Woman #1-4 for DC in between his television writing/producing efforts. That puts Heinberg in a good position to break the mold of his previous TV show work and deliver a quality Wonder Woman series that actually makes it to the air (marking the first live-action version of the character since the late 1970s).
Warner Bros. is reportedly working on a Wonder Woman movie as well, with writing duties assigned to Michael Goldenberg (co-writer on Green Lantern). Both the WW movie and Amazon could come to fruition around the same time – similar to how Superman Returns was made while Smallville was still airing – but that partly depends on WB/DC’s still-developing plans for Justice League.
More on Amazon as the story develops.