A satisfying contemporary screen rendition of feminist comic book icon Wonder Woman has thus far proven to be an undecipherable riddle for the male-dominated film and television entertainment industry. That’s despite the best efforts of people like Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Avengers) and David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Boston Legal), whose interpretations were either rejected or went amiss due to an admitted lack of familiarity with comic tropes, in the latter’s case.
TV veteran writer/producer Allan Heinberg (The O.C., Grey’s Anatomy) has been putting together the pilot script for a CW show titled Amazon, an origin series that does for Diana of Themyscira what Smallville did for Kal-El; namely, humanize the character during their pre-superhero days. However, network heads are staving off another potential failed Wonder Woman adaptation – by allowing Heinberg more time to refine the script to their satisfaction, before ordering the pilot.
Deadline is reporting that CW ordered eight pilots for the Fall 2013 season, but has rolled Amazon back to 2014; though, the site also claims network officials are mulling over an off-cycle order (like, say, a mid-season premiere) that would allow production to begin sooner, assuming Heinberg’s final draft impresses.
The series began casting before a script was finished; just two weeks ago, Amy Manson (Torchwood, Being Human) was tapped as front-runner for the Diana role. However, progress was ultimately halted, in part because Amazon presents such a potentially lucrative opportunity (see: ten seasons of Smallville and the current CW superhero hit Arrow). The CW intends to avoid a fiasco on par with the hostile fan reception for – and, in the end, wasted investment of – the NBC Wonder Woman TV show from Kelley, so moving ahead with caution doesn’t seem like a bad idea (especially for all those hoping Amazon doesn’t prove to be yet another failed WW project).
Amazon takes place in the present (similar to Kelley’s series), but Warner Bros. TV president Peter Roth indicated to THR last year that the CW’s superhero program won’t be taking its cues from that pilot, for obvious reasons:
“I think Wonder Woman was a very well crafted pilot… As well crafted and contemporized as it was, it was a big and radical shift for viewers to embrace this new idea — and that may, to some degree, have had to do with why it didn’t make it.”
Indeed, leaked audition scenes from the Amazon pilot suggests Heinberg – who also wrote “Young Avengers” for Marvel Comics – might be taking inspiration from director Lauren Montgomery’s well-received animated Wonder Woman movie, alongside other forms of credible source material (re: actual WW comics). Indeed, the CW believes that Heinberg’s on the right track; according to THR, it’s leaving the door open for Amazon to receive a pilot order within the near future, should the final script turn out well.
More on Amazon as the story develops.