Ahead of the theatrical release of Wonder Woman this weekend, director Patty Jenkins explains what would drive Diana to kill, and how that differentiates her from other superheroes. Warner Bros. officially launched their burgeoning DC Extended Universe last year, with Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which saw Gal Gadot make her highly-anticipated debut as Wonder Woman alongside Ben Affleck as Batman. The actress will be reprising her role in Snyder’s Justice League later this year, but first, she has her own solo movie to focus on.
The next chapter in the shared universe takes audiences back to World War I, to Diana, Princess of Themyscira, accompanying Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) to the front lines to put an end to the war to end all wars. Of course, with a setting like that — and with a villain like Ares, the God of War — Diana is bound to run into conflict, and that may force her to take a life. Unlike the rest of her fellow superheroes, killing is something she is opposed to, fundamentally, but it’s also not something she would do readily — and that’s precisely what makes her different.
Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins spoke to IGN ahead of the film’s release this weekend and explained why she believes Diana Prince isn’t adverse to killing, whereas other heroes are.
“She is actually one of the superheroes, interestingly, who is not adverse to killing when necessary, which is fascinating. But she also is the least likely to do it, I think, because she will always try anything else before she will resort to killing anyone. That’s an incredible balance of Wonder Woman.”
One of the chief complaints audiences have expressed in regards to the DCEU is the portrayal of DC’s iconic heroes Batman and Superman. In Man of Steel, Superman infamously snapped General Zod’s neck, not only to save the family that he was threatening but also save the planet from imminent destruction. The events of that movie laid the groundwork for Batman’s prejudice in Batman V Superman. In the comics, the Dark Knight no longer believes in killing, but that’s something we see him do in last year’s film — because he was broken from the loss of Jason Todd, the second Robin. Jenkins believes Diana’s justification for killing is more closely aligned with Superman than Batman in that regard.
“I always think of it like putting a wounded animal down. It’s like there’s something very maternal [about] Wonder Woman, when push comes to shove if nobody else wants to do it, Wonder Woman would step up and take care of business. But she doesn’t want to do it, and she would never take any delight in it. That’s Wonder Woman to me.”
It makes sense for Diana to believe killing is okay given the right circumstances. She is a warrior, after all, and she has trained her entire life to defend mankind; she even wields the Godkiller sword. On the other hand, Bruce Wayne’s apprehension to killing is defined by the murder of his parents and Clark Kent’s belief is a result of his upbringing. Even though Wonder Woman is being compared to the likes of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and is being hailed as the DCEU’s savior, Diana’s fundamental characterization is yet another element in which she differs from her male counterparts.