The upcoming Wonder Woman solo film hit a roadblock in its development process recently, when director Michelle MacLaren departed the project due to “creative differences.” Fortunately, the studio was able to bounce back extremely quickly and hired Patty Jenkins (who at one point was set to direct Thor: The Dark World) to call the shots on Diana’s standalone adventure only a couple of days after MacLaren officially left – keeping the project on pace to begin production this fall.
Of course, whenever a major film such as this undergoes a directing change, many are left wanting to know what the catalyst for the shift was (“creative differences” is a bit vague, after all). Now, some new details about Warner Bros.’ vision for the film have emerged, illustrating how exactly the studio clashed with MacLaren’s view.
According to Variety, the two parties had very contrasting ideas for how Wonder Woman should play out. While she was brainstorming the story, MacLaren thought it should be an “epic origin tale” in the vein of something like the Best Picture-winning Braveheart. However, WB preferred if the film focused more on character-centric drama and not so much on the action aspects of the adaptation.
As MacLaren was ironing out her concepts, studio executives became concerned at the prospect of her helming the big-budget action blockbuster she desired, when her directorial experience is in the realm of TV dramas such as Breaking Bad. It’s true that MacLaren has made some episodes of Game of Thrones, which is the next best thing to your standard Hollywood fantasy tentpole (TV budget restrictions aside). However, MacLaren has never worked on something as big (in terms of production costs) before, so one can see why the studio would give some pause.
With the knowledge that WB was aiming for something more intimate than your typical comic book film, the decision to part ways with MacLaren makes a lot more sense than it did when the story first broke. In a way, it’s actually refreshing that these were the creative differences that caused the split, since it shows the studio is dedicated to putting character and narrative substance first as it build this shared DC cinematic universe. Surely, there will be plenty of action sequences in Wonder Woman, but the final product will perhaps be better off if the people behind said action are well-developed.
As for what exactly the studio and Jenkins have in mind is anyone’s guess for now. A while back, it was rumored that the plot would be set in the 1920s and follow Diana on her journey from Paradise Island to a world where women have just received the right to vote. Since that time, word on a potential storyline has been very scarce – save for rumors that MacLaren herself was responsible for some of the more outlandish elements of the treatment (like that 1920s period setting and giving Diana a pet tiger she can talk to). With filming expected to begin relatively soon, it hopefully won’t be long before some details about the screenplay come out.
One other tidbit of note in Variety‘s report covers the casting process for Wonder Woman. When Scott Eastwood joined the cast of David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, it was speculated that he would be portraying Steve Trevor, who is Diana’s love interest from the comics. That, however, may not be the case. Variety‘s sources are claiming that the production team is on the hunt for an actor to play “the male lead and love interest for Wonder Woman,” with tests with various thespians scheduled for during the week. Based on that information, Eastwood’s probably playing someone else. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman – June 23rd, 2017; Justice League – November 17th, 2017; The Flash – March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman – July 27th, 2018; Shazam – April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 – June 14th, 2019; Cyborg – April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern – June 19th, 2020.