Four years after Gal Gadot was first cast as Wonder Woman, we’re looking back at just how crazy wrong the first reactions were to what would become the DCEU’s best casting decision. Back in December 2013, we still weren’t entirely sure when DC was planning on bringing Diana Prince to the big screen. Most assumed that she would debut in the Justice League project the studio was mapping out at the time, or in her own solo movie further down the road. Even when Gadot was rumored to be a frontrunner for a role in Batman v Superman, speculation pointed to her playing Talia al Ghul or Catwoman. Suffice to say, the internet had a near-Batfleck-level freakout when the largely unknown actress was tapped to play the biggest female superhero of them all.
Questions of Gadot’s physicality and limited acting experience quickly sprang up, albeit with extra dashes of irrationality and a heaping helping of sexism. These knee jerk reactions look even more ridiculous four years later, now that Wonder Woman stands as the most popular hero in DC’s shared movie universe and will soon headline a second solo film.
Honestly, we could have mined our own comment section to the initial casting announcement to reach our necessary crazy quota for this article, but we decided to mix it up and hit the Twittersphere to get a better sense of the fandom at large. The reaction to Gadot stands as a shining example of how outstandingly wrong fan consensuses often are when it comes to superhero casting announcements, and we’ve rounded up some of the wildest reactions we could find. Someone get the “Shame!” actress from Game of Thrones out here — she is needed.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way right out of the gate: the overwhelming majority of negative reactions to Gadot’s casting centered around her physique. (Note: we’ve declined to include any tweets centered around the unfortunately common talking point of the actress’ bust size, because we can only slam our heads against the wall so many times before we start forgetting how to spell.) Detractors were quick to point out Gadot’s thin frame, seeing it as a poor fit for an Amazon warrior. Too bad actors rarely dedicate themselves to intensive workout programs when they sign up to play superheroes, right? Yeah, that almost never happens.
Also, what the hell is jazzercize?
Of course body type matters when it comes to certain roles in comic book movies. Believably conveying a character’s physicality is often among the top priorities when a beloved hero is being brought to life in live action. Wonder Woman’s physical strength isn’t necessarily tied to her gym regimen — like, say, Batman’s is — but it was still vital that moviegoers walked away from Batman v Superman under the distinct impression that Gal Gadot could kick the crap out of everyone and anyone.
Gadot certainly didn’t disappoint, undergoing an intense training program that added 17 pounds of muscle to her frame and helped her embody the character in a way that shortsighted Twitter users in 2013 never could have imagined.
If internet naysayers weren’t too busy obsessing over how Gadot would look in her trademark attire, odds are good that they’d found themselves unimpressed by the actress’ limited big screen experience prior to taking the role of Diana Prince. Admittedly, Gadot didn’t exactly have a lengthy resume at the time, but if comic book movie history has taught us anything, it’s that lesser known actors and industry newcomers can embody superhero roles in a way that A-list stars can’t. The argument that Wonder Woman was a character that required a more proven star simply doesn’t hold up.
Like our last entry, there’s a very straightforward takeaway here. The next time you hear about a superhero casting decision you disagree with, reiterate to yourself the bare bones job description for a professional actor: they’re literally people who are paid to pretend to be other people. Just because you haven’t seen them in a certain sort of role doesn’t mean they’re incapable of it. Having a little faith in casting directors often pays off (see: Michael Keaton as Batman, Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Heath Ledger as the Joker, etc). Learn this lesson, fanboys and girls.
Many detractors were quick to throw out their own suggestions concerning which actors they felt would have been better choices for the role. Some of the picks were reasonable, namely the most-talked about candidate, Jamie Alexander, who was actually rumored to have been in the running for Wonder Woman at the time. That bit of fancasting didn’t require a hell of a lot of imagination, of course, since Alexander had played a similar character in the Thor franchise. Some of the other Gadot alternatives that were offered up, however, were a bit more out there.
For many fancasters, former MMA fighter Gina Carano was the closest thing Hollywood had to offer to a real-life Wonder Woman — physically speaking, at least. Having a trained fighter play the champion of the Amazons certainly would have added an extra element to action sequences, but Carano had next to no training or background as an actress at the time. Keep in mind that Gadot’s casting came in late 2013, not too long after Carano made her big screen debut with a starring role in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire. Did her supporters really walk away from that movie thinking she could carry a blockbuster franchise?
Jennifer Love Hewitt was…well hey, it was probably an original idea, which is more than you can say for most fancastings, right? But no, that would not have worked very well. JLH was a Lifetime network star in 2013, and we’ll leave it at that.
At least some of the internet’s wildest casting ideas had a “so crazy it just might work” element to them, though…
Jumping the gun on a superhero casting decision is a time-honored tradition in Hollywood these days, but it really doesn’t have to be. A little bit of faith, patience, and open-mindedness can go a long way. The unnecessary stress you’ll save yourself will help you live longer, and you’ll never have to worry about public
shaming light-hearted teasing for an opinion you expressed online nearly half a decade ago. It’s a winning formula across the board!