It has been a long road bringing Wonder Woman, one of DC Comics' most legendary superheroes, to the silver screen. There has been more than a 75 year wait to to see the adventures of Diana Prince brought to life and it appears that director Patty Jenkins couldn't be more excited to bring her vision of Wonder Woman to your local theater.
Jenkins has taken a circuitous route to one of the most coveted jobs in Hollywood. She found early success with Monster, where she directed Charlize Theron to an Academy Award. She then transitioned into television but little did everyone know, for nearly a decade she campaigned to direct the Wonder Woman movie. Years later she finds herself in post-production on Warner Bros' big-budget adaptation of the DC Comics' character. But this wasn't her first encounter with comic book movie glory.
In 2011, Jenkins was hired as the director of Thor: The Dark World for Marvel Studios. Ultimately she and Marvel amicably parted ways due to differing visions well before camera rolled. However, she clearly was impressed by the studio, who she recently credited in an interview with EW:
“I’m still so grateful to those guys for hiring a woman to direct f—ng Thor...Why would you do that? You don’t have to do that.”
It's been a long struggle to get representation of female superheroes in front of the camera; however, the fight has been equally arduous behind the camera. It probably is overlooked how forward-thinking Marvel was in hiring a female director, with mostly indie credentials, to direct a franchise known for a guy who smashes things with a hammer.
A few years later Michelle MacLaren's (Breaking Bad) creative differences with WB then gave Jenkins the opportunity to direct her dream film, Wonder Woman. However, she was wary when she asked back to the negotiating table by Warner Bros, due to her past experiences.
“There was a period of time when we had two very different visions and I wanted them to find the right director for the job. It turned out we had a shared vision after all.”
Jenkins envisioned Wonder Woman as "a straight-forward origin tale, framed by a love story between Wonder Woman and Steven Trevor." The character is thousands of years old, which allows for much greater flexibility of storytelling than perhaps other solo films to come down the line. WB has boasted that they are a filmmaker friendly studio, that gives their director's room to play in their sandbox once hired. Jenkins explained the process further.
“I didn’t want to do anything more complicated. From my point of view, this was the movie I was talking to them about for about eight or nine years. I’ve met with 10 different people at Warner Bros and then it all came together in this one moment.”
WB is looking to reverse engineer a comic book movie universe, with the foundation being laid by Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Justice League. However at that point, those movies were only scripts and ideas, which allowed for Jenkins' vision to find its own niche in the budding DC Extended Universe. Over the course, of the next few years it will be interesting to see if all of WB's individual sandboxes interlock to create a live-action playground, or an endless beach.
Wonder Woman will be the second true origin story in the DC Extended Universe, following Zack Snyder's Man of Steel. However, it will set up a mythological world that could be unlike anything that we have seen in the superhero genre. Next week, the production will have a presence at San Diego Comic-Con, which could be an opportunity for a proper reveal of the movie for eager fans. Hopefully, WB and Jenkins' "shared vision" of Wonder Woman is worthy of the character's heralded legacy.
Suicide Squad opens in U.S. theaters on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League on November 17, 2017; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020. The Flash is currently without a release date.