Unless you've been living in a log cabin trying to avoid all things pop-culture for the last few months, then you know that Wonder Woman is soon going to be making her official feature-film debut, and that she will be played by none other than Fast & Furious 6 actress, Gal Gadot.
The casting of Gadot and announcement of Wonder Woman's debut in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman sequel to Man of Steel has elicited quite an... impassioned response from fans, critics, and pretty much everyone except the people who probably have more right than anyone to address the issue; in other words, the ladies who have played (or will play) Wonder Woman.
First of all, check out what Gal Gadot had to say in her first interview (via Batman-News) since being cast in the role of Wonder Woman - addressing all the criticisms (and outright hate) that has been tossed her way:
Regarding those crass comments about the required bust size for the role:
Hmm. I represent the Wonder Women of the new world. Breasts… anyone can buy for 9,000 shekels [Ed: Israeli currency] and everything is fine. By the way, Wonder Woman is amazonian, and historically accurate amazonian women actually had only one breast. So, if I’d really go “by the book”…it’d be problematic.
Regarding her training regiment for the role:
It’s the physical preparations that I’m starting now. A very serious training regime – Kung Fu, kickboxing, swords, jujutsu, Brazilian…1,000 and 1 things…I’ll gain body mass.
We've pointed out (ad nauseam) that - while she may look very thin in movies like F&F6 - Gal Gadot's casting actually makes sense. She was once enlisted in the Israeli Defense Force, where she served as an athletic trainer. Not only does that make her equipped to handle a strenuous training regiment, and adapt at learning different deadly combat techniques, it also means she has knowledge in experience with the specific types of training that result in things like body mass vs. lean muscle.
Gadot is also right in pointing out the absurdity of the Amazon argument. People keeping trying to lay claim to which actresses are (or are not) qualified to play the mythical female warriors - but Amazons are just that, mythical, as in not real - and to my own knowledge bust size was never one of their defining physical traits. Cutting off one breast to better fire arrows certainly was...
The point: If your knowledge of Amazons is limited to what you saw in a Wonder Woman comic book (which almost no one today still reads, BTW) then you are probably arguing for the fantasy of an ideal, rather than an ideal itself.
Meanwhile, former TV Wonder Woman (and 70s icon) Lynda Carter ironically enough seems to be the most positive voice out there regarding this new casting. Check out what she had to say to Metro UK:
Regarding Gal Gadot bringing a new version of Wonder Woman to the screen:
I care more about the character continuing than holding on to my piece of it. I hope she has fun with it.
Regarding what it is about Wonder Woman that helps her endure as an icon (SPOILER: it's not body type!):
There’s an identification factor. She’s not your average superhero. It’s not so much about her super powers as it is about her ethic. I always thought of her as a figure who stands for what’s right. We all know what’s wrong with the world today, so maybe we need her right now.
Let all the so-called fans and "defenders" of Wonder Woman take note of that; it's not what's on the outside but on the inside that defines the character. Sure, some degree of physical resemblance is always expected; but hopefully, Zack Snyder saw something about Gadot's attitude and poise that made him recognize a quality Wonder Woman in her.
Finally: One thing that's been unclear in all this heated debate about who is cast as Wonder Woman is just how much Wonder Woman we'll be getting in the film! Is it a major arc? A minor arc? A button-cameo at the end? Well, one thing is certain: a growing number of fans are concerned that there won't be much room left in this film for that Superman guy.
However, the other side of that same argument is that by having so many DC heavy-hitters in one film (Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman all confirmed, so far), the new heroes won't be given adequate time to establish themselves. So how does Carter feel about Wonder Woman having to share her debut with two of the big boys?
...maybe that's better. She won't have to carry the whole film. It takes the pressure off. I wish her well. I'm just glad she's going to be out there again. Maybe she'll get her own show again."
Right now, honestly, there are still too many unknowns to freak out all that much about this Wonder Woman/ Batman vs. Superman issue. However, after two recent stalled attempts to launch Wonder Woman onto TV screens, Carter's hopes for a new show probably won't come to fruition anytime soon.
As for Gadot? Personally, I like the frankness of her responses and the seeming confidence behind them. Can't wait to see what the training regiment results are.
Batman vs. Superman (featuring Wonder Woman) will be in theaters on July 17, 2015.