There are at least three radically different versions of “Wonder Woman” that I’ve read over the last fifteen years, all developed by Warner Bros. with different teams of talent attached, and one thing has been painfully evident the entire time.
Warner Bros. does not want to make a Wonder Woman movie.
They think they do. After all, they keep paying people to write scripts, and they keep reassigning the character to different producers. As anyone even remotely interested in the character knows by this point, Gal Gadot was recently hired to play Wonder Woman for the “Man Of Steel” sequel, and there’s been a lot of speculation about how the balance of characters is going to be handled in the film.
There are a number of big movies in production right now that I can honestly say I know pretty much start to finish, but the “Man Of Steel” sequel isn’t one of them. I know what they’ve announced so far, and everything else I’m hearing would have to be considered pure rumor. Reports from one person totally contradict reports from another person, and a lot of what I’ve heard doesn’t really make sense. I’m going to try to sort some of this out, and the new Wonder Woman rumors seem like a good place to start.
So while we know Wonder Woman is in the film, the question is “Which version of Wonder Woman are we going to see?” I’ve seen some pretty radical reinventions in the past for some of the proposed films. There was one script that started with a black-leather clad Diana dropping some Matrix-fu on some bad guys, then getting shot out of the sky in her invisible jet. She died by page six, and her outfit crawled off of her, Venom-style, and then headed for the nearest city to locate anyone descended from Amazon blood. The film was all about a young woman being picked by the outfit and then having to wrestle with her Amazon heritage. It was pretty much nothing like the Wonder Woman people already know, and I didn’t think it worked at all.
There was a great traditional take on the character that was written by Laeta Kalogridis, using Ares as the bad guy, and it read to me like the most classic version of the character that would be possible. If Warner had been interested in doing the character that people already know, that was their best shot, and they finally pulled the plug on it precisely because they couldn’t get their heads around the mythology. The Joss Whedon take, which came several years after the last Kalogridis draft, was also fairly traditional, and it seemed to me that they must not have told him about the earlier drafts, because there wasn’t any real difference between the Kalogridis take and the Whedon take. They were both drawing from the same reference material, and they both stuck close enough that there was no mistaking it.
So if Warner Bros. dislikes the Amazon mythology and the direct connection to the Greek Gods, then how are they planning to handle Wonder Woman in this new film? Are they going to get into her origin?
According to Bill “Jett” Ramey over at Batman-On-Film, they are, and he’s published a bit of informed speculation that has people freaking out.
It’s actually buried in a mailbag article, and he’s answering several different questions about the film. He says there’s another villain beyond Lex Luthor in the film, and that matches what I’ve heard. I’ve been told that Metallo is the other villain, although in somewhat modified form. I’m not sure if that’s right or not, but it would make sense. In the new 52, part of the reason Metallo was created was to help track down Superman, and we saw at the end of “Man Of Steel” that keeping some sense of privacy from the military is a major concern for Superman.
The Wonder Woman information, though, is the big bomb that Ramey drops, although framed as pure speculation:
With all that said, I”d bet a year”s pay – in MONOPOLY money, of course – that the “Amazons” of this cinematic DCU will be descendants of those “ancient Kryptonians” who attempted to set up Kryptonian outposts throughout spacedom thousands and thousands of years ago. Furthermore, I say that Wonder Woman will be powered-down, if you will, relative to Superman because these Amazons have evolved and adapted to living on Earth for hundreds of centuries. And since Kryptonians are produced without any “He”n and She”n” – Jor El and Lara excluded – couldn”t this original Kryptonian on Earth have used this reproductive science to create an all-female race? I say yes!
When I mentioned this to Greg Ellwood just a little while ago here at the HitFix office, he immediately began shaking his head and just walked away. “No. No. No. No. No.” I can still hear him on the other side of the building, alone in his office, unable to absorb that idea. “No. No. No. No.”
I don’t mind the idea that the “Man Of Steel” sequels could pick up some of the threads set up in the first film, and I liked the notion that the ancient Kryptonians had colonized all over the universe. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Clark traveling to see some of those colonies, looking for other Kryptonians that might still be alive somewhere out there. But the notion of making Amazons nothing more than de-powered Kryptonians seems like it’s making the universe very small right away. What a huge coincidence.
It also makes me wonder why Zod didn’t pick up anything from the Amazons when he scanned the Earth. It doesn’t really fit. It also feels like someone’s looking at “Thor” and the way they managed to turn the Norse mythology into science-fiction with a little creative refiguring, and I think the worst thing DC can do is just imitate the way Marvel has built their movies. The only way the DC films are going to really work is if they focus on their own material and ignore anything anyone is doing. Let the characters and the themes drive the creative choices you’re making, and don’t worry about Marvel.
There is a grandeur to the world-building in “Man Of Steel,” and I want more of that as they move forward. I hope the vision that David Goyer and Zack Snyder have for these films is able to imagine all sorts of things and not just tie everything to one common origin.
Look, this could all just be some weird pet theory of Jett’s. He certainly didn’t say this is absolutely happening. But he knows that when he prints something like that, it’s going to start people talking, and that’s certainly the case with this one.
The “Man Of Steel” sequel arrives in theaters July 17, 2015.