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Rules for a Wonder Woman Movie
A Little Help for our 'In Development' Friends
By Chad Derdowski
January 06, 2010
With DC Comics giving way to DC Entertainment, it seems that the folks at Warner Brothers have finally decided to get the ball rolling on giving Marvel Studios a run for their money with something other than the Bat franchise. With Batman reigning supreme, Green Lantern on the way and another reworking of the man of steel, it seems logical that Warners would turn their attention to another cornerstone of the comic book industry: the long-rumored and always “in development” Wonder Woman. We think it’s time to bring her to the silver screen and as always, we’re ready and willing to give our two cents on how it should be handled.
5. Let Her Fly Solo – There’s a Reason Why the Jet is Invisible
We don’t mean Wonder Woman shouldn’t have a love interest; we love Steve Trevor and he’s a big part of the mythos. No, when we say she needs to fly solo, we’re talking about her mode of transportation.
We love the wackier aspects of comic books: talking monkeys and giant robot bodies controlled by disembodied brains are part of the reason why we keep coming back for more. But as cool as we might think Wonder Woman’s invisible jet is, the vast majority of the world’s population probably finds it a bit ridiculous. One of the keys to making it work in theaters is to get people to take her seriously and no one is going to take an invisible jet seriously.
4. Keep the Essentials Intact
While we’re all about jettisoning the invisible jet, we don’t want to lose too much of what makes Wonder Woman so wonderful. There are certain key elements to the character that must be given notice. Han Solo might’ve argued that “ancient weapons and hokey religions are no match for a good blaster at your side,” but we disagree; there’s a time and a place for both.
The Origin: Forged from clay by Hippolyta and imbued with life by the gods, Wonder Woman has a history steeped in mythology. Ignoring it would be a huge mistake. The idea of minotaurs, Greek gods and centaurs walking the streets of New York might sound a little odd at first, but we’re fairly certain that if modern-day teenage vampires and boy wizards can find an audience, these ideas will too.
The Bracelets: Technically, they’re vambraces, but since most folks don’t have a vast knowledge of ancient weaponry, we’ll call ‘em bracelets. Wonder Woman has used these indestructible weapons, forged from the remnants of Zeus’ shield, to create concussive waves of force and deflect bullets. And Wonder Woman just isn’t Wonder Woman if she doesn’t do the ol’ “bullets and bracelets” routine. Plus, there’s the symbolic aspect of the Amazons wearing the bracelets to remind them of their time in slavery, an idea that could be used in the story or in future installments.
The Lasso of Truth: Another absolute must-have when making a Wonder Woman movie. It is infinitely long and unbreakable but more importantly, anyone caught in the lasso is compelled to speak only the truth. Or as writer Gail Simone refers to it, “a deadly weapon that not only binds you and follows its mistresses commands, the damn thing can see into your soul.” The Lasso of Truth is as identifiable as Batman’s utility belt or the S on Superman’s chest. Without it, you just don’t have Wonder Woman.
3. Don’t Cast for Fame
Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Warren Beatty were all considered for the role of Superman but it ultimately went to the unknown Christopher Reeve. Why? Because he was the right guy for the role.
Charlize Theron might be a great actress, but is she really right for Wonder Woman? Megan Fox might be insanely popular right now, but she can’t even act grateful to be getting lots of fame and money despite having no talent, let alone pass as an Amazon princess. The key to finding the right Wonder Woman is to take the same approach the producers of the Superman film did: don’t let the actor overshadow the role. Don’t just cast today’s hot star or tomorrow’s next big thing. Get the right mix of power, intensity and beauty to fill those red boots.
2. Cast Lynda Carter a Hippolyta
Admittedly, this is not as important as the rest of the things we’ve mentioned, but it’s worth noting. Don’t neglect the nostalgia factor.
Fans love it when Stan Lee cameos in the Marvel movies. We loved it when Bill Bixby was given a nod in the most recent Hulk movie and we smiled when we saw Lou Ferrigno too. And we haven’t even mentioned Chris Claremont’s brief role in X-Men 3. Long story short: it’s really cool to see the people who made these characters famous in earlier incarnations getting their due. Whether it’s the guy who wrote the comic or an actor who previously played the role, these cameos are just plain fun. And who is more appropriate to play an immortal Amazon and the mother of Wonder Woman than Lynda Carter?
1. Get Women in the Theaters
Yeah, most people who read superhero comics are guys, but this movie isn’t about getting comic book readers in the theaters: we’ll be there no matter what, male or female. If you really want the Wonder Woman movie to work, you gotta get the ladies in the theaters, and not just the ones who dress up as Wonder Woman at every con. The best way to do this is to simply treat the character with the respect she deserves.
Wonder Woman is not only part of DC’s Trinity (along with Superman and Batman) and a comic book icon, she is also a feminist icon. As such, she should be treated as a role model in this film: someone young girls can aspire to be and someone women can look at with admiration. While she is known for her physical beauty, incredible even by superheroine standards, Wonder Woman isn’t just eye candy for the guys. Her costume may amount to little more than an armored bathing suit, but Wonder Woman should never be depicted as skanky or slutty looking. And yeah, even though she comes from an island of all women, can we keep those jokes to a minimum?
Take a look at the animated Wonder Woman film from earlier this year as a good example for the tone we’re looking for. Steve Trevor made the prerequisite sexist-male-pig jokes, but rather than looking cool or being applauded for such behavior, he just came off as a dumbass. That’s exactly the attitude we want to see in the Wonder Woman movie. He was still funny, but we were laughing at him rather than with him. Don’t alienate your fanbase (mostly guys) but rather, try to bring in new fans with a positive portrayal of a kickass lady.
We’ve all got moms, sisters, girlfriends and wives–we know how tough they are. Wonder Woman should be presented as the ultimate female: nurturing, sensitive, sexy… and able to lay a whuppin’ on you in a New York minute if you mess with her or her family. Find the right director and the right script (whatever happened to that screenplay Joss Whedon wrote?) who are able to translate all of this onto the big screen and you’ve got yourself a surefire hit. Wonder Woman has over 50 years of history and a whole lot of nostalgia wrapped up in one package. It’s about time the final member of the superhero “holy trinity” got her due on the silver screen.
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