Poor Wonder Woman. Yeah, she’s one of DC’s “trinity”, a feminist icon and one of the most recognizable characters in pop culture. But on the downside she can’t get a tv or a movie off the ground.
Superman had a successful and long running tv show. He also starred a movie successful to get a sequel. Batman had an incredibly successful trilogy of films and is about to get a prequel series on FOX, Gotham. Wonder Woman has had two unsuccessful goes at television series and a movie that couldn’t get a greenlight.
Just to be clear, Green Lantern and Jonah Hex both had feature films made and Green Arrow has his own show. In addition, Constantine (a show I totally predicted), iZombie, Hourman and The Flash all have pilot commitments from various networks. And yet Wonder Woman, one of DC’s icons, is left out in the cold.*
Wonder Woman isn’t Aquaman; she’s not perceived as a lame one-note character. Wonder Woman isn’t Martian Manhunter; she’s not a character that’s relatively obscure outside of comic fans. Wonder Woman is Wonder Woman; one of three characters who’s been published continually from the Golden Age of comics on.
And this isn’t Wonder Woman’s first rodeo. Wonder Woman had a show in the 1970’s that ran for three years and made Lynda Carter a star. It shouldn’t be that difficult to get her going, on some sort of screen, again.
In fairness they did try.
Three years ago David E. Kelley produced a pilot for NBC. While in production it was heavily criticized once shots of Wonder Woman’s costume leaked online. The project never really recovered in terms of image. It was filmed, but NBC passed on the show.
Most recently The CW tried to go the “Smallville” approach with Amazon. They had two different writers take passes at the script, but as of last month the project is no longer in development.
Mind you, The CW is currently working on pilots for iZomie, The Flash and Hourman, but they can’t quite figure out how to make Wonder Woman viable.
Six years ago, back in the old “Who’s Who” column a reader asked how I’d fix Wonder Woman. I wrote about how Superman and Batman have iconic tales that are about their origins; how Bruce became Batman and how Clark became Superman. Wonder Woman doesn’t have a definitive origin or a secret idenity, which tend to hold her back.
Then I offered up how I’d fix Wonder Woman, Year One style.
If I were starting Wonder Woman all over from the ground up here’s what I’d do:
Diana is made from clay and given life on an island full of women. But one of the other Amazons is like that cool relative who lets you stay up past your bed time, and she takes Diana on a trip to the man’s world. It’s a brief trip, not long enough for anyone to notice they’re gone, but enough for Diana to get an idea of the world outside the island. And these trips continue while Diana’s a teenager. But then Diana’s mom, the queen finds out and banishes the cool aunt from the island.
Did I mention the caste system on the island? Well there are warriors and artists. The cool aunt is an artist. And the cool aunt manages to make correspondence with Diana telling her about her adventures and leaving her birthday gifts on the island in hiding places. But then the aunt stops leaving correspondence and even forgets a birthday. So Diana decides to leave the island and check up on her cool aunt.
Diana gets to the man’s world and is kind of overwhelmed. Yadda, yadda, yadda she finds out her cool aunt was beaten into a vegetative state and the dude who did it was acquitted. So she tracks him down and finds out he’s at a Halloween party. She spruces up traditional Amazon warrior garb with some garish elements, so as not to attract the wrong kind of attention and sets out confront him. She lures him to the roof, there’s a confrontation, he ends up on the ground. It’s not clear if he jumps, she pushes him or there’s some sort of accident. But for Diana, justice is served.
Diana tells her mom about the cool aunt, and her mom’s like “psssh, she made her bed, let her sleep in it.” Diana’s irked and decides to stay in the man’s world, look after her cool aunt (who conveniently kept a journal in a wacky Amazon language that only Diana can read.) So Diana establishes herself as her cool aunt’s niece and makes friends with everyone in the neighborhood.
And honestly I feel like that pitch could still work as a tv show. That would be my “Amazon” pitch. No Greek gods (though they could be introduced later as the series progressed.) It’s a show about a young woman finding her place in the world, who happens to be a skilled fighter and have some powers.
I think a Wonder Woman movie would be a bit trickier. For that I’d definitely use the Greek gods. If we’ve learned nothing from Thor’s success, it’s that the viewing public is cool with mythology as long as it’s well written.
I’d probably craft a story not unlike what Brian Azzarello been doing on Wonder Woman for the past couple years; Wonder Woman would be a pawn of the different factions Greek gods and their offspring. I don’t know if you’d need Zeke, though I suppose having someone who’s actually human would sort of be the “point-of-you” character for the audience.
But yeah, that’d be it. I don’t think a movie like that needs an origin sequence. I think you can sort of start with an established Wonder Woman, who is still novice enough to get used by the gods. I don’t have story beats or plot points or anything, but I’m sure I could come up with something if I put my mind to it.
So, there you have it; those are my Wonder Woman pitches. Granted one is more developed than the other, but I felt that if I didn’t throw something together for a feature film, it would seem like Warner Brothers was right for not putting the character on the fast track for a feature film.
How do you feel about the lack of a Wonder Woman tv show or movie? I’m eager to read your comments.
Anyway, it’s Wednesday, so go out and get some fresh new comics from your local comic shop.
*Yes Wonder Woman is a character the now delayed sequel to Man of Steel, but really, don’t you think she deserves better than that?
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