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June 28, 2013 10:11 PM   Subscribe

The Problem with Wonder Woman - An iconic DC superhero on the level of Batman and Superman, her potential remains competitively untapped. Can Grant Morrison And Yanick Paquette’s Wonder Woman: Earth One Help? Or is Perez’ Wonder Woman the Gold standard?
posted by Artw (189 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
We already have a Wonder Woman, we just call her Beyonce.

I think part of WW's problem is that she's the only one of her stature. There are lots of male superheroes, so a stupid movie about any of them is merely annoying. A bad WW movie would feel like doom to any future female superheroes getting movies because she is the most important, and to many people, the only one they know about.
posted by emjaybee at 10:33 PM on June 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm glad to see the Tor article singled out animated Wonder Woman as an example of the character done well. Comics Wonder Woman... there have been so many takes I've loved over the past decade, and they're either in one-off stories or in short runs on the main title because DC is unwilling to let the book build its audience slowly under a good creative team, so they hamfistedly change direction or derail it with crossovers or whatever. Amazons Attack and all that awfulness. I don't even know what's going on with the whole Return of the 90's New 52 Justice League stuff, I gave up on that title a few issues in, but it looks pretty awful from the outside. The Azzarello/Chiang title has been great, though, but I'm a fair bit behind on it.

I'm thankful that Thor and the Avengers movie put the lie to the whole "myth & magic superheroes are doomed on the big screen" thing that always went around when discussing Thor, Wonder Woman, Doctor Strange, et al.

She's a perfectly workable movie character, because what big 2 superhero isn't with the right approach? I think it will take a Christopher Nolan (note: not the Christopher Nolan) to do it right, though - someone with a strong creative vision who is given the ability to actually see it through. I'm basically just worried that Dan Didio will get involved and muck it up (if he's allowed to do that with the movie properties), or someone like him.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:38 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Morrison, Paquette, Perez ...

You know, Wonder Woman could be written by a woman...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:43 PM on June 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


Tilda Swinton does not wonder.

Tilda Swinton knows.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:47 PM on June 28, 2013 [37 favorites]


You know, Wonder Woman could be written by a woman...

Gail Simone was writing her for a bit - I believe it's a well thought of run.
posted by Artw at 10:49 PM on June 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


We already have a Wonder Woman, we just call her Beyonce Wendy Davis.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:50 PM on June 28, 2013 [23 favorites]


You know, Wonder Woman could be written by a woman...

I liked Gail Simone's run quite a bit. Is DC still in massive denial about their lack of female creators? I kinda dropped out on a lot of big 2 comics and most comics news some time last year.

I'd love to see a Colleen Coover run on Wonder Woman, but she's busy kicking ass on her own stuff.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:53 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Every conversation we have here about casting always ends up with the suggestion that we use Tilda Swinton.

Thanks for the heads up on the New 52 WW. I had planned on starting reading it, but will avoid.

WW seems to be a bit of a canary for comic books superheroines. You just can't imagine her working in this world at this time. Maybe when we have more equality, then she'll work? I'm not sure why this is. There's a conflict between what she wears and who she is; the lasso is just silly; its always harder writing for very powerful characters.

I also have a bit of a problem with her as a feminist icon. She's a killallmen parody of feminist iconography as envisaged by men in a predominantly male environment, maybe. But I can't get my head around her being a rounded character.

We shall see. I'm liking her in the new Injustice comic book tie-in series, and she definitely has potential.

I don't share peoples fear that if you mess up a film, then there's no coming back for the character though. I think modern day superhero films (hulk?) Have shown this to be a falseness.
posted by zoo at 11:00 PM on June 28, 2013


What makes me sad is that I know we haven't seen a Wonder Woman movie mostly because the big summer blockbuster superhero/comic franchise movies are all built around getting young men into theaters.

That's it. That is the entire answer. There is a dude at whichever studio owns the IP, and that dude is looking at some numbers on a chart and saying "men won't go see a Wonder Woman movie, so we can't spend $300 million on a Wonder Woman movie, so there's no point in making a Wonder Woman movie."

It has nothing to do with the character or how well done the source material is or whether Wonder Woman's specific powers or overarching themes would make a quality film. Not enough dudebros are willing to fork over $12 in one weekend to make it worth the studios spending a quarter billion dollars on such a film.

This is the #1 reason Hollywood bums me out.
posted by Sara C. at 11:00 PM on June 28, 2013 [21 favorites]


I think that if Megan Fox were more awesome and less ugh, she could have made a great Wonder Woman, though. Like, Wonder Woman as seen through the eyes of Joss Whedon.

Again, if Megan Fox were rad and not... whatever the fuck is wrong with Megan Fox.
posted by Sara C. at 11:04 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also have a bit of a problem with her as a feminist icon. She's a killallmen parody of feminist iconography as envisaged by men in a predominantly male environment, maybe.

I think there might be a perception of that, but it's really very very rarely a characterization she gets. And often it's either satire or she's just a prop in a terrible book when it does go that way.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:04 PM on June 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


What makes me sad is that I know we haven't seen a Wonder Woman movie mostly because the big summer blockbuster superhero/comic franchise movies are all built around getting young men into theaters.

Would the summer blockbuster model even be an ideal fit for an actually, genuinely good Wonder Woman movie? When I hear a movie that features a hero that is feminist, well rounded, and a role model for young girls and boys, I generally DON'T think of summer blockbuster movies at all. Usually these movies are devoid of meaningful characterizations, avoid or even just cheapen any sort serious or relevant issues, and are devolving more and more into just "disaster porn".
posted by FJT at 11:09 PM on June 28, 2013


Like, Wonder Woman as seen through the eyes of Joss Whedon.

For a "Nolan-esque" pick, I was thinking of Wonder Woman through the eyes of Kathryn Bigelow.
posted by FJT at 11:12 PM on June 28, 2013 [16 favorites]


That is the entire answer. There is a dude at whichever studio owns the IP, and that dude is looking at some numbers on a chart and saying "men won't go see a Wonder Woman movie, so we can't spend $300 million on a Wonder Woman movie, so there's no point in making a Wonder Woman movie."

What worries me is that some studio dude will hit on the idea that he can sell this as a superhero movie for women and the studio idea of "for women" ends with her laughing while eating yogurt and talking with her girlfriends in the ladies' room about the dude she fell in love with when her invisible jet broke down on the side of the road and he fixed it for her. The villain will either be an evil Eros who was keeping her from her true ruggedly handsome love interest or some kind of sexy Medusa who was jealous that rugged manly man loved Wonder Woman and not her. Either way he definitely will never be seen as helpless during the action. That's the kind of thing I'm really worried about with a Wonder Woman movie, not anything intrinsic to the character but what they'll do with her.

Honestly I'd be happy with a big dumb blow-shit-up summer blockbuster if she just gets to keep her agency and be badass on her own.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:23 PM on June 28, 2013 [16 favorites]


What makes me sad is that I know we haven't seen a Wonder Woman movie mostly because the big summer blockbuster superhero/comic franchise movies are all built around getting young men into theaters.

I dunno. The success of the RESIDENT EVIL and UNDERWORLD franchises seem to suggest a market for female ass kickers. They're not, you know, particularly good, but I think dudebros go to see them.
posted by brundlefly at 11:25 PM on June 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


I've never really followed Wonder Woman outside of watching the original show and the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Does she have a Lex Luthor antagonist?

I don't quite understand the hand-wringing about gender as some sort of barrier here. Have they not seen Aliens or Kill Bill?
posted by Brocktoon at 11:26 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Does she have a Lex Luthor antagonist?

Classically her big bad is usually the pretty lackluster DC Ares, or Cheetah, or Circe. In general, her villains are not very well fleshed out as characters, but Ares plays well off of her commitment to peace (a diplomatic streak is a big part of the character), Cheetah is a good physical threat (I do like Gail Simone's take that Wonder Woman is not just Superman-lite in the power department, but one of the most formidable hand-to-hand opponents around having grown up in a warrior culture of her superpowered equals), Circe is good for all the myth and magic stuff.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:36 PM on June 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Would the summer blockbuster model even be an ideal fit for an actually, genuinely good Wonder Woman movie? When I hear a movie that features a hero that is feminist, well rounded, and a role model for young girls and boys, I generally DON'T think of summer blockbuster movies at all.

That's the thing, though.

Nobody is willing to "waste" IP like major comic book franchises on a little low budget movie with lots of talking and emotions.

It's extremely rare that any studio at all will green-light anything for a mid-range budget, except for maybe Oscarworthy type stuff that is released in the fall and winter and is Very Serious and based on novels, articles in the New Yorker, or things that happened to royalty.

So you can't really make the kind of Wonder Woman that could actually make money. And you can't make the kind of Wonder Woman would be really good and do justice to the franchise and that people would enjoy watching.

This is why nobody has made a Wonder Woman movie yet.

My money is on Joss Whedon as the only person who would even have a chance of developing such a project. Still not sure it would ever actually happen, though. Maybe if exactly the right actress came along?

What worries me is that...

What worries ME is that they try to make Wonder Woman into some kind of bombshell eye candy for men.

And the problem isn't really that women can't be seen kicking ass on screen, or that men won't go see an action movie with a female lead. (Though I do think that some people think so, and those are things that are holding back this movie, you better believe it.) The problem is that It's Wonder Woman. The fanbase has always been female. It's always been about empowering women and fighting for truth and other "boring" "chick" things. In order to get guys to identify with it and think it's all about them, you have to reboot it all out of recognition. Which honestly, if that's the only way to make this movie, I'd rather it never happen.

Also, Alien and Kill Bill are not superhero movies, and one of them is from a whole different era of filmmaking when you could do stuff like this. Hollywood has definitely gotten worse for woman-centered action movies, not better.
posted by Sara C. at 11:40 PM on June 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


You just can't imagine her working in this world at this time. Maybe when we have more equality, then she'll work? I'm not sure why this is. There's a conflict between what she wears and who she is; the lasso is just silly; its always harder writing for very powerful characters.

Well, yeah, comic book characters are kind of silly, when you reduce them to a few props. A guy who dresses in patriotically themed gear and throws a deadly frisbee is silly. A teenager who swings around on webbing is silly. Same with the "conflict between what she wears and who she is", which I'm guessing is saying that she can't be a feminist icon if she's showing leg, but people love Batman, even though you could quite cromulently make the critique that if Bruce Wayne really wanted to end crime in Gotham, he could donate the money he spent on building cars and gadgets to social programs. Comic books and film do not have to perfectly and realistically reflect reality to be entertaining, and execution is everything. As for powerful characters, again, this does not seem to be a barrier for making a new movie about Superman every decade.

I also have a bit of a problem with her as a feminist icon. She's a killallmen parody of feminist iconography as envisaged by men in a predominantly male environment, maybe. But I can't get my head around her being a rounded character.

I would really like to address this, but I'm not really sure where the "killallmen parody" perception is coming from. But there are a lot of great, entertaining stories you can tell with Wonder Woman, as evidenced by the decades and decades of Wonder Woman stories that exist. She's an outsider on multiple levels: she's been raised in isolation, in a matriarchal warrior culture, but she comes to, adapts to, comes to love our world. The New 52 version has added a bunch of drama among the Greek gods. She fights mind-controlling CEOs. She may have an invisible plane.
posted by kagredon at 11:46 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm actually a little surprised nobody has successfully developed a new Wonder Woman TV show yet. I think the stakes are a lot lower for a project like that, and there are a lot of networks that would potentially be interested. There'd be a lot more leeway in the tone and feel of such a show, too, which is one of the main problems with a Wonder Woman movie. There are also a lot more TV actresses who could pull off the character, and the audience is definitely already there.

I know there was a pilot a few years ago, but it didn't get picked up. Hopefully someone will try again. I think now that Sherlock and Doctor Who are such a thing among a certain type of female geek, maybe a new Wonder Woman series would be developed to appeal more to that demographic? I'm not sure that audience was there when the latest WW pilot happened.
posted by Sara C. at 11:51 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


What worries ME is that they try to make Wonder Woman into some kind of bombshell eye candy for men.

It will never ever happen, but visually, I want a movie Wonder Woman to take its cues from Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier design. That extra few inches she's got on Superman so he has to look up is one of the best design choices I've ever seen for her. And not just skinny and toned and squeezed into spandex but actually strong and muscled, she looks like a fighter.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:54 PM on June 28, 2013 [15 favorites]


that's one of the great things about Chiang's art in the relaunched book, too. Diana--and the other Amazons--look beautiful and powerful. Tall, broad shoulders, look like they could break mortals with a well-placed punch.
posted by kagredon at 11:57 PM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


jason_steakums: "It will never ever happen, but visually, I want a movie Wonder Woman to take its cues from Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier design. That extra few inches she's got on Superman so he has to look up is one of the best design choices I've ever seen for her. And not just skinny and toned and squeezed into spandex but actually strong and muscled, she looks like a fighter."

Wow! Love that design so much. Unfortunately she doesn't look white enough to be cast in a movie.
posted by Strass at 11:58 PM on June 28, 2013


Oh god I just looked up the Wonder Woman TV pilot that was going around a few years ago and it looks like it STUNK. Like a recipe for how not to make a Wonder Woman TV show. Ugh. Is the "double life as a corporate CEO" thing canon, or is that something David E. Kelley added to put his stamp on it?

I really think another problem is sort of tone related, or, like, striking the right balance of hip and modern and not taking itself too seriously, but not too snarky, either. Like, Wonder Woman is a pretty earnest thing. But it can't be the wrong kind of earnest. It's exactly the same problem that a new Star Trek series would face, what with the Roddenberry Optimism, and the TV franchise's reputation for beigeness.

But I really think the right person could do it. Like maybe the people behind Nurse Jackie, or Veep? But skewing younger?

I think Wonder Woman needs to be, like 80% Xena and 20% Leslie Knope.
posted by Sara C. at 11:59 PM on June 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


I don't know much about comics, but I still say Lynda Carter was top notch.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 11:59 PM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wonder Woman was my favorite TV show for a while when I was a kid. I would love to see a good movie or new TV series. She's my favorite superhero.
posted by Area Man at 12:00 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately she doesn't look white enough to be cast in a movie.

Dream Casting Choice: Zoe Saldana.
posted by Sara C. at 12:00 AM on June 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Lucy Lawless would have been PERFECT back in the day. Xena was basically Wonder Woman in Classical times. She'd be too old for it now, but is the only actress I can think of who actually is built like Wonder Woman.

I think if Warner Brothers really wanted to make a decent Wonder Woman movie, they'd have to look for a woman who is strong and a minimum of 5'9" and can act. I don't think there is any actress around that fits that description and is famous enough to head an expensive summer action flick. WB would probably just go with Mila Kunis. Not that I would complain or nothing...
posted by riruro at 12:07 AM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think the height/build thing is not really important in casting. Not that I think Wonder Woman shouldn't look powerful, but you'd be surprised how deceptive the camera and costuming can be about who is how tall, or whether someone looks strong or petite or what. Almost every actress I've ever seen in person (except for maybe Minnie Driver?) has seemed much smaller in real life than onscreen.

Lucy Lawless really would have been perfect, though.

I think Rachel Weisz could do it, but probably isn't a big enough name.
posted by Sara C. at 12:11 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Charlize Theron is probably the closest A-List Hollywood Actress I can come up with that wouldn't be an embarrassment.
posted by Sara C. at 12:12 AM on June 29, 2013


Honestly I think Lucy Lawless could pull it off right now at 45 years old no problem, and I'd love to see that movie.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:13 AM on June 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


Now that I think about it, if this was possible to do, they'd probably put Diablo Cody on it. Which, ick.
posted by Sara C. at 12:13 AM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is she only 45? I totally imagined Lucy Lawless being in her 50s for some reason.
posted by Sara C. at 12:14 AM on June 29, 2013


OMG she really is only 45.

Lucy Lawless for Wonder Woman!
posted by Sara C. at 12:15 AM on June 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wow!

Lucy Lawless back in the day, sure! But then there likely wouldn't have been a Xena.

Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Charlize Theron would all be great pics, though. Great suggestions, folks.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 12:15 AM on June 29, 2013


She turned out to be a really good actor, too. I don't know if it was just hard to see with Xena's tone and scripts, or she picked it up later, but I was really surprised at how good she was when she became a bigger player in Battlestar Galactica.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:16 AM on June 29, 2013


There were a couple of other actresses on Battlestar Galactica who sprang to mind. Googling turns up their character names as Racetrack and Hardball. Basically badass longhaired brunettes with approximately the right look and a lot of screen charisma.

BTW I just watched the trailer for Kick Ass 2 and Hit Girl looks set to be the most compelling and weirdly believable female superhero in motion picture history. Hell, she was in the running in the first one and she was practically a toddler.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:20 AM on June 29, 2013


Grace Park wouldn't be a bad choice for a rebooted TV Wonder Woman.
posted by Sara C. at 12:22 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


InsertNiftyNameHere: "pics"

I meant picks, but, given the women mentioned, I can see how my brain didn't catch that.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 12:23 AM on June 29, 2013


Cobie Smulders had some terrific non-fakey-looking action scenes (i.e. none of this flipping on wires crap) in The Avengers, but doing Marvel and DC more or less simultaneously is probably not something the lawyers are going to let happen. Bad enough that Captain America is also The Human Torch.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:29 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]




She may have an invisible plane.

So might I. How would I know?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:35 AM on June 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


tie the lasso around yourself and say out loud "i have an invisible plane"

if you can't say it, then, sorry.
posted by kagredon at 12:37 AM on June 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


Two casting ideas: Rosario Dawson and Lynn Collins.
posted by Area Man at 12:47 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Guys, I thought this was the Wonder Woman we all decided we wanted to see.
posted by KingEdRa at 12:59 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


With all of the excellent casting suggestions and all of the interpretations of Wonder Woman out there, now I what I really want to see is her as the focus of a sort of superhero version of I'm Not There, the Dylan biopic. Something similar in tone to the Superman-as-everyman/woman vignettes in Steven T. Seagle & Teddy Kristiansen's excellent (and criminally obscure) Vertigo (!!) Superman book "It's a Bird..."
posted by jason_steakums at 1:06 AM on June 29, 2013


Armchair casting: how about Gina Carano? I don't know about her acting chops, but she's the real deal. Great image here; fighting bit in Fast & Furious 6; Conan O'Brien clip (he's losing his shit, but she's cool).

Seriously, looking pretty damn superheroic.
posted by taz at 1:38 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Part of the problem with Wonder Woman is that her origin story seems totally absurd. Batman and Ironman are just normal people. Spider-man, the Hulk, the X-men are all science-fiction, which people are willing to buy. Superman's is a little more absurd, but still hypothetically science based.

But wonder woman is, like, a demigod out of greek mythology. And other then super strength her powers are pretty weird. An invisible airplane? A rope that makes people tell the truth when you tie them up?

I guess they did Thor and people bought it.

I mostly read Marvel and particularly X-Men growing up, and I think one of my favorite female characters was Jubilee from the X-men, obviously a pretty minor character in the grand scheme of things. It would be cool to do a X-Men: first class period movie with her set in the early 90s.

Plus, how awesome would Rouge move with Jennifer Lawrence be? I mean it would be a little awkward since she's already Mystique. But there is the great tragic aspect to her character that makes for great drama like Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker, etc. I mean it's almost clichéd at this point to point out that other then batman DC's marquee titles are mostly just awesome people with awesome lives and awesome powers. Kind of boring.
Also, Alien and Kill Bill are not superhero movies, and one of them is from a whole different era of filmmaking when you could do stuff like this. Hollywood has definitely gotten worse for woman-centered action movies, not better.
Yeah, if they're just trying to get millions of dudebros to fill the seats. There's the theory that Hit Girl is the real star of Kick Ass but the movie is billed as being about Kick Ass because making a movie about a dude would sell more tickets.

I wonder how much of that's real and how much is just paranoia. On the other hand I can see those same marketers trying to make a WW movie as appealing as possible to that same demographic, which could result in a film that would be pretty alienating to her hard-core fans.
posted by delmoi at 2:50 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


taz: "Armchair casting: how about Gina Carano? I don't know about her acting chops, but she's the real deal . Great image here; fighting bit in Fast & Furious 6 ; Conan O'Brien clip (he's losing his shit, but she's cool).

Seriously, looking pretty damn superheroic.
"

Not to mention she can whup serious ass while being feminine. See Haywire.
posted by Samizdata at 2:55 AM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


My pick for Diana is Missy Peregrym. Lucy Lawless would be great for Hippolyta. Start the movie in Themiscyra. It should be a magical/technological wonderland like Asgard in the Thor movie, inhabited by a physically and mentally more powerful subrace of humans, the Amazons. All are tall, muscular women, majority brunette, Mediterranean ethnicity, none very dark- or light- skinned. They should be shown doing various things that are beyond normal humans, however they should still be well below the Kryptonian level of superpower. Show two of them lifting down a US army tank from an invisible warplane with some difficulty until third comes wearing golden bracelets and lifts it away from the other two, and training to deflect projectiles with bracelets. The bracelets are invisible forcefield technology as are the warplanes. The Amazons should wear New DC style costumes with personal and functional variations while at work, the old-style "swimsuit and sandals" costume while in personal quarters.

The Amazons are an insular, contemplative culture (warrior monks), believing with good reason that they are superior to the rest of the world ("Man's world"), and keeping an eye on it through observation technology, spying, occasional theft for analysis (eg the tank). The invisible warplanes are as maneuverable as a helicopter, and completely silent. There are only a few thousand Amazons, and we will be shown a few babies, a few dozen girls, and a few hundred will be elderly but all are in extremely good physical condition - the actress of the oldest character shown would be in her 60's, and the character may say something like "I remember watching them invent crossbows and printing presses and they are no wiser now than they were then".

Diana is on monitor duty with several other Amazons and we are watching her watch a protest somewhere (Middle East or Eastern Europe). The police are brutalizing the crowd and Diana is becoming increasingly uncomfortable watching this. She starts a discussion among the team - some are offended that she questions the party line, some are inclined to agree, one says "you sound like Circe", another tells her to shut up, "even though you are the Queen's daughter you have no more right to question her than I do" and the squad leader changes the viewpoint and quashes the argument.

Circe (my pick would be Rachel Weisz or Edina Menzel) is senior adviser and chief of science, and she is shown arguing with Hippolyta. Circe wants the Themiscyrans to engage with humans, that the Amazons have a responsibility to guide them. (Later in the movie it will become clear that she intends to enslave them.) Diana overhears some of this argument and after Circe leaves asks Hippolyta about it. Hippolyta tells Diana that "we are not wise enough to guide them nor are they wise enough to follow our guidance, and we would only end up enslaving them ourselves for their own good". (Which is Circe's exact opinion except that Circe thinks that this is a good idea.) Subtextually Hippolyta represents isolationism, Diana represents uplifting engagement, Circe represents exploitation.

Diana asks if she could go out among them, pretend to be a woman of Man's World, and see for herself what they are like. Hippolyta asks why the viewing orb is not good enough. Diana points out that it allows no two-way communication, Hippolyta counters that this is the whole idea. Diana: "I am seventy-two years old, I am surely able to handle myself among the people of Man's World." Hippolyta: "And Artemis my mother is more than twice my own age, and she accedes to my rule also. You may challenge me if you wish, Diana, but I was first to see your face among the newborn Amazons, and I know that you might have the warrior skills, but not the wisdom to rule." (Amazon reproduction should be left vaguely technomagical - they are clearly a creche-rearing society but they have individual mother-daughter bonds. They should be physically similar to each other but dissimilar enough to obviously not be clones.)

Diana sneaks out during the night and approaches Circe's temple of science. Circe is repairing a purple healing ray projector and listening to a Man's World tech music player of some kind - a song that is transcendantly beautiful, female artist, perhaps KD Lang's cover of Hallelujah. Diana is briefly scandalized. Circe grins: "I'm testing it" and turns it off. We see the golden lasso hanging on Circe's wall.

Circe encourages Diana in her plan of visiting Man's World and suggests that she could place a teleporter attuner in Washington in the United States, which would allow Themiscyrans easier access to that nation's political leadership. She gives Diana a pair of bracelets which reduce the weight of objects she touches, and a tiara that will create a body-form field to protect her, and lends the golden lasso to her. Circe will reattune an invisible warplane to Diana to allow Diana to steal it.

Diana sneaks away from Themiscyra, lands in Man's World (the USA), hijinks ensue as she attempts to fit in (she has a lot of observational knowledge but poor cultural/personal skills). Her mission is to place Circe's "teleporter attuner" which is that, but also a mass-scale amplifier of the golden lasso's mind control effect. If she had stuck to her mission it would have all been easy but she gets involved in the lives of various people and forms emotional connections with them, and does various superhero things some of which get reported by news organizations. In the course of this she encounters an army lieutenant assigned to desk work in DC named Diana Prince who looks very similar to Diana, and with the lasso convinces Lt Prince to allow Diana to assume her identity. The real Lt Prince spends the rest of the movie on "vacation" while Diana looks for a good place to put the attuner. (The Washington Monument, eventually.)

Hippolyta discovers Diana's presence via reports from the viewing orb watchers and sends Circe to retrieve her (as per Circe's plan).

US agents (presented as villains for most of the hero sequence) have been tracking Diana, they track down the real Lt Prince and interrogate her, and they find the attuner and attempt to remove it. Diana discovers Lt Prince has been arrested and incarcerated because of Diana's actions and has a moral crisis over the use of the mind control lasso, because clearly Lt Prince was not at fault. Circe communicating via the tiara sends Diana to defend it. Diana uses the lasso to take back the attuner from the agents and on seeing the amplification's effect (everyone obeys her without question), she figures out Circe's plan, and Diana destroys the attuner.

Circe is much more a mind-controller and technologist than a warrior and so she takes over a US Army base intending to use the soldiers' resources to recapture Diana, before Diana can tell Hippolyta what has happened. Diana manages to defeat the soldiers without actually killing any (should be a hard fight and require assistance from people she has helped). She confronts Circe and Circe takes back the lasso. Circe tells Diana that if she will not assist the plan, she must be prevented from interfering with it.

Hippolyta has avoided distractions by Circe's conspirators and starts watching through the viewing orb in time to see this occur and the revelation of Circe's plan to enslave humanity and decides to go through to deal with it herself. She spins around in a golden light and is girded up in the "battle armour" version of Wonder Woman's costume (perhaps some elements from Xena's costume if it is Lucy Lawless). She activates Circe's teleporter remotely and steps through, to discover Circe strangling Diana with the lasso. She strikes down Circe and confronts Diana.

Diana recovers her breath and they talk. Diana: "They need us, but as examples, not rulers." Hippolyta: "They are weak, Diana, in body and in spirit. The women live in subjection to men, the men in subjection to the pursuit of power. We must have nothing to do with them. Come home." Diana: "I would prefer to stay." Hippolyta: "It wasn't a request, Diana. Your queen orders." Diana: "I refuse." Hippolyta: "Do you challenge me, then?" Audience is keyed up for a Hippolyta/Diana fight scene and it looks like it is going to happen, but Diana says "No. I don't believe that you being able to physically beat me up makes you right. We have to be better than that. We have to be right because we do the right thing. We have to live as heroes, not bullies. You are queen for your wisdom as well as your power. Find a way to resolve this with wisdom, not violence, my mother."

Circe finds this all very funny and laughs despite her wounds. "There is nothing in this world but violence, foolish girl. Power is the ability to inflict violence, or not, as one chooses, and wisdom is nothing more than using that power effectively. Your mother controls me, and she will control you."

Hippolyta contemplates the two of them and sheaths her sword. "I will not control you. As you will not obey me, Diana, you are exiled from Themiscyra. You are ordered to act with honour and represent yourself as a true Amazon even though you are in Man's World. You will show them every day that you are better than them, and they will spit at you and abuse you and ignore you for it. When you are corrupted by them, defeated by their cruelty and stupidity, and beaten down by their irredeemable evil, as you will be, you may ask to be returned home. Then I will accept your apology. Until then, I wish you well, my daughter." They embrace, Hippolyta gives Diana the sword, and then she picks up Circe and disappears in golden light.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:29 AM on June 29, 2013 [33 favorites]


aeschenkarnos: WOW! Really awesome. My only thought is that it's lame that Hippolyta defeats the main villain instead of Diana... Really kicks the climax down a notch. However, I'd still go see this movie in a heartbeat.
posted by Strass at 3:49 AM on June 29, 2013


Assuming we have to have a Wonder Woman that's based in the same world as Man of Steel... (Otherwise, I'd stick to my previous versions)

So you remember when Supes was wandering around the scout ship/Fortress of Solitude? There were a few pods belonging to deceased Kryptonian explorers. One of them was open. While in the tie-in comic they pretty much say that was Supergirl's pod (which doesn't make much sense unless they start to get timewarping into the Phantom Drive thing), I think we can safely ignore that (I mean, it's just a comic LOL) and make the previous occupant of that pod the progenitor of the Amazon race. The occupant was a (genetic) scientist and was able to figure out a way to interbreed with the locals, although the Kryptonian heritage is diluted and only stays on the female X chromosome (or whatever - Jor-El rode a dragon on a wold of spaceships, not too bovvered with Goyer-ian logic).

Anyways, the result is that we have a race of warrior women with lower than Kryptonian strength and some sort of iteration on their technology. They've been using the latter to hide their island, but when the World Breaker or whatever went off it spoiled some of the settings and the island is starting to pop up on satellite images again.

After Supes showed up, the old Project Blue Book style military initiatives get resuscitated and Captain Stephanie Trevor gets assigned the Amazon case. She'll be out POV character.

And here we run into a problem of Wonder Woman - the lack of big name villains - so we're going to have to make a wing of the military industrial complex the main bad guy in an Avatar-like setup. Don't worry, though, we'll still have some fights, especially when the doctor, Doris Zuel, who is the driving force behind the "let's take these yokels super tech" fools around with some captured technologies and gets turned into a giant.

Of course, you can't build a castle on sand and given Snyder's previous history with female characters, the foundations of this franchise would be pretty week. Get Bigalow and lock Goyer and Snyder out of the editing room.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:27 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Perhaps Egg Fu could be the movie villain...


(hamburger)
posted by wittgenstein at 4:57 AM on June 29, 2013


Yeah, but it would turn out that Egg Fu was just an actor playing a role and all the fanboys would RRRRAAAAAAGGGGEEE
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:00 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Scott Lynch has an idea on how to make a Wonder Woman movie work.
posted by aldurtregi at 5:02 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Every conversation we have here about casting always ends up with the suggestion that we use Tilda Swinton.

Your point being.... ??
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:17 AM on June 29, 2013


Wonder Woman is inherently nearly as powerful as Superman and a better hand to hand combatant than Batman. Any movie that doesn't display those two traits (without necessarily making them the focus of the movie) is a disservice to her.

She's also consistently shown as willing to do what's necessary to win, even if that means killing. so, that alone, makes her more compelling than either of the other two.
posted by oddman at 5:39 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just popping in to say that the new52 WW (Azarello/Chiang) is fantastic.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:04 AM on June 29, 2013


She's also consistently shown as willing to do what's necessary to win, even if that means killing. so, that alone, makes her more compelling than either of the other two.

Only after the 1987 reboot. And Man of Steel means that won't be distinctive in the movieverse.

Honestly, I think MoS's grimly reductive, overserious take on superheroes is going to make it harder to introduce a conceptually diverse lineup of heroes. Because they don't treat everything like super-serious, sturm und drang, the Marvel movies have room for Thor and Groot as well as Iron Man and the Hulk.

Notice how many suggestions here, for example, are about making Wonder Woman just another sci-fi adventurer, and maybe even just a Superman spin-off. They're clever ways to work with what Snyder has set up, but even their cleverness can't help but reveal the limitations of that approach.
posted by kewb at 6:17 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just popping in to say that the new52 WW (Azarello/Chiang) is fantastic.

Greg Rucka's Wonder Woman is unfarily overlooked; I'd say he, Perez, and Simone are the only three writers in recent memory to get the character right. Azzarello/Chiang is a good comic about the gods, but Wonder Woman herself is the weakest part of the book, and it's really not much of a superhero genre piece.

I've also grown tired of the Bendis/Azzarello style of naive or undefined "good" protagonists who exist amid a cynical, cynical supporting cast defined by their atrocities, complacencies, and complicities.
posted by kewb at 6:23 AM on June 29, 2013


Not to mention she can whup serious ass while being feminine. See Haywire.

I would be behind this Haywire style Wonder Woman movie 100%.
posted by Artw at 6:42 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gina Torres would make a pretty rad Wonder Woman.
posted by tllaya at 6:45 AM on June 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


Didn't Wonderwoman have some sort of S&M connection initially? That would sell tickets.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:53 AM on June 29, 2013


If you knew nothing about Kill Bill, watched it, and then I told you it was a superhero movie, you would believe me. There is nothing unique about superhero movies now; they are ubiquitous. They fall squarely into the fantasy/sci-fi genre. Aliens, Kill Bill, and Batman all follow predictable formulas. Karen Gillian for Wonder Woman!
posted by Brocktoon at 6:53 AM on June 29, 2013


Didn't Wonderwoman have some sort of S&M connection initially? That would sell tickets

See: Grant Morrison link.
posted by Artw at 6:56 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've really enjoyed Azzarello's take on Wonder Woman. It's not my favorite, but it hasn't been so awful that I want to throw the book down (which is the case for a LOT of Wonder Woman writers).

Like others in this thread I think Perez, Rucka, and Simone did her the best. I especially loved Rucka's decision to have her kill Maxwell Lord at the end of the Omac Project series. It was wiped away because DC sucks, but I think that action really highlighted her dual roles as a peacemaker and warrior*. She interacts with humanity to encourage peace--and in the real world sometimes you have to kill in order to do that. Superman's stories generally find some convoluted way to get him out of it, and Batman's stories have him avoiding killing anyone to the point it's ridiculous (i.e. the Joker). Wonder Woman presents a different character who can carry out that step as the very last resort. Any good characterization of her will include that aspect.

*which is why I like Azzarello's take, he's been good about balancing her yin and yang


Not to mention she can whup serious ass while being feminine

I think young Lucy Lawless or Gina Carano are the best actresses of those so named for acting as Wonder Woman, since they're the closest who come to having muscles. I also think that as long as we get hung up on the idea that our female leads must "be feminine" no matter what you're going to fail at Wonder Woman, because nobody who's truly kicking somebody else's ass looks remotely delicate and pretty or however we want to characterize femininity. Watch any women's MMA fight. Those are real fights and there's nothing feminine about them.

I'm fucking sick of Hollywood trying to tell me women with stick-thin arms who would blow over in a breeze are super-badass ass kickers. Charlize Theron's "push ups" in Prometheus were a sad, sad joke from a franchise that brought us Ellen Ripley and Vasquez. When you try to sell me a demigoddess super-strong warrior superhero, she better damn well look like one.
posted by schroedinger at 6:59 AM on June 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


I never understand why they think Wonder Woman would not appeal to boys, as I spent a hell of a lot of my youth throwing away my pretend glasses and spinning around the lawn.

"Son, you can spin around the yard until you pass out, and you are still not going to turn into Lynda Carter anytime soon," my father said, with a mild roll of the eyes.

Spoil sport.

Of course, I was a particular kind of boy, so there's that.
posted by sonascope at 7:05 AM on June 29, 2013 [14 favorites]


Cobie Smulders had some terrific non-fakey-looking action scenes (i.e. none of this flipping on wires crap) in The Avengers, but doing Marvel and DC more or less simultaneously is probably not something the lawyers are going to let happen. Bad enough that Captain America is also The Human Torch.

Cobie Smulders was apparently Joss Whedon's first choice for Wonder Woman - presumably after he was told kindly but firmly by the studio that he couldn't cast Amy Acker.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:59 AM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Does she have a Lex Luthor antagonist?

Wonder Woman's closer to Green Arrow or the Flash in that she has a very deep bench in her rogue's gallery, colorful and memorable powerhouses like Dr. Psycho and Cheetah, but no one in particular to match up against as her perfect foil. Instead of a duel between equal and opposites, they like ganging up on her all at once. Unfortunately, this results in lots of action and intrigue, but not a lot of depth.

Gail Simone's been playing with Giganta a lot across all of the DC titles she's been working on, tho... she's undeniably evil - Mad scientist who used Things We Were Never Meant to Know to get a perfect bod with immense power, which she decided to use to kill people for a living to supplement her research grants - but she also has insecurities, friendships, rivalries, romances, ambitions and other motivations beyond the usual "Moo-hoo-wah-ha-ha!" (tho she has plenty of that, too.)

A likable, relatable villain who can also keep the CGI wonks happy with mass destruction may be the ticket. Just get Gail Simone on board as story consultant.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:09 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


My vote for casting would be former WWE Diva Beth Phoenix. Her schtick was already an ersatz Wonder Woman ("The Glamazon"), plus wrestling rules.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:16 AM on June 29, 2013


Charlize Theron's "push ups" in Prometheus were a sad, sad joke from a franchise that brought us Ellen Ripley

Charlize Theron and Alien-era Sigourney Weaver seem to me to be in pretty much the same boxes when it comes to "femininity," "upper body strength," "plausibility as kick-ass fighters" etc. If you've seen Monster recently your money would probably be on Theron in a fight.

All of which is to simply second a point someone made earlier: films can do an awful lot with lighting, make-up, camera-angles etc. to make us believe people are bigger, smaller, stronger, weaker etc. than they really are. I'm not sure this is really such an important criterion except in some kind of general "fan credibility" marketing way.
posted by yoink at 8:20 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Whereas Jenette Goldstein had done some bodybuilding, although she was not in training at the time of her audition.)

It's also relatively easy (FSVO easy) for an actor - especially a young actor - to tweak their body type if the role demands it. Gym Jones, the "surely they don't mean that name to sound like that" training partner for 300 and Man of Steel, specialize in changing the shape of actors for long enough to make a movie but without killing them. Henry Cavill pre-Man of Steel and post-Man of Steel looks very different from Henry Cavill in Man of Steel, because the régime he was on in the runup to filming is abnormal - lots of weights and protein to build mass, then a process of "leaning up" to shed weight, and cardio directly before any scene he appears in shirtless.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:35 AM on June 29, 2013


I've been to 52 different universes and the news is the same in every one - they cast Megan Fox. Sorry guys.
posted by gerryblog at 8:37 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Charlize Theron and Alien-era Sigourney Weaver seem to me to be in pretty much the same boxes when it comes to "femininity," "upper body strength," "plausibility as kick-ass fighters" etc.

Maybe it's because Sigourney Weaver is a better actress, but I didn't see Theron's ass-kicking plausibility in Prometheus at all.

That's besides the point though, as I would not pick Weaver to play Wonder Woman either. Ass-kicker she can be, super-strong physically imposing demigoddess, no.

All of which is to simply second a point someone made earlier: films can do an awful lot with lighting, make-up, camera-angles etc. to make us believe people are bigger, smaller, stronger, weaker etc. than they really are. I'm not sure this is really such an important criterion except in some kind of general "fan credibility" marketing way.

They can't make 20lbs of muscle appear on a near-bare body where none exists without extensive CGI. And frankly, I don't think they want to less they have a female protagonist who looks too "manly" (GASP!). And I disagree that it's not important criterion. Wonder Woman is the feminist superheroine. If there is any superheroine whose visible indicators of physical strength should not be de-emphasized, it's hers. They don't have the luxury of dressing her in armor like the woman who plays Brienne of Tarth.

I suppose this is personal for me as well. I compete in strength sports and know a large network of women who compete in strength sports. And it is a constant disappointment to all of us to see Hollywood continuously sell muscle-less women as strong, athletic, ass-kickers when real athletes know you do not build up that strength and skill without some visible indicator of it. They try to have their cake and eat it too--"Oh, she's totally strong and badass, but look she's small and delicate like a real woman!"

It would be a disgrace if Wonder Woman was yet another character relegated to the faux-superstrength Model Ghetto. I'm not even asking for a Jill Mills (i.e. a genuinely freakishly strong woman), but damn, don't give me someone whose thighs are the size of my forearm.
posted by schroedinger at 8:39 AM on June 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've been to 52 different universes and the news is the same in every one - they cast Megan Fox. Sorry guys.

If we're gonna go the obvious route, can't we at least get Olivia Wilde? She's at least as attractive as Megan Fox, probably more popular at this point, and she can actually even act, for people who are interested in that sort of thing.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:41 AM on June 29, 2013


maybe a new Wonder Woman series would be developed to appeal more to that demographic?

A WW TV show that would appeal to the the Superwholockian fan base? Hmm. Aside from " make Ben Edlund write it", you could give it a retro time period ( I'm thinking 70s not 40s), and it needs a duo dynamic. Diana is remote, powerful, compassionate, and totally alien - singlemindedly devoted to truth and justice to the point of comic bluntness and the casual corruption of the world of Men is sickening and shocking to her. So of course she has to be paired up with a military liaison, a wisecracking, glad handing foil to help her get used to this totally new world she's found herself in where people bring weapons to the dinner table ( we call them forks here ) and people just sit around ignoring the thousand injustices happening around them every day.
posted by The Whelk at 8:56 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think Wonder Woman needs to be, like 80% Xena and 20% Leslie Knope.

You do know that Lucy Lawless is guest-starring on Parks & Rec these days, yes?
posted by zombieflanders at 9:25 AM on June 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


OMG a Wonder Woman set in the Women's Lib era would be soooooo perfect. Then you don't have to be all stupid and "she's a corporate CEO with a double life!" I mean, give her some kind of human world job, sure, but in 1974 almost ANY job she could have would be bad-ass by default unless it was Avon Lady. And even then, I bet you could pull it off.

And, yeah, she definitely needs a wisecracking sidekick. I also like the idea of her being a total outsider with no sense of everyday "little white lies" behavior.

I'm seeing a buddy-cop type of dynamic, with a side of Edward Scissorhands, and yep, still a little bit of Leslie Knope.
posted by Sara C. at 9:26 AM on June 29, 2013


Yes, yes I do know that, zombieflanders.
posted by Sara C. at 9:27 AM on June 29, 2013


As long as Alison Brie is Donna Troy, I'll die a happy man.
posted by kimota at 9:33 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do a "low budget" Wonder Woman movie first, say $80-$100 million, like the first X-Men movie. Use it to build the character, with a few action scenes, but really focus on what makes this character. Once that takes off, then go nuts with the budget.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:36 AM on June 29, 2013


Is military sci-fi too deprecated these days with the end of BSG and the Stargate franchise? Because The Whelk's comment made me imagine Major Captain Lieutenant Steve Trevor, a guy whose military career is all-but-dead-in-the-water when he gets assigned to show around the new ambassador (though no one seems willing to tell him what country, must be another prank), as her sidekick/foil, preferably played by Fran Kranz.

The only problem is that it's starting to flirt with MPDG territory if you're going to pair her up with a regular guy who gets dragged into wacky superheroics by WW. It could work without seeming that way, but she'd have to be written sort of along the same lines as the Doctor--fun and adventurous, but also sort of scary and alien and dangerous juuust under that surface.
posted by kagredon at 9:38 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who says her sidekick is a dude?
posted by The Whelk at 9:41 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


And it's the sidekick, the liaison, who is fun and witty and smooth talking and charming. Diana is a fish out of water and a bit ...rigid.
posted by The Whelk at 9:43 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know how bad the David E. Kelley pilot sounds. And how much fan hatred it got on the Internet (Pants! She can't wear pants!), but in all honesty, it wasn't completely terrible. It seemed more nuanced than Arrow, with better acting from the lead performer (although that's not a high bar to jump).

I actually surprised myself by thinking I wouldn't have minded to see another episode or two, just to see where Kelley was going to take things. Plus you have to give it at least one bonus mark for Cary Elwes.
posted by sardonyx at 9:43 AM on June 29, 2013


but doing Marvel and DC more or less simultaneously is probably not something the lawyers are going to let happen.

I dunno, didn't Ryan Reynolds move straight to Green Lantern after playing Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine?

(for very questionable values of "Deadpool")
posted by radwolf76 at 9:44 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who says her sidekick is a dude?

It's totally typecasting, but in your '70s concept (which I love a lot), I'm seeing Steve Trevor = Jon Hamm.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:48 AM on June 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Someone get the President Of Television on the phone, I think we have a hit.
posted by The Whelk at 9:50 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hell half an episode could be Diana in a crappy motel room discovering TV.

" what are you doing?"

"Educating myself on your dramatic forms, what are these smaller subjects? Venerating food and clothing. Are these worship items?"

" no, they're advertisements, they pay for the shows."

" what are they for?"

" they make people want things so they buy them so they can make more advs."

" How does that work?"

" Because they think people are idiots."

" people do not object to be treated like they are ....idiots?

" Quite the opposite." * turns TV off*
posted by The Whelk at 10:15 AM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I dunno, didn't Ryan Reynolds move straight to Green Lantern after playing Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine?

I wouldn't call it simultaneous, but they were close together. Of course, he was also in Blade: Trinity in 2005, from before Marvel's transformation into production company, and his current film, RIPD, is also based off a comic book.

(for very questionable values of "Deadpool")

I think he was a great Wade Wilson, and if they ever stop teasing us with the development-hell Deadpool movie that will supposedly disregard XMO:W, I expect it'd be a decent flick.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:18 AM on June 29, 2013


Forget Steve Trevor, bring back Etta Candy (but less lame)!
posted by schroedinger at 10:29 AM on June 29, 2013


I think he was a great Wade Wilson

I totally agree, right up until the point them made him into a mute Barakapool.
posted by radwolf76 at 10:36 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I totally agree, right up until the point them made him into a mute Barakapool.

Yep, that's why I didn't refer to...it.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:16 AM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can one of you explain the Tilda Swinton thing to me? Because I'd rather not see her in anything if at all possible.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 11:28 AM on June 29, 2013


Stay away from Doctor Who threads.
posted by Artw at 11:31 AM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Right now at this very instant there is a Time-Warner executive who has tossed away scripts from Gail Simone and Joss Whedon, and is talking about his vision for a Wonder Woman movie.
"It's going to be a RomCom. She's going to be an action girl, and a total radical, man-hating feminist. She tries to fight crime, but keeps getting tied up and the guy who wants to be her boyfriend keeps saving her and getting in arguments with her. At the end she realizes she needs the guy, defeats the bad guy, and kisses her new boyfriend as the credits roll. Oh yeah, it's all coming together."
posted by happyroach at 11:52 AM on June 29, 2013


Who says her sidekick is a dude?

Course not. It has to be Etta Candy in the sarcastic, cynical Danny DeVitoesque sidekick role.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:53 AM on June 29, 2013


MartinWisse: "Course not. It has to be Etta Candy in the sarcastic, cynical Danny DeVitoesque sidekick role."

What it really needs is a gay R2D2...with attitude! And a giant robot spider or something.
posted by jquinby at 11:56 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


What you really need to do with Wonder Woman, as one of the few superhero movies that would actually need it, is her origin story. No, not that whole Hippolyta was lonely and wanted a daughter so she shaped one out of clay and all the goddesses gave her a special gift, but the one in which you have Steve Trevor crash down on Paradise Island and the Amazons realise that with their isolation from Man's world they've given Ares the chance to steer the world towards WWIII and now princess Diana needs to become an ambassador to promote truth, justice and the Amazonian way.

The supporting cast should be Steve Trevor as the wannabe love interest, Etta Candy as the aforementioned cynical friend and Julia & Vanessa Kapatelis as Diana's surrogate family in Man's World.

Giganta could be a good secondary villain to show off Wonder Woman's toughness, with Ares as the main threat.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:04 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don't Trust The Superhero in Apartment Three-Zero
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:13 PM on June 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Charlie Jane Anders: I Don't Want to See Zack Snyder's Take on Wonder Woman
posted by homunculus at 12:23 PM on June 29, 2013


And a giant robot spider or something.

Would a [Mouseover for Man of Steel Spoiler] do in a pinch? Because they did have a scene with a polar bear in there too.
posted by radwolf76 at 12:29 PM on June 29, 2013


If they're going to update her origin story, then perhaps instead of being daughter of an exiled goddess on an island, she should be the daughter of a bazillionaire tax exile on an island, who dies but not before expressing regret for not using his/her immense wealth for good; and she takes that to heart and uses the money Bruce Wayne style, commissioning an invisible plane, lasso of truth, force-field bracelets and super-cybernetic enhancements to her musculature and nervous system.

Just kidding. That's exactly what they shouldn't do.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:42 PM on June 29, 2013


OMG a Wonder Woman set in the Women's Lib era would be soooooo perfect. Then you don't have to be all stupid and "she's a corporate CEO with a double life!" I mean, give her some kind of human world job, sure, but in 1974 almost ANY job she could have would be bad-ass by default unless it was Avon Lady. And even then, I bet you could pull it off.

And, yeah, she definitely needs a wisecracking sidekick. I also like the idea of her being a total outsider with no sense of everyday "little white lies" behavior.

I'm seeing a buddy-cop type of dynamic, with a side of Edward Scissorhands, and yep, still a little bit of Leslie Knope.


So, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl? But snarkier?

I also wanted to add in this awesome, 40s-retro cosplay that popped up on my Tumblr. I don't know if it would work in a movie, but I looove it.
posted by emjaybee at 12:44 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just kidding. That's exactly what they shouldn't do.

I dunno, I've sort of grown to like Arrow.
posted by kagredon at 12:44 PM on June 29, 2013


So, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl? But snarkier?

I'll just leave this here.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:51 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]




That Electra Woman pilot is
Well, I can't finish that sentence. I have no idea what the appropriate word is.
My mind is numbed by that dude's frost & tip job.
posted by Biblio at 1:30 PM on June 29, 2013


homunculus: "This Wonder Woman movie trailer is too good to be true (literally)"

I would feel so awkward if I got Peter Stormare for my fan film and then misspelled his name in the credits.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:41 PM on June 29, 2013 [4 favorites]



I think that if Megan Fox were more awesome and less ugh, she could have made a great Wonder Woman, though. Like, Wonder Woman as seen through the eyes of Joss Whedon.

Again, if Megan Fox were rad and not... whatever the fuck is wrong with Megan Fox.


I think Megan Fox is rad. Like not in a teh hotness way but in a she is funny and kinda underrated/misunderstood way.
posted by sweetkid at 1:48 PM on June 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


In my mind's eye version of the post-Man of Steel Wonder Woman...

The Amazons have been hidden by magic or Olympian tech, but we don't dwell too much on how it works (like the Thor movies). Superman's arrival means governments start looking harder for aliens. Hippolyta decides to pull back the veil, gradually, in opposition to other Amazons that advise her that now is the time for the Amazons, the last remaining Olympians, to make their move and strike first, to take over the planet, as the Olympians tried to do in pre-history.

Diana wins the competition -- via disguise -- to leave the island and reaches out to the Americans.

This Diana is *young.* Seventeen years old, tops. Like how modern Olympic gymnasts and athletes are all teenage girls. Send Saoirse Ronan to Crossfit.

Because of her age, she's a terrible diplomat, and she can't speak any modern language. Her only friend is Steve Trevor, who is non-military. He just happens to be the first person she lays eyes on.

The villain is the other Amazons, led by Circe, who want to capture her and use her as leverage against Hippolyta.

The result is a destroyed Themiscrya, dispersed villainous Amazons for sequels, and Diana as the "last" Olympian stuck in the world without a plan or any real allies. Contrast that to Superman, who has a clear moral foundation and sense of purpose.

All Diana knows is how to fight.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:21 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, there's a Wonder Woman movie that I could see Zach Snyder making. One with a physically powerful female lead who has no agency or effect on the plot.
posted by kagredon at 2:25 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Considering that WW's canon is equal parts baffling and silly, you might have a good job stripping it down to the Olympian themes and motifs and working from there. There are so many gaps in our actual knowledge of myth and plays and events that one could have a lot of fun on a week by week basis, of picking up some Anicent Attic Whatif?

Season one, Diana as Ambassador to the outside world, exploring the modern world in disguise, keep coming up against strange omens and portents, stuff Diana remembers from her Mother's mother stories - this gives us our mystery of the week format as well as setting up Something Not Right Around here. Meanwhile, The Amazons are ramping up to civil war, Hippolyta's peace and cooperation plan failing against Circe's Kill Them All paranoia - this is Ares we're talking about, and he's managed to bring the human world to the brink of total destruction a number of times now ( insert your Cold War metaphor here, Ares invisibly whispering into the ears I'd US and Soviet leaders during talks, etc. total Sympathy For The Devil Stuff)

Anyway stuff happens, Ares is overthrown, Circe banished and stripped of power, the pact between the Human world and the Amazons holds...except for Ares' last words, that he's just the first.

Season Two: The return of the Olympians . They're all coming back and they would like rule over human kind back, now, please. Also, not a fan of the Amazons banishing them all those centuries ago.
posted by The Whelk at 3:03 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Plus, the period setting would allow for some ...fun conversations about the morality of war.
posted by The Whelk at 3:11 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh oh oh oh, the Soviets will want thier own delegate to Paradise Island cause duh, and when a banished and declawed Circe shows up says she is totally really an official ambarassador they of course belive her, and she offers to share some Olympian tech...by turning one of thier star ballerinas ( who recently suffered a broken ankle, in public, during a goodwill performance, earning her an entire nation worth of shame) into Silver Swan- telling the Soviets they need to counter Diana's involvement with the Americans, but really it's so she can train SS to help her take back control from Hippolyta. Because Circe is still convinced Lyta isn't strong enough or ruthless enough to defend against the Olympian Pantheon when they show back up ..and cause Circe doesn't really care if she ends up killing a few million humans in the process.
posted by The Whelk at 3:17 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyway the Olympains returning could be drawn out for a while, as they bring with them all the various furies and monsters in thier wake as they crawl thier way back to reality. You can go to a fun American Gods place with the various Olympians hiding in plain sight, some of which where not actually banished from this dimension but just laid low for a few thousand years and could be persuaded to help the humans cause he likes parties more than ruling ( hint, he's kinda chubby, hairy, and loves those box wines they have now.)
posted by The Whelk at 3:25 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't go with a period setting, but those are some good ideas for a tv show. Really, there are plenty of interesting stories to tell with Wonder Woman, it's just she's been saddled with subpar writers and artists for much of her history. DC has never shown her the respect a Batman or Superman, or even a Green Lantern have gotten. A televison series, perhaps an animated series that could pick and choose from her history could be so good.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:26 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


hint, he's kinda chubby, hairy, and loves those box wines they have now.

Actually, he's gotten a lot skinnier over the years, with his trademark craggly face, leather cap and trenchcoat and unlikely to be involved in superheroics, unless the eyeball kid is back again.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:30 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


( ha Martin, yes all read the same books)
posted by The Whelk at 3:35 PM on June 29, 2013


Anyway I want Bacchus just so Diana and Sidekick are forced to talk to him at some 70s leatherbar in NYC
posted by The Whelk at 3:36 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


As you do.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:41 PM on June 29, 2013


Come to think of it, you can do some wonderful things in a seventies setting with Dr Psycho as cult leader/psychiatric guru type.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:42 PM on June 29, 2013


Yes yessss
posted by The Whelk at 3:45 PM on June 29, 2013


They can't make 20lbs of muscle appear on a near-bare body where none exists without extensive CGI. And frankly, I don't think they want to less they have a female protagonist who looks too "manly" (GASP!). And I disagree that it's not important criterion. Wonder Woman is the feminist superheroine. If there is any superheroine whose visible indicators of physical strength should not be de-emphasized, it's hers.

There are several problems with this line of argument, though. For one thing, whatever the source of Wonder Woman's strength, it's not simply "she worked out a lot." It's supernatural. There's no human musculature--not even Arnold Schwarzenegger's at his peak--that would account for what she is capable of doing. This is true of all the superheroes, in fact--at least, all the ones who are in some way non-human or extra-human. Superman is shown as muscly, sure, but it's essentially window-dressing. If he were a bookish nerd from Krypton he'd still be flying and punching out locomotives. We don't buy that he can lift a building because "oh wow, he clearly works out." We buy it--if we do--because we accept the premise that he has essentially "magic" powers. The same goes double for, say, Spiderman--who, after all, has the build of a nerdy teenager and is able to perform feats of extraordinary strength. So there's actually no logical "story" reason for Wonder Woman not to be small and not outstandingly muscled. She's not human and therefore we don't have to believe that she is a human who has trained herself to be able to do the feats she does.

But the other thing that's wrong with your argument is the claim about continuity with the Wonder Woman of the comics. She has hardly ever been portrayed as anything but extraordinarily "feminine" in the comics and equally is usually portrayed as only about, say, aerobics-instructor fit. That is, not very much more obviously muscled than your average young Hollywood starlet--who are almost all working out pretty regularly in any case. Approximating the average look of the comics Wonder Woman really wouldn't take much more than a month or two of specialized work outs for a pretty wide range of Hollywood actresses.
posted by yoink at 3:50 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


this seems like a good time to link to some of the Cliff Chiang art I mentioned earlier. Diana's been drawn looking a variety of ways, even in simultaneous stories; there's a world of difference between the tall-and-solidly-built look she has in the current WW title and the more delicate, slim look she has in the JLA book.

Personally, I'd feel very much encouraged about a potential WW movie if the casting made clear that the people making the movie were willing to challenge the idea that "feminine" and "muscular" are mutually exclusive, but I would honestly be thrilled if they made the movie at all.
posted by kagredon at 4:01 PM on June 29, 2013


So, Melissa McCarthy as Etta Candy? Done.

Seconding the not-getting-Tilda-Swinton-for-president. She's undeniably a great actress, but her overall image/vibe is...limiting. Orlando, Ophelia, White Witch? Great. Morpheus/Dream? Yes. Wonder Woman? Not so much.
posted by the sobsister at 4:07 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, what I want is a Big Barda movie, but who would play her?
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:08 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The main thing, really about the "look" of WW and what that means for Hollywood is that, no matter how much some people might wish it, there is no way that a WW movie would ever be made starring some random MMA person or the latest WWE wrestler lady du jour.

This is because the star of a movie like this has to be seen as able to "carry" a summer blockbuster. Now, they might go in the direction of someone like Cobie Smulders, because she's relatively unknown and would be able to just completely embody the idea of who Wonder Woman is for a new generation of fans. Sort of like Zachary Quinto as Spock.

But you can't hand over $200 million dollars and just kinda sorta hope that boxer chick is a pretty good actress. As cool as the fight scenes would probably be.
posted by Sara C. at 4:13 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Uh obviously Gina Torres as Big Barda and Alan Tudyk as Mister Miracle RIGHT NOW PLEASE JAM THAT MOVIE INTO MY BRAIN THANK YOU.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:14 PM on June 29, 2013 [16 favorites]


This is because the star of a movie like this has to be seen as able to "carry" a summer blockbuster. Now, they might go in the direction of someone like Cobie Smulders, because she's relatively unknown and would be able to just completely embody the idea of who Wonder Woman is for a new generation of fans. Sort of like Zachary Quinto as Spock.

don't forget it has to be someone willing to sign over the next 3-5 years to make sequels if the first movie is a hit
posted by kagredon at 4:16 PM on June 29, 2013


Actually, Gina Torres as WW and Alan Tudyk as a nerdier, funnier Capt. Steve Trevor, I would go to see.
posted by the sobsister at 4:17 PM on June 29, 2013


( I'm now imaging some amazing Xantos Gmabit speech delivered by Athena in a season finale, she the lone Olympian who seems to want to stop Hera's plan to take back Earth for the Olympians. " Do you know why Ares tried so hard to push the world to war? Because he knew I'd win. He wanted me to be Queen of radioactive ash. You see, I always win. You draft my family and bring down the biggest threats to me, I win. you seal Circe and her Swan in the tomb of Mt. etna and I win. You put my puppet Bacchus on the Laurel Throne and I win. You remove the only obstacle in the way of me taking Paradise Island and its ambrosia and I win. You bring me into your deepest sanctums and show me your nation's belly and I win. I'm going to give this world what it deserves, in great abundance, and they have you to thank for that Diana.")
posted by The Whelk at 4:18 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The main thing, really about the "look" of WW and what that means for Hollywood is that, no matter how much some people might wish it, there is no way that a WW movie would ever be made starring some random MMA person or the latest WWE wrestler lady du jour.

I know it is unrealistic to cast a no-name actress solely on the basis of having more muscles. Of course, somebody can make the exact same argument about the choice to cast Johnny Depp as Tonto, rather than an actual Native American, or the myriad number of white actors who are cast as another race instead of an actual member of the race. And yet, somehow, people have a problem with the practice of redface/blackface/yellowface/brownface.

If we're not OK with that, I don't know why we have to be OK with Hollywood's self-perpetuation of a singular presentation of female beauty and body type.

There are several problems with this line of argument, though. For one thing, whatever the source of Wonder Woman's strength, it's not simply "she worked out a lot." It's supernatural. There's no human musculature--not even Arnold Schwarzenegger's at his peak--that would account for what she is capable of doing. This is true of all the superheroes, in fact--at least, all the ones who are in some way non-human or extra-human. Superman is shown as muscly, sure, but it's essentially window-dressing.

Of course it's window-dressing. By the same token, you could also cast a 500lbs dude as the Flash. And yet people don't cast a nerdy bookish dude as Superman, or a 500lbs dude as the Flash, and they do demand their actors look reasonably well-muscled because it is convention for superheroes to appear athletic and strong. Yet this convention is not applied to women. Are you arguing this is because artists and directors have inexplicably decided to think outside the box when presenting female superheroines? Or is it possibly that a woman who is as relatively muscled as her male counterparts is unpalatable to the general population, and as such we pick waifs to play them?


But the other thing that's wrong with your argument is the claim about continuity with the Wonder Woman of the comics. She has hardly ever been portrayed as anything but extraordinarily "feminine" in the comics and equally is usually portrayed as only about, say, aerobics-instructor fit.

This is true. But it is also true that we've already established Wonder Woman has been extremely spottily written and poorly handled for most of her comics. If you look at her better writing runs, they are generally accompanied by art that presents her as more physically intimidating (kagredon's example above is excellent).

Not to mention the ongoing discussion within the comics world about how female characters in general are portrayed as highly sexualized and vulnerable compared to their male counterparts, no matter how strong or impressive the female character is supposed to be.

This thread is discussing ways to portray Wonder Woman well. I would hope that while we're considering a complex, multi-layered, characterization of her that reflects her feminist roots and potential as a character, we'd also not betray those roots by locking her physical presentation into traditional notions of beauty and femininity.
posted by schroedinger at 5:29 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ctr-F "Gwendoline Christie"
Nothing.

Sigh. I thought we had reached an understanding after the whole Riz Ahmed thing.
posted by fullerine at 8:29 PM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


If we're not OK with that, I don't know why we have to be OK with Hollywood's self-perpetuation of a singular presentation of female beauty and body type.

We absolutely don't have to be. But it's unrealistic to expect Hollywood to cast a non-actor in a role simply in order to challenge people's ideas about femininity and strength. For a movie that, due to the genre it's in, would be absolutely required to be a mega-budget studio tentpole film.

I mean, I'm as likely to be cast as Wonder Woman in a $200 million dollar summer blockbuster as a random MMA person is. It's just... not going to happen. Period. It's like wishing unicorns existed.
posted by Sara C. at 9:03 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Perhaps you missed the first sentence of my post:

I know it is unrealistic to cast a no-name actress solely on the basis of having more muscles.

However, if we simply can't have this conversation because of that, then next time yet another Metafilter thread arises because a white actor/actress has been cast as a non-white character, I suggest you drop in and explain to everyone there's no point in having the conversation because Hollywood isn't going to cast a no-name not-white person.
posted by schroedinger at 9:11 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Non-white actors are actors.

Martial artists are not actors.
posted by Sara C. at 11:50 PM on June 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not advocating for a removal of all actresses and replacing them with martial artists, or whatever. That example was only brought up to indicate the body type of someone who actually kicks ass, as opposed to, say, Gwynyth Paltrow. I'm saying in my ideal fantasy land Hollywood picks actresses who are more heavily muscled for explicitly athletic roles (or trains them to that point). Still actresses, just different-looking ones. I'm not sure why you have such a problem with this. Do you hate muscles on women or something?
posted by schroedinger at 11:59 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Michelle Yeoh. She doesn't look 49. And she kicks ass.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 12:00 AM on June 30, 2013


the body type of someone who actually kicks ass, as opposed to, say, Gwynyth Paltrow

But, like, who are these actresses who "actually" kick ass?

Virtually ALL actresses work out way more than you do, I promise.

Virtually ZERO actresses are professional fighters in any sense.

Some actresses who are tall and strong and who have played ass-kicking women in other films have been condemned as being too wimpy for this particular role.

So...? Who's left? And how are we to determine whether that person is Kick-Assingly-Correct for the part?

What separates someone like Cobie Smulders or Charlize Theron from this mythical being you're imagining playing Wonder Woman?
posted by Sara C. at 12:07 AM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yea I'm pretty sure Gwyneth Paltrow could kick my ass. And I work out
posted by sweetkid at 12:26 AM on June 30, 2013


Non-white actors are actors.

Martial artists are not actors.


This is true... but one reason why non-white roles are assigned to white actors is a conviction in Hollywood that non-white actors can't open films. The same problem applies to women. In fact, whereas there are a couple of African-American actors who are seen as able to open films, and I think around one who is trusted to open a summer blockbuster (although any bets that After Earth's disappointing box office will be blamed on having two African-American leads, rather than the quality of the film they were in?), I'm not sure I can think of a single female actress who would be seen as able to open a big-budget action movie like Wonder Woman.

There isn't really a female version of Sam Worthington, even - someone noted for their ability not to walk through CGI effects which will be added later.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:55 AM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had heard that Haywire was a decent movie, so last night I watched it on Netflix. It has some pacing issues, but yeah, Gina Carrano has my vote for Wonder Woman.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:27 AM on June 30, 2013


The, er, appropriate buffness of Wonder Woman is an interesting point to raise, because while on the one hand this is someone whose strength is superhuman -- that is to say, is not only greater than any real person's, but greater than any real person's even could be -- this is someone who also comes from a warrior culture, and who is the best of those warriors. So it's not like Superman, where any random Kryptonian could show up on Earth and have all the same powers, to more or less the same caliber. There is presumably some magical or genetic difference that makes the Amazons more physically powerful than normal humans -- so that the nerdiest, most bookish Amazon could still kick our asses -- but Wonder Woman is a better fighter than any of the others. It goes without saying there's a lot more to being able to fight than just being strong, but one would imagine she's probably stronger than most.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:32 AM on June 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mr. and Mrs Smith was interesting because it had the female lead as the superior fighter, who was kicking the man's ass all over the place. She wasn't hugely muscled, but hey it's film, it doesn't have to be completely realistic.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:10 AM on June 30, 2013


There is presumably some magical or genetic difference that makes the Amazons more physically powerful than normal humans -- so that the nerdiest, most bookish Amazon could still kick our asses -- but Wonder Woman is a better fighter than any of the others.

It depends on your continuity, but the latest incarnation of Wonder Woman is the daughter of Hippolyta and Zeus, and so is at least half-divine. The Amazons are generally blessed by the gods, and are generally pictured as superhumanly strong, but how superhumanly strong varies from Amazon to Amazon, and indeed writer to writer. Wonder Woman is stronger, a better fighter and so on than a regular Amazon, but this is a result both of dedicated training and an abundance of magical bestowal.

So, we're back to the Superman thing that there is no possible way he could be as strong as he is just by working out and building muscle tissue. In fact, working out must be inordinately difficult for him, especially before (or in continuities without) the Fortress of Solitude or STAR Labs, so we can probably assume that that's just how Kryptonian bodies develop under a yellow sun. If somebody wants to cast Summer Glau as Wonder Woman, there's no canonical reason not to.

It would be great if Hollywood (and comic books) reflected more diverse standards of female beauty, but one place it is definitely not going to happen is a $300 million action blockbuster.

(One might compare Glory, Rob Liefeld's Wonder Woman analog, who started out with the standard Eschergirl build, but has been rebooted with a physique that more closely resembles the kind of bodies male superheroes have - example here.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:44 AM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it's almost easier to make a list of people who shouldn't play Wonder Woman. Obviously Megan Fox is on that list. I would like to add the Deschanel sisters. And Kirsten Dunst. Kirsten Dunst should not play Wonder Woman. Neither should January Jones. Or Neil Patrick Harris. See, this is easy and fun! It's a great party game!
posted by Biblio at 7:49 AM on June 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


It goes without saying there's a lot more to being able to fight than just being strong, but one would imagine she's probably stronger than most.

Sure. But the problem with any story based on magical beings is that "that's just how the magic works" is always a reasonable answer to any "but how...?" question. If you want to say Amazons can kick any normal human's ass in a fist fight while looking like pin-ups (and, basically, that is what the comic-book tradition of the Amazons does want to say) then there's no "but that's not how it works in the real world" rejoinder to that. Maybe the fittest, hardest-training, buffest Amazon just gets a slightly smaller waist and slightly bigger boobs and slightly glossier black hair than all the others. Maybe that's just how Amazon physiology works? Going by what we see in the comics, that would certainly appear to be a reasonably working hypothesis.
posted by yoink at 7:59 AM on June 30, 2013


Michelle Yeoh. She doesn't look 49. And she kicks ass.

Heroic Trio!
posted by Artw at 8:05 AM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Or Neil Patrick Harris.

YOU TAKE THAT BACK!
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:10 AM on June 30, 2013


I am now firmly of the belief that Wonder Woman's sidekick should be a punk Maggie Cheung on a motorcycle with a shotgun.
posted by Artw at 8:15 AM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm off in my own WW retro TV show world wondering what political instability in the 70s Ares can be said to have had a hand in, if his goal is full on nuclear war.
posted by The Whelk at 8:50 AM on June 30, 2013


Virtually ALL actresses work out way more than you do, I promise. . . . Some actresses who are tall and strong and who have played ass-kicking women in other films have been . . . . condemned as being too wimpy for this particular role.What separates someone like Cobie Smulders or Charlize Theron from this mythical being you're imagining playing Wonder Woman?
posted by Sara C. at 3:07 AM on June 30 [2 favorites +] [!]


Yea I'm pretty sure Gwyneth Paltrow could kick my ass. And I work out
posted by sweetkid at 3:26 AM on June 30 [+] [!]


If you genuinely believe that Cobie Smulders and Gwyneth Paltrow are tall, strong women who could kick people's asses, then you lack a base familiarity with the physiology of athleticism that I cannot provide. Lifting 3-lbs weights* do not provide you with the necessary strength to take down multiple attackers, and women who train for strength-and-power-based sports and lift heavy do not look like either of those actresses. Not even close. Do you genuinely not see a difference between the musculature on those women and, say, Sarah D'Alelio, Lydia Valentin, Ronda Rousey, or Camille Leblanc Bazinet? Just quick examples of traditionally attractive women who are also genuinely athletic and strong. Or if you want actresses proper as an example of what strength-based training does to the body, let's look at Jessica Biel in Blade and Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2. Or Gina Carano, who both acts and was a top contender in MMA.

I have said before, I train strongwomen and Olympic lifting. I know women with backgrounds in rugby, powerlifting, strongman, shot put, Olympic lifting, and other strength-and-power-based sports. When you are female and deadlifting 350+lbs, you do not look like Gwynyth Paltrow. When you have developed enough strength and power to hold your own in a scrum, you do not look like Cobie Smulders.

I can't believe this argument is even necessary. Do you also think Justin Bieber looks totally strong and like he could hold his own in a fight? Because I bet he works out a lot, too. Believe it or not, but different types of exercise produce different levels of stimulus, and the ability to actually "kick ass" or whatever comes with visible physiological changes to your body.


*Gwyneth Paltrow works out with Tracy Anderson, who has openly said women should not be lifting more than 3lbs because they will get too "bulky" (guess that means women shouldn't pick up their own kids?). Gwyneth Paltrow also has osteopenia, precursor to osteoporosis. Given heavy lifting is one of the few things shown to effectively prevent and treat osteopenia/osteoporosis, I would say that the 3lbs Tracy Andersen method is not providing the needed stimulus necessary to be an "ass kicker".
posted by schroedinger at 8:59 AM on June 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


That is a really, really long way of saying I think our culture has set the bar really low for what is considered "strong" in women, so low that we are fed the belief that if you are a stick-thin model and can lift a grocery bag you are automatically strong and fit--no matter how you got there, how much muscle mass you actually have, or whether it is actually enough muscle mass to keep you healthy as you age. Tandem to this belief is the idea if you have visible muscles you're a huge man-beast and gross and probably "too" strong, whatever it is.

There is a long, long tradition of placing more worth on how women look rather than what they actually do. This extends to athletic women--a more traditionally beautiful female athlete gets far more press than one who may be her athletic superior but doesn't turn as many heads.

The most extreme example of this is the focus on casting traditionally "feminine" (i.e. not-muscular) women in roles where their characters are supposed to be tremendously athletically accomplished. When you choose an actress who looks absolutely nothing like an athlete and feed us a line about how she's totally a big ol' superhero/ninja/superspy/whatever-the-hell you're essentially perpetuating this idea that truly athletic women do not have muscles, even when they are performing tasks that require them.

So yeah, I have a real problem with this because it not only alienates the many female athletes I know, but it drives women away from weight training and its countless health benefits for fear they'll get "big" and "bulky". It creates a horrible choice where if you want to be seen as beautiful and "fit", you need to avoid the exercise that will help prevent osteoporosis and sarcopenia and its terrible long-term effects. When I ask that we see more muscular female bodies in Hollywood, this isn't about a fervent love of bicep curls. This is about promoting a different view of beauty, a view whose existence correlates with long-term health and wellness. And that is something I think Wonder Woman would strongly support.
posted by schroedinger at 9:21 AM on June 30, 2013 [10 favorites]


Funnily enough, something not dissimilar happens, or at least happened, in professional wrestling. As the bodybuilder's physique became increasingly popular in the 80s, older wrestlers and second-generation wrestlers whose body type was not, let us say, aligned that way found themselves out of step with the aesthetics of physical might being marketed. To get around this, announcers talked a lot about "tendon strength" - a form of strength which was not dependent on highly visible muscular development.

However, I'm genuinely not sure what the argument is, here. Are we talking about our ideal Wonder Woman film, or a Wonder Woman film that would actually get made?

I don't think anyone is arguing that Hollywood's view of female beauty is not profoundly narrow, and that it tends to exclude not only muscular women but also dark-skinned women, women over a certain age, women over a certain weight and so on.

Let us never, ever forget that this is the industry that wanted us to believe that the only reason anyone might find Janeane Garofalo even noticeable in a world containing Uma Thurman is if they had already fallen in love with her mind - that being Janeane Garofalo, to put it in context, is equivalent to being Steve Martin with a giant fake nose.

And, over 70 years, there have been a number of different treatments of Wonder Woman's body type - you can flip through a history here, but the Darwyn Cooke version linked to above is very clearly modelled on the round-faced, strong-legged original Wonder Woman. Some of those have large and defined muscles, but they are in a minority. The closest thing there is to a canonical modern-age Wonder Woman is probably John Byrne's treatment - who has some muscle definition in her shoulders and arms, and slim legs.

However, we already know what a superheroic female body type is likely to be in a blockbuster superhero movie, because we've seen it. It's Scarlett Johanssen, or Antje Traue, or Anne Hathaway or Jaimie Alexander. It might be nice if a Wonder Woman film stepped out of that aesthetic range, but it seems unlikely, and actually significantly less likely in a film which is already facing the challenge of the marketing department telling anyone who will listen that the core demographic of 18-30 year old men doesn't watch films with a single female lead.

Combine that with the relative lack of audience for the character (culturally she may be as notable and recognizable as Batman or Superman, but she sells far fewer comic books), and I'd be a little surprised if a Wonder Woman film were ever successfully made. If it were made, it would either have to be Edgar Wrightishly offbeat and indie, and function as a low-cost way to introduce the character for a later appearance in Justice League Movie (in which case you might have some wiggle room on casting), or play it as safe as it would be possible to play it - which means, at the absolute best, Jennifer Lawrence.

Most probably, Wonder Woman doesn't get her own movie at all, and is introduced through a cameo in a Superman or Batman or (God help us) Green Lantern sequel.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:49 AM on June 30, 2013


Schroedinger got me thinking. Lindsey Vonn should be Wonder Woman. She's tall and athletic and strong, but still sexy in the way Hollywood demands. I mean, she is one of the few female athletes who could compete against the men in her sport (I think she wears men's skis because those fit her better) but also be in the SI swimsuit issue.

She's tall and has huge arms and shoulders for a woman, and if she were black or a less attractive Caucasian, she'd be subject to a ton of mean tranny jokes (as the William sisters are), but gets to escape that abuse because she is a beautiful Nordic looking woman. It's unfair, but it's how things are for the time being.

I don't know if she can act well, but that's hardly a barrier in Hollywood.
posted by riruro at 11:15 AM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, I've said multiple times, I'm talking about my ideal Wonder Woman movie. If a Wonder Woman movie got made at all she'd be about 90lbs and Steve Trevor would save her at the end.

Realistically, my best hope for Wonder Woman would be Jessica Biel, Blade-style, since it's unlikely they'd pick Gina Carano to head a big summer film.
posted by schroedinger at 11:20 AM on June 30, 2013


*Gwyneth Paltrow works out with Tracy Anderson, who has openly said women should not be lifting more than 3lbs because they will get too "bulky" (guess that means women shouldn't pick up their own kids?).

It's interesting to look at the video of Paltrow and Anderson working out together in your "Anderson" link. For all your disdain for Anderson's workout regimen, she's at least as muscled as most iterations of Wonder Woman in the comics, and strikingly more muscled than all but the more recent. Consider this still image of Tracy Anderson and compare it to, say, this fairly typical image of Wonder Woman.

It seems to me you want a movie Wonder Woman who would be strikingly more visibly muscled than comic-book Wonder Woman. There's nothing particularly wrong with that, of course (anymore than wanting a redheaded Wonder Woman or a black Wonder Woman or a Chinese Wonder Woman--all of which could be cool), but I can't see that the argument is anything more than personal preference: "this is how I tend to picture her in my head" or "this is what I think would make for a cool Wonder Woman." It's certainly not a "anything else betrays story logic" or "anything else betrays character continuity from the comics" argument.
posted by yoink at 1:37 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have said before, I train strongwomen and Olympic lifting. I know women with backgrounds in rugby, powerlifting, strongman, shot put, Olympic lifting, and other strength-and-power-based sports. When you are female and deadlifting 350+lbs, you do not look like Gwynyth Paltrow. When you have developed enough strength and power to hold your own in a scrum, you do not look like Cobie Smulders.

None of those Olympic power-lifting shot putters are ACTRESSES.

Which is what you have to be if you want to play Wonder Woman in a movie.

It is extremely naive to think that a non-actress would ever be cast as the title role lead character in a huge summer blockbuster superhero movie.

Period. The end.
posted by Sara C. at 2:42 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Male actors put on massive amounts of muscle for superhero roles ALL THE TIME. The real problem here is that becomes much more of a career risk for any women who attempt the same thing.

But hey, if you can shave your head for a role (closest analog I can imagine?), maybe you can hit the gym HARD like the other beefcakes do.

Anyway, I think height is the key physical metaphor for a Wonder Woman film. I'd really like to see her towering over folks, explaining her ideals of nobility and leadership.
posted by butterstick at 2:57 PM on June 30, 2013


You know most of those cheesecake muscles are a combination of makeup, lighting, and specific types of workouts, right? Male actors in Hollywood, while definitely fit, are not actually Olympic caliber athletes.

I agree that it would be better to cast a tall and striking woman as WW rather than a petite little slip of a girl. If the movie ever got made, it would probably skew that way. Though they might use appleboxes to achieve the "tall" part.
posted by Sara C. at 3:02 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just make her wear those insane lifts they made RDJ wear so he doesn't look like a hobbit next to Paltrow.
posted by The Whelk at 3:12 PM on June 30, 2013


Wonder Woman at a family style 70s diner, showing interest in trying new foods so she orders one of everything. Wonder Woman learning how to drive and really, really liking it. wonder Woman ready to dash out the door to stop all the HORRIBLE INJUSTICIES she reads about in the daily paper.

Yes I realize my theoretical TV WW is basically Thor mixed with Castiel what of it?
posted by The Whelk at 3:20 PM on June 30, 2013


( WW undercover at a Girl Scout type organization, gets put in charge of a troop, decides they're not learning real skills and teaches them hand to hand combat, knife throwing, skinning and hunting.)
posted by The Whelk at 3:23 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


But hey, if you can shave your head for a role (closest analog I can imagine?), maybe you can hit the gym HARD like the other beefcakes do.

If memory serves, Demi Moore did both for Gi Jane.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:53 PM on June 30, 2013


(In hindsight, that might have looked like too much effort...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:53 PM on June 30, 2013


It is extremely naive to think that a non-actress would ever be cast as the title role lead character in a huge summer blockbuster superhero movie.

Period. The end.


How many times do I have to say "I know this is unrealistic" before you understand it?

Though tell me, if someone complained about Johnny Depp playing a Native American in Lone Ranger, would you tell them to shut up and explain it's totally unrealistic to expect a Native American actor to play the role? Period, the end, stop complaining about blackface?
posted by schroedinger at 5:32 PM on June 30, 2013


No. I think Johnny Depp playing Tonto is pretty stupid. Especially since Tonto isn't the lead in that movie, and they cast fricken Armie Hammer of all people as the actual Lone Ranger. It definitely would have been possible to make that movie with a traditional male lead in the title role and a Native American actor as Tonto.

Also, The Lone Ranger? Really? I'm sure there are some people who care about that particular property, but to be totally honest if they can never make a Lone Ranger movie because they just can't find a Native American to play Tonto, who the fuck cares? Nobody is losing sleep over the lack of Lone Ranger reboots.

Whereas I feel like Wonder Woman is a total no-brainer, a LOT of people love that franchise, and all the pieces of the development puzzle definitely exist. Also, being an Olympic body builder isn't a protected class, nor is it canonical for the franchise thus far. And it's not like Wonder Woman actually is a pro athlete and it would be wrong to cast it otherwise. She's an Amazon, and has previously been depicted as not a muscle-bound body builder. So there'd be no real point in casting a pro wrestler or MMA athlete in the role.
posted by Sara C. at 5:49 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do think it would be neat to get some MMA person or female boxer to dress in Wonder Woman style clothes and do a fashion editorial, though. Or some other interpretation of Wonder Woman that doesn't involve acting.
posted by Sara C. at 5:49 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Were you upset that they didn't cast a pro body builder as the Hulk? Why or why not?
posted by Sara C. at 5:51 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


( and oh hey, if WW is fighting Olympians, and she's a daughter of Zeus, then she might, at some point, kill a relative. Season two finale cliffhanger, someone finds the nice kindly knitting ladies and tells them that Princess Diana has spilled family blood. Season three is WW being perusing by the Furies, trying to clear her name. Cause if yer gonna lift from other takes on the mythology, steal from the best.)
posted by The Whelk at 6:42 PM on June 30, 2013


Were you upset that they didn't cast a pro body builder as the Hulk? Why or why not?

The Hulk was CG, which is the right call. Even back when the Hulk was Lou Ferrigno, Dr. Banner was Bill Bixby.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:42 PM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


That, and Dr. Banner is supposed to be normal/awkward.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:43 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


( and oh hey, if WW is fighting Olympians, and she's a daughter of Zeus, then she might, at some point, kill a relative. Season two finale cliffhanger, someone finds the nice kindly knitting ladies and tells them that Princess Diana has spilled family blood. Season three is WW being perusing by the Furies, trying to clear her name. Cause if yer gonna lift from other takes on the mythology, steal from the best.)

Between this thread and the one I put together on alternate credit sequences, I'm starting to get false memories about Gaiman's Sandman as a mid-90s fantasy cable series.
posted by kagredon at 6:54 PM on June 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


That American Gods show is apparently still a real happening thing.
posted by Artw at 6:58 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Eric Krimpe, the creator of Surnatural, was on board to create a sandman TV series.

I don't know if it was before or after Supernatural basically just became an adaptation of Sandman/American Gods.
posted by The Whelk at 7:00 PM on June 30, 2013


Were you upset that they didn't cast a pro body builder as the Hulk? Why or why not?

They used CGI, which is really the only way you can achieve the Hulk. Pretty much every male superhero has been portrayed as well as could be realistically believed by actors who were put through intensive workouts in order to achieve that look, or actors who were chosen because they already approached that look. I don't know why it is so terrible to expect the same treatment for women. I have explained at length I do not expect an actual bodybuilder to be cast, nor do I expect whatever actress they pick to look like an Olympic-level shot-putter, just have some visible muscle mass, at all. Meanwhile, you've been throwing a bunch of strawmen at me and expressed extreme hostility at the suggestion that the physique of the typical Hollywood actress is not that of an athlete.

What about the suggestion of an even slightly muscular Wonder Woman offends you? Did a chick with biceps pee in your Cheerios? At this point the argument seems like it is hitting some personal, un-revealed nerve for you, so I'm going to bow out.
posted by schroedinger at 7:30 PM on June 30, 2013


who were put through intensive workouts in order to achieve that look, or actors who were chosen because they already approached that look. I don't know why it is so terrible to expect the same treatment for women.

I think you're confused about how exactly the muscle-bound superhero look is achieved in film.

Also, for the record I have nothing against an "even slightly muscular" Wonder Woman. I just feel like the casting notice for that character is such a tall order already, that adding "must be a professional martial artist" is kind of overkill.

I mean, already there are probably less than five actresses who could do the role justice in terms of having the right look/brand and the acting chops. Then there's the fact that these movies get developed as "packages", so it's likely that whoever is cast needs to have the right kind of provenance, career-wise (she needs to be represented by the right people, in Warner Brothers' good graces, get along well with the director, DC has to sign off, etc etc etc). Then you've got to deal with research and testing -- how does Charlize Theron test with men 18-39 years old? Then someone at the studio is going to sit down and do some math about every movie Angelina Jolie has ever starred in and what kind of numbers it did.

Adding to all that "oh and btw whoever it is also has to be a professional body-builder" is just completely ludicrous. And for no reason, since that hasn't been the case in any other incarnation and nothing about the character implies that it would be important.
posted by Sara C. at 7:54 PM on June 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


( WW tries to reach an entrance to the underworld to talk to Hades about Ares ( which is in San Fransisco, natch) when she's kidnapped by the Gorgons Euryale and Sthenno, who try to groom her to become the next Medusa. In San Fran, WW gets the location to the underworld portal from Narcissus , who is now surviving on the worship of a whole fleet of sailors, he likes it when they drown themselves for him. Turns out the entrance is Colt Tower ( why else would they build a huge pointless monument there, it's a marker.) but it's guarded by one of the Talos Brass Men, so there's no chance to just punch your way in.)
posted by The Whelk at 8:11 PM on June 30, 2013


How many times do I have to say "I know this is unrealistic" before you understand it?

Apparently at least a few more. At this point I am kind of curious too...

I really appreciated your musings and I think it's too bad we can't have a WW like that for a big blockbuster, but there must be at least one or two bodybuilding women with just enough drama experience to get coached through some fun series or B movie and maybe some day become governors of California.
posted by Salamandrous at 4:33 AM on July 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


My whole reason for backing Gina C. as Wonder Woman is that I don't think WW needs to be Lady Schwarznegger, but she does need to be convincingly cut. I say that based on most of the Greek statues I have seen. Ms. Carrano is attractive enough to be a star, and I think she did a pretty decent job in Haywire. Oh, and the other reason I would like to see her over a Gwyneth Paltrow type. Ms. Carrano has fighting chops so she can handle a serious fight scene with both convincing punches/kicks and they can shoot the scene without cutting to a stunt double and all the camera/makeup trickery designed to hide that.
posted by Samizdata at 5:25 AM on July 2, 2013


I don't know why people keep coming back to the idea of "bodybuilding," which conjures up a very specific mental image of a very specific body type.

Schroedinger had not been asking for a bodybuilder in particular, but rather a visibly athletic, tough-looking woman. Of course Wonder Woman should be visibly athletic and tough-looking, if not downright Amazonian. There are plenty of muscular, non-willowy women in Hollywood. It's laughable to suggest that there aren't more athletic actors waiting for their first blockbuster starring role. It's not as if Christian Bale was a huge name before he landed Batman Begins, outside of American Psycho's fanbase.

...

My SO and I were rewatching The Avengers, and we started talking about how we'd recast Black Widow. We love the casting pretty much throughout The Avengers, but ScarJo just didn't seem right. We don't dislike her overall, but she seems more like a Woody Allen sort of actor than an action movie actor. ScarJo's acting style is wry, husky monotony, but the Black Widow should be cunning, tricky, and filled with a sort of professional joie de vivre. ScarJo doesn't seem especially lithe or ass-kicky, either - something about her always seems a little sleepy and slow-moving.

So, we batted ideas back and forth for a while, and we settled on Rachel Weisz. She looks like she could do straight-faced kick-flips while joyously outsmarting you. The personality and body type just feels a bit more "right". You can agree or disagree with this. Breaking out of Black Widow in particular, we started talking about how Sarah Michelle Gellar, Maggie Q, Jennifer Lawrence, Uma Thurman, and Halle Berry each sort of have a vibe that they could actually fight people. I'd also throw Gina Torres, Morena Baccarin, and Zoe Saldana into the mix. Certainly Sigourney Weaver as well, to say nothing of Lynda Carter.

It's not that any of these people are ginormously-muscled skullcrushers, but just that they each have a bit more muscle-meat on their more dense-seeming bones, plus they each have a certain je ne sais quoi.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:44 AM on July 2, 2013


Oh, and of course Gina Carano is the ne plus ultra of current, athletic-looking actors, but IMHO she's still too identifiable as an MMA fighter to take on a role which doesn't specifically capitalize on that. Haywire was a boatload of fun, and she was great in it, but it would be distracting to have her as Wonder Woman. It'd be like having Tom Brady as Superman.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:47 AM on July 2, 2013


Valley’s animated short casts Princess Diana of the Amazons not as a regal envoy nor a ferocous warrior, but as a stunning badass in a funky, ’70s-styled oasis where her tiara’s been exchanged for a chunky headband, her patriotic bathing suit has been replaced with a red t-shirt and what looks like some beach-appropriate, star-spangled boyshorts, and where her invisible plane has been traded in for an All-American hot rod complete with personalized plates.
posted by kagredon at 1:11 PM on July 12, 2013 [3 favorites]




I want Paradise Island to portray a land where women of all races, ethnicities, abilities, ages and sizes are valued and contribute to their society in meaningful ways. I want for Linda Carter, Angela Davis, Rita Moreno, Michelle Yeoh, Gloria Steinem, Pam Grier, Sonia Braga, S. Epatha Merkerson, Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg and Jane Fonda – to serve as the elder council that advises and deliberates on the ultimate fate of Princess Diana.
posted by kagredon at 3:47 PM on July 16, 2013 [1 favorite]








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