There will be an unavoidable tidal wave of superhero properties coming to movie theaters next year. Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, and Justice League, are just a handful of the flavorful comic book movie releases coming within 2017. While many of them feature returning heroes and sequels, there is one film that surely will be hard to lump in with the rest of “the guys.”
Next summer, Wonder Woman is coming to theaters after more than 75 years of comic book movie limbo. Now the Amazonian warrior is preparing to make her solo film debut, after her scene-stealing turn in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with Gal Gadot as the new face of Diana Prince.
This is first swing at tentpole filmmaking for director Jenkins (Monster) and all signs are pointing towards an incredible debut for Wonder Woman. In an interview with THR, the director explained her approach to bringing the DC Comics’ story to life:
Our film really draws from the original [1940s] Wonder Woman comic book by William Moulton Marston. The goal was to tap into what always spoke to me about her — to honor who she was, her legacy, and to make her as universal as she was to all of us little girls who ran around pretending to be Lynda Carter when we were kids. Wonder Woman is the grand universal female hero who didn’t have to be lesser in any way. She wasn’t less powerful, she wasn’t less of a woman. She’s as beautiful as any woman and as strong as any man. That, to me, is so enduring. There have been so few female characters like that — who weren’t small, niche characters or sidekicks. She’s a full-blown superhero who lives up to all of your dreams in every way.
There have been many explanations for why it took nearly eight decades to bring Wonder Woman’s story to the big-screen. However, one of the biggest reasons is that the property wasn’t developed with the same amount of blind faith – primarily by studio executives – as other superhero counterparts, due to unfounded financial concerns over the lead character being female. However, Jenkins’ comments speak to why the character has endured for so long in the pop culture consciousness and why there’s an immense amount of anticipation for the film next summer. She went on to explain further:
It also was important to me to make sure she was as vulnerable, loving and warm as she should be. It’s important for her to be multidimensional. It’s been incredible to make something about a superhero that stands for a message of fighting for a loving, thoughtful government, especially in this current climate. It’s been a special process to make something with the beautiful message that it’s difficult to be a hero and stay kind and thoughtful in everything that you do. There’s going to be a lot of conversation about her being a woman in these times, but I think the greatest part about the character is that she’s so much bigger than all of that.
There is great power in cultural representation. Seeing a diversity of characters that represent a wide array of global lives is crucial in these times. Clearly, Wonder Woman helped inspire a young Jenkins and in turn, her movie may inspire the next wave of filmmakers and creators of superhero content.
Most importantly, Jenkins alludes to the fact that Wonder Woman is a superhero who stands for what is right. Her gender will inevitably come into the conversation, and it should. However it’s clear that her intention is to create a new hero that can inspire audiences the same way that she has on the comic page and small screen in generations past.