In June 2017, Warner Bros. and DC will change the nature of the superhero genre forever by finally delivering a live-action Wonder Woman movie. The Amazon Warrior has long borne the brunt of skewed attitudes toward female characters in film – falling foul of the studio argument that it’s just “not the right time,” because a bunch of poorly produced female-led movies under-performed.
That is an argument that clearly doesn’t apply to any of the vast range of male-led projects that sink rather than swim, of course. Nor does the argument of ‘market saturation’ seem to apply to male-led films. Nobody ever suggests, for example, that audiences might have had their fill of manly white men being manly on screen. Rather, male-led movies are the ‘norm,’ while female-led movies are a novelty – like alien invasion pictures, or films about bad weather.
Not for much longer, though, because Warner Bros. and DC are about to change the game. Wonder Woman is coming to the rescue. The fact that the studio has listened to the growing call for a solo Wonder Woman film, and has paid attention to the fact that female-led franchises – such as The Hunger Games – are breaking box office records, means they can almost be forgiven for sneaking her onscreen inside a male-led movie (Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice).
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This has long been Marvel’s standard defence regarding their character, Black Widow (“she doesn’t need her own film – she’s in all these other movies, supporting the men!”), but the difference is that, while Marvel has decided that they simply don’t have the time to give Black Widow her own franchise for at least another eight years, DC will deliver Wonder Woman in just three.
It’s a big deal because, while lesser, more obscure male superheroes have made it to the big screen, Wonder Woman has been left out in the cold – with the expectation of failure because she is a woman, rather than the expectation of success because she’s a superhero. A big-budget, summer release solo movie from a major studio changes that status-quo in the most fundamental terms – and that is absolutely something worth celebrating.
So, let’s celebrate Wonder Woman. The fact is, after years of unjust sidelining in mainstream media, the Amazon Warrior is something of a mystery to most people. They might recognize her costume from branded T-shirts and hipster satchels – but many are unaware of her rich and complex history, both on and off the comic book page. They are unaware of the contributions she has made to the superhero genre in general, and the contribution she is so obviously capable of making to cinema-going audiences around the world, given the chance. Wonder Woman is a truly fantastic character, and now that we’re looking forward to the launch of her own potential film franchise, here are 10 things you really need to know.