The world rejoiced when Warner Bros. and DC announced that they would deliver the first ever live-action Wonder Woman movie to cinemas in 2017. For seven decades, the iconic comic book character has been continually passed over in favour of her male counterparts – Superman and Batman – until Zack Snyder finally opened the door to her with the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Now, with the role cast and actress Gal Gadot apparently locked in for a multi-picture deal, we can look forward to Princess Diana of Themyscira asserting her status on the big screen for the foreseeable future.
Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad) is on board to direct, and Warner Bros. announced that screenwriter Jason Fuchs (Ice Age: Continental Drift) would pen the script. So far, so good – until fellow screenwriter and producer Arash Amel (Grace Of Monaco) tweeted the following rumour:
Someone just told me six writers have been hired to simultaneously write six versions of Wonder Woman movie. WHAT?
— Arash Amel (@arashamel) December 18, 2014
While some see the idea of six scripts being written for one movie as a sign of the studio’s determination to get the film right, it is also deeply troubling on several levels, if proven to be true. Firstly, it suggests a lack of focus on the part of the producers – indicating a hesitation in terms of the direction and tone the film should take. Secondly, it displays an almost fearful attitude toward the material – backers that are so desperate to get the final product right that the entire endeavour is inflated far beyond what is necessary. This is exactly the attitude that has kept the Amazon Warrior Princess off the screen all these years.
By effectively assigning the entire future of women in film to a single superhero movie (although, let’s face it, if there are five alternative scripts being written, they are almost certainly being written by men), the project is at great risk of collapsing under the weight of its own importance. Audiences do not need Wonder Woman to be responsible for all of feminism – they just need the character to be given the same opportunities afforded to those of the male gender. That is what equality looks like. It’s a historic movie because it has never been done before, but just as the future of men in film isn’t riding on the success of the next Captain America movie, we shouldn’t expect Wonder Woman to bear that responsibility for women, either.
In addition to the wider implications of such ‘simultaneous development’ within the film industry in general – essentially de-valuing the work of screenwriters – the specific implications for this Wonder Woman project are worrying. Despite the fact that several writers have already proven themselves able to create compelling Wonder Woman stories for the screen, including Gail Simone and Michael Jelenic (2009’s animated Wonder Woman film), this rumour has the studio eschewing experience and expertise in favour of movie-making-by-committee, which is something that helps nobody – least of all, Wonder Woman fans.