I’m trying very hard to retain some sort of enthusiasm for the Wonder Woman movie, but Warner Bros. isn’t making it easy on me. First, Man of Steel was an abomination, and then they brought back Zack Snyder and David Goyer to introduce Wonder Woman on the big screen for the first time in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Gal Gadot seems fine, but she’s mostly a big question mark at this point, and the costume is not great. There was just nothing to be excited about until last November when Warner Bros. announced that Michelle MacLaren was going to direct the Wonder Woman movie. MacLaren is a fantastic director who’s worked on shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, and I was over the moon when I heard that she’d be helming Wonder Woman’s solo film.
Now, five months later, Michelle MacLaren is gone from the project. Citing “creative differences”, the official statement declares that “Warner Bros. and Michelle MacLaren have decided not to move forward with plans to develop and direct Wonder Woman together”, which is most likely Hollywood code for she got fired. This is a massive blow for the film; MacLaren was literally the only person involved in the movie that I had any faith in whatsoever. She’s an epic director and a great, smart storyteller, plus a woman directing Wonder Woman is just perfect. And too good to be true, it seems.
In the wake of her departure, there are reports that MacLaren and Warner Bros. were never really on the same page with Wonder Woman. Supposedly they couldn’t even agree on which time period to set the movie in. That’s sort of an important first step. Also, MacLaren reportedly wanted Diana to have a pet tiger for some reason. Whatever was going on behind the scenes sounds like a real mess.
So here’s where we stand with the Wonder Woman movie: It’s scheduled for release in 2017 and is rumoured to be start shooting in the fall, but now there’s no director and apparently no story. I’d expect a delay. And any rumour we’ve heard about the film so far? Probably scrap that, because it sounds like the movie is still a total blank slate.
Warner Bros. inability to get any sort of Wonder Woman project off the ground is astounding. They had Joss Whedon, who left his Wonder Woman adaptation and then made the biggest superhero movie in the history of the world. They had Michelle MacLaren, pretty much everyone’s top choice to direct Wonder Woman the second that it was announced. And now they have no one. I sincerely hope they don’t haphazardly hire someone in a mad rush to just get the movie made. But they’ve let two excellent directors walk out the door, so who knows what they’ll do next?
I really don’t understand what’s so hard about making a Wonder Woman film. She’s a great character with a rich history; you pick an angle and you go with it, like they do with EVERY superhero film. People like to say that Wonder Woman is a complicated, difficult character, but she’s no more complex than any other superhero. Every superhero has various incarnations and origins. There’s no set blueprint for any of them. The writer, director, and studio work together and pick what elements of the character they like and then they make a movie. It’s happened about a million times with male superheroes. They keep churning out male-led movies with ease, so I don’t see why getting the world’s most famous female superhero onto the big screen is such a difficult task. We’re about to have our SIXTH live action Batman, all of them very different. And Warner Bros. can’t figure out one Wonder Woman film? It’s ridiculous.
In happier news, Marvel keeps making good movie decisions at least. Captain Marvel is still very much in development, and they’re after Nicole Perlman, the co-writer of Guardians of the Galaxy and Meg LeFauve, the co-writer of Pixar’s upcoming Inside Out, to work on the script together. That’s a pretty great team, and it’s cool to see Marvel pursuing female writers for the film. And if they’re looking for a female director, one just became available! Captain Marvel might not have a pet tiger, but she’s got a flerken at least.