We learned on Monday that Michelle MacLaren was parting ways with Warner Bros. and wouldn’t be directing Wonder Woman, and then just two days later we’ve got a new woman at the helm. We didn’t even have time to do much speculating! You know there’s a lot of websites out there that had someone compiling a list of possible replacements that now have to scrap those posts. Patty Jenkins is taking over as director, and the speedy turnaround means that Wonder Woman is set to remain on track to begin shooting in the fall.
The reaction to the news of Jenkins’ hiring has been positive, and I think she’s an interesting choice. She’s probably best known for Monster, her award winning film about a serial killer, but she also directed an episode of Arrested Development as well as a couple episodes of The Killing. That’s an interesting, somewhat eclectic assortment of gigs. Jenkins was going to direct Thor 2 for Marvel a couple of years back, but that fell through over creative differences. Thor’s loss is now Wonder Woman’s gain, and it’s somewhat comforting to know that Jenkins has some experience developing a mythologically rooted film, even if it didn’t work out.
The speed of Jenkins’ hiring suggests to me that this has been in the works for a while. Rumours are that there’d been friction between MacLaren and Warner Bros. for some time, so I’m guessing that they’d talked to Jenkins before the announcement of MacLaren’s departure on Monday. I’m curious to see what the working relationship is here, whether Jenkins will have a hand in development like MacLaren was supposed to or whether the studio will take a firmer hold of the reins this time around. I’m a little bit worried it will be the latter, but time will tell.
Ultimately, Wonder Woman‘s swapped out a great female director for another great female director, so the film seems no worse off. I’m somewhat concerned about what’s going on behind the scenes and why things didn’t work out with MacLaren and whether Jenkins will face similar issues. Studios don’t have a great track record with female directors generally, much less ones making superhero movies. It’s a hoping for the best but expecting the worst situation for me. On the plus side, Jenkins is pals with Charlize Theron, so maybe she’ll be in the movie? That would be fun. She could be a cool Hippolyta. Or the Cheetah maybe. Perhaps Athena? There’s a lot of choices.