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February 19 2005

Whedon Wooed For "Wonder." Producer Joel Silver confirms to Sci Fi Wire that he wants Joss Whedon to write and direct a new film version of Wonder Woman.

Apparently Joss already has a story in mind that would reinvent the character the way Richard Donner redefined Superman and Tim Burton Batman.

Although I'd much prefer some new 'verse incarnation, I have no doubt that Joss will make this a WW that we will all want to see. She's due for some "reinvention", and since nobody knows strong women like Joss, he'll make her amazing.

If this is to be, if this is what he wants to do next, then I'm there. With bells on.
I can't imagine a Whedon project I wouldn't be interested in, but this is close. Although, my lack of enthusiasm for Wonder Woman is because WW is so dreadfully in need of reinvention by an actual feminist.

It's Joss. I'm there.
I'm confused. Does this mean that Joss hasn't already signed on for the project? I thought he said he'd do it ages ago?
Where did you get that impression, SW? I was of the notion that all the rumors were just that. I haven't seen anything definitive on his involvement as of yet. At least Silver is coming right out and saying "I want him."... that's the strongest information I've heard.
"It's Joss. I'm there."

I agree with that. I've yet to see a single thing that truly dissappoints me from him. But I also agree that WW is a project I truly couldn't care less about. And given the fact I can't think of a single successful and good super heroine movie at all, I'm kinda worried of this bombing and killing (or at least hindering) Joss' rise in movieland.

Wonderwoman....pff, as I said before a revamp could make it work but would piss off the fans that are the foundation of your oh-so-imortant opening weekend, but faithful adaptation might have so many elements that just don't work on screen. Her having the worst costume ever might be one... it is completely 'look I'm a bodacious babe in a stripper outfit' and as pretty darn far from feminism as you can get. I can't see how even Joss can make blue hotpants with white stars on them look empowering and cool.

But then, to fans, not having those as part of the outfit might seem like yanking Superman's cape of, so.... And let's not forget this is not Joss' own property and he'd have to listen to the studios a lot more. And heyyy, isn't this the same studio that thought Berry's 'Catwoman' was just great?

Of course, maybe they finally learned from that extremely painful experience and will let Joss do what he does, and the movie will be a great hit and usher us into the age of great female superhero movies.....who knows. I love to be wrong with this one.

I thought he said he'd do it ages ago?

I'm with Willowy, to my knowledge, the only thing Joss has ever said concerning the Wonder Woman rumors is "Hmmmmm". (right here on W, in fact)
I HOPE HOPE HOPE he takes it. The DC Universe is my favorite, second only to the Buffyverse. No one else could possibly do Wonder Woman justice. No one else, IMHO, actually "gets" female superheroes. I mean, look at the debacles of CINO and Elektra....

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease, Joss, agree to do this!
I must have been confused. So I'll go with whatever you guys know.
I do agree no one would do Wonder Woman, but I rather prefer someting tied to Buffyverse. Today I saw a Buffy episode I have never seen when WIllow resotores ANgels sould and Buffy still ha sto stab him with a Sword to save the world. Amazing!
Good points, Ed. Especially about the costume. How to remain faithful to the old school while still empowering her and releasing her from that ridiculous garb?

I'd love to design it. What a challenge!

I'm so into her being Inara I never even thought of that! EXCELLENT recommendation. The best I've seen yet.
I wish that I were you Jonas. There's nothing like seeing Angel or Buffy for the first time, and Becoming Part II is a great episode. Oh, the euphoria...
In a way, I'm kind of intrigued at the idea of Joss taking on the Wonder Woman project.

Now on the one hand, I do understand the trepidation that we might feel regarding a Wonder Woman flick. Because as many people have eloquently said, there's a stigma of potential cheesiness that rears its head with regards to this project. If handled incorrectly, there's a lot about Wonder Woman that could come across as very campy, and eye-roll inducing.

But in a way, I think that's why the producers might be seeking Joss in the first place -- i.e., I think the amazing thing about Joss is that he can take a premise that initially sounds rather ridiculous or silly, and can infuse it with a depth, and intelligence, and potency that takes the audience completely by surprise.

Take for example, the premise of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When people hear a brief description of the show -- that it's a show about a high-school girl named Buffy who fights vampires and monsters? Well, a lot of people probably think it must be some vapid, superficial, worthless piece of mindless television.

But that's the beauty of JW's work: just hearing the premise of BtVS, a viewer might go in expecting some cheesy, campy, unimportant show. Yet once they start watching, the astonishing thing is just how intelligent, and thought-provoking, and layered the series actually is. People go in expecting a silly show about some valley girl battling cheesy monsters -- yet what they actually get is a very thoughtful exploration into the human condition.

And that's what I love about Joss -- his ability to subvert the viewer's expectations, and build such a great level of intelligence and depth into premises that in and of themselves sound like they're going to be superficial or campy.

So in a way, I think that may be why Joss is being pursued for Wonder Woman. Because in and of itself, it's a movie that's fraught with the potential for cheesiness. And in the hands of the wrong director it could be a complete train-wreck. But if Joss were to take on the project? -- that actually intrigues me. Because he has this gift for elevating a seemingly silly-sounding premise into something that's meaningful, intelligent and thought-provoking :)

I think that may be why the studio is interested in signing him to this project.

[ edited by inverse on 2005-02-20 07:38 ]
Jonas, are you new to Buffy? I can't imagine anyone not seeing Becoming before.

As for Joss doing Wonderwoman, as long as she isn't in black leather or played by a ditzy teenager I'm cool. I think Joss could both do justice to the character and reinvent her. You don't need the silly costume to be true to the character, most comic fans just want you to get the characterization right I.E. the first Batman movie, Spider-Man 1 and 2, and The Crow.
Jonas, are you new to Buffy? I can't imagine anyone not seeing Becoming before."

Funny, I was thinking that too.

And yeah, of course, when it comes to making a female heroine movie, that could turn out campy in the wrong hands: if anyone, then Joss.

And the fact the studio wants him shows at least that's what they want. (Hopefully)

As for Joss doing Wonderwoman, as long as she isn't in black leather or played by a ditzy teenager I'm cool."

With ya on the ditzy teenager, but I'd still prefer leather to primary colored spandex myself. Granted, the ridiculous catwoman suit did the impossible: it made tight leather on a gorgeous woman look utterly hideous, but still. I generally feel colorful spandex rarely works on screen. People like Spiderman, Superman or Batman you have to do the costumes for. And they're so well known it's accepted enough. Also, their asses aren't falling out of them. But for women it's trickier to have it be faithful, sexy, but not to make it look like a cheezy Maxim shoot outfit or something.
I think they should just have her wear battle armor, she is a Amazonian warrior princess after all.
We all know that Joss likes challenges. He likes to do work where he learns something new. I'd say that Wonder Woman might well fit this bill. And how great is it that they don't want him just for his writing skills but now recognize that the best way to get that vision on the screen is to allow him to direct it as well. I'd say that respect for our man is coming along nicely.
I don't know, superhero films lately for women, Catwoman, Electra, when it's just one woman it's centered on, it hasn't been creatively done well, as a result, audiences haven't made them a big success, I'm just thinking why a studio would want to do Wonder Woman now, unless it's done for a reasonable profitable budget. I'm afraid Joss might make a good film, that the audiences are not convinced into watching. I liked the Xmen 3 rumours and speculation better, that would of been a easy hit for Joss, plus something he might enjoy even more.

Fox need to greenlite a slayerverse film fast. The characters he created in buffy/angel are as interesting as most of this comic book talk.

[ edited by SeanValen on 2005-02-20 16:11 ]
I dunno, I'd like to see him try something different. And Wonder Woman is too big for him to turn down. If it's done correctly, he'll be forever mentioned in the same breath as Raimi, Singer, Donner and Burton.

And I have the sneaking suspicion that Joss is having fun for the first time in ages. He's having a blast writing Astonishing X-Men and directing Serenity. Let's see what else he can do that's not Buffyverse related. Let him spread his wings.
EdDantes, you said everything I am thinking in your first post. I am still hoping that the cup that is Wonderwoman will pass us by.

While I am quite prepared to sing along with the ‘if anyone can, Joss can’ chorus, this project leaves me strangely unenthusiastic. Make no mistake, studio interference will be a big issue here. There are projects that are challenges and then there are projects which one should just leave alone and it’s a fine line between the two.

This reminds me of the CEO who turned down the opportunity to buy Enron and later said “sometimes the best deals are the deals you don’t make.”

Sorry to be negative, and of course, I would go and see it. Realistically however, sooner or later, even an artist you like very much will do something that doesn’t grab you.
I agree Simon, let Joss spread his wings, I'm pleased for him, I just don't want too much time to pass away, before some of vampire actors of the buffyvere get too old to play the characters, these next few years seem important years to either do something with Angel/Spike, or totally forget it and move on, with Joss busy with other things, and no studio hampering with getting a slayerverse project off, it's like trying to move on, but having a rope attached to his slayerverse stuff. Let him try something different, but I feel there's unfinished business with angel, a epic 3 film trilogy, 3 hours long in theatres, and 4 hour extended editions on dvd of 3 Angel films featuring a heck load of characters. Then he can really move on. :D
Hi guys this is my first post here so be gentle. I'm a huge fan of both Whedon and WW so i thought i'd voice some opinions. I'm a regular at a couple of superhero boards so i've discussed this quite a bit with various people.

I think most fans agree that WW is a mess these days. I see comments to that effect all over the place. I think the problem is that so much of the core of the character is wrapped up in WWII that when you take her out of that environment you leave a gaping big hole that can't easily be filled. Her reason for leaving Paradise Island, her costume, her secret identity, her love interest, her villains... all those are rooted firmly in WWII. She was basically concieved as a flag-waving nazi-bashing feminist who was (not to put too fine a point on it) gagging for Steve Trevor. Without WWII you have to seriously rethink everything about the character and that is a very difficult thing to do.

The current Wonder Woman was reimagined sometime in the 80s by George Perez. He did a fantastic job in some respects... he straightened out the mythological aspects of the character and made her powers more believable... but when it came to updating her environment and replacing all the WWII stuff he just lost it... he saddled the character with a load of quasi new age BS and some convoluted and pointless rubbish involving Steve Trevor's mother and he didn't even try to come up with a new secret identity or love interest for the character... shockingly he also took away all traces of her humour and personality.

Another problem is that the general public is only aware of WW via the Lynda Carter TV show... which was based on the old incarnation of the character... whereas modern comics fans are being spoonfed the crappy new incarnation.

So anyways i've been thinking about it and i see two practical ways to fix this.

1) You combine the old and the new. Take the stuff that worked in both incarnations and merge them... reboot the character again but do it right this time.

2) Don't take the character out of WWII to begin with. The character is almost immortal... set the first movie during WWII and let the origin and the costume and the villains come organically from that... have her secret ID as an army nurse and let Steve be her love interest. Nazis... greek mythology... superheros... whats not to love?

Then you set the sequal in modern times. Steve is old and times have moved on but WW remains unchanged... the themes could be similar to stuff like Kingdom Come or Highlander.

I would much prefer the second route... it would set the character apart from other superheros and would suit her better. It also would allow you to cover several different takes on the character.

I guess the main question is: How would people feel about this? Usually DC depicts its big three as arriving on the scene at roughly the same time... but in this scenario Wonder woman would have been doing her thing for decades before Superman and Batman ever showed up. Would people go for that? Would people even want a WWII Wonder Woman or has the George Perez incarnation screwed up the public perception of the character so much that it would be too jarring?

Another couple of quick things

1) The costume is fine. It is a wee bit ridiculous but it has remained mostly unchanged for something like sixty years and is every bit as iconic as Supeman's or Batman's... you can't change it too much... its a part of who the character is.

2) Nobody that Joss has worked with so far would be good as WW. I love all the Whedon girls but they aren't WW material.

My dream choice (tho its never gonna happen is...

Jennifer Connely

[ edited by Pimpernel on 2005-02-20 20:29 ]
Nice first post Pimpernel. As a non comic book reader, it is true that the only way I picture WW is as Lynda Carter, so if it wasn't Joss's baby, I wouldn't look at such a movie twice. So it sounds like it might be a hard sell to fans and non fans alike.
If Joss wants a real challenge, then Wonder Woman will be his next film. Taking Wonder Woman to the big screen without making it campy or straying too far from the source material is going to be an almost impossible feat.

I don't, however, think much of the challenge is going to be working with the studio. Warner Brothers has seemingly learned their lesson after churning out terrible comic book movie after terrible comic book movie. It appears they've given both Christopher Nolan (on Batman Begins) and Bryan Singer (on Superman) near total control, and I think Joss will be given the same freedom.

[ edited by WindTheFrog on 2005-02-20 21:28 ]
I don´t want to see Joss doing Wonder Woman. I know he would do a really great movie, and a very great "reinvent". But...
I prefer X-Men 3.

Well, i prefer much more, some original material, like Serenity.
Good post Pimpernel. I am a comic reader but am not all that familliar with WW myself. (More of a Marvel guy in general). The only time I followed her series for a while was when John Byrne was on her (so to speak). And I wasn't really swept away by it. It's also the time I officially noticed I wasn't as crazy about John Byrne as I used to be. And other than her being brave and strong and nigh-invincible, I saw little in terms of an actual personality in her character.

I do like the second route you mention as well. I knew she was originally a female 'captain america' in the sense that she was basically an allied hero beating up nazis in propaganda comics but I wasn't aware that in her history, it was the reason for her to leave Paradise Island. When used rightly, this could indeed be a good angle.

Still like I and others pointed out, I see little interest from the public in female super heroine movies. And of course the studios have given them little to be interested in. Simon could be right that Joss could be the one to change that but...I still think the risks are a lot bigger on this. But maybe that's a challenge to Joss too. He's used to taking on the impossible projects by now I'm sure.
Thanks guys i'm glad you liked the post. I agree that there has been little interest in female superhero movies so far but i think the quality of those movies has a lot to do with that... also the general public were not really aware of Elektra or Catwoman except in relation to the franchises that spawned them. But this is Wonder Woman... she is a household name and every bit as famous in her own right as Superman... that works in her favour.

What she needs tho is an epic and serious movie in the style of Richard Donner's Superman... this shouldn't be a superpowered Charlie's Angels. The common perception of WW is based on the seventies TV show... kinda camp and tongue-in-cheek. I see this new movie as the opportunity to do for WW what Tim Burton's Batman movie did for the Adam West Batman TV show. They need to get rid of the camp and bring in the greek mythology and make it serious and epic and big and exciting... if done right this movie could actually be better than most other superhero movies out there.
Well, Pimpernel, I wasn't ready to swallow anything having to do with Wonder Woman, but you may have convinced me to give her a whirl, er, you know, her movie. Seriously.
Yes, nice first post and thoughts, Pimpernel. You made WW and who/what she is interesting to me - a real feat! I'm now viewing Joss taking WW on as an intriguing possibility. Huh. Wonders never cease.
I'd agree with you, Pimpernel, about the doldrums the book has been in... right up until about a year ago, when Greg Rucka took over the writing.

After enjoying the Perez run in the 80s/90s, I'd peek into the series every couple of years, and the Jiminez (sp?) and other runs just left me completely blase -- or worse, something of a mess.

But the Rucka stuff, while not making my eyes pop out of my head, have been good. Certainly interesting -- sort of Wonder Woman meets West Wing. Tough to describe. But I think it works.
Aye Rucka has done some good stuff but for me and a lot of fans i've spoken to any writer is hamstrung by the revamping that Perez did. Like... you can write a good WW story IF you totally ignore the Perez origin and certain other things he changed. Rucka has the advantage of writing stuff at a point in time where the character is well established in her universe so he doesn't need to explain her origin or where her costume came from etc... he can just ignore all that and concentrate on telling a good story. But the moment you try to do an origin story based around Perez's stuff it all just falls apart. Its a mess. Over-complicated (the caveman stuff, Diana Trevor's mum inspiring the WW costume) and full of pointless alterations (why oh why is Steve Trevor not her love interest anymore? Why didn't he give her a new love interest?) and infuriating. The only thing he got right was that he straightened out the greek mythology and made her powers more fitting.
...and dumped the giant kangaroos. :)

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