How to Make a Wonder Woman Movie.
If Marvel can make a Thor movie that includes the rainbow bridge, frost giants, and a magical winter box as a major plot device, and then have that movie fit in with the rest of the Marvel cinematic universe and have that movie star well-known and respected actors like Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman, then there is absolutely no reason that DC/Warner can’t make a Wonder Woman movie. The fact they haven’t, that they have a multitude of failed scripts and a poorly attempted TV series instead, is confusing and baffling. Wonder Woman is the most prolific female super hero of all time, and an integral member of the Justice League – and by extension, an integral part of any Justice League movie. DC will have to make a Wonder Woman movie eventually, or at least attempt to introduce her in another movie. But for years now they have pussyfooted around the subject. They’ll sexist-ly blame the failures of women driven action movies or lazily blame the character’s “weirdness” for why they’ve failed to bring anything substantial to production. In fact, at the rate DC/Warner have been backpedaling, making excuses, and planning other super hero movies, I wouldn’t be surprised if they just went ahead and made a JL movie without Wonder Woman.
But I don’t want that! No one does. I want a good Wonder Woman movie to be made and here’s how I think they should do it:1) Just straight up copy the 2009 Animated Feature. The movie does an excellent job of introducing Themyscira, the Amazons, Diana’s origins, and her life before leaving the island. There’s great chemistry between Diana and Steve Trevor, who has a role and serves a larger purpose than just love interest. Wonder Woman is smart, confident, badass, and there are some excellent action sequences. The end is a little over the top, but it can easily be pulled back.
2) Barring that, copying any of the Wonder Woman-centric episodes of the animated Justice League series would make for good movie templates. Diana sets out looking for help to de-petrify her family and stop Felix Faust from summoning Hades. Or, Wonder Woman has to go into the real world to stop a rogue Amazon from killing all the world’s men. Or, Wonder Woman must stop a nearby war from spiraling out of control because of Ares.
3) If not those, then here are some plot ideas for free. There’s really no getting around having the Wonder Woman movie be an origin story: how she came to be, how Themyscira came to be, why she left the island, and why she stays off the island. It’s all too much to explain in a conversation or in an exposition filled opening.
3.1) The evil sorceress Circe has escaped her imprisonment on Themyscira and seeks to use her magical powers on an unprepared world. She summons some monstrous mythological creatures or turns some villainous men into mythological beasts and heads out. If you need Steve Trevor to be in the movie, Circe’s escape broke the magical spell that hid the island and he investigates. Diana is chosen to go out and stop Circe and Steve offers to be Diana’s guide. They set out, fight the mythical monsters, and stop Circe from bewitching the whole world
3.2) A mystic researcher (like an X-Files investigator but for magic stuff) and her military handler Steve Trevor are investigating the mystery of an invisible island. The find Themyscira and the mystic casts an incantation that unlocks the island and they are greeted by angry Amazons. Diana calms them and demands an explanation. There’s an introductions to Themyscira as Steve tries to explain it’s just their job to investigate magical mysteries. However, the mystic researcher is part of an evil cult and she secretly steals several powerful artifacts from the island. Diana returns with Steve and the mystic to explain to the military why Themyscira needs to remain hidden, but the mystic sabotages WW and sends monsters to slow her down. Diana and Steve must work together to hunt down the cult and stop them from using the stolen artifacts to summon a Greek monster like the Kraken or a Titan
3.3) A brilliant and sociopathic treasure hunter breaks into Themyscira, outsmarts and defeats several Amazons, and steals weapons and armor that give her powers to rival Wonder Woman (this would be a version of Dresden Codak’s Giganta). Diana is tasked with hunting the thief down before she causes too much damage in the outside world.
Or, you could have a duo of treasure hunters break in and steal weapons and mystical armor. One becomes Giganta and the other becomes Cheetah.
This story can have Steve Trevor or not have Steve Trevor. He’s helpful as a guide in the real world but he’s not always necessary.
3.4) If you want to directly tie a Wonder Woman movie into a Justice League movie: an alien craft crash lands on Themyscira, breaks the protection/invisibility spell, and frees a powerful foe like Medusa or the Minotaur. Steve Trevor arrives to search for the alien craft and finds the Amazons instead. Diana decides to help Steve hunt down the alien if he helps her hunt down the escaped monster. In the end they don’t find the alien, which turns out to be Brainiac or a Parademon or whatever creature fits into DC’s plan for Justice League.
3.5) Whatever the plot of the movie, it should always end the same way: Diana decides to remain in Man’s world as an ambassador and as a super hero.
4) No invisible jet. Why would the Amazons even have it? Also, WW can fly; she has no need for it. Steve flies a jet, and if the movie really needs to have a jet in it, he can crash land on the island and they can fly it back to the mainland.
5) Change her silly costume. It may be old and iconic, but it makes no sense. It’s a bathing suit. And when I say change it, I don’t mean give her a 90’s leather jacket and pants, nor do I mean just make the blue and red a little darker. Diana is an amazon warrior; she should be wearing Greek-like armor. You can keep the red, gold, and blue color scheme, but she needs to look badass. So don’t keep the iconic suit just because it’s the iconic suit. Redesigns worked wonders in the X-Men movies, Avengers movies, and Nolan Batman movies.
6) Don’t make it dark and dreary and depressing. Trying to make Superman like Batman failed, and trying to make Wonder Woman like Batman will fail even more. Even without DC’s darkly realistic tonal obsession, the current fantasy genre is trying to imitate the success of Game of Thrones, which is more brutal, serious, and deadly than most fantasy. Lots of imitator shows have been popping up while other fantasy adaptations are attempting to ape that tone. A Wonder Woman movie should be epic, but not overly brutal and bloody just because that’s what’s in right now. Wonder Woman doesn’t kill unless she absolutely has to.
7) Avoid the temptation to over sexualize Diana and Wonder Woman. I say this with hope in my heart but realistic dread in my head. DC has shown over the past few years that they have the maturity of a 12 year old boy. Of course DC/Warner is going to sexualize her; they won’t be able to stop themselves. We’ll get Diana in a swim suit or naked and changing into her armor. And then these scenes will be heavily featured in the film’s advertising campaigns. I would love for this kind of stuff to not happen, and if you want people to take the character and the movie seriously, it shouldn’t happen. But I don’t foresee the current leadership of DC being able to help themselves.
8) Wonder Woman has absolutely no reason to be a generic, genre cliché of a woman. Why they thought she should be an over-stressed business woman in the recent TV series attempt is baffling. In general, avoid all stupid woman movie clichés. She’s not a career woman. She’s not a damsel in distress. She’s not a love interest. She’s not a butch woman warrior devoid of all feminine attributes. She’s Wonder Woman. She’s complex, she’s capable, and she’s strong. Look to the ongoing and stellar comic series for character inspiration if you have to.
9) And finally, just MAKE. THE. GODDAMN. MOVIE. Just make it. Stop wasting time. Stop making excuses. Stop trying to make a low budget, nonsense TV series. Stop considering jokey, buddy comedy spec scripts. Give it competent writers, a good director, and a solid cast and then give it a sizable but no unreasonable budget (there’s no reason a Wonder Woman movie should cost as much as Green Lantern or Man of Steel). Just make the movie!