‘Wonder Woman’ Producer, Director Promise Film Will Be More ‘Optimistic’ Than ‘Batman v Superman’

'Wonder Woman' Will Be Optimistic, Not
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad” were two of the most popular movies released this year, but critics slammed them for being overly dark and joyless. That has some fans of Wonder Woman concerned that the Amazonian warrior will get the same pessimistic makeover. Rest assured. The film-making team behind next summer’s “Wonder Woman” tells Variety that the superhero icon’s first big screen adventure will be very different from the most recent DC Comics cinematic efforts.

“‘Wonder Woman’ is very different in tone and style than ‘Batman v Superman’ and ‘Suicide Squad,'” said Deborah Snyder, a producer on all of the films. “We pick directors who have their own points of view, so that each of our films will have their own personality.”

Over her 75 years in the public eye, Wonder Woman has become a symbol of female empowerment, and a freedom fighter who journeyed to Earth from an island paradise to advocate for justice and peace. In short, she’s very different in attitude and execution than, say, Batman, a vigilante who fights under the cloak of night.

“There’s a misconception that DC or [parent studio] Warner Bros. has made a conscious decision for all our movies to be darker or edgier,” said Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment and resident of Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “That’s not the case. Fans of the DC universe know that there are characters, like Batman, who are darker, but there are others like Wonder Woman, who are hopeful, optimistic leaders, and the tone of this film represents that.”

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Patty Jenkins, the director of “Wonder Woman,” said that her inspiration for the movie is Richard Donner’s 1978 smash, “Superman,” a rousing, patriotic tale that overflows with star-spangled goodwill.

“‘Superman’ was all about you,” said Jenkins. “It was about you watching and realizing what it would feel like to have great powers and do great things. It was full of love and emotion.”

“Wonder Woman” finds the hero in the midst of World War I, and even though the overall tone is optimistic, the filmmakers stress that there are serious moments, as well. The movie is very much an origin story, explaining how this female warrior opted to leave her homeland behind to try to save humanity. Wonder Woman made a brief appearance in “Batman v Superman,” with Gal Gadot taking on the role,  but she will be the main attraction in this adventure, the first time she’s had a standalone movie. Chris Pine will play her love interest, Steve Trevor, and Connie Nielsen takes on the role of Wonder Woman’s mother, Queen Hippolyta.

“Patty brought a beauty and a sense of lightness or humor, and a little romance to it,” said Nelson. “It’s a very aspirational movie.”

Some of that tone has to do with Wonder Woman’s approach to fighting.

“Her armor, the shield, the lasso, and so forth are what you could describe as defensive weapons as opposed to offensive weapons,” said Nelson. “That’s a pretty good way to think about the way she fights. She’s not choosing to fight for the thrill of battle. She’s fighting because she believes in something and she’s quick to put down that sword when the opportunity is there.”

Over the decades, comic book writers have cooked up different backgrounds for the character. In some instances, she’s the daughter of Zeus. In others, she was sculpted out of clay. The film tries to pay homage to these many different conceptions.

“Patty has really taken a very inclusive approach and tried to weave a lot of these disparate elements into one cohesive whole,” said Jim Lee, DC Comics publisher. “Fans who have been reading ‘Wonder Woman’ for decades will be really blown away by how [the film] synthesizes the origins and brings her into the modern era.”

One aspect of the character that will remain front and center is her feminist zeal. Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston as a personification of gender equality — costumed proof that women can land a punch and strike a blow for the common good.

“It would be a mistake to not honor that legacy,” said Snyder. “That’s a part of her history. Her mission to empower women and people all over the world is what makes her very relatable.”

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  1. drush76 says:

    Diana Prince has to eventually become the cynical woman that she was in “Batman v. Superman”. And according to that film, it happened at least 100 years ago – the same timeline for “Wonder Woman”.

    And I’m so sick and tired of film critics demanding that ALL comic book hero movies be “peppy” or “optimistic” without any angnst or real character development.

    Pop culture in gneral is becoming increasingly conventional. Look at the current STAR WARS movies, “La La Land” and Marvel. And that’s because instead of trying to create something new or different, Hollywood is giving an inceasingly conventional and conservative audience what they want. How sad.,

  2. LupeX says:

    Superman in Batman v Superman was optimistic and hopeful and didnt give in to the darkness in the World around him.
    “This is my World…”

  3. EL34 says:

    Great news; this could really be the movie that puts WB/DC back on the right track!
    Of America’s “Big Global Four” (Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman), she’s the only one that hasn’t had any market over-exposure. So you’ve got the built-in excitement of mild unfamiliarity that Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy had (“this looks exciting, wonder how they’ll pull it off”) combined with an actual icon that many people are more-or-less pre-sold on (Like Supes, Bats, and Spidey).
    I’d say Reeve, Puzo, and Donner’s Superman is the perfect touchstone for such a thing.
    Heck, if they truly nail this flick, Wonder Woman might even become the centerpiece of their hoped-for cinematic universe. And that would be much cooler than their current non-inspirational and “mostly dead” Superman ;-)
    (BTW- as some-one else mentioned, it would have been nice to hear some praise for screenwriters Heinberg and Johns.)

    • joy says:

      I found Superman Very inspiration (Man of Steel and in BVS) sometimes inspiration and hope is not always in a nice, neat gift-wrapped box with a bow. It is certainly there in something I particularly find compelling, an evolving character, not cookie-cutter right out of the gates.

  4. Eric says:

    There was already an optimistic tone in BvS no one cares what moronic critics think.

  5. jhs39 says:

    The “dark tone” worked fine with Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The problem with Batman V Superman wasn’t the tone–it was director Zack Snyder and the ridiculous script. I think the movie where the “dark tone” was an actual issue was Man of Steel because Zack Snyder was clearly trying to turn it into a Christopher Nolan Batman film, which he lacks the talent, vision or imagination to actually pull off. Batman V Superman should have been a showdown between two different heroes with different personalities and approaches to fighting crime (Superman would normally be the optimistic, idealistic one) but Zack Snyder and his writers made the two characters virtually interchangeable in terms of personality.

    • Eric says:

      There is no dark tone you fucking idiot. Zack Snyder knows more than your dumbass so shut the fuck up. The script was fine for both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. You don’t read comics and know nothing about these characters so shut the fuck up. You don’t fucking get hope and optimism from a happy go lucky sunshine movie moron. Hope and optimism comes from hardship and tragedy. It’s literally about seeing the light in bad and dark situations you fucking moron. You have no fucking clue what you’re talking about so shut the fuck up.

      • EL34 says:

        Wow. That’s some bright, aspirational, joyful commenting right there… You’re “exhibit A” of what most people assume Frank Miller and Zack Snyder fans are like. I can’t imagine ever encountering a comment like this while discussing comic books (or Reeve and Donner’s Superman) when I was your age.

      • shaking my head says:

        Obvious by your tone, you know little of what it means to be optimistic.

  6. Why on earth did Patty Jenkins have to say that? I never had a problem with the tone in “Batman v. Superman”. God, I’m so sick of this hullabaloo!

  7. BillUSA says:

    I don’t get the uproar over the dark tone of a film involving Batman. That’s his world. If you want “Brady Bunch”, go to some nostalgic channel on television.

    As for Wonder Woman, I’ll continue to like her as long as her sexual preferences aren’t made to be known…

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  8. John says:

    The producers waited too long to release “Wonder Woman”, when the trailer came out earlier in the year, the interest amongst the public and fans was peaking. They should have released it right before Comic Con, when Gal Gadot was hot, and public anticipation was high; by the time Warner Bros. release “Wonder Woman” next year, most people would have seen the trailers and moved on from the movie, Gal Gadot’s heat would be over. Timing is the most crucial element in movie release.

    • Erzengel says:

      The reason why Wonder Woman and Justice League have trailers even though other comic book movies such as Logan and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 releasing prior to WW and Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor 3 releasing prior to Justice League, is because DC/WB was/is trying to put some positive PR into their movies after being hammered by the critics and at least for BvS having low numbers.

      BvS ideally should of had at least made north of $1B considering that the last 2 Batman movies did. So how come a movie with the first theatrical meeting of probably the top 3 comic book characters of all time not do better?

      The answer is they are trying to put as much good will and positiveness out there to promote good will with fans.

  9. The Kevster says:

    And in an article that is all about the creative approach taken to bringing Wonder Woman to the screen, the people who in fact executed those ideas – the actual writers of the screenplay – are not mentioned once. I guess these directors who “have their own points of view” just make up the movie as they go along.

  10. Bollocks Malarkey says:

    The lack of imagination it takes to rehash old movies, sequels, prequels etc, is stupefying. Did everyone in Hollywood have a creative lobotomy, en masse?

    • BillUSA says:

      I’m not going to defend Hollywood. In fact, the whole town could slip into the Pacific Ocean and I’ll still be miffed that it took as long as it did to happen. But, the lack of imagination thing came about due to the proliferation of studios. There are only so many stories that can be told so many ways before they start resembling each other. The titles escape me at the moment, but some seemingly-unrelated, non remake/sequel movies have made me feel like I’ve seen them before.

      You’re right, imagination is dead, probably due to the avoidance of anything which might hurt someones feelings. The recent foray into superhero movies has been a nice change, but even they rely on already-established universes and canon.

      I’ll stick to the Sunday night silents and other B&W classics from a better time in our history on TCM.

  11. jpe says:

    Hoping for the best but this sounds like a yawner. Personally, I’d have preferred McLaren’s take. But the studio apparently prefers to go Marvel light. That’s one way to hasten superhero fatigue.

    • Al says:

      McLaren was fired before the “BVS too dark” backlash

      There is no indication whatsoever Wonder Woman will be “Marvel light”. If anything the film will be serious. So don’t expect Schrawama jokes or one liners in the middle of battle.

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