Wonder Woman has been trying to fly her invisible jet into theaters for some time but with no success. For whatever reason, and there are always several, the seemingly much discussed cinematic adaptation of the most famous female superhero just can’t seem to find the right writer, the right actress or the right costume, even landing on our recent list of ’Long-Anticipated Movies That Are Never Happening’. But now that The Avengers has rejuvenated the superhero genre all over again, there might be a renewed call to get the lasso-toting heroine onscreen. If they can pull it off, Wonder Woman would not only be the first great female superhero flick but also the perfect way to counter and capitalize on Marvel’s monster hit-- because there is no one better to tell the story of Diana, Princess of the Amazons, Avengers alums Joss Whedon and Scarlett Johansson. Here's why.
They might actually be able to get it made.
There are several reasons why Whedon and Johansson would make the perfect pair to finally do Wonder Woman justice but it doesn’t hurt that the dynamic duo might actually be able to get the long elusive comic book adaptation into development. It’s kind of an important first step in the process. Sure, Nicolas Winding Refn is the most recent person to talk up a Wonder Woman movie, with Christina Hendricks in mind to star, but we all know that wouldn't really work. Before you all jump down my throat, Hendricks would be a great Wonder Woman now, and even better ten years ago when she was kicking ass for Whedon on Firefly, but the voluptuous red-head from Mad Men would be closing in on 40, which won’t work for an origin story or the start of a franchise and crossover. Oh, and not to mention that the Refn version is hypothetical and dependant on the success of his Logan’s Run remake.
But you know who probably doesn’t have to wait? The guy who just made all the money and his internationally known female superstar. With Whedon and Johansson on board you’d have to assume all (most) reservations would be thrown aside, not only in light of the Avengers huge returns but also because The Hunger Games finally dispelled any doubt that with the right property, director and actress, female-led films can indeed ‘open.’
Come on, it's Joss.
We all know if there is anyone capable of bringing a wondrous woman to the big screen it’s Joss Whedon. Do I really have to rehash his credits? It's not just television shows or feature films-- he’s also written some fantastic comics with compelling depictions of female characters like Kitty Pryde, Emma Frost and his own Melaka Fray. Whedon was already working on Wonder Woman back in 2005 and with his history of writing strong female leads, it came as a shock that this project never went anywhere. The WW experience apparently left a sour taste in Whedon’s mouth, but hopefully the resentment could be washed away with Geoff Johns becoming Chief Creative Officer at DC and influential in the development of their films with Warners. The two comic book lovers would make a formidable creative team and the DC CCO is probably well aware Whedon is perfect for a Wonder Woman project. His vision may not have been enough to get the film in production but this was also before Whedon made the most successful superhero movie of all-time, another that many people thought would never work. Not only did Avengers work, but together he and Scarlett Johansson crafted the most rewarding female superhero ever committed to film with their Black Widow.
Scarlett may be short, but she's wondrous.
Whedon has also let a few clues slip for what he’s looking for in a Diana, saying that he wanted, "somebody statuesque, regal, beautiful, who can really act and do a lot of stunts with no elbow or knee pads. I’m asking a lot. So if I happen to find all those qualities in somebody who does not quite meet my height requirement, I will be casting some really short love interest." The Princess of the Amazons is ‘statuesque and regal’ but more importantly she is a full-bodied woman, and I would argue that height should not be as important as shape. This isn’t Wonder Supermodel. And if height is really an issue I think there are camera tricks that they could use to make Scarlett’s 5’3’’ seem much more imposing (Sir Ian McKellen is only 5 inches taller than Elijah Wood). Joss already seems amenable to casting someone shorter as long as she’s got the chops, and I’d say Scarlett’s performance as Black Widow proved that she can definitely ‘act and do a lot of stunts.’ At 27, Johansson is still young enough to start a new franchise, can handle the action as well as Joss’ dialogue and embodies all the feminine, uh, qualities we want in a Wonder Woman. Just look at the picture of her from Under The Skin (above) - add a tiara, lose the fur - and tell me you don’t see it? Any potential superhero film, and casting, is always also dependent on the costumes and Joss’ sketches would look great on Scarlett even if I’m partial to this modified Bruce Timm Wonder Woman using the Wonder Girl costume from the George Perez Teen Titans run. That’s just me.
Wonder Woman > Black Widow.
The Avengers showed that Scarlett can hang with the biggest and baddest superheroes so it’s time to give her a shot at a solo venture and one one with a little more clout than Natasha Romanoff. Even before the crazy success of Marvel’s super ensemble there were already plans in place to make a Black Widow feature, so there is probably no derailing her own origin story. I’m still all for that, since her Black Widow is more than impressive, and her own movie could even offer a chance for a female director to finally helm a superhero flick-- maybe Kathryn Bigelow could deliver an awesome espionage thriller for Scarlett? Still, it won’t be the great superheroine flick that fans have been craving. Hell, even Whedon could direct Widow and I don’t think it would successfully scratch that itch. There is nothing wrong with Black Widow but she’s not Wonder Woman. The Amazonian Princess is an icon and once a role model for many young girls, so it’s past time she was granted her own live-action movie.
Can DC and Warner Bros. really afford not to?.
I’m not sure if DC and Warners can afford not to make a Wonder Woman film at this point, unless the strategy is to start with a Justice League movie and then roll out the individual installments. But one of the keys to the The Avengers success was making us care about the characters in advance, not to mention all the time Whedon didn’t have to waste on introductions and exposition, something that you cannot afford when there are a more than a handful of superheroes on the squad. DC and Warner Bros. would do well to follow the obviously successful blueprint laid out for them by Marvel, Paramount and Disney. The Justice League film could serve as a great re-introduction of the well established characters of Batman and Superman - after Christian Bale and Henry Cavill hang up their capes - but DC needs to start building the rest of the universe and fast, Green Lantern ‘failings’ aside. Marvel is already moving into phase 2 with an Avengers sequel as well as spin-offs like Scarlett’s Black Widow and new adventures like Ant-Man, so even after the inevitable huge success of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, DC is still more than leagues behind. So who’s next? Surely not the Martian Manhunter after Green Lantern. Sorry, Aquaman but you’re probably not even making the squad. So that leaves The Flash, a fine but painfully safe choice. Here’s a lassoed piece of truth for you: they need to make a statement and none better than developing the first great female superhero film. They need Joss and Scarlett’s Wonder Woman.