Is a hashtag a promise? That's what came to mind over the weekend during San Diego Comic Con, as Zack Snyder introduced his Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, with an intriguing hashtag: #DCTrinity.
This could just be a way to emphasize that Wonder Woman is, indeed, DC's third most well-known character, and that now all three central characters at the heart of Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice have been seen by the public. The trinity is complete – we no longer need to show you any more photos until be debut a trailer in, oh, maybe a year.
Or maybe it's something more. If Warner Bros. is serious about establishing their own superhero universe, they'll have to have a lynchpin, and it need not be one character. Batman and Superman are clearly the most visible heroes in DC's cinematic world thus far, but in the comics they hold down the foundations of the superhero world alongside Wonder Woman.
Obviously that's not the same in film. We've had many Superman films since the 1978 original. And only a couple of years pass before we get a new Batman film. But this is the live-action debut by Wonder Woman in this contemporary universe, and as played by Gal Gadot, she's set to appear in a slew of movies following Dawn of Justice. Snyder and company could be looking to establish the trio onscreen as the driving force behind their movie universe as well. By having Gal Gadot join Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck onstage at Comic-Con, Snyder was saying he wants them to be equals, he wants Wonder Woman to be just as crucial to their movie universe as the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader.
Which is great! These superhero films really need a female presence, and while Guardians Of The Galaxy has a female sensibility behind it, DC has a chance to diversify before Marvel does. In fact, Marvel would be introducing a female character as something of a side attraction to their main Avengers slate. But DC would be flat-out stating, here's a powerful, strong female presence that demands the respect afforded to your favorite male characters, your male champions.
So, here's an idea: when the public has never seen Wonder Woman in film yet, make a big deal of that instead of the clash of Batman versus Superman. Instead of a clip of those two just staring down each other, why not actually showcase her? Why limit her Comic-Con presence to a silent actress (and for that matter, why fly actors to Comic-Con to not say anything?), and why limit the character to a single photo while the guys get the attention-getting clip?
You want to make Wonder Woman equal? Then get started on a Wonder Woman movie now. Get it in theaters quickly to capitalize on the heat from Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Hire top-shelf writers and directors. The rumored plan was to go from Dawn Of Justice straight into Justice League (with Shazam, of all films in between), further cementing her as a supporting character. If that was the plan all along, hopefully they've ditched it because to really create a balance of power, you're really going to have to give the character her own movie. If we're talking about true equality, then maybe you should make a couple of Wonder Woman movies. You know, to even out the combined FIFTEEN theatrical films that Batman and Superman have starred in. But, you know, we'll cut you some slack: just get moving on the one Wonder Woman movie, and that should be acceptable. Just the one. Avoid any PMS jokes, keep away any references to "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," have her shirk romance in favor of conquest and adventure, etc.
Whether you like the films or not, there's no debating that the WB gave the recent Dark Knight movies and Man Of Steel the most polished treatment. The best DP's, the best visual effects, the best composers, and the heftiest budgets. Even if a DC movie fails (Green Lantern), it's because it fails on a conceptual and story level, not because it's not big or ambitious enough. The hope is that Wonder Woman gets a similarly handsome presentation. A Thor-like film, where the mystical and regal elements of her world are humorously contrasted with the rest of the planet, would be demeaning in the wake of the seriousness granted the DC Universe superheroes. They need to take her just as seriously as her male peers.
It's going to be a tricky balance, since the early information leaked suggests Wonder Woman does not have the most central role in Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice. But have you ever had to advertise a movie LESS? Just slap Superman and Batman on a poster, and your work is done. There has been no easier sell in the history of the medium. So now is the chance for Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder to acclimate the world to a coming Wonder Woman, a Wonder Woman who is going to star in a series of successful movies and inspire millions who have been waiting for a female superhero. Push her in the ads, give her posters, make it seem as if she looms larger than she does in the final product. And, simultaneously, announce to the world her movie is coming. Because after fifteen Batman and Superman movies, all it will take is one good Wonder Woman to put her in that company, to let her earn a place within a #DCTrinity. Make this one count, Warner Bros.