Movie fans have been rallying for a female-fronted superhero movie. Yet even though Marvel had Black Widow locked and loaded, and Scarlett Johannson totally game, the studio dragged its feet. Now DC is looking to beat Marvel to it, bringing us Wonder Woman with Gal Gadot in 2017. But DC's not done. They're looking to make some history by bringing in a female director to helm.
THR ran an extensive breakdown on the 29 superhero movies that are slated to hit theaters by 2020. And in a section discussing directors, the site revealed that DC is said to be seeking a female helmer for Wonder Woman. Should they follow through on this, that would make whoever lands the gig a major part of superhero movie history. To date there have only been two women who've been entrusted with superhero adaptations.
One of these women has been popping up on lists for "Who Should Direct Wonder Woman" all over the web, including our list. She's Lexi Alexander, the director who dared to take all the over-the-top violence of the Punisher and unleash it in a gonzo violent R-rated actioner, Punisher: War Zone. Unfortunately, that film flopped, pulling in just $10 million worldwide. But fans of the film have suggested--along with Alexander--that this failure came through Lionsgate's attempt to sell it as if it was Batman Begins instead of what it was: a glorious and gory celebration of unrelenting vengeance, machismo and violence. Despite online fervor for her taking the Wonder Woman gig, Alexander has shot down the idea.
The only other woman to have helmed a superhero movie is Rachel Talalay, who directed another R-rated actioner, 1995's Tank Girl. Frankly, it might even be a stretch to count Talalay here, as some will likely call her a comic book hero, but not a superhero.
And that's it. No other woman has directed a superhero movie, even though we've had over 130 open since 1951.
As soon as DC announced Wonder Woman, the internet exploded with fans who were suggesting female helmers for its directors chair. It's worthwhile to look at why this is. I'd argue it's not because only a woman can make a good Wonder Woman movie. But the lack of opportunities allowed to female directors has been getting more and more attention. For years people have been asking publicly when Marvel might bring a female director into their ranks. So when Wonder Woman was announced, this desire to see a talented female director get a superhero movie found its focus.
There's no shortage of compelling candidates if DC is in fact looking for a director who is talented and a woman. Aside from Alexander, there's Game of Thrones helmer Michelle MacLaren, the Academy Award-winning Kathryn Bigelow, Patty Jenkins (who was once attached to helm Thor: The Dark World), Deep Impact director Mimi Leder, We Need To Talk About Kevin's Lynne Ramsay (what I wouldn't give to see her version of Wonder Woman!). Or DC could take a cue from Paramount's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and dig for an animation director with an eye toward making great action sequences. Pull in Brenda Chapman (Brave), Jennifer Yuh (Kung Fu Panda) or Jennifer Lee (Frozen).
Of course, DC could also go the way of Millennium Films, which claimed they were seeking a female director for their Expendables spinoff, The Expendabelles, but then went with Robert Luketic, the guy who brought such cringe-inducing cinema as Monster-In-Law and the Katherine Heigl double-shot The Ugly Truth and Killers.
I think most of us would agree that the gender of Wonder Woman's director shouldn't matter. What should is that he or she have a spectacular vision of how to bring this superheroine to the big screen. However, it's naïve to ignore what a major opportunity this is. Not just for DC to steal some more attention from Marvel and their ensemble of director darlings, but also give an opportunity to a group of directors too often counted out of these properties. And let's remember, it was Marvel taking a chance on a female screenwriter (Nicole Perlman) that gave birth to Guardians of the Galaxy, a monster hit that's become one of Marvel's most popular.
Wonder Woman is scheduled to open June 23, 2017.