The original Wonder Woman script by Joss Whedon, a master of the modern superhero film, has finally leaked after over a decade. As fans of the genre have come to expect from Whedon, his script is pretty masterful in some respects, and we can only hope some significant themes will make it into the Wonder Woman movie Warner Bros. is releasing on June 2. Certain aspects of Joss’ script, however, will hopefully be absent.
Several years after the modern superhero movie craze started with 2002’s Spider-Man, Warner Bros. was looking to get in on the fad by producing their own comic book adaptation. Wonder Woman seemed like an excellent choice for a hero to bring to the big screen, as it would attract a large female demographic eager to see a kick-ass female lead in addition to the comic’s fans and the usual movie audiences.
— Diana || WW (@AmazonianKnight) March 30, 2016
Comic Book reports that Warner Bros. decided to go ahead with the Wonder Woman concept, and they commissioned Joss Whedon as the screenwriter. At the time, Whedon was best known for his work on the cult classic sci-fi show Firefly, but he has since become known as one of the superhero movie genre’s premier writers by penning projects like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and both Avengers movies.
Writing Wonder Woman was a labor of love for Whedon, so it was a shame when, before production even started, Warner Bros. elected to drop the project. Though filming had not begun, however, Whedon had finished a first draft of his Wonder Woman script.
It has been over a decade since the original Wonder Woman went kaput, but only very recently has Indie Ground Films actually gotten ahold of the document, which is dated August 7, 2006. What Whedon had planned is in many ways fresh and exciting, and the whole thing is available here.
— Jay Zampi (@z4mp1) April 4, 2017
One can tell by reading through the script that Whedon is very familiar with the Wonder Woman comics, as he remains pretty faithful to the source materials in most respects. For example, the Wonder Woman of Joss’ script is not depicted as an invincible force who can leap tall buildings and shrug off bullet-wounds. Touches like this make it obvious Whedon was going for a realistic and dramatic action film rather than another generic superhero flick with his Wonder Woman.
Audiences would also get to see Wonder Woman do battle with the mechanical Khimaera from the comics under Whedon’s script, which critics agree would have been pretty cool.
He does make a few interesting deviations, like swapping the gender of Strife, the God of Chaos, from female to male. He also has Wonder Woman (aka Diana Prince) give up her powers midway through the film to save sort-of love interest Steve Trevor, a choice trailers and other Wonder Woman marketing materials reveal was changed for the 2017 version. These deviations actually sound promising, though, and might have made for some fascinating cinema.
Although Whedon’s script made some welcome and intriguing changes, though, Movie Pilot points out that many more of the notable aspects of the script were probably bad calls. For example, much of the film, including the representations of the Amazonian women of Paradise Island and the characters Wonder Woman/Diana Prince encounters in the “outside world,” leans heavily on racial/sexual stereotypes and bigoted behavior. The central heroine and Trevor are both presented as unpleasant people, and Wonder Woman herself displays a frustratingly thick hero complex.
That is not to mention the rampant male gaze and other misogynistic behavior present throughout the movie, an aspect nearly every source reviewing Whedon’s script criticizes.
Joss Whedon’s script definitely brought some positives to the table, but they were negated by an even larger number of negatives. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Patty Jenkins, who is directing the Wonder Woman hitting theaters in June, was able to identify and retain the good in Whedon’s script while doing away with the rest.
[Featured Image by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Images]