There are few upcoming superhero movies as exciting as Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, the most prominent female superhero to ever receive her (long overdue) solo feature film and an important new chapter in the DC Extended Universe. Some might even say that Wonder Woman is an opportunity to right some wrongs in the superhero genre, and the DCEU in particular. The trailers for the movie – colorful, grand and funny – seem to be striking new territory for the relatively dark DCEU movies we’ve been given so far.
At WonderCon this weekend I was able to steal five minutes of Patty Jenkins’ time. The filmmaker is hard at work completing Wonder Woman but took the time to introduce footage to the fans and discuss some of the issues surrounding the film with me, including the difficulties involved with telling the Wonder Woman’s origin after audiences have already been introduced to the character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, how she intends to handle the character’s pre-existing (and arguably anachronistic) theme music, and how this particular fantasy superhero film relates to the Thor sequel that she almost directed for Marvel Studios.
Wonder Woman hits theaters on June 2, 2017.
Crave: What is it like to define Wonder Woman, in an origin story, after she’s already been introduced to the world in another film?
Patty Jenkins: Well, it’s easier than that sounds because there are hundreds of years between them, and because that story is who she’s going to become a long time in the future. Whereas I get to look at, what is the story of the beautiful child and character who comes into this world? And there might even be some misconceptions about who she is, later on. We may be reading into things in Batman v Superman in the future that aren’t necessarily what you think they are. So they’re making Wonder Woman and so was I, so for me I felt very supported in making the greatest Wonder Woman film of all time, making her that beloved character.
What about some of the stylistic considerations that were made on Batman v Superman that you have now inherited? The look of the costume, that power chord [orchestral] theme that she has, which may be anachronistic?
Yeah, so the costume made perfect sense to me. I love that costume and I love that costume designer and I thought they did a great job – Michael Wilkinson is an amazing costume designer – because of its origins, because it had a relationship to the ancient Greek and Roman times. It made sense as the battle armor of somebody who would be coming from there. So that was very easy.
The song is [part of a] slightly more complicated dialogue, because that is the song of a very adult and evolved character. So instead… I love that track but we had to embrace it as a different thing. This is the story of who grows into being that person, but you can’t just come out of the gate with a song like that for a ten-year-old, you know.
This film, judging from the trailers that we’ve seen, has a very different look from the Zack Snyder films. His films tend to have a muted color palette. It’s very colorful, what we’re seeing so far from Wonder Woman. What is that so important?
It’s an origin story and it’s a classic film, and so for both of those things it’s essentially not modern in the color palettes of our times. I was going for grand, classic cinema. And also Wonder Woman is a very colorful character to me. Like, the red and the blue and the beauty, and the beauty of the world that she comes from, everything about that just asks to make a colorful film.
You came close to making a Thor movie, and both of those stories are about godlike beings who come into the world men to set us on the right path.
What about that is so appealing to you? Why did that happen almost twice?
Well, I think that’s an incredibly powerful story to look at. Many other superheroes find themselves in circumstances and become a superhero. In this case what’s so great is, here’s an idealistic character, and similarly with Thor, who comes to the world of man and has to observe what’s happening with them and make a decision about how to go about it.
Interestingly I had been talking to [Warner Bros.] about Wonder Woman before I ever did Thor, and that’s how those guys knew that I was interested. I was putting out there that there was the right kind of superhero film that I would love to do. So actually there was something very similar that I wanted to do with Thor, and I will always be grateful to those guys for trying because it’s not a character that you would think of hiring – it should never be this way, but – a woman, which has become such a big deal. But those guys weren’t thinking about that at all, and kudos to them for it.
So it’s interesting. There was a very similar story that I was wanting to do with Thor but they ended up realizing that they had to put him in a different kind of position within their universe, and that wasn’t the right film for me. But I’m so happy I got my shot now.
Is it important for superheroes to be aspirational? There’s been some debate about how human they need to be, and whether or not they should be godlike.
I don’t think they have to be anything. I think that they’re a metaphor that you can do all kinds of things with. But I certainly think that the grand tradition and the number one reason that they evolved was to be aspirational, and so there’s always going to be a place for that, even though I think there’s a place for all kinds of other dialogues as well.
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Top Photo: Warner Bros.
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.