Comic book movies have been a thing for about as long as Hollywood has been a thing, but the modern age of Superhero movies didn't really get going until around 2000. That was when X-Men came out, which changed everything. Cut to 17 years later and we still have yet to have a good, female-led superhero movie in the modern era. Wonder Woman is hoping to change that this summer.
Warner Bros. may be a little late to the game in terms of making a cinematic universe around their DC Comics superheroes when compared to Marvel Studios, but they are beating Marvel to the punch on this one. Marvel Studios has strong female heroes like Black Widow and Scarlet Witch, but after nearly a decade of making comic book movies, they have yet to make a movie featuring a female as the lead. Warner Bros. is releasing Wonder Woman as their fourth movie as part of the DCEU, which is way ahead of the game in that respect. Here is the official synopsis for Wonder Woman.
"Wonder Woman hits movie theaters around the world next summer when Gal Gadot returns as the title character in the epic action adventure from director Patty Jenkins. Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers...and her true destiny."
Even though this will be the first solo Wonder Woman movie, we have already seen the big screen version of Diana Prince last year, and what we saw was by most accounts very encouraging. Gal Gadot's performance as the character was one of the most praised qualities of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, even from those who didn't particularly enjoy the movie otherwise. This time it is going to be different, though. It is her movie. It is her time to shine and that is something fans of the character have been waiting a very, very long time for.
There are a lot of superhero movies coming out this year but perhaps none will wind up being more important than Wonder Woman for a lot of reasons. Not only is the fate of the DCEU largely resting on its shoulders, but being that this is the first female-led superhero movie of the modern era, there are some massive expectations heading into it. So, here is what we know about the Wonder Woman movie.
Patty Jenkins is directing.
The world has been waiting for quite some time on a female-led superhero movie in the modern era and fortunately, Wonder Woman is going to be that movie. Not only is the movie going to primarily follow a female hero, but it is actually going to be a woman behind the camera as well. Patty Jenkins hasn't directed a movie since 2003's Monster, but she is making her return to features with Wonder Woman.
Hollywood isn't notorious for giving female directors big opportunities, but Warner Bros. seems to be making a statement with Wonder Woman. It is a female-driven story and it is probably best handled with a woman in charge. Don't think that Warner Bros. gave her the project simply because she is a woman, either. Even though she hasn't directed a theatrically released movie in more than a decade, she has been working on very well-regarded TV shows like Arrested Development and The Killing. Assuming Wonder Woman is a big hit, it could be a big step not only for Patty Jenkins, but for female directors in general.
The budget is huge and historical.
The exact budget for Wonder Woman hasn't been revealed yet, but we know that it is going to be more than $100 million. That is really common for a big superhero movie of this scale, but it is very significant in this particular case. Why exactly? Well, because it is only the second time in history that a woman is going to direct a movie with a nine-figure budget and it is the first time since 2002 when Kathryn Bigelow did it on K-19: The Widowmaker. Again, no pressure on Patty Jenkins, but K-19: The Widowmaker was a huge flop, only bringing in $65 million worldwide, which probably didn't help encourage studios to hire female directors for big projects. If Wonder Woman succeeds, which it almost certainly will, it will be a huge deal. Assuming the movie can also be a critical success, Patty Jenkins is in a serious position to do some big time trailblazing.
Geoff Johns and Allen Heinberg Wrote the Screenplay.
Those who have had issues with previous DCEU movies could probably trace most of their issues with the movies back to the script. It has been said that David Ayer only had six weeks to write Suicide Squad, which isn't nearly enough time to do a proper screenplay for a movie of that size and scope. Hopefully, Wonder Woman won't fall into those same traps. One thing is for sure, the screenplay took longer than six weeks to write. The screenplay that ultimately wound up being used for the movie was written by Allan Heinberg and Geoff Johns. The former has mostly worked on TV shows such as Grey's Anatomy and The OC and the latter is the head of the DC Comics properties for Warner Bros., who just so happens to be a very highly-regarded former comic book writer.
The two of them together makes for an interesting pair. Given that this is the first movie that Allan Heinberg is credited with writing, Warner Bros. must have seen something in him. As for Geoff Johns, he knows the world of DC Comics very well, so having his input on the screenplay can probably only be a good thing. No matter how Wonder Woman ultimately turns out, it will largely be these two guys who are responsible for it, good or bad.
Gal Gadot is Back as Wonder Woman.
Despite the fact that Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice really seemed to divide audiences, one of the unquestionable highlights was getting to see Wonder Woman make her big screen debut. Something that was 75 years in the making. Since the DC Extended Universe is a connected series of movies, it will once again be Gal Gadot portraying Diana Prince in the Wonder Woman solo movie. Even before her epic fight with Doomsday at the end of BvS, the 31-year-old actress had proved herself in big-budget action movies, starring in both Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6. For the most part, the reception to Wonder Woman's limited screen time in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was very positive, so that should serve as some encouragement heading into the Amazonian superhero's first solo movie ever. There is a lot of excitement about his movie and a lot of that will rest on Gal Gadot's shoulders. No pressure.
Chris Pine is playing Steve Trevor.
Chris Pine has quite a bit of experience in big-budget action movies, since he has been playing Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot. He is finally making his way to the world of superhero movies, but he still isn't getting any superpowers. Chris Pine will be playing Steve Trevor and even though he isn't a superhero per say, he is a very important character in the history of Wonder Woman. The character first appeared in DC Comics back in 1941 and has the distinction of being the first man to ever visit Themyscira, the Amazonian island that Diana Prince hails from. He is also the one that introduces Wonder Woman to the world of men outside of her Amazonian existence and based on what we have seen in the trailers, that seems to be the case in the movie. As a member of the U.S. military, expect to see Steve Trevor getting into some combat during Wonder Woman, even if he doesn't actually have any powers.
Ares is the Villain.
The trailers for Wonder Woman have truly impressed fans up to this point, but what is really interesting is that the villain has largely been absent. Sure, there are war and battle sequences, but we haven't really seen any recognizable comic book villain, for the most part. However, we do know that Ares, sometimes referred to as Mars of War, is going to be the big bad in the movie. Beyond that, things are kind of a mystery. It has been highly speculated that actor Danny Huston, who we have seen in the trailers as a military general, will be playing him. Given that his character still doesn't have a credited name on the IMDB page, that would probably make sense. It also seems very fitting that Ares is the villain, because he first appeared in the very first issue of Wonder Woman. Also, since the movie takes place during a time of war and Ares' goal is to realize eternal war and conflict among the world of men, it would also make sense. So, not only is Diana Prince going to have to deal with fighting a war, but she is also going to have to fight a God of war, which could be really awesome.
Wonder Woman has a strong female supporting cast.
Since Wonder Woman is being told as an origin story, Diana Prince isn't the only super powerful, badass lady we are going to see in the movie. Much of the supporting cast for Wonder Woman features big name actresses who are playing other very strong, female characters. The most notable of these strong supporting females is Queen Hippolyta, who is being played by Connie Nielsen. For those who may not be super familiar with the world of DC Comics, Queen Hippolyta is actually Diana Prince's mom and rules over their Amazonian people. Wonder Woman's mom is not someone you want to mess with. House of Cards star Robin Wright will also be playing General Antiope, another very strong female Amazon warrior. IMDB also has actress Florence Kasumba listed as playing Senator Acantha, another very powerful figure among the Amazons. Make no mistake, Wonder Woman may be a singular title, but it is going to be packed with powerful ladies.
Wonder Woman is an origin story.
Interestingly enough, Warner Bros. decided to skip over the Batman origin story and just plopped Ben Affleck into the DCEU as an old, grizzled version of the character. Wonder Woman also got her on-screen debut before getting an origin story, but she is most definitely getting one. Warner Bros. and Patty Jenkins decided that the best way to handle her first solo movie would be to tell it as an origin story. Since Diana Prince has been alive for quite some time, that will make the movie a period piece, setting it decades before the events of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. We are going to get to see her transition from isolated, Amazonian life to world-saving superhero.
Also, since she is sort of doing her own thing in the modern age prior to duking it out with Doomsday, we are probably going to see why she decided to leave the hero life behind for nearly a century. It is unclear if the movie is taking cues from any one specific run of comics, but the DCEU so far has drawn a lot from the New 52 run, so expect Wonder Woman to mix some of the old lore with the new lore from the DC Comics.
Themyscira will be explored.
Because Wonder Woman has never had her own movie, there are a lot of significant things from the world of DC Comics that have never made it to the big screen. For example, Diana Prince's island home of Themyscira, originally known as Paradise Island, has never been seen in a live-action movie, but that is going to change in Wonder Woman. The island home of the Amazons has been an important location in the world of DC Comics since 1941 and will finally be explored in this new movie. There have been small glimpses of this in the trailers and some of the images that have been released by Warner Bros. and it looks like it will be quite an amazing, gorgeous location. It is unclear exactly how much of Themyscira will be featured in Wonder Woman, but either way, we are going to get to see the home of the Amazons on the big screen for the first time and that should definitely be exciting for hardcore DC fans.
World War I is the main setting.
Long before we saw any real promotional material for Wonder Woman, it was pretty clear that it was going to be a period piece. During the Justice League introduction sequence in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, we saw Diana Prince finally getting her hands on that photo she was looking for, which showed her and some American soldiers doing battle together in World War I. That was a tease of things to come, because Wonder Woman is seemingly going to take place entirely in that era, which for you non-history buffs is between the years of 1914 and 1918. Marvel did something very similar when introducing Captain America into the Marvel Cinematic Universe by making Captain America: The First Avenger set during WWII. In the case of Wonder Woman, it actually makes sense, given that the modern world didn't seem to know much about her. In the early 1900s, it would have been much harder to document her existence, so whatever she does do in the movie to help out the war effort, it will be at least somewhat logical that it wasn't a well-documented part of the war effort. In any case, it will be interesting to see what the DCEU looks like as a period piece/war drama.
Don't expect any big cameos.
One of the fun things about having a shared universe with a bunch of different movies and a bunch of different characters is that those characters can pop in and out of other movies, even if only for brief moments. The problem, or maybe it really isn't a problem depending on your perspective, is that since Wonder Woman takes place during World War I, there probably won't be any major cameos. That isn't to say we have to rule it out entirely, but it just seems much less likely. Even Suicide Squad was able to squeeze in cameos from The Flash and Batman, but Wonder Woman just doesn't seem like a place that other DCEU heroes fit into. While cameos may be mostly out of the question, there will certainly be Easter eggs all over the place, so be on the lookout for those. Especially since this is the last DC movie we are going to see before Justice League hits theaters in November.
When is the Release Date?
Some long time Wonder Woman fans have literally been waiting decades for her to get her own movie. Lucky for them, they aren't going to have to wait much longer. Warner Bros. is putting Wonder Woman out right in the heart of the 2017 summer blockbuster movie season, which means they are expecting it to draw a big crowd. Unless anything changes (which it probably won't), Wonder Woman is going to hit theaters on June 2. For the most part, there won't be any direct competition, with the only other somewhat big movie coming out that week being Captain Underpants, but that is definitely going for a different crowd. However, the prior week Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is coming out and the week after, Universal is releasing The Mummy. So, Warner Bros. could possibly be looking at a steep drop off in week 2, if the movie received a mixed response like both Suicide Squad and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice did.