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C'mon Hollywood: Is Wonder Woman cursed?

Sep. 11, 2012by: Paul Shirey

Created by William Moulton Marston (inventor of the polygraph…seriously) in 1941, Wonder Woman has since become a cultural icon and the leading symbol for female superheroes all over the world.  The Amazonian goddess, also known as Princess Diana, decked out in her red, white, blue and gold outfit, signature armbands, golden “truth” lasso, and a requisite invisible jet, has struggled for decades to find her footing in comics, TV, and film.  With such a powerful image and compelling back-story, her presence in top tier entertainment has been significantly noted, with everyone from Beyonce to Sandra Bullock to Christina Hendricks vying to fill her boots.

 

So, is Wonder Woman cursed?

 

Her first appearance on TV came in the form of the CBS series starring Lynda Carter. The show was a decent success, lasting for three seasons, but wasn’t without its issues.  Numerous changes were made in the course of the show, as it shifted from a WWII time period to modern-day, eventually catering to a teen-only audience.  What started as a fairly faithful adaptation morphed into an attempt at a ratings-increasing crowd-pleaser.  It would be the shows undoing and the first indicator that Wonder Woman’s staying power was limited.

In comics form, Wonder Woman has gone through various iterations, her origin being changed and amended consistently, all the way up to DC Comics New 52 last year, when artist Jim Lee redesigned her costume for a modern look, doing away with the majority of her signature outfit for yoga pants and a jacket.  The look has since disappeared and Diana is back in her original duds, but the short fashion detour was another indicator of the problem with Wonder Woman; nobody knows what to do with her.

Producer Joel Silver has been trying to spin the wheels of a Wonder Woman adaptation since 2001, with a number of screenwriters hammering out scripts to no avail.  Eventually, Joss Whedon was hired on to write a script, but even he toiled with what to do with the Amazonian (for almost two years, nonetheless) and failed to meet eye-to-eye with producers.  With such massive success on the female-driven Buffy: The Vampire Slayer TV show, it seemed like Whedon would be the perfect choice to adapt Wonder Woman, but even he admitted it wasn’t easy.  Whedon left the project, saying, “Everybody knows how long I was taking, what a struggle that script was, and though I felt good about what I was coming up with, it was never gonna be a simple slam-dunk. I like to think it rolled around the rim a little bit, but others may have differing views.”

Although Wonder Woman had difficulty finding her way in features, the character summarily shined in animation.  Joining the ranks of the long running Super Friends (1973-1986) as well as the massively popular Justice League and Justice League Unlimited (2001 – 2006), Wonder Woman was featured prominently and with great care to her origin and status as a formidable member of the predominantly all-male teams.  For the first time, Princess Diana was seen in a strong and powerful light that didn’t attempt to cater to every single demographic in the world.  She was the character from the comics brought to life in her best incarnation. 

This led to the 2009 standalone film, WONDER WOMAN, which is far and away the best version of the character ever put on the small screen.  The PG-13 rated film showed a tough, powerful, and flawed character (voiced by Keri Russell) with a strong origin story, elevated violence, and superb voice acting. It showed the most potential (and perfect template) for how to bring Wonder Woman to the masses in feature film form. 

In 2011, Producer David E. Kelley wrote a pilot that was greenlit by NBC, casting rising star Adrianne Palicki in the titular role.  Even before it got off the ground, the costume reveal caused producers to get nervous as they danced around the issue of shiny blue pants and the absence of stars.  Nobody seemed to raise a fuss about the story, which had the Amazonian moonlighting as a vigilante crime fighter in L.A., while balancing a successful corporate executive job by day. It was another snag in a long line of stop and go for the character, as the series was not picked up by NBC.

Now the CW is expressing interest in creating a Wonder Woman TV show along the lines of Smallville, called Amazon, which would follow the same model of a younger version of the character as she “develops” into the superhero she is to become.  There’s potential there, sure, but it’s still tip-toeing around the idea of Wonder Woman without committing.    

Ultimately, Wonder Woman is a misrepresented and misunderstood character.  On one hand she’s all about the look, none of the substance.  Indeed, you could ask anyone off the street who their favorite female superhero is and they’d likely say Wonder Woman, but not be able to tell you anything about her origin.  On the other hand, she’s a strong, powerful female figure with a back-story that tackles the themes of responsibility, sacrifice, loyalty, and humanity. 

Yet, most of that is ignored in the race to see her onscreen (and in comics) in a costume that sells, rather than in a story that rocks.  While DC tries to shuffle their deck and exploit their characters with the same success that Marvel has had, it’s my hope that they focus on making a faithful adaptation of their property, rather than a hybrid of ideas that meet a demographics buying patterns or the curse of Wonder Woman will continue to reign. 

Extra Tidbit: Creator William Marston was inspired by two women with whom he shared a polygamous relationship with as the basis for Wonder Woman. He called the character “psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world.” How’s that for a powerful female basis?
Source: JoBlo.com

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+7
11:35PM on 09/11/2012

Not going to lie.

I like boobs. I'm fine with how far the last adaptation got. They could put a still image of Adrianne Palicki in a corset for a full hour on TV and I'd still watch.
I like boobs. I'm fine with how far the last adaptation got. They could put a still image of Adrianne Palicki in a corset for a full hour on TV and I'd still watch.
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8:59PM on 09/11/2012

Not so hard

I saw a fan made video on youtube that got Wonder Woman right: she was in a skirt and that looked more believable than a swimsuit. Really, the costume should just look thrown together as if she had to pack in a hurry and assumed that the U.S. was hot like the Carribean: she didn't bring a parka. I think a costume with the right colors is perfectly believable: a lot of cultures worship stars and animals (such as the eagle), not just American culture.

Even the David E, Kelley version wasn't
I saw a fan made video on youtube that got Wonder Woman right: she was in a skirt and that looked more believable than a swimsuit. Really, the costume should just look thrown together as if she had to pack in a hurry and assumed that the U.S. was hot like the Carribean: she didn't bring a parka. I think a costume with the right colors is perfectly believable: a lot of cultures worship stars and animals (such as the eagle), not just American culture.

Even the David E, Kelley version wasn't that bad. True, he completely misunderstood the character but Adrianne Palicki was fine in the role: a recent article on Joblo linked to promo that was made from outtakes of raw footage from the pilot with music from the 70s series playing. The promo was a hoot: it was the unfinished product that was lackluster. Going back and telling the story of how Diana first came to the U.S. and exaplaining why she felt she had to fight crime is the right way to go: in the comics, at least in the 80s, she came to the U.S. to learn more about "man's world" and only started kicking ass because Darkseid showed up: if they take the same route as Smallville then that won't be until Season 10.
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8:38PM on 09/11/2012
Actually most of those animated DC products are quite excellent, the Batman ones are amazing and like some one before me said the Wonder Woman feature is perfect for a real movie, i think the key would be the casting, someone like Angelina Jolie, or Uma Thurman, a chick that can kick ass would have to be cast
Actually most of those animated DC products are quite excellent, the Batman ones are amazing and like some one before me said the Wonder Woman feature is perfect for a real movie, i think the key would be the casting, someone like Angelina Jolie, or Uma Thurman, a chick that can kick ass would have to be cast
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3:38PM on 09/11/2012

tough to pull off

The only way this could work is if they ditch the modern setting keep it fantasy in the Amazonian world because the costume is a little to 'flamboyant' for a vigilante and maybe do a fish-out-of-water approach like Thor. But if they are daring enough, just give her the standard female-catsuit with the colours darkened and:

The golden “truth” lasso = tasered whips like the bad-guy from Iron Man 2 to bound/torture perpetrators (gotta admit its kinky shit right here) to get a confession from
The only way this could work is if they ditch the modern setting keep it fantasy in the Amazonian world because the costume is a little to 'flamboyant' for a vigilante and maybe do a fish-out-of-water approach like Thor. But if they are daring enough, just give her the standard female-catsuit with the colours darkened and:

The golden “truth” lasso = tasered whips like the bad-guy from Iron Man 2 to bound/torture perpetrators (gotta admit its kinky shit right here) to get a confession from them
Invisible jet = maybe a plane based on a Stealth Bomber...? Y'know a little tongue in cheek about being invisible to Radar or something.
The Armbands = no idea; maybe a nice touch to the costume
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3:05PM on 09/11/2012
I'm encouraged by the positivity of this thread and I don't think there's much more to be said that 2dayschicken and cerealkiller didn't already say. The curse is one of a lack of imagination and coviction to a great- THE greatest female superhero. For fuck sake how can they NOT get it right? I could fucking write and direct it and it would be awesome.
I'm encouraged by the positivity of this thread and I don't think there's much more to be said that 2dayschicken and cerealkiller didn't already say. The curse is one of a lack of imagination and coviction to a great- THE greatest female superhero. For fuck sake how can they NOT get it right? I could fucking write and direct it and it would be awesome.
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2:42PM on 09/11/2012
Batman in the comics looks nothing like Batman in the movies except for the silhouette, so the idea that the costume is too hokey for live action is a non-issue because it'll get adapted like everything else. If you put that color scheme on the Xena/Achilles in Troy style costume she would remain recognizable like here : [link] . The real probelm is that even though Wonder Woman's story, powers, and overall tone has changed dramatically since Super-Friends, that is still all anyone sees. And
Batman in the comics looks nothing like Batman in the movies except for the silhouette, so the idea that the costume is too hokey for live action is a non-issue because it'll get adapted like everything else. If you put that color scheme on the Xena/Achilles in Troy style costume she would remain recognizable like here : [link] . The real probelm is that even though Wonder Woman's story, powers, and overall tone has changed dramatically since Super-Friends, that is still all anyone sees. And every time one of these projects starts to gain any traction it tries to adapt Super-Friends. The Wonder Woman book is one of the best (if not the VERY best) book DC is currently publishing.
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+3
1:55PM on 09/11/2012
I think the hardest part of this is filling the role. You need an ass kicker, not some 105 pound girl. I have to admit that I find it a lttle hokey too, but that doesn't mean that they can't surprise me by churning out something good.
I think the hardest part of this is filling the role. You need an ass kicker, not some 105 pound girl. I have to admit that I find it a lttle hokey too, but that doesn't mean that they can't surprise me by churning out something good.
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1:36PM on 09/11/2012
I just think her costume makes the character impossible to take seriously in any kind of TV or movie adaptation.
I just think her costume makes the character impossible to take seriously in any kind of TV or movie adaptation.
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-10
12:28PM on 09/11/2012

its just to hokey

Yes it is cursed bc of its laughable premise and dubios "powers", if an invisible plane and a truth lasso could be called "powers". Its just sad and silly, maybe if they just totally toss the whole background of the character, especially the costume, make it a little more serios and dark it might have a chance to be cancelled in script development as opposed to just outright. Plus if you do your research you will find that female driven action movies (without a built in book fanbase) make no
Yes it is cursed bc of its laughable premise and dubios "powers", if an invisible plane and a truth lasso could be called "powers". Its just sad and silly, maybe if they just totally toss the whole background of the character, especially the costume, make it a little more serios and dark it might have a chance to be cancelled in script development as opposed to just outright. Plus if you do your research you will find that female driven action movies (without a built in book fanbase) make no money, from SALT, Tomb Raider, Aeon Flux , Catwoman, Long Kiss Goodnight. So unless it can be made cheap it wont happen, plus it actually has little to no female following, ask any girl if they actually know her story or really care.
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12:58PM on 09/11/2012
Dude get your facts straight before you start talkin shit. SALT and TOMBRAIDER both made over $100 million domesticly. And whether you like them or not, the RESIDENT EVIL and UNDERWORLD franchises are 4-5 movies deep with the last RESIDENT EVIL (AFTERLIFE) coming in at just under $300 million worldwide. And WONDER WOMAN does not fly an invisible Jet anymore, she actually just flies, like SUPERMAN. Where are you getting your facts? From old saturday morning cartoons
Dude get your facts straight before you start talkin shit. SALT and TOMBRAIDER both made over $100 million domesticly. And whether you like them or not, the RESIDENT EVIL and UNDERWORLD franchises are 4-5 movies deep with the last RESIDENT EVIL (AFTERLIFE) coming in at just under $300 million worldwide. And WONDER WOMAN does not fly an invisible Jet anymore, she actually just flies, like SUPERMAN. Where are you getting your facts? From old saturday morning cartoons
12:29PM on 09/13/2012
what a dork, tell me from the collection of your WW comics why no one likes this crappy mag? Yeah lets spend 100 million dollars to make 50 million back. Do you think that how hollywood operates? remember Tomb Raider only cost 50 million to make with a real star playing the lead, here you would have another bad actress dressed in a pitiful costume spouting cheesy lines about the amazon all in CGI, the cost would be huge then with marketing even more. Also those were her gay powers, that why
what a dork, tell me from the collection of your WW comics why no one likes this crappy mag? Yeah lets spend 100 million dollars to make 50 million back. Do you think that how hollywood operates? remember Tomb Raider only cost 50 million to make with a real star playing the lead, here you would have another bad actress dressed in a pitiful costume spouting cheesy lines about the amazon all in CGI, the cost would be huge then with marketing even more. Also those were her gay powers, that why they changed them bc its gay and even after they changed, its still gay, probably like you and your questionable taste. Its such a hot property that no one wants to make it, sounds reasonable. BTW next time do your research dude!!!
12:30PM on 09/13/2012
what a dork, tell me from the collection of your WW comics why no one likes this crappy mag? Yeah lets spend 100 million dollars to make 50 million back. Do you think that how hollywood operates? remember Tomb Raider only cost 50 million to make with a real star playing the lead, here you would have another bad actress dressed in a pitiful costume spouting cheesy lines about the amazon all in CGI, the cost would be huge then with marketing even more. Also those were her gay powers, that why
what a dork, tell me from the collection of your WW comics why no one likes this crappy mag? Yeah lets spend 100 million dollars to make 50 million back. Do you think that how hollywood operates? remember Tomb Raider only cost 50 million to make with a real star playing the lead, here you would have another bad actress dressed in a pitiful costume spouting cheesy lines about the amazon all in CGI, the cost would be huge then with marketing even more. Also those were her gay powers, that why they changed them bc its gay and even after they changed, its still gay, probably like you and your questionable taste. Its such a hot property that no one wants to make it, sounds reasonable. BTW next time do your research dude!!! BTW dont be angry that you were dumb enough to actually watch the 1st resident evil movie, let alone the next 4, its more embarrassing for you then anything else.
12:22PM on 09/11/2012

Not cursed

It's just as easy if not easier to translate as Thor, Cap, Iron Man, Hulk, X-men, Spider-man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, Ant-man, etc.

It's just that DC is fucking retarded. We've had films for Steel, Swamp Thing, Catwoman, and Jonah Hex, all before Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern, etc. Of course they've plagued their good things with Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Superman III, and Superman IV. Even DC's "holy grail" in Nolan's TDK trilogy is ultimately pointless in
It's just as easy if not easier to translate as Thor, Cap, Iron Man, Hulk, X-men, Spider-man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers, Ant-man, etc.

It's just that DC is fucking retarded. We've had films for Steel, Swamp Thing, Catwoman, and Jonah Hex, all before Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern, etc. Of course they've plagued their good things with Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Superman III, and Superman IV. Even DC's "holy grail" in Nolan's TDK trilogy is ultimately pointless in that its "ultrarealism" can't go anywhere, and we are destined for another reboot.

And I guess there are the retards who are retarded for thinking "err Wonder Woman and Flash and Aquaman are silly." I swear to god, these people are fucking sheep. Any fucking comic book is silly. It just has to embrace that and be translated faithfully and seriously. Of course, when that actually happens, people no longer think said character is "silly."

So no, it's not cursed, or even hard. Marvel has all the evidence you need. There are simply too many stupid people in this world, ranging from execs to your average joe.
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8:24PM on 09/11/2012
Great comments from many of you (just using yours as my springboard of feedback, @2sdaychicken). I think the "it's too silly" sentiment is a weak argument. Any superhero comic book is silly by its very nature, but making that absurdity into awesomeness is what makes comics and comic movies so much fun. There's plenty of genres to go around.

I think Wonder Woman is cursed by the nature of ownership. DC and Warner Bros. spend too much time scratching their heads at how to SELL Wonder
Great comments from many of you (just using yours as my springboard of feedback, @2sdaychicken). I think the "it's too silly" sentiment is a weak argument. Any superhero comic book is silly by its very nature, but making that absurdity into awesomeness is what makes comics and comic movies so much fun. There's plenty of genres to go around.

I think Wonder Woman is cursed by the nature of ownership. DC and Warner Bros. spend too much time scratching their heads at how to SELL Wonder Woman rather than how to MAKE Wonder Woman. Green Lantern suffered the same fate. They were selling him, not adapting him. The business aspect is a foregone conclusion, but to truly manifest their properties, DC needs to OWN them, just as Marvel does. Embrace them for what they are, get a filmmaker (a "Whedon" if you will) to spearhead the properties and send them forth with passion, action, story, and faithful adaptation.

The 2009 animated film was the first time I ever watched anything with Wonder Woman and though, "Holy shit, she kicks serious ass." And that's the biggest issue. WW has always been watered down, an image, not a character. Her image is her biggest problem; it takes away from who she is. The only way to fix that is to SHOW audiences that she's more than a cheesy 70's cliche that spins around and turns into a bathing suit with a lasso.

Show her with sword and shield, decapitating bad guys, punching the shit out of her enemies, and struggling with her own identity as a God. I mean, essentially, she's DC's Thor. Instead of trying to reel WW in, DC/WB needs to let her LOOSE.

Just wanted to elaborate based on everyone's feedback here. Great stuff. Glad to hear what everyone has to say!

1:43PM on 09/12/2012
Exactly. My exact thoughts written in a more intelligent manner. Amen.
Exactly. My exact thoughts written in a more intelligent manner. Amen.
12:17PM on 09/11/2012
Just watch the 2009 animated film. It's perfect. Just adapt that. It's right in front of their faces and their blind to see it. It would have to be adjusted of course but it's very similiar to the THOR film, which her character is very similiar too. Both are from their own places that are very different than ours and they feel lost. They're both insanely powerful beings that fall in love with intelligent humans. I would love to see a live action WONDER WOMAN film done right.
Just watch the 2009 animated film. It's perfect. Just adapt that. It's right in front of their faces and their blind to see it. It would have to be adjusted of course but it's very similiar to the THOR film, which her character is very similiar too. Both are from their own places that are very different than ours and they feel lost. They're both insanely powerful beings that fall in love with intelligent humans. I would love to see a live action WONDER WOMAN film done right.
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12:16PM on 09/11/2012
I think the idea should be diana is part of a secluded amazonian tribe on a hidden island that takes in runaways and offers them a new life outside the world of men. When diana breaks a few sacred rules she has her memory purged and sent to new york with a hidden goal of making penance for her crimes. As she starts out her new life she is befriended by a male cop and a teen runaway. Eventually her memory slowly starts to return when she starts using extremely advanced abilities far beyond
I think the idea should be diana is part of a secluded amazonian tribe on a hidden island that takes in runaways and offers them a new life outside the world of men. When diana breaks a few sacred rules she has her memory purged and sent to new york with a hidden goal of making penance for her crimes. As she starts out her new life she is befriended by a male cop and a teen runaway. Eventually her memory slowly starts to return when she starts using extremely advanced abilities far beyond normal mortal levels. With this knowledge she helps her cop friend by taking on the role of a bounty hunter that brings criminals to justice. As she fights more and more she slowly begins to regain her memory and with it the penance she must pay for the crimes she committed on her home island.
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-4
12:12PM on 09/11/2012
Yeah DC seriously needs to get this film made and made correctly. What I think would work is to make her more of the warrior type that all she does is kick ass, something in the tone of how Frank Miller wrote her in All-star Batman. The film needs to be in the darker tone as well I think. Gina Carano has my vote right now but you definately need to cast an unknown I think with well-known supporting cast; similar to what Nolan did with Begins.

P.S That last Wonder Woman picture is
Yeah DC seriously needs to get this film made and made correctly. What I think would work is to make her more of the warrior type that all she does is kick ass, something in the tone of how Frank Miller wrote her in All-star Batman. The film needs to be in the darker tone as well I think. Gina Carano has my vote right now but you definately need to cast an unknown I think with well-known supporting cast; similar to what Nolan did with Begins.

P.S That last Wonder Woman picture is beautiful. Love it.
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-5
12:04PM on 09/11/2012
Make her a brawler who is trying to get away from her past but comes to accept her role as a superheroine. Make her volatile. Actually give her a relatable arc and a solid narrative without too many outstanding plot holes and you could have a very viable film that appeals to men and women. There is a chance here to create a very profitable franchise.
Personally I think that Gina Carano, with some decent coaching, could make a pretty awesome Wonder Woman.
Make her a brawler who is trying to get away from her past but comes to accept her role as a superheroine. Make her volatile. Actually give her a relatable arc and a solid narrative without too many outstanding plot holes and you could have a very viable film that appeals to men and women. There is a chance here to create a very profitable franchise.
Personally I think that Gina Carano, with some decent coaching, could make a pretty awesome Wonder Woman.
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+1
11:22AM on 09/11/2012
While I think there's enough outside of the box thinking film makers that could tackle Wonder Woman, it's just a tough sell, especially for fan boys. Think about when you were a kid, playing with action figures. You never really grabbed your Wonder Woman, April O'neil, Lady Jane figures to duke it out, if you even had them, eh? It's a slippery slope to be able to market it to a wide audience, though not impossible.
While I think there's enough outside of the box thinking film makers that could tackle Wonder Woman, it's just a tough sell, especially for fan boys. Think about when you were a kid, playing with action figures. You never really grabbed your Wonder Woman, April O'neil, Lady Jane figures to duke it out, if you even had them, eh? It's a slippery slope to be able to market it to a wide audience, though not impossible.
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10:58AM on 09/11/2012
No, just extremely hard to translate to live action.
No, just extremely hard to translate to live action.
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10:54AM on 09/11/2012
I think Wonder Woman is one of those projects that need to get it right in order to start and any adaptation of the material is going to be hard. I don't think they can make it to be as cheesy as the 70s version. With the flop of Green Lantern movie, I doubt if Warner Bros. would actually greenlight Wonder Woman.
I think Wonder Woman is one of those projects that need to get it right in order to start and any adaptation of the material is going to be hard. I don't think they can make it to be as cheesy as the 70s version. With the flop of Green Lantern movie, I doubt if Warner Bros. would actually greenlight Wonder Woman.
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