As one should expect with two movies set in vastly different time periods, 2017’s Wonder Woman and the current Wonder Woman 1984 show director Patty Jenkins changing things up stylistically. Having seen the sequel a couple of times now, my favorite part remains something that actually mirrors its predecessor, and that’s the exhilerating opening sequence on Themyscira, the island home of Diana and the Amazons. However, that scene very nearly wasn’t included, and Jenkins had to make the case to Warner Bros. that it needed to stay.
Speaking with Joblo.com, Jenkins explained that WB execs were trying to make her decide between an opening scene in the Amazon or the mall fight sequence. Something had to go, but Jenkins stood her ground that both were needed…
“It was not always written in. It was the success of the first film, but it was also something else. I wouldn’t of jammed it in there because of the success of the film, because it actually made the movie too long. We have two openings in our movie and we would talk about it with the studio all the time and they would say, you’ve got to cut the mall and the Eighties, or you’ve got to cut the Amazon. I was like, we can’t, we can’t cut either.”
“The reason that I ended up realizing that you need the Amazon is because I suddenly, you do that thing where you’re like, wait, you have to remember all the people that haven’t seen the first ‘Wonder Woman’ who watch this on a plane. And suddenly it’s like, oh, it’s super hard to understand who Diana is and what’s going on without touching base there. I love the fact that you hear all of the ‘being a great hero takes your whole life,’ you know? So there was this wisdom there that they were trying to tell her which is not about being the strongest or the fastest, it’s about these complex observations you have to make during life in order to become a true hero. I love that she doesn’t understand that until that final speech.”
Just looking at it from a thematic level, showing young Diana’s experience losing a race against her fellow Amazons was crucial. It helped set up a contrast to the con artist villain Maxwell Lord who offered shortcuts to success during the “greed is good” era.
Wonder Woman 1984 is proving to be gigantic for HBO Max, where it was offered free simultaneously alongside a theatrical release. The global box office of $85M is a far cry from what Wonder Woman earned but that’s to be expected. Still, it was successful enough to get WB moving on a third film, and you can bet Jenkins will find a way to kick that one off in Themyscira, too.