It seems that the Warner Bros. idea for Wonder Woman for quite a long time is that she should be slicing heads off because…well, she’s a warrior or something. This unusually brutal plan for Diana rears its ugly…head, in two clearly-connected stories, one involving Zack Snyder and the other about Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins.
Let’s start with Jenkins, who was speaking with Marc Maron on his WTF podcast about the many years she spent circling a Wonder Woman movie. She had been meeting with WB for years on the project, but nothing came of it and they even hired Michelle MacLaren at one point. But when they finally did get her on board, Jenkins says they didn’t actually want her or her ideas for the film.
“They wanted to hire me like a beard; they wanted me to walk around on set as a woman, but it was their story and their vision,” Jenkins said. “And my ideas? They didn’t even want to read my script. There was such mistrust of a different way of doing things and a different point of view. So that was definitely happening, even when I first joined ‘Wonder Woman’ it was like, ‘uhh, yeah, ok, but let’s do it this other way.’ But I was like, ‘Women don’t want to see that. Her being harsh and tough and cutting people’s heads off, that’s not what— I’m a ‘Wonder Woman’ fan, that’s not what we’re looking for. Still, I could feel that shaky nervousness [on their part] of my point of view.”
Does anybody want to see Wonder Woman slicing people’s heads off? Probably not. At least not if you want her to be considered a hero that young women want to look up to.
So what was WB so scared of? Failure. Failure of previous blockbusters with female leads, that’s what.
“They were nervous that it wasn’t viable. They were all freaked out by all the female superhero films that had failed, the smaller ones that had failed, and also Christopher Nolan was making the ‘Dark Knight‘ thing, so I think they were just trying to figure out what they were doing with DC at that time.”
Jenkins says that during this time there were something like “30 scripts” for a Wonder Woman movie as WB hedged their bets on a way to go with the character. After the whole MacLaren thing fell through, they eventually called her back and let her make the movie she wanted.
Where did WB get this idea that Wonder Woman should be the queen decapitator? Well, turns out they might’ve gotten it from Zack Snyder. He’s been making the rounds touting his upcoming cut of Justice League, and revealed to Comic Book Debate that the plan before Jenkins came aboard was to set Wonder Woman during the Crimean War. The conflict, which took place in the 1850s between Russia and an alliance that included the Ottoman Empire, U.K., France, and Sardinia, involved the rights of Christian minorities in the Holy Land.
Anyway, the idea of Diana battling in Earth’s conflicts for generations was to be set forth in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the below image was to be included that shows her holding a bunch of severed heads after a battle. Ultimately, it went unused.
Here is a clear look at the pic shown during Zack’s interview today, it was used as a placeholder in BVS and was taken before Patty was hired and took on Wonder Woman’s origin Story.
— NQ Cole & Nana #UsUnited (@TheNerdQueens) January 4, 2021
In Jenkins’ 2017 Wonder Woman movie, it was established that the Amazons had avoided the realm of men until World War I. But if Jenkins had never come along, and fought to make the movie she wanted to make, then we would have a completely different version of Wonder Woman in the DCEU, one that might’ve been difficult for fans to connect to.