Dear DC, Warner Bros. and everyone else behind the Wonder Woman movie,
We know you’re probably wondering why people are making such a big deal about the fact that you have actually decided to make a Wonder Woman movie and it will be coming out in June 2017. But you know you wouldn’t have to if you just gave us that, or some version of that, when you should have: years, upon years, upon years, upon many magical bracelets ago. Or if we had faith that you could actually do it right.
Listen, it’s great that you have decided to add more lady superheroes to your movies, bringing Wonder Woman into upcoming Batman/Superman face-off flick (Damn of Justice) as well as a full-out Justice League live-action movie. The heroines you own are meant to be more than sidekicks, or sidepieces, to your latest punch-out puzzle. They are the stars of their own comic books, so why can’t they be the stars of their own movies? Especially when they are as badass AND well-accessorized (cause, ladies, you know you can be both!) as Wonder Woman has always been.
With the way you’ve treated some of Wonder Woman’s peers — Supergirl, Catwoman, Batgirl — on film, it’s really hard to believe that you’ll handle our Amazonian warrior with the respect she deserves, and by that we mean you’ll not actually handle her and her legacy that much at all. This character shouldn’t become as Selina Kyle did in your Catwoman movie, suddenly ripped of her name (hello and goodbye to you, Patience Phillips) and forced into a uncharacteristically outrageous outfit (yes, Catwoman always looked lithe in that leather ensemble, but there was actually an entire ensemble there, not just tiny pieces of it covering her lady parts). Because A) You know how well that change of pace went over (let’s recall the nine per cent Rotten Tomatoes rating, Razzie awards and general bad taste everyone’s mouth again), and you have already seen how people have reacted to Gadot’s strangely colourless costume, which only resembles the standard red, blue and gold one-piece in that it’s…well, a one-piece.
Sure, it’s a lot of pressure to be the first major comic book conglomerate to be working on a solely girl-powered film, what with Marvel neglecting to greenlight a Black Widow-themed Captain America follow-up flick and instead just giving Cap’s gal pal and original S.H.I.E.L.D. member, Agent Carter, an limited-run ABC series. But don’t let that pressure get to you and lead you to mucking up what could be spectacular on so many levels.
Batman may be the hero that Gotham deserves, but Wonder Woman is the hero that we all deserve (and need!) right now. Not just because she will be new and shiny next to old pros like Batman, Iron Man, Thor and Superman, who have all seen multiple movies, starring multiple actors, already hit multiple markets across the world. And not just because she has been awaiting her moment in the spotlight after many failed attempts at rebooting her TV career for a generation that might not have seen Linda Carter’s original on-screen reign in the role. It’s because she could mark a new phase in the superhero genre, a phase where a hero’s gender doesn’t have to be the biggest talking point, but just a small aspect of their character alongside many other more important and — let’s just say it — non-physical traits (think anything from bravery to invisibility).
We shouldn’t have to be having such heated discussions about why Wonder Woman, the movie, should exist, but we still do and it’s because we care about her future and the future of the the next gals in line. We want Wonder Woman to be a powerful force, not just as an individual being, but as an overall statement on the state of the genre. We want her to be the reason that a Spidergirl movie (with Gwen Stacy, please!), a Captain Marvel flick, a new Supergirl film or even a Wonder Girl spinoff gets made. We want her to lead the charge by excellent example.
You can go about making her an excellent example in many simple ways (i.e. by sticking to her origin as told in the comics, particularly the fact that she comes from a tribe of strong women), but the best approach is simply to make sure that this movie actually happens. And when it does happen, make sure that no matter what this woman is wearing she’s a real woman with unreal abilities. Make sure sure that she is the focus of her own story, with a fully developed past and flaws and hopes and needs and desires. Make sure that she’s as wonderful — pardon the pun — as she can be.