Looking Back at Joss Whedon's 2005 Wonder Woman Film that Never Was

With the recent demise of the David E. Kelley Wonder Woman show, I look back athe proposed 2005 Wonder Woman film by Josh Whedon. Oh, what could've been!

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By Mark Julian - 6/14/2011
Most people aren't aware and many have forgotten, but back in 2005, before Batman Begins and after the disastrous Catwoman starring Halle Berry, Joss Whedon struck a deal with Warner Bros. to write and direct the Amazon Princess.

Lets take a moment to let this sink in before we move on. The man responsible for Buffy the Vampire Slayer (tv series), a strong kick-ass female character who battled monsters and mythological legends was set to direct Wonder Woman. Talk about the perfect storm.

After finishing up Serenity (great movie), Whedon was set to tackle Wonder Woman. Whedon wrote a script, re-wrote said script, wrote an entire new script and then re-wrote that one. Here's what Whedon had to say in a past Maxim article. I've included a bit more so that you get a sense of the era, plus he says some really poignant stuff:


Maxim:A while back, you were attached to a Wonder Woman movie with Eliza(Dushku) as the rumored star. Is that project dead ? Or is it just dead so far as your involvement ?

Whedon:I have no idea the status of the movie and, honestly, I never did. I was told they were very anxious to make it. I wrote a script. I rewrote the story. And by the time I’d written the second script, they asked me…not to. [Laughs] They didn’t tell me to leave, but they showed me the door and how pretty it was. Would I like to touch the knob and maybe make it swing ? I was dealing with them through [producer] Joel Silver who couldn’t tell me what they wanted or anything else. I was completely in the dark. So I didn’t know what it was that I wasn’t giving them. I’ve moved on.

Maxim:As a comic book writer and fan, why do you think—with one very big exception—DC Comics is having such a hard time getting its characters on the screen while Marvel is churning them out ?

Whedon:Because, with that one big exception, DC’s heroes are from a different era. They’re from the era when they were creating gods. And the thing that made Marvel extraordinary was that they created people. Their characters didn’t living in mythical cities, they lived in New York. They absolutely were a part of the world. Peter Parker’s character was a tortured adolescent. DC’s characters, like Wonder Woman and Superman and Green Lantern, were all very much removed from humanity. Batman was the only character they had who was so rooted in pain, that had that same gift that the Marvel characters had, which was that gift of humanity that we can relate to.

Maxim:You recently wrapped up a run writing Astonishing X-Men in which you introduced the "mutant cure" plotline that ended up in X-Men : The Last Stand. How do you feel about how it was handled in the movie ?

Whedon:I felt like it would have been nice to be paid. We were told they were using some of our stuff for the movie and…"Isn’t that exciting ?" You know, I’m sorry, but it’s not that exciting, and I don’t think it was handled well in the movie. I think they kind of glossed over it. So, ultimately it doesn’t affect me. You know when you write a Marvel comic, it’s theirs. They own it and they can do whatever they want with it. We probably weren’t the first people to come up with the idea of the mutant cure, though they did use some of our characters and specific situations. But at the end of the day, they made it not matter : any argument about whether or not it’s a terrible thing for people to be talking about curing mutants is kind of swept under the table. So ultimately I wish it had been handled better.

Maxim:Would you be interested in ever taking your own stab at translating a Marvel character into a movie ?

Whedon:I’ve mentioned this to Marvel several times over the last couple of years : Kitty Pryde is out there. She’s a pretty fascinating character with a very visual power who, the last time I saw, was played by Oscar nominee Ellen Page. And they don’t seem to think that that’s awesome. I don’t know why. You know, I’m just sayin’.

Maxim:Is there any chance you might return to the title, or to some other Marvel title ?

Whedon:It’s really just a question of time and waiting for all of their events to finish. [Laughs] It’s basically became impossible to write a Marvel book in the Marvel universe because everything is tied into [crossover] events and I don’t like writing a book that you have to read 14 other books to understand. Or, you pick it up and suddenly everybody is evil because of something that happened in another book. I just think that’s a disservice to the readers. I realize that it’s done really well for Marvel and I think they’ve done a really good job with it, but it’s just not my kind of storytelling. There are characters I love and there are artists I’d love to work with and I grew up with Marvel, but I think for now, I’ll just concentrate on my own stuff.


Some very good analysis there concerning DC and Marvel but thats a subject for another editorial. In 2007, it was announced that Whedon's project was dead and the world moved on. Surprisingly, the scripts Whedon wrote were never leaked. The only details that ever emerged were that Wonder Woman would be fight all over the globe in a Tomb Raider-esque fashion and that the film would explore the romance between Diana and Steve Trevor. Also, concept art for the costume emerged.


Had this film been released, I believe it would have been successful in the vein of the recent Thor and X-Men:First Class. Not The Dark Knight numbers but successful enough to warrant a sequel. More importantly, with Wonder Woman a success in the early 2000's, how much faster do we get other DC properties on the big screen? Would we be looking at a Justice League movie right now instead of finally getting our first adaptation outside of Supes and the Bat? Absolutely. After the success of the X-Men films, there was a literal rush to spin-off Wolverine, Magneto,and surprise...surprise...a First-Class movie. With successful Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman properties developed its logical to think that serious development would be made towards a JL or Trinity movie.

Alas, we'll never know. Whedon moved on to co-write Captain America and is currently helming the Avengers. Wouldn't it suck for DC if he goes on to make successful Marvel adaptations when they had the ability to create a successful relationship?Oh well.

The future belongs to people who see possibilities before they become obvious.-Anonymous

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8 Comments
mrm1138 - 6/14/2011, 10:34 AM
Who's this Josh Whedon you mention? Is he related to Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon?
Hellsing - 6/14/2011, 10:56 AM
"the film would explore the romance between Diana and Steve Rogers." Cap was hitting on wonder woman I knew it, Steve Rogers you dog. Whedon knows how write strong female characters would have loved seeing him take Wonder woman, a female super hero who needs movie. Instead WB gave us Pseudo-Catwoman.

Whilst Fox gave us Elektra, who don't exactly have the potential that Wonder Woman does. Its a shame I guess we'll never see Wonder Woman and Caps relationship played out on the big screen.
MarkJulian - 6/14/2011, 11:02 AM
Lol
EarOne - 6/20/2011, 6:15 PM
DC needs to wise up and just really spot talents with REAL talents. showing Joss Whedon the door is sooooooo STUPID.
Optimus83 - 7/10/2011, 5:16 PM
Joss would have done an excellent job with Wonder Woman, but because of Joel Silver DC now lost it and putting it in Marvel won the director's chair of the mega project of The Avengers, but one of those returns, but equally it may be unlikely a project of the Avengers ratios compared to Wonder Woman
mmjoseph - 7/19/2011, 9:43 PM
what could've been...
marvelRNo1 - 9/5/2011, 2:23 AM
this is why i love whedon.he just gets things.iv never heard the difference between dc and marvel put so well.
marvel try to make their characters relatable,dc dont.even batman had to be insanely rich and who can relate to that really?
EarOne - 10/22/2011, 9:29 PM
who do you think Whedon would've chosen to play DIANA..??

my guess is MORENA BACCARIN. and i would be BEHIND that choice.

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