What’s better – Wonder Woman starring opposite of Batman and Superman in a supporting role in a big budget summer blockbuster, or Wonder Woman starring in her own TV series?
Let’s not get greedy here; we can’t have both. The choice has been made for us, though: we’re definitely getting her in Batman Vs. Superman, but as of yesterday a live action TV show is off the table. Wait, a live-action TV show was actually on the table to begin with?
Yep. It was a Smallville-like origin story for Diana of Themyscira, went under the title Amazon, and was all set up at the CW, who first announced it in September 2012. Initially, Grey’s Anatomy‘s Allan Heinberg was attached, and then they took a second crack at it this past May with a new writer, Aron Eli Coleite from Heroes. In July, CW President Mark Pedowitz told Television Critics Association members, “Amazon is on pause (as) the script is not exactly what we wanted, and with an iconic character like Wonder Woman, we have to get it right.” Yesterday, Pedowitz confirmed pause had morphed into a complete stop, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “We did not go forward with it.”
Well, that’s a tall glass of suck, although not surprising given the lack of progress. Plus, come on, we all remember how odd it was in 2006 when we had the Brandon Routh Superman up on the screen in Superman Returns, and the Tom Welling Clark Kent on the small screen in Smallville. Now that DC has a live-action Wonder Woman with Gal Gadot for 2015’s Batman Vs. Superman they might be more inclined to hold the character off of live-action TV, although an animted series of her own could be an alternative (both DC and Marvel have done that kind of thing before).
Pedowitz clarified that the CW is still open to the idea of a Wonder Woman show but cautioned, “It all depends on the script. We were very careful with Arrow and we’re being very careful with Flash. These are iconic characters so we’re going to be very careful with Wonder Woman. You only get one shot before you get bit.”
Why the need for such caution? Because Wonder Woman presents so many challenges for adaptation that not even King of the Nerds Joss Whedon could pull it off, as detailed elsewhere on this site. Wonder Woman’s origin is always going to present huge challenges to live-action adaptation, regardless of who’s involved. In the classic mythology, Wonder Woman was freakin’ formed out of clay; in the new 52 mythology, she is the bastard daughter of Zeus, and the “formed out of clay” thing was a lie she’d been led to believe most of her life. There is a Loki from Thor feel to this new origin, but his bastard son tale translate better than a woman who was, and I repeat, at one point believed to have simply been created out of clay.
As a result, everyone at DC is pretty darn scared of totally screwing it up. DC Entertainment President Diane Nielsen told The Hollywood Reporter:
“We have to get her right, we have to. She is such an icon for both genders and all ages and for people who love the original TV show and people who read the comics now. I think one of the biggest challenges at the company is getting that right on any size screen. The reasons why are probably pretty subjective: She doesn’t have the single, clear, compelling story that everyone knows and recognizes. There are lots of facets to ‘Wonder Woman,’ and I think the key is, how do you get the right facet for that right medium? What you do in TV has to be different than what you do in features. She has been, since I started, one of the top three priorities for DC and for Warner Bros. We are still trying right now, but she’s tricky.”
Of course, at one point in TV history they managed to make a Wonder Woman TV show kind of work for a couple of seasons. However, that was a very different time for television. Here’s Linda Carter being 1970s awesome:
Warner Bros.-TV currently has five DC properties in-development for live action TV shows – iZombie, Hourman, The Flash, Gotham, and Constantine, the latter three all receiving pilot orders at this point. That’s on top of the on-going second season of Arrow. However, not all of them are going to work, thus the slow death of Amazon.
Do you think a Wonder Woman TV show could actually work, and Amazon was just the wrong project? Or is Wonder Woman just un-adaptable for a modern audience? Get thee to the comments.