MovieBob - Intermission
What We Don't Know About Wonder Woman in Batman vs. Superman

Bob Chipman | 6 Dec 2013 12:00
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So, in case you hadn't heard, actress and Miss Israel 2004 Gal Gadot - known the world over for her incredibly memorable role as "The one who isn't Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster or That MMA Chick From Haywire in the Fast & Furious series - has been officially cast as Wonder Woman opposite Ben Affleck's Batman and Henry Cavill's Superman in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel. Well... technically what seems to have happened is that Warner Bros. opted to reveal that the role she had already been cast in a few weeks ago was Wonder Woman (which may or may not have been intended to be held back as a surprise) because the entertainment press went gaga with trend-pieces about a record-setting Thanksgiving boxoffice utterly dominated by a pair of female-led (and largely female-targeted) blockbusters putting to lie the industry's assumptions about gender and ticket sales and they (Warners) decided to get out in front before the story morphed into another round of "Where is Wonder Woman?" write-ups.

So, there you go. The First Lady of comic-book superheroes, created in 1941 by eccentric inventor/psychologist/feminist-theorist William Moulton Marston, will make her first-ever live-action feature-film debut... in the sequel to somebody else's movie.

Oh well, baby steps. If nothing else, this seems to be yet another instance wherein Henry Cavill's Superman is slipping to the sidelines of his own relaunched franchise - if you thought Affleck's Batman was going to come under fan/media scrutiny, you haven't seen anything yet. However you feel about the character, Wonder Woman is (symbolically) massive - to this date just about the only prominent female superhero that pretty-much everyone can name who isn't a "the girl" on a predominantly male team or the distaff-counterpart to a male hero.

Even with nothing else known concretely at this point outside of her presence and the name of the actress taking up the mantle, said presence inspires a whole host of questions. Here are five:

How long has this been planned?
In my line of work, you hear things all the time about movies in-production. Gossip, rumors, tales out of school, etc. Most of the time you keep them to yourself, because if they're true you might get someone in trouble and if they're false your own credibility is on the line. So in the interest of covering both bases and bums... let's just say that the production of Man of Steel's sequel seems unusually reminiscent of the issues that plagued Iron Man 2; namely that the film may have headed into production with only a very basic idea of where it wanted to go plotwise and a lot of room left to be filled by (among other things) "worldbuilding" for other related movies.

It's been whispered, for example, that while overtures to a bigger DC Universe were always part of the plan, the film didn't become a Batman/Superman team-up vehicle until shortly before that direction was announced SDCC. Rumors about easter-egg cameos for the likes of The Flash and Wonder Woman in their civilian identities (to be paid off in future films) started to bubble up a few months ago - which is also the first time Gal Gadot's named started being bandied about for "an unnamed female supporting role."

It would not surprise me one little bit if this really was planned as just a wink-wink cameo reference for fans ("My name is Diana." ::extends hand, briefly exposing part of a LARGE METAL BRACELET on her forearm::), blossomed into a big Justice League-teasing reveal and is now being upgraded to a role of some significance now that the pressure is on for bigger parts for women in this genre.

How big is her role?
Of all the guesswork I've been doing about this project between Wednesday and right now, this is the informed-assumption I am the most confident about making: Wonder Woman (as opposed to "a minor character who might turn out to be Wonder Woman in a later movie) was not part of the plan for this movie when Batman's co-lead presence was announced back at SDCC. Because if it was, there's no way they wouldn't have revealed it right then and there - it would've been the equivalent of announcing Justice League in all but name; and would've turned Diana-fancasting into The Internet's favorite hobby for the rest of the year.

More likely, the idea of putting her in either as a climactic reveal, a sideplot or maybe even just a post-credits stinger formed later - meaning that, however "important" the role, she wouldn't have much in the way of actual screentime. After all, one of the biggest advantages to a character being this iconic: you could very well simply have her "show up" in her signature uniform (with or without having appeared looking "normal" earlier) and start kicking ass and almost nobody who would've gone to see this in the first place is going to be "confused" as to who this person is.

But now that they've gone and made a "news day" out of this, it would be received as something of a letdown if she didn't at least have a role roughly equivalent in size and import to, say, Anne Hathaway's Catwoman Nickname-Deprived-Goggle-Enthusiast-Thief Selena Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises. That means this movie might be close to being on the "crowded" side of things. And hey, speaking of which...

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