Thursday, June 24, 2010

Who should be the villain in a Wonder Woman movie?

I was going to just post this at Amazon Princess, but I don't get notified about comments over there and I'm curious to hear other people's thoughts about it. So I'm cross-posting it here too.

I've mostly been ignoring Jennifer Love Hewitt's campaign to star in a Wonder Woman movie. Just like I've blown off the rumors and campaigns of people like Jessica Biel, Megan Fox, and Beyonce. It's just not worth having an opinion about until it looks like it might actually happen.

But Nicolas Winding Refn's interest in directing a Wonder Woman is different because he's talking about the kind of story he'd like to tell. I always find it interesting to hear people's takes on what makes Wonder Woman tick and what a good story about her should include.

Refn says that his take would be non-violent (in contrast to the recent, animated Wonder Woman film) and would start from "the whole idea of a woman who is basically more powerful than any man - and who will always be that, and comes from a society of women who are more powerful than men." He adds that that's "an interesting theme that I think can be very contemporary." Absolutely it can, and I'm interested in seeing him explore it.

I also agree with him that one of the biggest challenges in making a Wonder Woman movie is finding the right villain. He thinks a lot about Christopher Nolan's Batman movies and what made them successful:
You need a great, extravagant, marketable action film — and everything that comes with it. But I think that when Christopher Nolan did the Batman movies, I think he very cleverly went back to the source material and took themes that had maybe not been exercised. And he was able to make very good and successful films with them. So I think the audience is very much out there. It’s just how you do it. And I think that some of the films that have worked over the years have worked for different reasons than people sometimes think they do.

And where Wonder Woman on one hand is a great female character who can be included in many great fight scenes, she doesn’t have great villains against her. OK, so you create some. She doesn’t have a Joker or those classic Batman kinds of guys. have to create a great countervillain to her ... The trick with Wonder Woman is to find that antagonist who worked so well in the Batman concept — his villains are equally if not more exciting than Batman himself. Here, it’s basically coming up with who would be a great counterpart to Wonder Woman. Is it her mother who’s the real enemy? Something that’s biblical in a sense.
I'm nervous about the idea of creating a villain specifically for the movie. It could be awesome or completely lame. Maybe it's the way to go, but I'd feel more comfortable knowing that the bad guy was tethered to the comics in some way. The question is: what kind of bad guy does a Wonder Woman movie need and is there anyone in the comics who fits that role?

If I was writing the movie, I'd want to focus on Wonder Woman's status as a role-model for women. Since the defeat of the Nazis, her most potent mission in Man's World has been demonstrating the potential that women have to be powerful and confident. Not shoving her power down male throats, because frankly that's not going to teach anyone anything. Wonder Woman's greatest power is to inspire women to find the power in themselves.

So Wonder Woman's villain needs to be someone who threatens her ability to do that. I'm not sure who that is - and that's where I'd love to hear some thoughts from you guys - but it needs to happen in a way that's personal to Wonder Woman and grounded in the real world.

Or am I completely off base? Should Wonder Woman instead be trying to prevent Ares' starting WWIII? Should she defend Paradise Island against a contemporary Hercules? Should she try to prevent an Amazon invasion of Man's World? Should she just battle giant robot scorpions? Or is Circe or Cheetah or Dr. Poison the way to go? (Ooh, Cheetah... I just gave myself a chill thinking about how cool a movie version of Cheetah could be.) What do you think?


Anonymous said...

If you are going to bring in much of the Greek mythology stuff, then Aries has to be the main villain running everything. Not that he has to be the villain that WW directly interacts with the most, or even meets. Other villains working for Aries (whether they know it or not) can be the ones WW punches. Dr. Psycho and Giganta can be good choices here.

If you are going light on the Greek stuff, then maybe Cheetah? Changed however you need to emphasize your themes...

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I had a flash just now of a character to face Diana. She would be nicknamed, the 'Cheatah'. A beautiful woman and powerful business executive. She had used her sex and intelligence to rise up the corporate ladder where her company does great work with woman's causes throughout the world. She is high profile. But of course they also do bad things and we find out that she herself is a product of Nazi eugenics and is doing things to reduce the fertility of me so that they cannot spread their defective genes to a new generation of boys. She wants girls and only girls to be born. She has powers of her own. We know she is evil but WW can't prove anything and in fact gets it from all sides for trying to do so. They can fight one on one at the end under some vocanoe but that is just a personl preference.

Ken O said...

My Wonder Woman-Fu is weak. But I like the idea of Giganta as the muscle for what ever villian shows up.

My answer is also an excuse to post this:

Tim Knight said...

I'd say 'Ares' if you're looking for a dominant male villain or Barbara Minerva aka Cheetah for a female villain. Strongly opposed to the idea of making up a villain when WW has such a rich mythology in comics already and a number of quite striking looking foes that would be very cinematic.

Sam G said...

I would also vote for Ares. Hell just re-do the WW animated flick into live action...the animated flick was very well done IMO. One of my favs.


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