Last year, veteran television writer Bryan Q. Miller delivered the storyline “Smallville” fans had been clamoring for for years with “Detective,” featuring Bruce Wayne/Batman, in DC Comics’ digital first series, “Smallville: Season 11.”
Now, Miller is set to unleash another summer blockbuster as “Smallville Season 11” #16, featuring art by Jorge Jimenez, kickstarts a brand new arc titled “Olympus,” guest-starring Diana of Themyscira, the Amazon Princess who one day will become Wonder Woman — a transformation Miller confirms below will occur by the end of the arc.
CBR News spoke with Miller, who confided that while Wonder Woman’s origin is tricky, he has found an accessible way to bring her into the “Smallville” universe. He also revealed that there were preliminary talks to have her appear on the fan-favorite TV series, but David E. Kelley’s failed pilot trumped those efforts.
CBR News: Last summer, the Internet “exploded” when Batman arrived in “Smallville,” and now it’s Wonder Woman’s turn. Was this always the plan, or did the success of the “Detective” storyline lead to this one?
Bryan Q. Miller: I always had Diana in mind for the season, with the specific take I’m executing. It was just a matter of when to place it. The pro of doing Batman is that his origin and backstory are largely consistent over time, and lots of readers already have a shorthand as to who Bruce is and how he works. With Diana, that’s a bit more challenging.
Wonder Woman will be introduced to “Smallville” as Princess Diana and not by her superhero name. Is that due to licensing, storyline, timeline, marketing or some other reason?
Story reasons. She’ll get there over the course of the arc/episode. The “Smallville” version of her look will develop over the course of the episode, as well. I’d say the approach is much like we did with our Justice Society of America two-parter. We get to know who Diana is, and watch her change a bit as a result of her exposure to Superman, as well as a few glimpses back into moments of her life on the island.
Were there ever any serious discussions about her making an appearance on the TV series, or is this the first chance to bring her to the “Smallville” universe?
If memory serves, we were in preliminary discussions as to how to introduce her as a character for a short arc on the show. Then, right in the middle of that, the [David E.] Kelley pilot popped into existence and access to Diana fell away.
When news of this arc broke, you said you wanted “to mine and exploit the characteristics that, to me, embody the best of any interpretation of Wonder Woman. Strength. Intelligence. Nobility. And, most importantly, love.” Do these attributes come out through her actions, her words or through her relationships with others, or more specifically, Clark Kent?
It’s every part of how she approaches every situation. Technically, she’s nobility. So her speech patterns, even at a young age, are going to be very formal. Regarding her relationships, she’s a bit at a loss as to the class/gender divide that she’s discovered upon arriving in man’s world.
She isn’t naive in the least — no freaking out about ice cream or technology. She’s from a world steeped in legit Olympian magicks, larger than life creatures, etc. An iPhone isn’t going to send her running for the hills. And besides, to think that an elevated society like the Amazons doesn’t have sweets and delicious confections is just silly-talk. [Laughs]
I want to go back to the love part of that quote. Clark and Diana have been romantically linked in the New 52 — does that come into play in “Smallville” or does Lois have nothing to worry about?
Her ‘love’ refers to her respect and connection to all living things. It’s where her fire for social justice burns brightest. Regarding Lois, she and Clark are engaged and have already been through the wringer. They’re stronger than ever. There is a triangle that softly comes into play during “Olympus,” but it isn’t quite the one people might expect.
Are there any major differences between how she is portrayed in “Smallville” versus how she is portrayed in the New 52 or past interpretations? Is she Clark’s age?
I’d say she’s probably a year older than Clark. At this point, he’s supposed to be 25 — he was 14 in the pilot — so yeah, she’s maybe, older by a year.
Have you seen any of Jorge’s pencils yet? What can you share about her “Smallville” look?
If you thought Jorge did a great job on our Impulse “Haunted” arc, he’s ‘Spinal Tapped’ it up to 11 for “Olympus.” It looks absolutely fabulous. Regarding Diana’s specific look, she’ll have three: her vigilante look, then another one, then a final one. To give away more about those next two stages would perhaps reveal too much about where the story goes and how it gets there.
You also teased that she comes to Smallville with a very specific mission. Is there anything that you can tell us about the story?
She has her own agenda that Superman and Lois wind up stumbling into while on their own mission in Washington, D.C. Different interests that wind up being more aligned than they initially think. That’s about all I can say.
On a personal level, what was your introduction to Wonder Woman? Did you watch the Lynda Carter TV series? Or perhaps, like me, it was “Super Friends”?
When I was but a wee thing, I’d say both of those were probably my first intro to her character. Then, jump forward to the “Justice League” cartoon premiere. I didn’t really have any practical access to comics or comic stores until after college, so the next big exposure would probably have to be “New Frontier” in print. Then the [Gail] Simone and [Greg] Rucka runs, thereafter.
Have your thoughts on the character changed since that initial introduction and more specifically, since writing her for this series?
I wouldn’t say they’ve changed, but the Diana that we’re meeting in “Olympus” is a sort of aggregate Wonder Woman, hewn from all the best pieces of each of those different depictions — with my own take not on her origin per se, but on how and why she leaves the island. She’s tricky, origin-wise, which is maybe why that always changes. Made of clay? Daughter of Zeus? It goes on and on. The “Smallville” take focuses more on who she is now, as opposed to how she is, if that makes sense.
Earlier, you mentioned the failed David E. Kelly pilot. Warner Bros. has had difficulty bringing Wonder Woman to either TV or film, though it appears CW’s “Amazon” series is still a possibility. Do you think Wonder Woman could work outside of comics, and what do you think needs to happen to make it work?
I think she could work in both mediums, no doubt. What I’d do to make it work? I think you’ll see some shades of that in the “Smallville” take on Diana.
Who would you cast?
Don’t have an answer for you on this one. That’s the toughest nut of all to crack. It has to be perfect, but perfect for a specific take.
“Smallville: Season 11” #16, by Bryan Q. Miller and featuring art by Jorge Jimenez, goes on sale on August 14.