NYCC: Wonder Woman

As if watching the world premiere of the newest DC Universe animated film "Wonder Woman" wasn't cool enough, New York Comic Con attendees were treated to an extra treat on Friday night. Following the viewing, the film's director Lauren Montgomery ("Superman: Doomsday"), screenwriter Michael Jelenic ("Batman: The Brave and the Bold") and Executive Producer Bruce Timm ("Justice League Unlimited," "Batman: The Animated Series") took the stage to thunderous applause. Leading the panel discussion was DC Comics Senior Vice President of Creative Affairs Greg Noveck, who not so gently reminded audience members repeatedly that "Wonder Woman" hits shelves on March 3, 2009.

"Wonder Woman is a tricky character," Timm admitted of the film's heroine. "It's easier for Batman and Superman, since they're so well defined by what's come before ... with Wonder Woman, there's been so many versions and none of them really [are] what anybody considers a definitive Wonder Woman story or whatever. But it's not like we were trying to make a definitive 'Wonder Woman' movie."

After a moment of reflection, he added, "Well, okay, we were."

Jelenic discussed how Princess Diana has a lot of contradictory elements - she's an ambassador of peace, yet she's also a warrior woman. As a screenwriter, he wanted to explore the "man-hating" aspect of the Amazon warrior, adding that the end result was a "romantic comedy" of sorts.

On the design process, Montgomery said that riding a fine line between making Wonder Woman look powerful yet not masculine wasn't easy, but the challenge was embraced wholeheartedly. "Plus, it's a girl movie, and I've been waiting for one for forever after working on all these boy shows," laughed.

All three creators agreed that if there was one threat to Wonder Woman's dominance, it was Nathan Fillion, who voiced her romantic interest Steve Trevor.

"Once we had Nathan playing him, he threatened to take over the movie," Timm said. "He's so charming and so likeable."

Jelenic said that making Trevor a heroic and capable character was important for him to win over Diana's affection convincingly. "Since it is sort of a romantic comedy, he has to be flawed. He has to start off as making crude remarks, you know, and then you can grow to see them together."

Noveck took a moment to tell the audience that there would be 185 minutes worth of bonus features on the 2-disc special edition and Blu-Ray versions of "Wonder Woman," including documentaries, commentaries and featurettes. The audience was most thrilled to hear that some of Bruce Timm's favorite Justice League episodes would be on the DVD as well.

As for where Wonder Woman goes from here, the question is up in the air. "The idea of doing a sequel to [any DC Universe animated feature] hasn't really occurred to us because we've been too busy thinking of other things," said Timm. "But I would just say this to you guys: if you really, really liked that movie, and you buy lots and lots of copies and tell all your friends to buy lots and lots of copies of it, there's a **chance** we'd do another one!"

Montgomery said that watching "Wonder Woman" with a huge audience was a relaxing experience. After seeing the film so many times, the jokes were no longer fresh for her or the crew. "Just to hear everyone laugh at the parts that were so funny, it was really awesome," she said.

The discussion then turned to the audience for their questions.

On setting the film in New York City over a DC landmark such as Gotham or Metropolis, Timm put it simply: "If you're gonna go into man's world [for the first time], where's a better place to go than New York?" The Manhattanites in the audience were quite happy with that response.

The question of a live-action "Wonder Woman" feature was brought up frequently. Timm wasn't optimistic. "I hope it does get made someday," he said. "But there's only so many movies you can greenlight at one time. We'll see what happens."

Later, a fan dressed as Wonder Woman tossed out a casting suggestion should a live-action film ever be made: Lynda Carter ("Wonder Woman" the television series) as Hippolyta. The suggestion prompted an interesting tidbit from Timm. "We actually tried to get Lynda Carter [to voice] Hera [in the movie]," he said. "We thought it'd be cool if every time Wonder Woman swears by Hera, she's swearing by Lynda Carter. We just couldn't get the schedule to work - she wasn't available." The crew added that they, too, would be thrilled to see Carter as Hippolyta some day.

Regarding a potential "Wonder Woman" animated series, Timm said that they'd love to do it, but it depends on the market. He mentioned that attempts to start such a series in the past failed due to a dependence on merchandising - Wonder Woman might not appeal to little boys quite as well as Batman or Superman.

On the film's darker tone and often mature sense of humor, Timm reminded the audience that all the films in the DC Universe animated line have a PG-13 rating, though he conceded that "Wonder Woman" might be a little "sexier" than the others. Additionally, Montgomery said that she was bored of not being able to kill characters on episodic television. "If I'm [drawing] a sword, I wanna cut someone with it!" she said to laughs.

Apparently, the first cut of the film was so bloody that it garnered an R-rating. That version, joked Noveck, "is locked away in a secret vault in a warehouse with a bunch of unmarked crates." Timm thinks there's a slim chance that version could be released in the future.

Jelenic struggled with Wonder Woman's role in the story. Ultimately, her story became about "bringing two cultures together," Man and Amazon. Regarding the character's femininity, Noveck added that his favorite moment of the film was when a civilian-dressed Diana, about to fight a demon, kicks off her high-heels before the fight. The crowd cheered in agreement.

One fan asked Timm a hypothetical "What If?" type of question: if he could magically dip into Marvel's character pool, which heroes would he like to work on? "I dunno, I'd probably pick someone weird like Luke Cage," he said to laughs.

"Or Dazzler," he added to even more laughter.

"Wonder Woman" is released on DVD and Blu-Ray March 3, 2009.

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