Compared to the well-told stories of Batman and Superman, it’s a good bet that most non-fans don’t know the whole story of Wonder Woman’s origin — or even part of it.
That will change in a big way come June, with the release of Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman” film, the first solo movie starring the DC Comics icon in her 75 years of existence; and an origin story set in World War I. Yet compared to many of her superhero peers, Wonder Woman’s origin has seen more scrutiny over the years, with plenty of reinterpretations, and criticism that her backstory is often more complicated than it should be — a notion that “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins dismisses.
“I don’t think it is more complicated,” Jenkins told CBR during a press event in London last week, saying that Superman’s journey from Krypton wasn’t well-known to mainstream audiences until the 1978 film. “I think Superman’s origin story was very little known, really, until they made the movie. How many men on the street were really down with Kal-El, Krypton? They weren’t.”
This comparative lack of mainstream exposure — since the ’70s TV series starring Lynda Carter ended, Wonder Woman’s appearances have been mostly limited to comic books and animation, until last year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” — has been the only thing holding Wonder Woman back from being truly seen as universal of a superhero as Superman and Batman, Jenkins posited.
“That’s what I’ve been saying for all these years,” Jenkins said. “How do we make her the universal character she is? Let’s make the movie! And I love her, so let’s do it. I think that any of these characters, unless you were reading those comics, they weren’t public knowledge — the history of Iron Man, or whatever.”
“She has a world that she comes into this from, as they all do,” Jenkins continued. “And her aim is very simple: To come and save mankind. And then she stays.”
Jenkins’ sentiment is similar to the beliefs expressed by current “Wonder Woman” comic book writer Greg Rucka, who started his run on the series in DC’s “Rebirth” era with a “Year One” story, to present a modern, streamlined version of the character’s origin.
“Her origin’s actually quite simple,” Rucka told CBR last October. “She is from a mythological paradise only of women, that is this warrior culture. She leaves her home, never to return, when a stranger crashes on their shores, and heralds a great evil that they have to fight. She’s the one who goes. And she goes willingly, and she abandons everything she’s known to go into this strange new world, with this stranger, to save us all. That’s the origin story. Then on the way, she gets this power set.”
Jenkins commented that Wonder Woman’s origin is part of what makes the character great: That she chooses her superheroism because it’s the right thing to do, not because of a prior trauma or the pursuit of vengeance.
“For her, it’s her belief system about the world in her own special way,” Jenkins said about what makes Wonder Woman unique. “She believes in love, and she believes in truth. That’s a strong point of view.”
“All the superheroes want to save the world for a variety of reasons, or they want revenge, or they’re defending themselves,” she continued. “Whichever it is. She’s one of the only ones I can think of who has a belief system that’s almost religious.”
Warner Bros. has released a new photo from the film, seen below:
Director by Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot in the title role, “Wonder Woman” is scheduled for release on June 2.
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