On the face of it, the lack of a Wonder Woman movie or TV series in an era where Ant-Man, Rocket Raccoon and Batroc the Leaper are going to be on the big screen looks like typical Hollywood sexism. There's almost certainly an element of sexism to it, of course; Hollywood execs are famous for believing that action movies starring women in lead roles don't sell, regardless of the significant number of counter-examples. However, that's not the whole story.
Most of the other heroes that have been featured in successful films have either a relatively simple hook: an update Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story, a benevolent alien raised by human parents, a rich guy in a suit of flying armor, and so on and so on. But then you have Wonder Woman: an Amazon warrior princess sent to the world of man in order to spread peace by punching people in the face. The comics have been grappling with this for 70 years and they're just now finding something that reliably works.
Wonder Woman has been all over the map as a character, and a lot of her elements don't line up as well as
|The 70s were a weird time for Diana|
Wonder Woman in the comics is a character with strong ties to Greek mythology. In the current run, she's the illegitimate daughter of Zeus, and she is regularly locked in conflict, both martial and political, with her siblings and extended family. It makes for great reading, and it would probably make for a fine standalone movie, but DC isn't going for standalone movies anymore. They're finally going the Marvel route, with an interconnected universe, and that's great, but it means that they're also under pressure to follow Marvel's example in the creation of their universe as well. You know what's missing from the Marvel movieverse? Magic.
Thor and Loki are aliens that were worshiped as gods, and their magic is technology we don't understand yet. Doctor Strange may show up later, but I'm sure there's a lot of internal debate as to whether he's actually going to be a sorcerer, or whether his magic will just be science by another name, like the Norse
|This doesn't even include the most recent movies|
And that's worth noting as well. Marvel Studios is a subsidiary of Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics has, therefore, an enormous amount of control over exactly how to handle the characters in their movies. DC and WB are both subsidiaries of Time Warner, and WB makes Time Warner far more money and therefore has much more pull in determining how it wants to run with the characters in the movies. Of course, having creator input isn't a cure-all, as we saw with Green Lantern, but generally it's very helpful in maintaining the spirit of the characters. However, WB is almost certainly going to want to go with the kind of simplification that makes a character more accessible to new viewers, and Wonder Woman is a complex, possibly overly complex character to begin with. Simplifying her in a way that doesn't destroy the character, while still making her fit into the burgeoning DC movieverse is not an easy task, and it's not going to be made any easier by political infighting between two separate parts of the Time Warner conglomerate.
All of this doesn't even get into the fact that there's not really a definitive Wonder Woman story to draw from, nor that she has arguably the worst cast of villains of any major hero. Say what you will about the Superman franchise's tendency to go with Lex or Zod, at least they're not stuck with Egg Fu and the Angle Man. The best Wonder Woman villains are the mythological ones, which brings us back to the aforementioned magic issue. And there's the problem of her supporting cast. Do you include Steve Trevor, and do you include him as a love interest? What about Themiscyra, the Amazon island? How do you fit that into a modern world with satellite imaging and Google Maps? Magic again, or Kryptonain supertech?
Yes, there should be a Wonder Woman movie, and yes, it should have happened long before now. But there are so many issues that have to be hashed out, and that have to be rehashed every time a shift happens in the superhero movie and TV market, I'm not particularly surprised. I am, however, a bit disappointed.
|Wonder Woman is also disappointed in you, WB|