Make It So: Wonder Woman the Movie by Jerry Whitworth
Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed Batman film trilogy will come to an end in July and Bryan Singer’s love letter to Richard Donner’s Superman films is being rebooted to make way for a new vision from Zack Snyder (famous for adapting comics like 300 and Watchmen to film). Comic book movies are big business and has been a wild success for Marvel Studios culminating into May’s release of the Avengers so it would make sense for DC Comics to complete the trinity and bring Wonder Woman to film (though, instead we got Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern). With the hit-or-miss nature of the film industry today and the losses studios have eaten from a decline in people watching their product in theaters, Hollywood has developed a fear of certain conventions that teeter on superstitious. One such fear is having an action film with a female lead. However, if the success of the Hunger Games is any indication, people will go to a movie as long as they have some investment or interest in the material. And Wonder Woman’s no stranger to live action, starring in a popular television series in the 1970s with Miss World USA Lynda Carter as the titular character (a recent treatment by David E. Kelley tried to resurrect the character on television before his concept was panned). So, lets take a look at what is a must for a live action Wonder Woman.
What would Superman be without Krypton or Batman without Alfred? If you’re doing a Wonder Woman movie, you have to have Paradise Island and the Amazons. A warrior race of women seeking a peaceful way of life, the Amazons formed the sovereign nation of Themyscira ruled by their queen Hippolyta under the blessing of the gods on Paradise Island, an island invisible to the rest of the world where man is forbidden to walk upon and its people maintain immortal youth. Therein over the centuries, the Amazons cultivated knowledge in the sciences (a notable achievement being the Purple Healing Ray able to recover patients from most wounds quickly) and the arts. Despite their achievements, the Amazons chose to live naturally, forging their tools by hand, hunting for their food, studying the art of archaic battle, and allowing their gods to dictate their destiny. However, after thousands of years of stagnation (with no men, no woman can bear children), its people yearned to birth a new generation. At first, this was seen as an affront to the gods, as Amazons began making dolls and pretended to raising them as though they were real, Hippolyta herself began to feel a desire to rear a child. Imploring the gods, Hippolyta formed a baby from the clay of the shores of Paradise Island and the gods answered, giving the child life and imbuing it with gifts: Beauty from Aphrodite, Wisdom from Athena, Speed from Hermes, Unity with Beasts from Artemis, and Strength from Demeter. While this child became Princess Diana, daughter to the queen, the babe in many ways became the daughter of the nation, as she filled the gap and all Amazons had a hand in raising her. Likely because of this (and the gifts given by the gods), Diana grew up to because the greatest among her people. Highly skilled in the martial arts and strategy, the child became adept at skills like hunting, smithing, tanning, fletching, fishing, painting, singing, sculpting, linguistics (learning Earth’s languages, past and present, as well as some alien worlds like Mars the Amazons could intercept transmissions from), sciences, and more, she also excelled at some arts uniquely Amazon such as gliding on the winds enabling flight and harnessing the power of the mind for telepathy.
An intelligence agent for the United States Army during World War II, Steve Trevor’s plane crashed near Paradise Island and he was saved by Diana. Bringing him to a nearby island, the princess nursed him back to health (and fell in love with him) as his effects were excavated and examined by the Amazons. Already aware of the atrocities of the Nazis, the Amazons divulged from Trevor’s documents the dire threat the Axis powers posed in their bid for world domination. As someone had to take Trevor back to Patriarch’s World (what the Amazons reference the world beyond their island), Hippolyta also decided that the Nazis had to be stopped and that mankind may finally be ready for the Amazons to rejoin it. A contest was held, one the queen forbade her daughter from competing in, to determine who would return the soldier to his homeland, battle the Axis powers, and become Themyscira’s ambassador. Diana, undaunted, donned a mask and defeated her sisters earning the right, much to her mother’s anger and sadness. Diana would become the Amazon’s champion, Wonder Woman, and infiltrate the US Army as meek secretary Diana Prince working secretly under Trevor gaining the most up-to-date knowledge about uncovered Nazi operations. To transport the pair, the Amazons provided them with a jet they designed that was invisible, to the eye as well as radar, could fly at supersonic speeds, travel through outer space, and respond to telepathy (necessary to find and use it). The relationship between Trevor and Diana would be him uncovering plots against the country, investigating them as Diana follows him, and Trevor oft times becoming endangered in his mission with Wonder Woman coming to his rescue (Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor had a daughter named Hippolyta, or Lyta for short).
To demonstrate the Amazons alliance against the Nazi threat, they chose a color scheme for the uniform of Wonder Woman to incorporate red, white, blue, and gold with stars and stripes in honor of the Allied Forces. The costume was also form fitting for maximum dexterity and to show off their people’s great beauty. It includes a girdle, a symbol of the leather girdle Hippolyta wears given to her by Aphrodite as sign of being greatest among the Amazons and their ruler before its theft by Hercules, and bracelets formed from the remnants of Zeus’ Aegis by Hephaestus and completely indestructible as a symbol of Hercules’ brief enslavement of the Amazons, who had let down their guard and were chained by deceitful men. To display her authority as the ambassador of Themyscira, Wonder Woman is adorned with a golden tiara that she can employ as a razor-sharp boomerang. She was granted her people’s greatest treasure, the Golden Lasso of Truth. Forged from the magic girdle worn by Hippolyta’s sister Antiope (the sisters’ girdles forged from the Golden Girdle of Gaea), the lasso is indestructible and forces those wrapped in it to speak and tell only the truth (it would also respond to Wonder Woman’s telepathy).
Wonder Woman has had a lot of great enemies, like Circe, Cheetah, Veronica Cale, and Baroness Paula von Gunther, which are all viable for the big screen, but how can you top the god of war himself? Ares has consistently been a thorn in the side of Wonder Woman for decades, be it from his own plots or from his children and underlings like Deimos, Phobos, Eris, Lycus, Duke of Deception, Lord Conquest, Earl of Greed, Silver Swan, and Decay. When Wonder Woman was first created, the Amazons were created by Aphrodite in direct opposition of Ares in order to battle his initiates. It was for this reason Ares, then calling himself Mars, sent Hercules to steal Hippolyta’s girdle which led to the Amazons moving to Paradise Island. Further, it was Mars’ boasting to Aphrodite of ruling Earth because the whole globe was in conflict during World War II that led to the goddess of love to permit the Amazons to send a single warrior to Patriarch’s World to topple the Axis powers. In the Golden Age, Mars conquered the planet of his name and resurrected the spirits of fallen warriors to battle each other and the strongest were given a new bodies to become the god’s soldiers. From the planet Mars he manipulated the leaders of the Axis in order to continue the conflict with the Allies. The god has gone through various changes over the years, at times possessing a petty criminal to became Ares Buchanan to become an arms dealer, conquering Olympus alongside Athena and Aphrodite, taking over the Underworld of Death, making Wonder Woman’s sidekick Wonder Girl his champion, and taking Wonder Woman’s corpse from the future and bringing it to the present as his obedient zombie killing machine Genocide.