Warner Bros. put the “wonder” in WonderCon this year as it presented thirsty fans with a look at the upcoming DC superhero flick Wonder Woman.
It’s the first time the superheroine, one of the comic book world’s most recognizable characters, is hitting the screen in her own film. And the studio, fresh off of a presentation at CinemaCon a few days ago, brought extended clips to show off the Gal Gadot-starring movie while also having director Patty Jenkins and DC Films’ Geoff Johns onstage.
Jenkins proved to be an impassioned ambassador for Diana Prince, Wonder Woman’s true identity, saying that superhero movies went beyond any so-called comic book movie craze.
“It’s so much bigger than that,” she said. “It’s a method of universal storytelling. … It’s a metaphor for telling all these states of being.” For her, these kinds of movies synthesize religious beliefs and ancient myths by finding common characters and by expressing stories from humankind’s sense of wanting to do good.
And very few heroes want to do good as much as Wonder Woman does. Said Jenkins: “Others are chosen and find themselves in situations where they fight for good. She’s one the few that believes in justice and in love and coming to our world to instill that into us. It’s such a unique perspective.”
Three clips were shown, among them a scene where Diana fends off attackers in an alley, saving romantic lead Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine). The scene was an homage to the alley-mugging scene from 1978’s classic Superman movie where Clark Kent “saves” Lois Lane. The homage was intentional, as Jenkins cited the Richard Donner movie as one of her influences. “I was 7 years old when Superman came out,” she said. “I was Superman. I was Superman who ripped his shirt open. I was that character.” And Johns, who worked on the screenplay for Wonder Woman, got his industry start interning for director Donner, a childhood idol.
Another clip featured was set in a warfront (World War I is the film’s time period), with Diana jumping into a building and taking out a nest of German soldiers. While she doesn’t kill them, she does bang them up quite a bit.
For Jenkins and Johns, the movie’s action sequences weren’t done for action’s sake, but instead had, at their heart, character expression.
“What I care about is this as a character piece,” said Jenkins. “It clarifies what it is because it’s from the point of view of Diana and how it affects her journey.” Once that decision was made, “It gave us a strong understanding on how to go about it.”
Johns and Jenkins both stressed that the original comics were heavily relied upon and that the canon was weighed in equal measure as were “invisible immutables,” such as the emotional essence of the character. Johns also cited works from comics writers and artists such as George Perez, Greg Rucka and Phil Jimenez. “You’re panning for gold,” Johns said of going back to the source, “and finding gold every time.”
Wonder Woman opens June 2.