In light of Patty Jenkins’ box office hit with Wonder Woman, and the news that she is penning the sequel, things are looking up in the superhero world when it comes to female representation. Of course, they have not confirmed yet if she will also be directing, which could mean they have any number of fanboys lined up ready to filter Jenkins’ written vision through their tired, male gaze. In light of this, like many people this week, I have been thinking about Joss Whedon. Though his infamous Wonder Woman script leaked last month, fans have taken to Twitter this past week to express their less than kind opinions. However, after seeing what a female comic book movie should look like with Jenkins’ film, it’s no surprise fans were overwhelmingly critical of Whedon’s script.
And their ire is not unwarranted. As a longtime fan of Joss, who is personally an ardent supporter of Planned Parenthood and an outspoken feminist, but especially his work, namely on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, reading his script was not a pleasant experience. The script is damning, especially in the way Diana is introduced through Steve’s decidedly male POV, and cannot even compare to the joy I experienced while watching those opening scenes with the Amazons on Themyscria. However it is also an unproduced script written over a decade ago. And despite the fact the movie was never made, those sexist impulses are still prevalent in our society.
Things are changing, albeit slowly. After all, Hollywood a decade ago wouldn’t even look at a script unless the lead was male, no matter whose name was in the title. Now we have moved past that, and into the world of female directed superhero movies. Although it is a lonely crowd on that list, and the film itself is far from perfect, it was a huge step in the right direction. Female representation, especially women of color, needs to play a center role in the next decade of superhero films. Even though Wonder Woman featured a fully realized Native American character in Chief, in terms of accurate and equal representation we still have plenty of work to do.
As Movie Pilot News Editor Alisha Grauso tweeted in light of the script: