Wonder Woman director, Patty Jenkins, axed a controversial origin story for the Amazon women of Themyscira that posited the heroines as victims.
It has come to light that Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins had to fight to get her version of the film made, which included axing a controversial origin story for the Amazons. The female-led action film premiered in 2017 as the fourth film in the DCEU. Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot as the titular heroine, along with Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, and more.
Wonder Woman was welcomed with positive reviews and intense support due to the feminist themes within the film and its record-breaking achievements for women behind the scenes. Wonder Woman was the first female superhero to get her own film between the MCU and the DCEU. What’s more, it was the first major studio superhero film directed by a woman and the first female-led superhero film in over a decade. At the time, director Patty Jenkins became only the second female director to make a movie with over $100 million. The film was one of the highest-grossing films in the year of its release and holds the record for the highest-grossing film by a solo female director.
In a recent interview with Collider, Connie Nielsen, who plays Hippolyta, queen of the Amazon women of Themyscira, revealed just how hard Patty Jenkins fought for the feminist themes in the film. Nielsen went on to explain that Jenkins shut down an origin story for the Amazon women that involved a mass rape, an origin story that would have introduced the strong heroines of the film as victims instead.
“She was very clear about what the Amazons were supposed to be. And I think that there had originally been some idea that the Amazons had been deeply traumatized by some kind of horrible event that involved mass rape. And Patty just said, ‘Hm, no. No, no, we’re not gonna put that on those Amazons. We don’t want to start out seeing them as victims, and why would we? Let’s just get rid of that part and make sure that these are heroes in their own terms. They’ve not been part of the victims of history. They are these unbelievably courageous women and we’re not gonna saddle them with a trauma from the outset. We’re going to have them be received by people on the basis of who they are. What is their culture? Why are they so fierce? What does it mean to live on an island where there are no guys?’ It made so much sense, you know? You needed them to have a very uncomplicated background in order to be able to just accept them as the heroes that they are.”
Since Wonder Woman, Connie Nielsen has portrayed Hippolyta in the film’s sequel Wonder Woman 1984 and will revive the Amazonian queen again for director Zack Snyder’s Justice League film as well as a Wonder Woman spinoff focused on the Amazons. Clearly, Jenkins herself got Hollywood’s attention with Wonder Woman‘s success, which paved the way for her to direct some high-profile films. Jenkins will be reuniting with Gadot in Wonder Woman 3, but is also directing the actress in a film about Cleopatra. Jenkins also made waves, during Disney’s announcement of a large amount of upcoming original content, for being at the helm of an upcoming Star Wars spinoff, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron.
Patty Jenkins is just one woman on a long list who have been the “first” in Hollywood, way too late for being a “first” to be something of pride without a layer of shame towards the institutions that have taken so long to diversify. It was only this year that the Golden Globe Awards, which has received criticism for ignoring the women of the industry, nominated three female directors, one of whom, Chloé Zhao, won the award for Best Director. Previously, the Golden Globes had only ever nominated five women for the category in the awards’ nearly 80-year history. Although women’s achievements in Hollywood are starting to become more frequent and well-recognized, there is still work to be done. Jenkins’ Wonder Woman story indicates how women deserve the opportunity and how women need to be behind the scenes to make sure the story is accurate, relevant, and truly empowering.