Jacki Zehner On Women, Money, and Changing the World  » FINALLY- Wonder Woman is Coming in 2017

October 16, 2014

FINALLY- Wonder Woman is Coming in 2017

3c5a15cOriginally posted on LinkedIn Influencers on October 16, 2014.

I love Wonder Woman. I’m not talking about a casual affection. I LOVE Wonder Woman. I’ve collected her memorabilia for years, and I have a room in my house where I display it all. I call it my Ode to Wonder Woman. I’ve often spoke about my love for this character and my frustration with Hollywood over its inability to get a Wonder Woman movie made. The top grossing film of the year so far is a superhero movie featuring a talking racoon and an anthropomorphic tree and we still don’t get a Wonder Woman movie?! It’s enough to make me crazy.

However, instead of going crazy, I decided to try and do something about it. Last year I released a report titled Why No Wonder Woman?, which was the culmination of two years worth of writing and research. The report chronicled the history of Wonder Woman in print and in other media, as well as the history of superhero films in general, and acted as a call to action to Hollywood to get their act together. And it wasn’t just me who had picked up on this glaring omission from Hollywood’s current love affair with movies based on comic book characters. Publications such as TIME, the Guardian, Forbes, and the New York Times have all wondered why it’s taken so long for Wonder Woman to make it to the big screen, and when Marvel recently announced that they had their films planned through 2028 with nary a female fronted film in sight, the backlash was swift and damning. I think Anthony Mackie, star of the recent blockbuster Captain America: The Winter Soldier best put the situation in context when he talked about his joy at being cast as the Falcon.

When I first got this role I just cried like a baby because I was like, “Wow, next Halloween, I’m gonna open the door and there’s gonna be a little kid dressed as the Falcon.” That’s the thing that always gets me. I feel like everybody deserves that. I feel like there should be a Latino superhero. Scarlett [Johansson] does great representation for all the other girls, but there should be a Wonder Woman movie. I don’t care if they make 20 bucks, if there’s a movie you’re gonna lose money on, make it Wonder Woman. You know what I mean, ’cause little girls deserve that.

I think he may just be my new favorite actor.

However, as much as we can gripe about it online, the people with the power to actually do something about it are the executives at Warner Brothers, the studio that owns the rights to the DC Comics Universe. When it was announced that actress Gal Gadot had been cast as Wonder Woman for the upcoming Superman vs. Batman extravaganza, reaction was mixed, because although Wonder Woman would finally be making her debut on the big screen, she was playing second fiddle to her male counterparts yet again. Wonder Woman, it seemed, could not catch a break. Until yesterday, that is.

Warner Brothers just announced a full slate of 10 films to be released between now and 2020, including two Justice League films, solo films for Aquaman, the Flash, and a rebooted Green Lantern, and WONDER WOMAN!! That’s right, Wonder Woman is finally getting a solo film to be released on June 23rd, 2017! Finally, I can stop worrying about when she’ll arrive on the big screen and start worrying about whether or not she’ll get the big screen treatment she deserves. Melissa Silverstein of Women & Hollywood is already suggesting writers and directors, females ones, so check out the list here. As for the narrative, what I would not give to weigh in, but I tried that once to no avail. Yes I have what I think is a brilliant plot but when I contacted executives at the studio to ask if I could get a meeting the response I got was nice, but no, for some sort of liability reason. I will be praying for a brilliant screenplay but regardless I will be there on opening night.

Last month, a study that was released by the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism and commissioned by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media demonstrated that across the 11 most profitable film industries in the world, women were underrepresented both on screen and behind the camera, and that the female characters on film often conformed to negative stereotypes and/or were overtly sexualized. Numerous studies over the years have come to similar findings, and while I’m not saying that the announcement of one Wonder Woman movie will fix everything, perhaps this is a sign that Hollywood executives are finally taking notice of what the research has been saying for years.

At the moment, female fronted films have never been more popular or profitable at the box office, and with Sony’s upcoming female superhero film also scheduled for release in 2017, it looks like that isn’t going to change anytime soon. I for one, couldn’t be happier, and I already know where I’ll be on June 23rd, 2017; first in line to see Wonder Woman’s big screen bow. I hope you will all join me and help make this film a hit. After all, it’s never too soon to start thinking about the sequel.

Jacki Zehner with Laura Moore

Photo:Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Leave a Response