Although WONDER WOMAN became one of Warner Bros.’ biggest successes in the DCEU upon its release in 2017, it sounds like director Patty Jenkins had to fight quite the battle to complete her vision for the film. Even before Gal Gadot brought the character to life for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Jenkins had been approached years before about directing Wonder Woman, but recently explained on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast that there was a lot of mistrust between the studio and herself, who she felt only wanted her around as the token female director.
They wanted to hire me like a beard; they wanted me to walk around on set as a woman, but it was their story and their vision. And my ideas? They didn’t even want to read my script. There was such mistrust of a different way of doing things and a different point of view. So that was definitely happening, even when I first joined ‘Wonder Woman’ it was like, ‘uhh, yeah, ok, but let’s do it this other way.’ But I was like, ‘Women don’t want to see that. Her being harsh and tough and cutting people’s heads off, that’s not what— I’m a ‘Wonder Woman’ fan, that’s not what we’re looking for. Still, I could feel that shaky nervousness [on their part] of my point of view.
Patty Jenkins circled Wonder Woman for a number of years, with another director (Michelle MacLaren) briefly signing on, before she finally agreed to direct the project. Jenkins explained that the studio still wasn’t sure what kind of film they wanted to make as there were plenty of different scripts in the mix. “During that period of time, there were so many scripts, I could see the writing on the wall,” Jenkins said. “The was an internal war on every level about what Wonder Woman should be.“
At the end of the day, Warner Bros. finally gave Jenkins free rein to make Wonder Woman her way, although she did say that the studio did make her change the originally filmed ending for the film, which didn’t include David Thewlis morphing into Ares.
That was the only thing that the studio forced my hand on was that it was not supposed to be — it was supposed to be like, that he never turns into Ares. The whole point of the movie is that you get there to the big monster, and he’s just standing there looking at you saying, ‘I didn’t do anything.’ And then the studio kept saying, ‘we’ll let you do that, and then we’ll see.’ And then I could feel it creeping up, and then at the last minute, they were like, ‘you know what? We want Ares to show up.’ And I was like, ‘Goddamn, we don’t have time to do that now.’ And ‘Nope, you gotta do it!’
Jenkins was even more irritated when the film was released and the studio-mandated ending came under fire from critics. “So, It pisses me off now because sometimes I’ll read the reviews, and the only thing we unanimously got some shit about was that end pyrotechnics,” Jenkins explained. “It’s like [fans always say], ‘DC always does this!’ and the truth is, it was them. The studio did make me do that and it wasn’t right, but that’s ok.” Wonder Woman 1984 is now playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max, and Jenkins is also set to return for Wonder Woman 3 as well.