Looks like Boston Legal creator David E. Kelley’s re-vamped Wonder Woman did not get the green light, according to industry sources. The show, which was pushed back from its original premiere date, failed to impress NBC Executives. When Kelley’s original idea for the show was made public, fans made no attempt to quiet their frustration. After all, Wonder Woman is a pop icon and one third of DC COMICS’ holy trinity (with Superman and Batman on equal ends of the triangle).
Kelley’s vision was to cater to a younger audience born and bred on heroes who have become far too complacent. There was a time when a Superhero was just a comic book version of the gods of pantheons of yore. Superman was indestructible for the most part, until exposed to Kryptonite. Batman was often beaten, but never defeated; always remaining the one Superhero without superpowers. And Wonder Woman, born of supernatural means —once a goddess but for the most part, an Amazon Princess, who was always the strongest female contender to the Superman/Batman throne —was a patriot like Captain America and divinely connected like Thor, but she was never remembered that way.
At least not by Hollywood.
A Wonder Woman movie was always on the backburner. Many names were attached and nothing ever came of Joel Singer’s promise to revamp the character. Joss Whedon was even attached to the project at one time. After too many years of broken promises and other failed attempts to bring female Superheroes to the screen (from Elektra to Catwoman), movie goers stopped expecting Iron Man, Batman and even The Hulk to be one-upped by a woman.
Kelley’s Wonder Woman was doomed from the start, not because it was a project centered around a female superhero, but because the famed Producer, much like his predecessors failed to find the defining quality that endeared the character to generations of fans in the first place.
For a project like a Wonder Woman movie or show to succeed, it has to be developed by a fan. That’s not to say that Christopher Nolan was a hard-core Batman fan when he re-invigorated the Dark Knight franchise or that any film-maker or producer at the helm of any comic book based film or show is a geek. But consider the material. A franchise like Batman’s does not require a Batman geek. Batman’s story is known by millions and shared by as many. We know of his parents death and his inevitable turn into Gotham’s savior.
Superman came from a dying world. Krypton. He was raised by a childless couple. He became a journalist. His cape is actually the blanket he was wrapped in when he fell to earth. He is powered by the sun and weakened by Kryptonite. Lex Luthor is his nemesis and Clark Kent is his alter-ego.
Batman and Superman are just two examples of superheroes so easily and simply defined that anyone with the talent behind the camera can tell their stories. The same is not the case for Wonder Woman. The television series, although it introduced generations to the Amazon Princess, did not fully introduce us to the character. Unlike Batman and Superman, Spiderman, Wolverine, The Hulk or Iron Man, Wonder Woman’s story has not been dissected for audiences beyond the comic book section of your local Newbury Comics.
To many who have never read the comic book or watched Lynda Carter spin into character, Wonder Woman’s origins are mysterious and harder to explain. That is not to say the character ever failed to make an impact on audiences so much as no one ever stepped up to the plate to take on the challenge.
David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman failed because it was not Wonder Woman as we know her and yet it was not a Wonder Woman anyone would care to take the time to understand or relate to. So why do comic book films and television shows based on female Superheroes fail to engage audiences? Is it because the male superheroes are cooler? Better, even? Or is it something simpler, easily definable but often times not readily tapped? Is the answer simply that no one cares to take the time to understand the intricacies of the Superheroine?
After all, many of the Superheroes we’ve grown up with are so simple in their origins and roles because they are, for the most part written by men and brought to the big screen by men. Men understand men. It’s the boy that grows up yearning to have Superman’s powers who decides to make that one great Superman movie. So my question is: Where is the girl who yearned to be Wonder Woman?