As we well know by now, the upcoming Wonder Woman is set in World War I-era London, a time when women did not even have the right to vote. So how does Diana of Themyscira (Gal Gadot, who’s commented on the character’s sexuality), who hails from an island inhabited only by women who are all trained to fight, deal with onlookers shocked by her battle costume?
Speaking at a press event in London attended by Comic Book Resources, director Patty Jenkins (who replaced Michelle MacLaren) explains that Wonder Woman is “completely confused” by the sexism she encounters because she has no context for it.
“It’s interesting and it ends up being funny because the sexism comes to the fore, because she’s walking into 1918 and she’s completely oblivious. ‘This is what you wear to battle, right?’ She just keeps being completely confused. She would never know about it. So there ends up being accidental comments about it, but I also went into it not making a movie about a woman at all. I’m making a movie about Wonder Woman, who I love, and to me is one of the great superheroes.”
It’s worth recalling again that Wonder Woman was created back in 1941 by William Moulton Marston specifically as a role model for young women. The irony of Diana’s context – she’s raised in an all-female society with the notion that “man’s world” is corrupt and inferior – shouldn’t be ignored either.
Nevertheless, Jenkins drew her primary inspiration from one of the all-time great superhero movies: Richard Donner’s Superman (1978), starring the late Christopher Reeve.
“I’m here because of ‘Superman. I’m here because when I saw ‘Superman 1’ as a kid, it rocked my world, and I was Superman. I was that little boy. I took that ride and that journey. Star Wars had a huge effect on me, too, but what Star Wars did for some people, Superman did for me. I remember the theater, I remember the feeling, I remember that I cried and I laughed — I went through that whole thing, and I was Superman. I believed in myself as Superman.”
Wonder Woman opens in Singapore on June 1.