Wonder Woman's sexual and bondage themes in her earliest days were not without purpose, however. Her creator, William Moulton Marston, theorized that human relationships could be broken down into dominance, submission, inducement and compliance roles which were embedded into our psyche. Because males were, more often than not, dominant in societies, Marston believed that "Women as a sex, are many times better equipped to assume emotional leadership than are males." [261] Marston wanted to convey his progressive ideals, through his use of bondage imagery, that women are not only capable of leadership roles, but should be in charge of society. Although Marston had good intentions with these themes, in Wonder Woman's early appearances, the bondage elements were controversial, as they were often seen to overly fetishize women in power rather than promote such women. Noah Berlatsky criticized this imagery in Wonder Woman's earliest days noting that "the comics take sensual pleasure in women’s disempowerment." [262] Despite having the mixed messages of this imagery, Marston fiercely believed that women would soon rule the earth and meant to showcase his predictions through sexual themes in his stories. He was an open feminist while studying at Harvard where he once said "Girls are also human beings, a point often overlooked!" [263]
With the decision to relaunch the DC Universe into the new 52, this was done by the Flashpoint story arc, where the Reverse Flash has modified the past with a vastly different modern DC Universe having resulted. In this universe Diana leads a dystopian society of Amazons that have taken over England after a battle between the Amazons and the Atlanteans led by Aquaman.
After Darkseid and Grail's retreat, they returned to a base in the Amazon Rainforest, where Darkseid was setting his mysterious plans into motion. He tasked his loyal Female Furies with tracking down a godly relic he needed, but they were unable to do so thanks to the intervention of Steve Trevor and his A.R.G.U.S. forces. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman fought a number of villains that had been recruited by Veronica Cale: Zara of the Crimson Flame, Blue Snowman and Anglette. As Diana caught up with Steve at A.R.G.U.S. HQ, Jason returned wearing a suit of armor gifted to him by the gods, but with no knowledge of its purpose.[96] As news came in of an attack by Grail, Wonder Woman and Jason immediately responded just in time to prevent Grail from killing another demigod. Wonder Woman bound Grail in the Lasso of Truth and forced her to reveal Darkseid's plans. Grail explained that Darkseid was looking to build himself an army of Amazons. Due to her half-Amazon blood, Grail was able to break free from the Lasso's grip and retreated.[97]
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In 2010, Warner Bros. stated that a Wonder Woman film was in development, along with films based on DC Comics superheroes the Flash and Aquaman.[83] Both Wonder Woman and Aquaman were still under consideration for solo film subjects as of June 2013.[84] DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson said Wonder Woman "has been, since I started, one of the top three priorities for DC and for Warner Bros. We are still trying right now, but she's tricky."[85] On October 5, 2013, WB chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara said he wanted to get Wonder Woman in a film or on TV.[86] Shortly afterward, Paul Feig said he had pitched the studio an idea for Wonder Woman as an action-comedy film.[87][88] The studio then began to search for female directors to direct the film.[89] While Michelle MacLaren was the studio's initial choice to direct (and while she initially indicated interest),[90][91][92] she eventually left the project due to creative differences.[93]
Her tiara's signature star symbol is now an eight pointed starburst. According to designer Lindy Hemming and director Patty Jenkins, every design decision made for Themyscira came down to the same question: "How would I want to live that's badass?"[196] "To me, they shouldn't be dressed in armor like men. It should be different. It should be authentic and real ... and appealing to women." When asked about the decision to give the Amazons heeled sandals, Jenkins explained that they also have flats for fighting, adding "It's total wish-fulfillment ... I, as a woman, want Wonder Woman to be sexy, hot as hell, fight badass, and look great at the same time ... the same way men want Superman to have ridiculously huge pecs and an impractically big body. That makes them feel like the hero they want to be. And my hero, in my head, has really long legs."[197] This corresponds to the original intent by William Moulton Marston, who wanted his character to be alluringly feminine.
Wonder Woman was soon faced with a new threat. Some years ago, Diana saved a young girl, Vanessa Kapatelis, from death at the hands of Major Disaster. She continued to visit Vanessa for many years as she recovered from her injuries, and encouraged her to undergo experimental treatment involving nanites, which allowed Vanessa to walk again. Eventually, Wonder Woman's superheroics forced her to cease her visits. During Diana's absence, Vanessa's mother Julia died, and Vanessa was left alone and felt that Diana had abandoned her. She began to resent Wonder Woman and declared herself her enemy, using the nanites in her blood to create a metallic, winged suit of armor and adopting the name Silver Swan.[94] Silver Swan murdered a family of people that Diana had recently saved, causing Wonder Woman to fight her alongside Jason. Diana managed to drown Silver Swan until she lost consciousness, causing her to revert to her human form. She left Vanessa to recover in the care of A.R.G.U.S.[95]
Director James Cameron continued this debate, through his critique of the representation of female power in Jenkins's film. In an August 2017 interview with The Guardian, Cameron qualifies Jenkins's vision of Wonder Woman as "an objectified icon" and called the film "a step backwards". In contrast, he states, his character Sarah Connor (from his Terminator films) "was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit."[254] Jenkins stated in response that Cameron's "inability to understand what 'Wonder Woman' is, or stands for, to women all over the world is unsurprising as, though he is a great filmmaker, he is not a woman". She further argued "there is no right and wrong kind of powerful woman" because "if women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, and we aren't free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven't come very far have we."[255] Reaction to this debate was mixed. Julie Miller sided with Cameron, whom she states refers to himself as "a pretty hardcore feminist" and who told Vulture that "I have no problem writing a script in which the males become subservient to the females, which is what happens in Aliens ... It's up to Ripley to win the day." In contrast, Miller argues that Jenkins and Gadot envisioned Wonder Woman as "a woman who exuded both femininity and strength, along with genuine confusion as to why men would treat women differently than they do other men".[256] Susannah Breslin also agreed with Cameron, describing Jenkins's Wonder Woman as "a Playmate with a lasso" and "female power with no balls".[257] Others were more critical of Cameron's critique.[258] An article in Newsweek suggests that in contrast to his criticism of Jenkins, Cameron's own films include "lot of objectification" and quotes a few Hollywood celebrities who echoed this view. One of the quotes came from Jesse McLaren who states that "James Cameron's just confused there's a female hero whose motivations aren't centered around motherhood."[259] Noah Berlatsky found areas of agreement between both Cameron and Jenkins, stating that while Cameron's objection is "an old point that's been made over and over for decades", Jenkins's film is not "solely focused on objectifying Gal Gadot for a male audience".[260]
In May 2017, early tracking had Wonder Woman opening with $65–75 million, and possibly as high as $105 million.[177][178][179][180][174] The film opened Friday, June 2, 2017, across 4,165 theaters and made $38.7 million on its opening day, including $3.7 million in IMAX. It was the biggest single-day gross for a woman-directed film, ahead of the $35.9 million opening Friday of Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight in 2008 and the biggest opening day for a woman-led comic book superhero film, ahead of Ghost in the Shell ($7 million).[181] This included $11 million it made from Thursday previews, also the best start for a film directed by a woman, surpassing Fifty Shades of Grey's $8.6 million which was directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, and the third-biggest of the year, behind Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Of that, $1.5 million came from IMAX screenings.[182][183]
Wonder Woman has been featured in various media from radio to television and film, and appears in merchandise sold around the world, such as apparel, toys, dolls, jewelry, and video games. Shannon Farnon, Susan Eisenberg, Maggie Q, Lucy Lawless, Keri Russell, Michelle Monaghan, Rosario Dawson, Cobie Smulders, and Halsey among others, have provided the character's voice for animated adaptations. Wonder Woman has been depicted in both film and television by Cathy Lee Crosby, Lynda Carter, and Gal Gadot.
In order to prove her devotion to her people, the Amazons issued a challenge to Diana, one she would have to meet in two days. In the meantime, the Justice League had tracked the insectoid queen down to a remote mountain. The League journeyed deep into the mountain and encountered the queen. Diana condemned her for the lives she has taken, but the insectoid queen replied that it was Diana’s actions, namely her throwing of the First Born into the depths of the Earth, that awoke the insectoids from their slumber.[54]
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