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Friday, May 10, 2013

Could Ms. Marvel Beat Wonder Woman to the Big Screen?

The Race for the First Comic Book Heroine Film Franchise Begins Now!

"And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee." Ezekiel 25:17
  This particular Bible passage made famous on film by Samuel L. Jackson in Quentin Tarantino's classic movie, Pulp Fiction, is what went through my mind when I read that Marvel was possibly bringing, among other characters,  Ms.Marvel to the big screen. I mean no disrespect to Ms. Marvel as she is a great character with a solid new comic book series, as Captain Marvel now, but if there's one heroine who deserves a big screen adaptation it's Wonder Woman. I would be extremely perturbed at Warner Brothers if rival Marvel brought their superheroine to theaters before they brought the iconic Wonder Woman.

It was reported that Marvel had scripts for Blade and Ms. Marvel through their writing program. Their is no indication that they'll go any further at this point. They already have a bunch of projects already in production, pre-production or slated to be released for a predetermined date. Iron Man 3 just was released and has made over $700 million worldwide with Thor 2, Captain America 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ant-Man in the pipeline. There is also the inevitable sequel of The Avengers too. So a Ms. Marvel movie may not be in the making anytime soon but considering how nimble and deliberate Marvel Studios has been there's little doubt they couldn't give the greenlight and produce a feature in a relatively short time. This is why it's crucial that Warner Bros. get their house in order and begin to plan accordingly. 

The future of a Wonder Woman movie or any DC Comics-based movie may rest on the fortunes of the upcoming Zack Snyder-directed Superman relaunch, Man of Steel. After the humongous success of Christopher Nolan's (also a producer on MOS) Batman trilogy and the success of various Marvel features a lot is riding on Superman to not only be a blockbuster hit but also help set the stage for more superhero movies. The long tumultuous journey of bringing Justice League to screen may finally be over if Man of Steel captivates audiences justifying it's production. Warner Bros. has already stated it all begins with Man of Steel. 
 “It’s setting the tone for what the movies are going to be like going forward. In that, it’s definitely a first step.”
- Jeff Robinov, Pres. - WB Pictures Group

Despite the cultural significance and recognition of Wonder Woman as a feminist icon and one of DC Comics' most powerful heroes alongside Superman and Batman there has not been a definitive feature film made. There's been numerous television and film projects, good and bad, of the caped heroes but very little of the Amazonian Princess in her 72 year history. One popular television series in the 1970's was seminal but there has not been a serious attempt since then. Joss Whedon, who co-wrote and directed the blockbuster The Avengers, wrote a Wonder Woman movie script in 2007 that went nowhere. In 2011, a terribly produced TV pilot was made but was mercifully not picked up by NBC. Last year, Michael Goldenberg had been reportedly hired to write a movie script but there's been no movement on that since then. If Wonder Woman did not exist within the pages of her own comic book as well as Justice League and part of the animated DC universe her presence may not be felt at all. It is long, long overdue to honor her legacy with a proper film adaptation. She should be front and center in the consciousness of young boys and girls to inspire a new generation of fans. It is inconceivable that such a role model could likely be usurped by Marvel. 

Ms. Marvel is a marvelous character. She is incredibly strong, brave, independent, smart, with integrity and can fly. She has all the makings of a great super hero. A hero that could be introduced to children as the new icon of feminine power and grace. A lot of what Wonder Woman has been known for for decades. Marvel and other studios have incorporated many female characters in their movies already - Storm, Black Widow, Jean Grey, Mystique, Elektra, etc. None of those characters have the recognition that Wonder Woman does and it would be another missed opportunity for Warner Bros. and DC Comics to not capitalize on the enormously successful superhero film genre   with it's first superpowered female-led feature. 

The best case scenario for a Wonder Woman movie is that Man of Steel becomes a profitable success and Justice League becomes a priority once again for Warner Bros. This will necessitate the introductions of other Leaguers like The Flash, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, and possibly a new Batman in their own movies. A Wonder Woman movie would be virtually guaranteed. While Marvel continues to rake in movie receipts with their current slate of films, WB/DC could be preparing to make their stable of heroes a relevant box office threat. Great Hera! Let's hope so.