According to Deadline, NBC has decided to greenlight David E. Kelley’s WONDER WOMAN TV pilot, after all.
After failing to get a committment from any of the major broadcasters , Warner Brothers Television had at least temporarily shelved the project earlier this month. NBC was interested at the time, but things were still in transition at the network, with new head of programing Robert Greenblatt slated to take over, but not yet in command.
Kelly’s WONDER WOMAN reboot project was designed a a big-budget concept, and no one felt comfortable in okaying the expensive pilot in the interim.
At the time of the earlier shelving, David Kelley was quoted as saying:
“I had a lot of fun writing it… It’s a huge project, and it was probably a bit too much to ask anyone to try to chew on it for next season. But I’m confident it will still happen. It’s a very complicated piece, which is the most fun thing about it.”
Description of Kelley’s proposed series sounds a bit more Batman than Wonder Woman, with Diana Prince re-invisioned as a hig-powered corporate executive by day, and crime-fighting vigilante by night, a modern woman trying to balance a dual life.
In the comics and Linda Carter series, Wonder Woman was disctintly not “modern”, she’s an immortal, centuries old Amazon Warrior Princess, posing as an ordinary woman only to aid her in her mission. She might also have a desire to remain close to potential love interest Steve Trevor, but that is secondary to the character.
It’s unknown how closely the sereies will hew to the various incarnations of the venerable comic book heroine.
Deadline reports that DC Entertaiment/Warner Brothers Television’s proposed WONDER WOMAN TV series is being shelved for the time being. Apparently, all the major networks passed on David E. Kelley’s pilot script.
The article indicates that this may be due as much to bad timing as any other factor.
The Fox Network passed, as it’s suggested was an expected result. Un-named sources are said to claim that CBS was interested, but split on the idea. NBC may be a bit too much in flux at the moment, as new head of programing Robert Greenblatt has not yet taken command.
It’s suggested that ABC’s passing on the series is “politically” motivated, as the network is owned by Disney, which now also owns Marvel Comics, and THE INCREDIBLE HULK and a series involving ALIAS’ s Jessica Jones/Jewel/Knightress character are in development.
The updating of the Wonder Woman character might be a good match for the Warner Bros./CBS joint venture, The CW — but the ambitiouslly concieved proposed show is assumed to be too expensive for the lower-budgeted network.
However, the idea of a new Wonder Woman TV franchise is not dead, only consigned to limbo for the time being.
According to The Hollywood Reporter and other sources, Warner Brothers Television is developing a new, modern-day version of WONDER WOMAN for television.
I was initally reluctant to pass on this story, as some of it didn’t seem all that likely, to me. Apparently, Warner Bros. has picked ALLY MCBEAL creator David E. Kelley to write and possibly produce a potential series.
A TV version does make some sense, as the studio has had a Wonder Woman film stuck in development hell for nearly a decade. In 2005, Joss Whedon signed on to write and direct a film adaptation. After two years, Whedon left the project, Warner Bothers and producer Joel Silver (THE MATRIX) reportedly unhappy with his approach.
Many viewers will remember the light-hearted Linda Carter WONDER WOMAN TV series of the 1970’s with some affection, and a series is less of a risk than a major theatrical film. However, recent ‘super-woman’ series, such as NBC’s BIONIC WOMAN re-boot and FOX’s DOLL HOUSE (from Whedon) did not fare well in the ratings.
It’s unclear if the potential series would follow the traditional Wonder Woman storyline, or DC Comic’s current re-vamp of the character. It’s unknown if the series might be aimed at one of the big networks or perhaps as a replacement for SMALLVILLE on The CW, now in its final season.
As far as I can tell, neither Warner Brothers Television nor David Kelley have made any comments that would confirm or deny this report.
The New York Times reports that DC Comics is giving Wonder Woman a new costume, attitude, and back-story.
For Wonder Woman #”600″ (a bit of number juggling) the 69 year old Amazon will adopt a new costume designed by Jim Lee, and an “alternate history” provided by by J. Michael Straczynski (BABYLON 5).
In Straczynski’s reboot of her origin: “Wonder Woman, instead of growing up on Paradise Island with her mother, Queen Hippolyta, and her Amazon sisters, is smuggled out as a baby when unknown forces destroy her home and slaughter its inhabitants.”
Wonder Woman was created by Dr. William Moulton Marston (AKA Charles Moulton) a psychologist, feminist theorist, and inventor—responsible in helping to create the polygraph “lie detector”. With artist Harry G. Peters, he shaped Wonder Woman out of classic mythology and the new superhero tropes for 1941’s All Star Comics #8 (actually published by Max Gaines’ All-American comics group, later to merge with DC’s National Periodical Publications).
Though she was part of DC’s ‘Big Three’ for decades, interest in Wonder Woman’s comic books has not been super for a number of years. Save for a short time in the late 60’s when Diana Prince lost her powers and became an all white-wearing Emma Peel wanna-be, she’s always worn some variation of her orignal Americana-styled bodice and star-spangled shorts.
Michael Straczynski told the Times that he wanted to change the character’s costume when he was offered the title.
“She’s been locked into pretty much the exact same outfit since her debut in 1941… If you’re going to make a statement about bringing Wonder Woman into the 21st century, you need to be bold and you need to make it visual. I wanted to toughen her up, and give her a modern sensibility.
…What woman only wears only one outfit for 60-plus years?”
This updating, along with recent reports of interest by X-MEN producer Laura Shuler-Donner, may fuel hopes that a live action feature film WONDER WOMAN will finally escape from Development Hell. Even a strong sign that at least DC / Warner Brothers still has any serious interest in making one would be a positive step.
Sci-Fi Wire reports from the Sci-Fi Awards that X-MEN producer Lauren Shuler Donner would like to produce a Wonder Woman feature.
“I’m campaigning to produce Wonder Woman for DC and Warners. They don’t want it, but I just think she’s the greatest character. She’s right up there, as you know, with Superman and Batman, the three of them…
Look, she’s a goddess and a superhero. How great is that? I think you need to stay close to the myth, but the studio I know wants to make it accessible, i.e., somewhat contemporary. I think there is a way to do it.”
A number of Hollywood talents have tired to come up with a script and for Dc’s biggest female hero that Warner Bros. would greenlight.
Joss Wedon (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) may have come closest, for producer Joel Sliver—but ultimately, the studio passed on the project.
It’s hard to judge how much interest there is for a stand-alone Wonder Woman film, both by fans and the studio.
Warners was all set to go with the character as part of the ill-fated Justice League movie, but there may be some skepticism that Princess Diana can support a tent-pole feature on her own.
Today’s Time Warner Investor’s meeting has provided some further genre tidbits.
THR’s Georg Szalai writes that Warner Bros. announced a December 16th, 2011 release for SHERLOCK HOLMES 2, a sequel to the Robert Downey Jr. starring vehicle.
Chairman and CEO Barry Meyer also confirmed a July 20th, 2012 release for Christopher Nolan’s third Batman film, and a 2012 “holiday season” Superman movie. Nolan, as previously reported, is also attached in a supervisory role on brother Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer’s SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL (working title).
Meyer mentioned that the studio is very close to green-lighting DC’sThe Flash as a feature, and that Wonder Womanand Aquaman remain in development.