Patty Jenkins fought to remove a troubling backstory for Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman
Gal Gadot and Connie Nielsen in Wonder Woman Pic credit: Warner Bros

Wonder Woman might have had a much darker take on the Amazons.

Patty Jenkins was hailed for her great work making the 2017 movie a smash hit. She captured Wonder Woman’s appeal as a feminist hero who tries to find the better side of humanity.

That might have been different had Jenkins not fought to discard a very dark origin for the Amazons that would have made the warriors more victims.

The Queen’s comments

In the film, the Amazons are shown as warriors who were created by Zeus to be the last line of defense against Ares. While fighters, the Amazons also attempt to counter the power of hate by spreading messages of peace and understanding. 

Speaking to Collider, Connie Nielsen, who plays Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyta, revealed that the film’s original script had a controversial element that Jenkins battled. 

“She was very clear about what the Amazons were supposed to be. And I think that there had originally been some idea that the Amazons had been deeply traumatized by some kind of horrible event that involved mass rape. And Patty just said, ‘Hm, no. No, no, we’re not gonna put that on those Amazons. We don’t want to start out seeing them as victims, and why would we? Let’s just get rid of that part and make sure that these are heroes in their own terms. 

They’ve not been part of the victims of history. They are these unbelievably courageous women and we’re not gonna saddle them with a trauma from the outset. We’re going to have them be received by people on the basis of who they are. What is their culture? Why are they so fierce? What does it mean to live on an island where there are no guys?’ It made so much sense, you know? You needed them to have a very uncomplicated background in order to be able to just accept them as the heroes that they are.”

This moment was first introduced by writer/artist George Perez when he rebooted Wonder Woman in 1986. In this origin, Hippolyta is tricked by Hercules into sending the Amazons into bondage, where they suffer horrible tortures.

Eventually, the Amazons break free and escape to Themyscira, but the event haunts Hippolyta to make her distrustful of “Man’s World.” It’s also why she was dead-set against Diana contacting that world before she became Wonder Woman. 

A needed change

Wonder Woman 1984 home releases announced Gold.
Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 1984. Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Jenkins’ decision to cut this story seems to have born out as it utilizes a disliked story trope while making the Amazons seem weaker. It also would have darkened the movie and harmed Diana’s growth as a character. 

The comic book version of Hippolyta can often seem bitter and suspicious because of her experiences. By removing this element, the Queen is warmer and encourages Diana to achieve her destiny. 

Nielsen praised how Jenkins was able to fight the studio to ensure her vision of the film succeeded. 

“The reason why she does that and gets what she needs to get is because she’s very clear. She has very clear thinking. And she’s able to transmit those ideas in a very clear way. And so she doesn’t need to be mean, she doesn’t need to push the envelope because she’s right. She’s thought it though. She knows what she’s talking about. She’s super well prepared. She has great instincts. She’s a great director and she’s a great visionary in her own right.”

While Wonder Woman 1984 did receive some backlash, plans for a third film are still underway. Nielsen can also be seen reprising the role of Hippolyta for the Justice League Snyder Cut

Nielsen might also be featured in the planned HBO Max show on the Amazons. The actress has stated it will bridge the gap between Wonder Woman 1984 and the third movie while also offering flashbacks to the Amazons’ history over the centuries. 

As Nielsen’s interview shows, Jenkins working hard to ensure the Amazons got their big-screen due made her a Wonder Woman in her own right. 

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