Patty Jenkins Talks Telling WONDER WOMAN’s Origin, Tone and More

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Recently, a group of journalists and bloggers visited Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins in the film’s editing bay. Collider was among the sites present for the interview. During the discussion, Jenkins goes into detail about her experience with making the movie, telling Diana Prince’s origin story, flashbacks to World War I vs. the present day, and whether there was any mandate regarding the film’s tone.

Wonder Woman tells Diana’s origin story to the general public for the first time. Those who do know may consider it more “complicated” than the origins for other heroes. However, Jenkins doesn’t think so, and that any confusion should be cleared up when the movie finally arrives. “I think Superman’s origin story was very little known really until they made the movie. How many men on the street were really down with the ‘Kal-El’ and Krypton? They weren’t. So that’s what I’ve been saying for all these years: how do we make her the universal character that she is? Let’s make the movie! And I love her, so let’s do it! I think that any of these characters – maybe Spider-Man; Spider-Man is such a simple story that maybe we all grew up; like growing up I feel like I knew Spider-Man’s story before they made Spider-Man – but Batman, sort of; Superman, complicated; all of the Marvel heroes you certainly didn’t know many of the details of those stories unless you were reading those comics. They weren’t public knowledge, the history of Iron Man or whatever. So I don’t think it is more complicated. She has a world that she comes into this from as they all do, and her aim is very simple. It’s come and save mankind. And then she stays.”

A big part of that origin story is the film’s World War I setting, compared to the present-day setting of the DC films. Despite this, Jenkins did not feel any pressure in connecting to the present day. “We very much told her origin story, and there’s little hints, but there’s nothing – we didn’t have pressure. That was something everybody was very supportive about that with this movie it should be the best it could be. Once you’re committed to making an origin story, then let it be that is my jam. I love that.” However, the movie has some bookend scenes set in the present day, and Jenkins teases a “dynamic switch” for Diana. “I think this movie ends great and in a way that really helps to understand her, and she has a lot of shades in the future. But I think really when you look back at Batman v Supermanit’s a snapshot. You’re not getting a lot of information about her point of view, so I think there’s a lot of complexity in why she’s saying what she’s saying and why she is who she is.”

Wonder Woman will (hopefully) kicked off a new franchise for Warner Bros. and DC Films, while the character plays a key role in Justice League. So, we’ll likely be seeing a lot more of this character in the coming years. When asked what other things she’d like to do with Wonder Woman, Jenkins says there are “hundreds” of things she’s interested in. “She’s got a lot of shades that I really, really like. I think whatever we get to do with her in the future, the great thing is that this is the way to start. This is the way to start, and then you give birth to a superhero that can go on to have all kinds of different shades and dimensions and the journey.”

Finally, Jenkins talks about how Wonder Woman fits the overall tone of the DC Extended Universe. There’s been a lot of talk about the tone of this franchise; the first few films were darker than what fans would have wanted, while future movies are moving towards something more lighthearted. But according to Jenkins, the directors of the DCEU are not limited by a single mandate regarding tone. “All I can say is that from my point of view, there is no mandate on tone that I experienced. So I think every filmmaker is making their own movie in the tone that they see right for that movie. So I have no pressure on me to not do the same. So I came in saying, ‘Superman 1′ and ‘It’s an origin story’ and casting Chris [Pine], who I knew and was so funny, and all of these things. And they were seeing it shape up as what it shaped up as and supporting it. I think that will also be true with Aquaman and Flash all of those movies. I don’t think there is one tone. I think maybe Christopher Nolan had a serious tone, and Zack [Snyder] has a different tone that is also serious in a different way. So I think it became a perception that there was one tone, but that’s not what I had heard. I heard that there were these different superheroes and I was coming in to make one. And I was supported it making it the tone I wanted to make it.”

For much more from Jenkins, where she discusses the movie’s World War I setting, Dr Poison and more, click HERE.

Wonder Woman is scheduled to hit theaters June 2nd. The fourth installment in the DC Extended Universe stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis, Lisa Loven Kongsli and Connie Nielsen. Patty Jenkins directs and co-wrote the script with Geoff Johns and Allan Heinberg.

Paul Romano

Editor-In-Chief at WOBAM! Entertainment
Founder and EIC of WOBAM! Entertainment. Christian. Student. Watcher of movies and TV, reader of comics, all that good stuff.
Founder and EIC of WOBAM! Entertainment. Christian. Student. Watcher of movies and TV, reader of comics, all that good stuff.