By Dustin Cabeal
Everyone is high on Wonder Woman at the moment, and that’s great, it’s actually long due, but as fans tend to do they want to digest everything imaginable for a character after falling in love with them on the big screen. I get it, some people just want more media to digest, but only if it’s in movie format. Instead of reading a bunch of great Wonder Woman comics, people got a hold of Joss Whedon’s unproduced Wonder Woman script from 2007. The differences in quality and message outraged the internet. Which isn’t surprising, but let’s look at this for a moment.
First and foremost, I feel it’s an incredible waste of time to be mad at something that wasn’t made and definitely wasn’t intended for public consumption. I get that it doesn’t live up to today’s standards nor does it live up to the movie that actually got made, but… they didn’t make the movie… why are you mad?
But let’s take a step back and look at this because what people tend to forget is that as big of a name as Whedon is, he’s not above the Hollywood system. If you want to be upset at his script that’s fine, but he can’t foot the bill for all that anger. Not when he likely wrote a draft and then received a ton of notes from the producers, studios execs, and anyone at DC that had a say or could throw in their two cents. That may seem like three other people to be mad at, but it was likely way more than that. The script, even in the form that was leaked onto the internet, was likely the version that was adjusted to meet the standards and desires of the people with money making the film. As much power as you’d like to think Whedon had in the making of that script, it’s likely that it wasn’t nearly as much you believe. That and the biggest thing is that even the script for what eventually did become the Wonder Woman movie went through tons of rewrites and drama. When the WB announced the film, they announced that they had two writing teams on the script. Ultimately, they cherry picked from both teams and made another script… this is how Hollywood does things, and so it’s hard to say that Whedon’s script was anywhere near a final shoot script.
Let’s also take a look back at 2007. You know, ten years ago when all societies problems had been cured, and there wasn’t a staggering wage gap between what women and men were paid in Hollywood… oh wait, we’re still not there in 2017.
The top ten movies of the year all starred men with Spider-Man 3 being the top movie of the year. Yes, Spider-Man 3, the worst of the original Spider-Man movies. Harry Potter is the only film in the top ten that has a strong female in the lead; you have to go down to the surprise hits of Knocked Up and Juno to get the next movie with a female led.
It was also the year Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer released which was the third biggest comic book movie… and it too was shit. To put it another way, comic book movies were different than they are now, ten years in the future of when this movie wasn’t made.
I don’t want to stop there though; I want to look at the other movies that were made at the same time, Rush Hour 3 which still relied on racial stereotypes for jokes. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry which made being gay a choice and a joke. Blades of Glory… enough said if you managed to sit through that film. 300, which I tried watching the other day and couldn’t sit through more than ten minutes when I remembered the rape scene. Epic Movie, that’s right, remember the parody movies that were popping out every month? Yeah, they were still making those as well.
My point is, let’s not judge a 2007 script with 2017 eyes. We can learn from it. We can breathe easy that it wasn’t made and that eventually something decent was put forth and finally highlighted one of the best comic book characters ever, a character that has made it through decades of being mistreated and undersold. Here’s the thing, if Whedon’s script had been made, it doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have had Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman film.
Now, I haven’t read the script. I’m not weighing in on if it’s sexist nor am I defending it if that is the case. What I am trying to point out is that you can’t blame the entire Hollywood system from ten years ago on Joss Whedon alone. They made the movies that people were willing to see, and so we all share some blame in that they didn’t even bother making a Wonder Woman film in fear that it wouldn’t be watched. But they made Spider-Man 3, 300, Fantastic Four 2, Ghost Rider, and 30 Days of Night… it was just a different time for superhero movies and a different state of the world. We weren’t woke.
Lastly, at the end of the day, this is a stolen script. If you download it and read it, you’re stealing. Plain and simple. You can justify it however you want, but it was never intended for mass consumption in this form, and while reading the comments about it, it sounds pretty shitty, it wasn’t meant for your eyes. That’s a good thing, but maybe you shouldn’t steal something and then complain about it. Though, that doesn’t stop thousands of comic readers on the internet each week.