The folks over at Coming Soon had the opportunity to visit the London office for Warner Bros. Studios to talk with the director and star of Wonder Woman as well as watch 15 minutes of Wonder Woman footage. Check out their write-up below.
The following is a description of the 15 minutes of Wonder Woman footage Coming Soon got the chance to watch in their set visit. The biggest thing to notice is that Diana Prince/Wonder Woman seems to be much more optimistic/wide-eyed than the version of the character we saw in Batman v Superman. Also we get a nice glimpse of the relationship between her and Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor.
The first chunk of scenes we were shown is a pivotal moment in the film, as Diana and Steve Trevor venture from Themyscira to return to the world of man. For some context, in the film Diana has taken it upon herself to make this journey as she believes the god of war Ares is at fault, and it’s the destiny of the Amazons to keep him in check. She’s armed herself with her trademark armor and gauntlets, plus the lasso of truth, and her sword, known as “The God Killer,” and the only weapon capable of striking down Ares (or is it?).
As the scene begins, Diana and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) find themselves on a small ship as they leave the island. Diana watches the horizon as they depart, her home becoming smaller and smaller, until a cloud of mist covers it, potentially forever (it’s an element of the Wonder Woman mythology that they’re leaving up in the air here). She speaks to Steve about their journey and how long it will take them to arrive, and Steve isn’t optimistic. Diana is eager you see, she’s ready to get to the front lines of the fighting so she can stop Ares, a development that leaves Steve’s eyebrow raised. That’s part of the magic at work in Wonder Woman, the two worlds here of a realistic and brutal “man’s world,” and the Greek-inspired world of Diana. The main part of the magic is the chemistry between Gal Gadot and Pine, there is literally nothing like this in the other DC movies.
“I really, really enjoy working with Chris,” Gadot told us on set last year. “He’s a great partner, funny, we have lots of laughs on set, and I think that his character, in comparison to Diana’s character, they’re very much, yin and yang. He’s this realistic guy, who’s been through a lot, and he knows what mankind is capable of doing, and Diana is this young, idealist, who thinks that the world is very white, very pure, mankind are only good, and there’s something in their, you know, once they get to know each other, he teaches her so much about reality and mankind, and she brings back hope to his life.”
Diana asks about children in the world of man, which Steve confirms exist and asks why she would want to know that. In the film, there have never been any other children on Themyscira except for Diana – she was the only child that grew up surrounded by the fully-grown Amazons, so she’s eager to see a baby (and her reaction when she does is worth it). This puzzles Steve, and Diana reveals she was the only child on the island and that Zeus craft her out of clay. Pine’s reaction to this is priceless. Later, she prepares to sleep on a makeshift bed, making room for Steve to join her, which leads to a hilarious conversation about “sleeping together.” She says this referring just to two equals sharing a bed for rest but this leads Steve down a bumbling, awkward path of explaining how men and women don’t share a bed when they aren’t married, a completely foreign concept to Diana. The pair have a dynamic and shared charm that is unique and a sigh of relief.
The scene transitions into a moment between the chief villains of the movie, Danny Huston’s General Erich Ludendorff, a rogue German general that is trying to stall all peace talks, and Elena Anaya’s Doctor Maru, a woman with a gift for creating poisons and gases. Maru has been tasked with creating a gas that can cover all of Europe and kill all their enemies, but doesn’t have the resources to complete it to the scale that Ludendorff requires. This upsets him, naturally, but she has another small gas that he pops into his nostrils, giving him temporary enhanced strength. He crushes a gun with his bare hand to test it. It’s a fine enough scene on its own that focuses on the relationship between these two villains, which will seemingly fit in well when more context is applied with other scenes.
“I liked that they have two separate goals but together they have a very bad intention,” director Patty Jenkins told us. “Which is how I think real villains work.”
The action then moves back to Steve and Diana as they arrive in London, with the assist of a tugboat that pulls them down the Thames. Diana has wondered what this world would look like for a long time and finds herself quite disappointed in it – it’s dark, it’s dirty, and it’s noisy. There’s not much to like. As they walk down the street, and some men cat call to her (which she doesn’t even notice), she asks again about the fighting and the front lines. She’s eager to finish of Ares. Steve makes her a promise that once they deliver this key intelligence he has to the war council, he will take her to the front lines. Diana agrees but in a huff of frustration pulls back her long fur coat, revealing her armor to the world. Steve tries to cover her, leading to more of their impeccable comedy as he tells her that she’s “naked” and needs real clothes to actually blend in.
Things jump ahead after this to the moment when Steve finally takes Diana to the front lines, outside of a village in Belgium where the troops have been fighting for over a near with no progress. Diana hears the cries of the people outside and the tale of those trapped within the city and does what she was born to do, be a hero. She ascends the ladder up to no man’s land and begins walking. The Germans notice naturally and begin to fire upon her, but (as you’ve no doubt seen in the trailer) she learns to deflect all of their fire with both her gauntlets and her shield. So the men use this, they rally behind her and push forward and eventually take the German position before heading into the town to liberate the people.
When asked if the presence of Diana in World War I would alter the historical context of the event in the DCEU, Jenkins said:
“There are a lot of misunderstandings at play about World War I. The greatest thing is it was not clear what was going on, and that’s great for her journey. The big and most interesting thing about War was that there had been… That’s her observation, you’re just shooting sh*t and you don’t know who you’re killing or what’s going on. The truth is with any of these superheroe stories (the setting) doesn’t really matter. It’s not about World War II and it’s not about World War I, it’s about a god, a superhero/amazon coming to Man’s world and viewing mankind. So this war ended up being great (for us) and it was really fun to apply to a time period nobody knows with the same balance that you do in a superhero movie to times that you do.”
When Diana walks up that ladder, it’s an act that starts to make your hair stand up. She’s fulfilling her duty not as a hero, but as a person. Diana can’t fathom the idea of leaving behind these “small battles” of the war as Steve tells her you have to. I recalled the moment Wonder Woman leaped onto the screen in Batman v Superman and a guy in the back of the theater yelled “F*** Yeah!” I heard that guy yell again during this scene, and I hope I hear him again this summer say it a few more times.
Regarding the involvement of Ares, the god of war, in the film this is what Coming Soon learned from their set visit.
Ares is first introduced in the film as Diana’s mother Hippolyta (played by Connie Nielsen in the film) reads her a bedtime story as a child, explaining the origin of the Amazons, which will all be depicted on screen for us naturally. She tells her daughter of the time before time existed, when Zeus ruled the Earth with the other gods and how they created man to be their companions, how they were meant to be good, kind, loving, and live in peace with the gods. Hippolyta continues and reveals Ares, the god of War and son of Zeus, became jealous of his father’s relationship with man and poisons the hearts and minds of the world, so they turn on each other and begin fighting.
As man continues to destroy each other, Ares takes it out on the other Gods and begins killing them in turn. Zeus looks to the remaining gods for aid, and with the help of Aphrodite (the god of love), they create the Amazons, who rise out of the sea as noble warriors to restore peace to the world and love to the heart of man. The plan works and Ares is subdued, briefly, but his rage is unstoppable and he enslaves the Amazons and continues his god-killing tour. To save time, and make plans for the future, Zeus holds off Ares and creates Themysciara, a hidden refuge for the Amazons to stay away from his son. In the story, and in the context of the film, Zeus offers the Amazons one last gift before Ares kills him, a weapon forged to kill the god of war, the only such weapon, a sword they’ve hidden in their armory called The God Killer.
Naturally, Diana does not sleep after hearing this story. In fact, it sticks with her for the rest of her life. When Steve Trevor arrives on the island and they lasso him up (with that trusty lasso of truth) and learn about “the War to end all wars,” Diana knows who is responsible. She pleads with her mother that they must do something to stop Ares as it’s their purpose, it’s why they were made, but she’s met with push backs. Diana takes it upon herself to do something though, she can’t watch it happen, and thus the story begins.
They also learned more about the character being played by Elena Anaya, Doctor Maru a.k.a. Doctor Poison. Here’s what they had to say about her involvement.
In the film, Doctor Maru works hand in hand with Danny Huston’s General Erich Ludendorff, a rogue German general that is trying to stall all peace talks. Maru uses her talents to create gases and poisons to help Genereal Ludendorff (you can read about a scene we saw featuring both characters by clicking here).
“I thought it was important that it not be evil done by any gender or any person is about damage and darkness, and what creates evil,” director Patty Jenkins said of the character. “She’s an interesting character, we don’t get super into her backstory, but we know her backstory which is that she’s a woman whose had all kinds of damage in her life and now she delights in bringing that to other people’s lives, like ‘Oh, now you see what I know. You can’t take it.’ There is that way of being a damaged and dark person where you’re waiting for other people to face that wrath too. The naivete is infuriating (to her). So I loved that about her, and she’s a character who is focused in on developing all kinds of toxic weapons and tools.”
The most important thing about Dr. Maru is that the gas she’s created for General Ludendorff is the weapon they intend to drop all over Europe and kill millions with, which is at the center of the plot of the film. Steve Trevor has gotten his hands on the formula for the gas and has it in his possession when he crash lands on Themyscira, leading to his meeting Diana and kicking off the events of the film…
Lastly, during their set visit Coming Soon had the chance to speak with director Patty Jenkins and Wonder Woman herself Gal Gadot and asked them if the events from the film were the reason why Wonder Woman’s personality, or outlook on life, seemed so different from the 15 minutes screened and how she appears in Batman v Superman. Here’s their responses:
Patty Jenkins replied:
“Yes, there will be, and also it illuminates that there might be a misunderstanding of how we’re perceiving what she actually is thinking in the future. I think this movie ends great and in a way that really helps you to understand her, and she has a lot of shades in the future, but I think really when you look at BvS, it’s a snapshot. You’re not getting a lot of information about her point of view and 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.”
The Amazon warrior herself, Gal Gadot, spoke about this as well when we saw her on the set of the film, though was a little more guarded since “Dawn of Justice” had yet to hit theaters.
“The character that we shot, that I played in BvS was more realistic and more mature and more of a woman. In this one, this is the coming of age of Diana. She starts as a very naive girl, naive, positive, happy, seeking-for-good girl, but in BvS, she’s been, she’s been through a lot. She already understood the complexity of human beings.”
What do you think? For the description of the 15 minutes screened this certainly appears to be a lighter movie than the previous DC entries. Wonder Woman arrives in theaters June 2, 2017.