'Wonder Woman' Movie Loses Director Michelle MacLaren (Exclusive)

Michelle MacLaren - H 2015
<p>Michelle MacLaren - H 2015</p>   |   AP Images
Creative differences are being cited as the reason for MacLaren's departure.

Michelle MacLaren has dropped out of directing Wonder Woman due to what the parties involved are calling creative differences. 

“Given creative differences, Warner Bros. and Michelle MacLaren have decided not to move forward with plans to develop and direct Wonder Woman together,” the studio said in a statement.

While the specific differences that led to the split are not known, it inevitably carries echoes of an incident in 2011 when Marvel and director Patty Jenkins also parted ways. Jenkins had been tapped to direct Thor 2, which would have made her the first female director of a Marvel movie. But when she and Marvel hit an impasse, that movie, which came to be titled Thor: The Dark World, was turned over to Alan Taylor. The fact that both MacLaren and Jenkins off their respective projects is sure to raise the question of whether women filmmakers are welcome in the world of high-stakes, superhero movies.

MacLaren, an experienced TV showrunner and director, was to have made her feature directorial debut with Wonder Woman. She's proven herself adept at handling genre material with directing credits that include episodes of Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and, most recently, Better Call Saul.

MacLaren was hired in November to great fanfare to helm the movie, to which Gal Gadot is attached to star. Her hire capped off months of searching by Warners, which sought out a female director for the project, which centers around the preeminent superheroine in comicdom.

Like many of its DC Comics-derived superhero movies, Wonder Woman has been developed on multiple tracks with various writers working on scripts, and MacLaren had been heavily involved in shaping those scripts.

It is unclear whether MacLaren's departure will affect the movie's scheduled release — it has been slotted for 2017.