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The audience’s response to the first Wonder Woman trailer on Saturday afternoon at the Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary panel at San Diego Comic-Con showed that they were excited about the movie, but as director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot spoke about their experiences working on the film, it became increasingly obvious that the duo’s enthusiasm and belief in the project may be even stronger.
“Many times, it felt like we got signs from the universe,” Gadot said about shooting the movie, which takes the hero from a supporting presence in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice to fully fledged leading lady for the first time in her three-quarter-century career. “It felt like we were just a vessel for a greater story that we need to share with everyone. It isn’t about me as an actress or Patty as a director. It felt like, now is the time.”
For Jenkins, however, it was a particularly long time coming. “I’ve been talking about doing female superhero films since I got my foot in the door,” the director said, explaining that Richard Donner’s original Superman movie had been a life-changing experience that had left her, ever since, wanting to make a movie as inspirational to a new audience.
“Wonder Woman is my favorite superhero,” the filmmaker told the crowded room. “I couldn’t believe everyone hadn’t made [her movie] yet. I made Monster and my first meeting after, I met with Warner Bros. and I said, ‘I want to make Wonder Woman.'”
While those first meetings didn’t work out — something Jenkins said she was grateful for, specifically referencing her experience working with Marvel Studios on Thor: The Dark World before exiting as being educational regarding the need for filmmaker and studio to want to make the same movie from the outset — eventually her campaigning to be involved bore fruit.
“When the moment came, I could not believe this moment has come,” she confessed. “I feel so honored to do it. It’s my life dream — I have always aspired to make something like this.”
Gadot and Jenkins talked fondly about the bond formed during production. “I couldn’t ask for a better partner,” the actress said. “It’s been such a special, unique experience. We would work six days a week and then I’d be, ‘Are you doing something this weekend? Should we do something [together]?'”
Jenkins said that Gadot was responsible for the positive atmosphere on set. “Person after person would come up to me and say, ‘We want to do it for Gal,'” said the director. “I could never have imagined that someone so really like Wonder Woman would show up to do this movie. She is Wonder Woman.”
Asked to reveal details about the movie’s plot, Jenkins called it “a classic coming-of-age arc” that blends multiple comic book incarnations of the character together — specifically called out was George Perez’s 1980s run, which fellow panelist (and DC Entertainment co-publisher) Jim Lee described as “Game of Thrones-like before there was Game of Thrones” — saying that one of the movie’s themes is “how to learn to become a loving, powerful hero. Power comes easy, but how do you learn to do the other things?”
Gadot, meanwhile, said that the film is “a story of a girl becoming a woman,” adding, “Diana grew up in [the isolated island of] Themyscira, where she was very safe and very protected. She thought she knew everything about the world. When she left Themyscira to go to the world of men, she realizes there is so much more that she doesn’t understand.” (One of the things Diana doesn’t understand, as the trailer premiered earlier in Hall H showed, is quite what a man is.)
Appearing with Gadot, Jenkins and Lee, Nicola Scott — a longtime Wonder Woman fan who is currently working on the comic book series alongside writer Greg Rucka and artist Liam Sharp — spoke about her love for both the character (“She was the first superhero I ever saw”) and next year’s movie. “I’m so glad it’s Wonder Woman coming out first,” she said, referring to Marvel’s lack of a female-led movie to date. “It should be. It should be Wonder Woman coming out first.”
With Gadot currently shooting Justice League — an experience she described as being “insane, bigger than life” — and Jenkins editing Wonder Woman, it was clear that both still feel passionate about the character and her adventures. “My relationship with this movie started in the biggest way because I love Wonder Woman,” Jenkins said, “and then it narrows into the smallest place in the editing room, and I’m still like, ‘God, I love Wonder Woman.’ I leave the darkness and walk into daylight and still love her.”
Wonder Woman is set to be released June 2, 2017.
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