The world has been riding high on Patty Jenkins's Wonder Woman, which broke box office records and ushered in some excellent kid reactions. So it's something of a shock to remember that director Joss Whedon tried to get his own Wonder Woman script together back in 2007—with much less success.
Last month, Whedon's script leaked on the internet. This weekend, people started paying closer attention to the actual contents of the script:
One excerpt details Diana's entrance into the fray, which happens... after Steve Trevor's intro POV:
"To say she is beautiful is almost to miss the point. She is elemental, as natural and wild as the luminous flora surrounding. Her dark hair waterfalls to her shoulders in soft arcs and curls. Her body is curvaceous, but taut as a drawn bow. She wears burnished metal bracelets on both wrists, wide and intricately detailed. Her shift is of another era; we'd call it ancient Greek. She is barefoot."
*slight spoilers for the Wonder Woman film below*
Compare this treatment to, say, Diana's first appearance in this year's Wonder Woman, which focuses solely on the young Diana and the Amazons of Themyscira. Now, this Wonder Woman script is by Allan Heinberg, and the overall story is by him, Jason Fuchs, and Zack Snyder. But it seems Whedon, who helped introduce canonical heroines like Buffy the Vampire Slayer into pop culture, took the script in a way that started with and centered Steve Trevor, rather than Wonder Woman herself.
One Twitter user tweeted out multiple sections of the script, and yeah, there are definitely cringeworthy sections:
There's this tidbit, where an in-universe newscaster shares, "Reports have come in from all over the city. Descriptions vary, but all describe her as female, impossible strong and scantily clad." Hm.
Now, the Wonder Woman film does address Diana's sexualization by outsiders, but nothing quite as irksome as that. It's not as though Jenkins's eye is the only one guiding the production, but Wonder Woman herself is squarely at the center of her own story. Whedon's script, by contrast, seems to treat her solely like an exquisite creature to be examined by Good Guy Steve Trevor and the larger world.
After all, this (through Steve) doesn't really seem like something that's mean to build up Wonder Woman as powerful, self-assured, and well, competent and interesting beyond her ~*sexy costume and bod*~:
"I think you're dangerous. I think you mean well but you're looking for trouble and you're wildly adept at finding it. I think you've got delusions of grandeur and some actual grandeur, which is confusing. I don't like confusing. I hate the fact that I'm so attracted to you, just touching you is overwhelming and I keep hoping you'll turn around so I can see more of you naked."
Some of the reactions to the leaked script: "Jesus that is horrific. Whedon's script completely ruins Diana and Steve there." "I can only assume that, somewhere in this, Wonder Woman breastily thinks about her ivory curves of her luscious bosom in the script notes." "The PJ movie is certainly open to criticism. This one is just so mind-boggling awful that it's indefensible."
Of course, leaked work doesn't stay in its final form. But who knows how this script would've turned out if it had gone through the studio process? It's not as though Whedon has another shot at an iconic comics heroine...oh.