Those watching the progress of the upcoming "Wonder Woman" feature film to be written and directed by Joss Whedon were surprised to learn yesterday that Warner Bros. Pictures and Silver Pictures had purchased a competing script from newcomers Matthew Jennison and Brent Strickland. According to the Hollywood Reporter, "Sources said the purchase is a pre-emptive measure aimed at taking the spec off the market to protect itself against the possibility that any similarities between the scripts could be fodder for future legal action. It is understood that the Jennison-Strickland script is set against the backdrop of World War II, while Whedon's script is set in the present day." According to the Reporter, Silver has no interest in making a period "Wonder Woman" film.
Friday afternoon, CBR News spoke with Joss Whedon and asked him what that second script meant for his production. His answer was surprising. "That extra script, as far as I know, has nothing to do with the fact that I am no longer on the project, but I am no longer on the project as of today," Whedon told CBR News.
Fan anticipation for a "Wonder Woman" film handled by Whedon has been running high. As the creator of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" television series, Whedon seemed the perfect choice to handle a strong female character like Wonder Woman. Obviously Whedon's fans will be disappointed with this latest news, as is Whedon. "It's disappointing, but you know, it's not my piece," said Whedon. "It's Wonder Woman. 'Goners' is the move that is more me than anything else and that's the movie that I really want to make. I really put my heart into 'Wonder Woman,' I loved what I did, but at the end of the day, I didn't create it, they own it, it's disappointing, but I get it. If we're not seeing the same movie, you have to walk away. It's as much a relief as it is a disappointment - probably for them, too."
Word of Whedon's involvement with a "Wonder Woman" feature began in December of 2004, when rumors began to circulate that he would helm the feature. Official word came in March of 2005, along with the teaser image seen above, that Whedon would write and direct the adaptation of Themyscria's Finest. Things appeared to be going well through 2006. In May of 2006, Whedon noted he had received the first draft of his script back from the producers and was working on revisions. But as of today, Whedon is no longer behind the project. CBR News asked Whedon why. "They just didn't like my take. It's pretty simple."
Update 5:30 PM - Whedon provided additional comment on the Whedonesque Web site: "Let me stress first that everybody at the studio and Silver Pictures were cool and professional. We just saw different movies, and at the price range this kind of movie hangs in, that's never gonna work. Non-sympatico. It happens all the time. I don't think any of us expected it to this time, but it did. Everybody knows how long I was taking, what a struggle that script was, and though I felt good about what I was coming up with, it was never gonna be a simple slam-dunk. I like to think it rolled around the rim a little bit, but others may have differing views."