Whether or not screenwriter/director Joss Whedon is a feminist is up for debate to this day. He sure gave the world one of the largest collections of strong female leading characters in series and films he helped create – think Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Echo in Dollhouse, Zoë Alleyne Washburne in Firefly, and the list could go on and on. He has the talent to create on-screen teams that just simply “work” – this is why most people consider that getting him write the Avengers script was perhaps the best idea ever, getting people forget to munch their popcorn and to play JackpotCity online roulette in the theater for a couple of hours. But he has been repeatedly called out for his “unfeminist” deeds in the past, most recently due to the leaked script he wrote for Wonder Woman – one that was finally dismissed by the studio.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story: Whedon was recruited back in the mid-2000s to write a script for the big-screen revival of the popular DC Comics superheroine. He and Warner ultimately parted ways due to “creative differences”, the story was locked away not to see the light of the day – until last year, when it was leaked online. Of course, all the fans and foes of the writer/director have given it a good read, especially after director Patty Jenkins came out and urged fans not to compare her version of Wonder Woman with Whedon’s – something they did anyway.
Whedon’s Wonder Woman was not a period piece but rather a story told from a modern-day perspective, with Diana having a difficult relationship with her mother Hippolyta, and the focus of the story being placed more on the heroics of Steve Trevor and less on the heroic deeds of Diana herself. Some went as far as calling the script “sexist”. Especially after reading how Whedon described the title character:
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.
Whedon, in turn, defended his unproduced story in an interview for Variety, considering that it “has integrity and the characters have integrity” and declaring that he stands by it. And he revealed to have loved Patty Jenkins’ version of the story, even though at times he felt that he should have hated it. “I totally forgot I had written one when I watched it. I just had a great time,” he said.
Curious about the controversial script? You can read it here.