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'Wonder Woman' footage: how female-led movie stands out from comic book brethren

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Comic book fans recently got a glimpse at new footage from the upcoming “Wonder Woman” movie.

The character of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), also known as Diana Prince, is set to appear in this March’s “Batman v Superman.” Her solo movie is coming in the summer of 2017. 

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“People don’t know her origin like they know Superman’s origin or Batman’s origin,” Geoff Johns, DC Comics chief creative officer, said during the presentation of the new footage. 

The footage shows Wonder Woman in our own world. Actor Chris Pine, who portrays Wonder Woman’s love interest Steve Trevor, recently revealed that the film is set during World War I. 

Wonder Woman is an Amazon. “These Amazons were once created to protect man’s world,” Johns said. “But they’ve since abandoned it. And Diana is asking constantly, ‘Why don’t we go do what we were created to do and protect man?’ And they say, ‘Because they’re not worth it.’… She’s the best fighter in the DC universe.”

Director Kevin Smith, who was presenting the footage along with Johns, noted her importance in the DC Comics world and beyond, calling her a “feminist cultural icon.” 

The “Wonder Woman” film is being created as the lack of female superheroes taking center stage in movies continues to be discussed. Marvel movies have been incredibly popular at the box office, but a female character has not yet been the sole protagonist of one of their movies. A movie based on the female incarnation of the character Captain Marvel is scheduled for 2019, but the “Wonder Woman” movie will arrive about two years before that.

These movies are being planned as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” recently showed that audiences won’t avoid a female main character. Much of “Star Wars” is focused on female character Rey (Daisy Ridley) and that film is now the highest-grossing movie of all time without adjusting for inflation. “The character of Rey is a game changer for the little girls around the world who have been disgracefully ignored by the Star Wars empire for decades,” Patricia Karvelas wrote for the Guardian. “She is the real deal – smart, formidable and loyal.” 

Last year also saw the release of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” a movie in which some argued actress Charlize Theron’s character Imperator Furiosa was the focus of the movie far more than the title character (Tom Hardy).

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As for “Wonder,” the movie is being directed by Patty Jenkins at a time when female directors are rare in the blockbuster world (in 2014, women directed only 7 percent of the 250 highest-grossing movies of the year, according to San Diego State University). Jenkins will be the first female director to take on a DC Comics movie – one has yet to direct a Marvel movie since the launch of the current Marvel franchise in 2008 with “Iron Man.”