Retcon This! – The New Wonder Woman TV Show

In the ever-evolving landscape of fandom, there are simply some things that should not have happened. In Retcon This!, we examine some of the more questionable aspects of our beloved geek properties.

When it was first announced that legendary TV producer David E. Kelley was developing a series based on DC’s legendary heroine Wonder Woman, I was cautiously optimistic. I’m not the biggest fan of the character, but I do recognize her status as an icon in the world of comics and as one of the few well-known and most important female superheroes, so having a new TV show based around her is kind of a big deal. Plus, Kelley is a dependable creator who knows how to make good, successful TV shows. Ever since that initial announcement, however, everything else I’ve learned about the show has made me more and more convinced that this will be an embarassing failure for all involved. The changes made to the characters, the choice of costume, and the basic premise of the show do no justice to the legacy of Wonder Woman and will do nothing to raise awareness of the character other than make her a national punchline on par with Cop Rock.

First off, the show seems to be toning down the character’s Amazonian heritage and instead is making her the CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation who secretly fights crime. Early reports of the pilot show us that the character will be depicted as a “modern corporate woman” trying to balance her business life with the life of a crimefighter, while at the same time attempting to maintain some sort of personal life. That’s right…comicdom’s premier superheroine is going to be portrayed as a superpowered variation of Liz Lemon from 30 Rock or the title character of Kelley’s previous creation, Ally McBeal. In both the comics and in the old 70’s TV show starring Lynda Carter, Diana’s secret identities, when she actually had them, did not have any sort of priority over her real identity. Those versions of Wonder Woman wouldn’t have had the time or even the desire to worry about corporate and financial interests, but apparently Kelley wants to change the character to fit the kind of plots he is good at writing, with no concern about the integrity of the character.

Are you freakin' KIDDING ME?!!

Another ridiculous concept rumored to be a part of the show will be that Wonder Woman will have two secret identities: the aforementioned CEO named Diana Themysciera and her mousy assistant, named Diana Prince. Having two alter egos is idiotic enough, but let’s also note that THEY BOTH HAVE THE SAME FIRST NAME! Suddenly, hiding your secret identity behind glasses doesn’t seem so ridiculous anymore. Having the character juggle three identities in an hourlong show is going to be a big test of the audience’s patience and ability to suspend disbelief. I really don’t see how she can do all this and still have time to fight supervillains.

Speaking of supervillains, let’s take a look at who has been cast to be Diana’s rival in the show. It has been reported that Elizabeth Hurley has been cast as Veronica Cale, a villain created by Greg Rucka during his celebrated run on the Wonder Woman comic. So far, so good. These same reports also show that Cale will be the head of a pharmaceutical company that manufactures a drug that gives people superhuman powers and vows to take Wonder Woman down because of her jealousy of her. This is somewhat true to her character in the comics, but some are reporting that there will be undertones of a lesbian attraction to Diana as well. I’m no prude, but these rumors concern me. My five-year old daughter loves Wonder Woman. She was introduced to the character via the Justice League cartoon and has become quite fond of the old Lynda Carter show, and if the new show is going to be all “sexed-up” by having Cale drool over Diana, I don’t think I’ll let her watch it, which is a shame, because young girls like her could use a positive role model on TV nowadays.

Principal photography has not yet begun on the new Wonder Woman TV show, and more reports have been released that the pilot has already been submitted for rewrites. In my opinion, the entire show needs to be scrapped in order to include the following changes: 1) If you feel the need to give Diana a secret identity, stick to just one and try not to make it as important to the the show; 2) Play up the character’s mythological roots and have her fight more powerful beings, not just disgruntled corporate harpies; 3) Keep the overt sexiness to a minimum. The character is sexy enough just because of her strength and confidence; and, finally, 4) Give her a costume that doesn’t look like a cheap Party City knock-off. The show is set to debut this Fall, but the way things are looking for the show at this point, it probably won’t last until Christmas. Comic book adaptations nowadays succeed based on the respect the creators have for the original characters and concepts, and the way David E. Kelley has handled Wonder Woman so far does not bode well for the future of this property or for female-centric comic characters as a whole.

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Who ARE these people!?

Ben Gilbert is an avid comic and movie fan, father of two amazing kids, and husband to one awesome chick. He resides in the hills of East Tennessee and still doesn't quite know what he wants to be when he grows up.

Comments (18)

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  1. SexyToaster says:

    is that the actual costume? it looks like they got it at Holloween USA.

    • ELI! says:

      That can’t possibly be what they are planning to film with.

    • rob says:

      The outfit is absolutely hidieous!!! We want our original star spangeled costume back. I detest the idea of Diana Having Three different identeties. Diana Prince is enough!! And the idea of having some kind of lesbian interest in the series in absolutely Disgusting!! This is a heroine that has been a role model for Women for over 70 years now. Especially in today’s society where Girls no longer have Women on Tv to look up to. No more Leading super ladies on Television with compassion and sincerity. Those days have been long gone, and that’s the same vibe that people today are searching for. The costume has to be brought back to its original state. Our Beloved star spangeled outfit with the high cut short and Red Boots. The Tiara is almost close to being unvisable and the braclets need to be klnocked down a few inches as well. Man. The costume designer should really take the original sketches done by Donfeld for the original series into consideration. If you dont re-write the script and make these vital changes, you can say goodbye to any chance of a real series!! Oh and BTW.. How does Diana turn into Wonder Woman. Is the spin being brought back? or have they thought of a brand new vision for that as well. Very Dissapointed with what they have come up with so far. My biggest dissapointement is that Lynda Carter has no complaints towards this new and r rated version of Wonder Woman. Maybe shes been paid off By WB??Who knows??

  2. Caelyn says:

    Lesbian/Gay does not equal bad role model.

    • Ben Gilbert says:

      Agreed, it does not. But when the villain is the one lusting after the hero, how is that a positive portrayal?

      • David in Chelsea, MA says:

        What does the villain being attracted to Wonder Woman have to do with the show being positive or not? You seem to be focusing on the fact that the villain is FEMALE, as if lesbian attraction is something a child is unable to handle. Gay people aren’t invisible, nor should they be. We exist. Kids aren’t that fragile, for crying out loud.

        The producers aren’t going to have Wonder Woman and the villain banging on camera, I can assure you.

        • Jeffro says:

          “The producers aren’t going to have Wonder Woman and the villain banging on camera, I can assure you.”

          And that is why this show will fail.

  3. ELI! says:

    With Kelly helming the show it was not ever likely to be kid friendly. If this even happens I imagine it being in a 9pm timeslot at the earliest. I don’t see a problem with “sexing up” a show if it is meant for adults. Kids like Batman too, but the movies aren’t meant for six year olds.

    If the villain was a man who had the hots for Diana would you still object to it?

    • Ben Gilbert says:

      I’m not even asking for the show to be “kid friendly,” but it’s at least feasible to have a female-centric superhero show that didn’t have a sexual undertone to it. It would be nice to have a female-centric show stand on the characters’ strength and not just on her sexuality. Of course, these are just rumors, so we’ll see what the finished product looks like this fall.

      BTW I love the lesbians.

  4. John-Michael (Batman25JM) says:

    I love David E. Kelley. He’s the creator of one of my absolute favorite shows ever: Boston Legal. I also enjoy the Practice and Harry’s Law has been pretty good. With that all said, this show sounds like garbage and that costume looks horrible.

  5. Aussiemandias says:

    A show based on a character with connections to Greek mythology and that historical background trying to live in a world she is new to after growing up in a very sheltered environment, maybe dealing with mythological based villains in addition to some of her more modern based villains would have been great.

    This does not sound great.

  6. Tomer Soiker says:

    With the history of Wonder Woman on television, our only hope is that just like the original, midway the direction of the new show will change dramatically (IIRC, first it was set in WW2 with Nazis as the main protagonists and Steve Trevor supporting Diana/WW; then after one season or in the middle of it the plot moved to modern day).

  7. Jeffro says:

    If there’s one thing I know about Wonder Woman, it’s that overt sexuality has never been an issue with her. There have never been any S&M/bondage undertones in her 70 year history. I’m appalled.

  8. Rob Mars says:

    The presentation is all wrong if you’re wanting a positive role model for young girls (much less a convincing superheroine for adults). Kelley et al. seem more interested in boobs than muscles. The actress they chose is rail thin and devoid of muscle tone: neither a persuasive butt-kicking heroine, nor a symbol of strength for young girls.

  9. Rob Olivera says:

    Oh well. It’ll be a good watch for a Pilot… Since it is CLEARLY not going to a series. Palicki is beautiful but this is not the WW costume OR the story.

    • Jason Kerouac says:

      I find it amusing that all of the naysayers appear to be Robs… weird.

      1) While I don’t think a lesbian presence is in any way a negative thing, I also agree with Ben that leaving sexuality out of the equation for the most part would’ve been just fine. Some subtle sensuality in place of overt sexual tones would have worked nicely.

      2) The old costume, as iconic as it is, would look ridiculous on TV in this day and age. What woman would put that on to do anything at all, let alone fight crime?

      • Ben Gilbert says:

        The costume definitely needs to be changed somewhat for TV, but this costume isn’t the best choice in my opinion.

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