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Why Wonder Woman Doesn't Need an Origin Movie

Rileah Vanderbilt as Wonder Woman.
Rainfall films.
In the wake of the recent announcement at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con that the sequel to Man of Steel will feature Batman I've kind of got superhero movies on the brain.

Consensus among comic film watchers is that a Superman/Batman movie is definitely another step towards the Justice League film that Warner Bros has been trying to get off the ground - since before anyone believed an Avengers film would even work, let alone make more than a billion at the box office.

Inevitably that leads to questions about the introduction of other Justice League members, particularly Wonder Woman, who is arguably the most iconic superhero on the planet to not yet have a modern make-over, kick ass film for today's generation. Not through lack of trying. Even Avengers mastermind, Joss Whedon, had a Wonder Woman script ready to go before moving to Marvel.

If you're like me, you may be getting a bit tired of superhero origin films. Especially for iconic characters like Wonder Woman (Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Hulk) who already have mainstream familiarity. Most mainstream audiences even have some idea who the Flash is through his TV series but may not be as familiar with his alter ego(s).

Main stream audiences, if they do know Wonder Woman's origin story are more likely to know the the seventies TV show version. I've tried to follow the origin story of the latest incarnation of the character in DC comic's New 52 universe and, quite frankly, it's a dog's breakfast of ideas linked to Greek Gods and mythology, with no explanation of her first contact with the modern world and how that all went down.

Getting around to the point of this article (finally), until recently (after doing research as I don't read comics at all), I didn't have clue about Wonder Woman's origin story but that hasn't stopped me from enjoying the character or wanting to see her finally get her own big screen, live action film. Which leads me to wonder, why does her first film need to be a detailed origin story? Especially when it has been shown that they're not essential.

If you look at past DC films, Batman  '89 wasn't a Batman origin story even though it was the first live action Batman on film since Adam West and was a complete redesign of the live action version of the character.

At most it was a year one story, as Batman seemed to be just at the beginning of spreading the word about himself. His origin was addressed in flashbacks and through other characters investigations, but they weren't the focus of the film.

If anything it was a Joker origin story. Batman was pretty well established with his suit, car, tech and cave. All that was left was to introduce himself as a crime fighter to Gotham.

Coincidentally, the Joker, who is a hugely iconic Batman villain, was given no origin story at all in The Dark Knight. Everything you needed to know about him was told by his cohorts in the film's opening scene. Everything else you learned from the Joker himself as the movie progresses.

Even when you think you're learning the back story of his scars, the Joker later retells it differently, and you realize the first story is probably not how he got them either. By the end of the film you know as much about the Joker's origin as you did at the beginning of the film.

I'm not saying Wonder Woman's origin should not be addressed. I just don't see why that has to be such a big part of the movie? Can't Wonder Woman just show up to some major crisis, wow the socks off everybody, then we gradually get to learn about her origin as the movie progresses.

Man of Steel and The Dark Knight Trilogy both were far more interesting films when they started to explore how the military, government, local law and wider community reacted to having to deal with the introduction of a superhero into those worlds. Why not use that angle with Wonder Woman right from the get go, whilst she deals with whatever the wider threat is that brought her to the public's attention in the first place?

By the time Wonder Woman is introduced into the DC cinematic universe, people in that universe will have started to come to terms with superheroes, particularly one as powerful as Superman. The appearance of Wonder Woman would still be major news and potentially still one for government concern. However just like the end of Man of Steel, there's no reason why Wonder Woman couldn't be welcomed into that uneasy alliance Earth has already established with Superman.

There's also quite a lot of potential future plot lines in that alliance for future movies. Yes we treat superheroes as allies but that doesn't stop the military and other organisations from keeping a wary eye on their activities should they become a threat.

All of these superhero movies are intended to be franchise films. This means that we could be learning about their origins over multiple films.

How about a plot line where Wonder Woman doesn't actually reveal her origin? If you go with her original origin she probably wouldn't want to disclose the existence of an undiscovered island of female Amazon warriors on Earth. There could be a character (Lois Lane perhaps?) that spends their time trying to discover the origins of such a fantastical being over several movies.

There's so many ways to introduce mainstream audiences to superhero characters without starting with an origin story. Why do we need to know everything about them before they save the planet? When you make a new friend it can take years to discover their history and even then you'll probably never know all of it.

That's actually why I think Wonder Woman doesn't need an origin movie. She would be a much more intriguing character if you didn't know her back story. People are always saying Wonder Woman needs to be sexy. What's sexier than a woman who's a total mystery to begin with?

That's why Wonder Woman doesn't need an origin movie. There's already precedent for other iconic DC characters not to be given an origin story as their first film. It means you can get right into putting the character on screen sooner and allows the audience to discover the origin as the main story is told.

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