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SYFY WIRE Wonder Woman

Scrapped Wonder Woman TV pilot came 'one or two' years too early to be a 'shoo-in,' says star Adrianne Palicki

By Jacob Oller
Adrianne Palicki getty

The year was 2011. The CW wouldn't kick off Arrow (or even think of its Arrowverse) for another year. The Avengers had yet to assemble on the big screen. And NBC was putting together a new Wonder Woman pilot. Adrianne Palicki, now known for playing Bobbi Morse in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., was set to star as Diana Themyscira/Prince. David E. Kelley was putting it together. Cary Elwes, Elizabeth Hurley, Pedro Pascal, and more were involved. Then, after seeing the pilot, NBC passed. It could've been for any number of reasons, but for Palicki, it just seemed like it was a little before its time.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the actor looked back on the pilot that never went to series. “I feel like maybe if it had been [made] one or two more years [later], it would’ve been a shoo-in,” she said. “It was fun for me to get to play three different characters,” she said. “I loved that David E. Kelley is really great at writing really strong women, and I found he did that beautifully in all of the different personas. What they all still had was this beautiful vulnerability of isolation.”

Five years later, Gal Gadot took the world by storm with her big-screen portrayal of the classic character in the film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. NBC's would-be Wonder Woman was a fan. "It's so great to see this character come to life because it is important for young girls. She changed my life," Palicki said of Gadot's performance.

She also acknowledges the bright spots in not seeing the pilot continue to a full series. "I would not have had a life between the stunt rehearsals, being in every scene. It would’ve been worth it, but it probably would’ve aged me massively in three years," Palicki said, noting the expectations and workloads of actors playing TV superheroes. Back in a 2013 interview, Palicki noted that "it was probably a blessing" it didn't get picked up, even though she was "devastated when it didn’t go."

But working with Elwes made even the pilot worth the disappointment: "That and wearing the costume.” Who knows what would've happened had the pilot come after Arrow laid the groundwork for a DC TV universe? Perhaps Palicki would've dominated the small screen while Diana waited a little longer to hit the silver screen.

Those looking to see more Wonder Woman can catch the Amazonian warrior in Wonder Woman 1984 when it finally hits theaters on Dec. 25.