SCI FI Wire hit the interview circuit at New York Comic Con and got a chance to speak exclusively to the creators of the new animated Wonder Woman film, screenwriter Michael Jelenic, director Lauren Montgomery and a special guest of the Con, producer Bruce Timm. We got some information on the story, why they chose not to have her fly, Nathan Fillion as Steve Trevor and some rather strange trivia about Wonder Woman herself.
Screened to rave reviews on Friday night, the film is Wonder Woman's origin story. Montgomery explains: "It starts with the history with her mother and how the Amazons came to inherit Themyscira. We spend a little time in Themyscira on Diana's birth or creation and her development into a woman. And, of course, she ventures out into Man's World on her mission, which is to recapture Ares. And she develops into the Wonder Woman that we know and love."
Jelenic wasn't incredibly familiar with the character before writing the screenplay. "Coming into the project, I didn't know a lot about Wonder Woman," he said. "Just some basic stuff about her. So I learned a lot in a short amount of time. I work with a lot of comic-book nerds who know so much about every single character. I asked, 'What do you consider canon or iconic Wonder Woman?' They pointed me in the direction. Sometimes they were different directions, because everybody has different ideas about who Wonder Woman is. So I tried to take a consensus and base it all around that."
A big decision had to be made about whether to have Wonder Woman fly. "Coming into it, I didn't realize how much controversy there was surrounding the Wonder Woman powers," Jelenic said. "She doesn't really fly in this. I soon found out that this is a major, major point among fans. And if I could just explain the thinking behind that, I guess people were saying that if you don't let her fly, you're taking away her power, and she becomes weaker. But just from a storytelling point of view she has her iconic invisible jet. So I think it has to be one or the other. She either flies or she has the invisible jet. ... I know a lot of people hate the invisible jet. I think it's pretty cool, and I know it's sort of random and weird, but that's part of the coolness of it."
Timm added: "I knew it was going to be an issue. ... We knew we had to do the invisible jet. It's like Batman; you have to have the Batmoblie. The consensus was that she shouldn't fly. We're [Timm and Jelenic] both super amused that there is a full thread about her flying on the forums. People who are outraged, literally outraged that she was not flying in the movie. They are boycotting the movie because she doesn't fly."
The famous lasso of truth could not be left out, of course. Jelenic used it for comic relief. "The lasso of truth plays a very big role in the movie," he said. "You see it multiple times. I use it for comedy quite a bit, because Steve Trevor is such a sort of blah male, still very likable. You know, every time he gets the lasso of truth on him he ends up saying something very stupid."
And speaking of Col. Trevor, the creators talked about the casting of Nathan Fillion, a man who just played a villain in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. "He just makes the character, who could essentially come off as a jerk," Jelenic told us. "He kind of says a lot of things that are questionable. But he makes it charming, and he can get away with it."
Montgomery added, "He was the first choice out of the gate. ... As soon as Bruce read the character and saw the design, he said, 'I don't know what you were thinking, but this guy is Nathan Fillion.' And I was down with that. And he did an awesome job."
We asked about the strangest piece of Wonder Woman trivia everyone learned while making the film. "The thing that I learned on this film that I didn't know was the bondage aspect," Montgomery said. "That's the craziest fun fact I know. Luckily it's one that we didn't have to deal with in this movie. We kind of skipped over it. ... I had never ever heard that if she gets bound by a man, she loses her powers. ... As a woman, you sit back and think, that was a man's idea. No woman made that up," she added with a laugh.
"I think it's interesting that the man who created Wonder Woman also created the lie detector," Timm added. "The truth lasso and the lie detector, ... and he was also into bondage and S&M. That's a weird sideline."
We pointed out that he also lived with two women. "Yes, I think he was," Timm said. "He was a very interesting man, Mr. Marston." Wonder Woman will be released direct to DVD on March 3.