This Old 'Wonder Woman' Script by Joss Whedon Is Getting Crucified on Twitter
The new Wonder Woman film is a feminist masterpiece, plain and simple: It’s directed by a woman (Patty Jenkins), centers on a strong female superhero (Wonder Woman, obvi, played by Gal Gadot), and includes exactly zero male gaze-y shots. But the film would’ve looked completely different had Joss Whedon written the script. Remember, in 2005 Whedon was actually recruited to write the script for Wonder Woman, but he was unable to complete a final draft and left the project two years later. Well, that unfinished draft has made its way onto the Internet—and fans aren’t happy about it.
The script actually leaked last month, but the Internet didn’t notice it until a few days ago. It’s essentially the polar opposite of the Allan Heinberg-helmed script that we know and love. Steve Trevor is basically the central character in Whedon’s Wonder Woman, while the female characters are plagued with descriptions like “lovely,” “middle-aged but very much in her prime,” and “more student than athlete.” (That last one, if you’re curious, essentially means “hot but bookish”—because heaven forbid a female character who isn’t “hot” appears on screen.)
The Mary Sue writer Teresa Jusino read through most of Whedon’s script, which she describes as “badly written” and “cluelessly sexist.” Jusino writes the script essentially treats Wonder Woman as an ethereal, mysterious object to be analyzed and gawked at by Boy Next Door Steve. At one point, she’s referred to as “impossibly strong and scantily clad.” Hmm.
Jusino zeroes in on Steve and Diana’s first encounter as more proof of this. In the excerpt, below, notice how Diana isn’t even described as a human being, but something “elemental” (whatever that means):
See all those unnecessary, sexualized descriptions (“curvaceous, but taut”—cringe)? That’s male-gaze dialogue at its worst—and all of Twitter noticed. Here are just a few reactions:
To play devil’s advocate, Whedon wrote this script more than 10 years ago, and it never saw the light of day, which means Hollywood had enough sense to reject it. Whedon has probably grown leaps and bounds since writing it. After all, he helped create Buffy Summers, one of the strongest, most iconic female characters of all time: The fact he even wrote this sexist take on Wonder Woman is pretty shocking. But as Movie Pilot Editor-at-Large Alisha Grauso pointed out on Twitter, “even the most well-meaning of us have to actively work to evolve.”
Whedon is slated to direct and write the upcoming Batgirl film, so he does have a chance to redeem himself. Here’s hoping he takes this criticism to heart and nixes any future “elemental” references.