Why Michelle MacLaren Left the Wonder Woman Movie

Friday, 17 April 2015 - 2:04PM
DC Comics
Wonder Woman
Friday, 17 April 2015 - 2:04PM
Why Michelle MacLaren Left the Wonder Woman Movie
When Michelle MacLaren departed from the Wonder Woman movie earlier this week, fans were understandably disappointed (ourselves included). MacLaren has all the nerd credibility any of us could ask for, as she has directed episodes of Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, The X-Files, the list goes on and on. Her episodes have been critically acclaimed, she's won Emmys, she's the ideal candidate.

So what were those "creative differences" that caused her to split with the studio? According to a new report from Variety, "multiple sources close to the project" have claimed that MacLaren envisioned Wonder Woman as an action-heavy epic a la Braveheart, while the studio wanted a more character-driven story. 

At first blush, that seems like a fairly innocuous reason. Studios should be commended for wanting to make a film that's not overly dependent on action, and it sounds like there was just not a meeting of the minds. But the rest of Variety's report calls that interpretation into question, specifically when they claimed the studio "became increasingly concerned about MacLaren directing a large-scale, action-packed production when her experience was limited to the small screen."

First of all, at the very least, Game of Thrones is the very definition of an action-packed, large-scale, "epic" production, not to mention that Walking Dead and Breaking Bad are also action-packed in their own ways. But even more troublingly, male directors are constantly given big franchises without necessarily having experience with action movies (see Marc Webb, Colin Trevorrow, etc), while MacLaren was apparently not given the benefit of the doubt at all (not that she should need it). In light of this information, it makes me suspect that they're not eschewing action because they genuinely want to make a character-driven movie, but because they are targeting the film towards women and they don't think women will want to see a Braveheart-like epic. 

I'm glad they hired Patty Jenkins, as she is very talented and hasn't gotten enough of a chance in Hollywood. But according to Variety's report, "the studio is expected to stick with a more character-driven movie should Jenkins become attached." For the record, we have every reason to believe that either MacLaren or Jenkins could handle an action-packed superhero film, and every reason to believe that men and women would turn up to see an epic origin story for Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman stars Gal Godot, and is slated for a 2017 release.
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