Why Wonder Woman 1984's Director Felt Mistrust From Warner Bros. On First Movie

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins on Wonder Woman set

Warner Bros. has found its way into a number of different controversies in recent years, specifically dealing with the productions in the DC Extended Universe.

In the past year alone, news has broken regarding Joss Whedon's reported abuse on the set of Justice League, and disconcerting stories have come to light surrounding the cast of The Flash alone.

This is even the case on the DCEU's most successful movies, such as Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman franchise. Not only was Jenkins forced to change the ending of the original 2017 movie to make it more "cinematic," she faced vocal doubts and concerns from a number of top Warner Bros. personalities through the course of production on 2020's Wonder Woman 1984.

Just when everything wrong with this movie was believed to be known, more news has come revealing more issues behind the scenes on Jenkins' first DCEU production.


In a recent interview on Marc Maron‘s WTF podcast, via The Playlist, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins described her tumultuous experience with Warner Bros. executives working on her 2017 solo movie. She revealed that, even though she was the director, the company heads seemed to only want her to project their vision for the movie:

“They wanted to hire me like a beard; they wanted me to walk around on set as a woman, but it was their story and their vision. And my ideas? They didn’t even want to read my script. There was such mistrust of a different way of doing things and a different point of view. So that was definitely happening, even when I first joined ‘Wonder Woman’ it was like, ‘uhh, yeah, ok, but let’s do it this other way.’ But I was like, ‘Women don’t want to see that. Her being harsh and tough and cutting people’s heads off, that’s not what— I’m a ‘Wonder Woman’ fan, that’s not what we’re looking for. Still, I could feel that shaky nervousness [on their part] of my point of view.”

Even considering that Wonder Woman is DC's most well-known heroine, the studio, according to Jenkins, still seemed nervous that it would be a flop considering the history of female-led superhero movies:

“They were nervous that it wasn’t viable. They were all freaked out by all the female superhero films that had failed, the smaller ones that had failed, and also Christopher Nolan was making the ‘Dark Knight‘ thing, so I think they were just trying to figure out what they were doing with DC at that time.”

Jenkins spoke on how there were over 30 different scripts for the movie before shooting, and that there was an "internal war" between various production levels as to how Wonder Woman should be portrayed in the movie:

“During that period of time, there were so many scripts, I could see the writing on the wall. The was an internal war on every level about what Wonder Woman should be.”


Warner Bros. just can't seem to get out of their own way with the movies they produce, even on properties that are thought to be guaranteed hits. 

Diana Prince was introduced in 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Gal Gadot gained instant praise and acclaim for the first portrayal of Wonder Woman on the big screen. Gadot went on to team up with Patty Jenkins over the following year to bring Wonder Woman to life, and it turned into arguably the DCEU's biggest success, both financially and critically.

Even though this was Patty Jenkins' biggest project to date, the Warner Bros. execs seemed to be all over her through every step of making the movie out of fear that it would be a flop. Considering the DCEU's critical history up to that point, those concerns may not have been too far off base, but Jenkins moved past that to deliver a film regarded as one of the best superhero movies in history.

Wonder Woman won at the box office with an $820 million box office return, but it apparently still wasn't enough to get Warner Bros. to give her full confidence to make a great movie. It will be interesting to see if any more stories like this break in the future as Jenkins returns to make Wonder Woman 3.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.