We're still waiting on seeing some moving picture footage of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Her casting announcement and subsequent image as Wonder Woman have been met with mixed reactions. While this article is not going to delve into whether or not I think she'll do a good job, I will state that I think your opinion is valid, whatever it is. If you think she'll do great, I hope you're right! If you think she'll be horrible, I hope you're pleasantly surprised. In the Internet, land of extreme opinions, I thought I'd at least start out with a call for rationality.
Regardless of whether or not you think she's a good casting choice, it's at least worth getting excited about the fact that Wonder Woman will finally be making her big screen debut. A Wonder Woman movie has been rumored for years. On the live action front, we've seen some television, but nothing official since Lynda Carter hung up the satin tights. Adrianne Palicki starred in a TV pilot that wasn't picked up. That has subsequently been leaked and many have seen it. We even talked about it on episode 150 of the podcast. The closest we appear to have gotten to seeing her on the big screen was a Justice League movie where Megan Gale was cast as Wonder Woman back in 2008. That project fell apart. I look forward to someday seeing test shots and hearing more about that project. I suspect someone is putting together a Kickstarter now as they do for all these dead comic book movies.
Comic fans have been playing "casting agent" for years. And it used to be a pretty harmless game because until around 2000, none of our movies got made. Now the movies are getting made and sometimes we're not happy with the choice because it doesn't match our perception of the character we've been reading on the four-colored page for 20 years. Again, that's okay. At least, I hope it is, because I've been playing casting agent for years myself. And specifically, I've been casting Wonder Woman almost all my life.
Here are five actresses that I wish had been given the opportunity to play Wonder Woman on the big screen...
The lead Bond girl in For Your Eyes Only, Carole Bouquet played a Greek woman whose parents were killed. She and her crossbow began a quest for vengeance. She's not often cited as one of the best Bond girls, but she is one of the more competent ones. She held her own in fights, didn't come off as ditzy, and held her own partnered with Roger Moore as Bond. It would have been nice if her performance in 1981 captured the attention of Warner Bros and they locked her in for a movie by 1983. Not that studios were ready for it in the early 80s, but a DC "cinematic universe" could have formed with Reeve and Slater. This is a Wonder Woman movie we deserved.
Jennifer Connelly has never quite had the career that I thought she could have. Not that she's had a bad career, but she's almost the "Bruce Campbell" of actresses. While she first caught my eye in Labyrinth, it was her 1991 movies of The Rocketeer and Career Opportunities that stand out to most to me. What if WB had jumped on a chance to get a Wonder Woman movie out in the same year as Batman Returns and picked up Jennifer Connelly as the lead? Again, not that there would be a "cinematic universe," but a light-hearted super hero movie could have been a nice balance to the dark and brooding Burton film. Unfortunately, the lack of success of The Rocketeer makes this idea nothing but a fantasy. But what if The Rocketeer had done so well that she was juggling Rocketeer sequels and a Wonder Woman series in her schedule? That would've been something we deserved.
When I first saw her in Firefly, I immediately thought, "Here's a candidate for Wonder Woman." And since Joss Whedon was developing a Wonder Woman movie for years, many thought this could have been an actual possibility. It was never confirmed that she was considered, but I'd like to think in the alternate reality where that movie happened, Baccarin landed the lead. (Although, Whedon likes to throw the audience for a loop sometimes, so perhaps not.) If it had, that would have been a Wonder Woman movie we deserved.
It's hard to argue against the fact that Lynda Carter is the greatest live action Wonder Woman we've ever gotten because her competition has been pretty light. That aside, she embodied the character as much as Christopher Reeve did Superman. As every Superman actor since 1979 has been compared to Reeve, every subsequent Wonder Woman is held up to the standard Lynda Carter set. While we did see her as Diana, she never played the character on the big screen. Imagine a world where the show transitioned into movies after its cancelation. Update the costume and special effects for a major motion picture, dump the supporting cast and give her some big time villains to fight. That's a Wonder Woman movie we deserved.
This might be the biggest missed opportunity in all of comic book movie casting. I first saw her in the Billy Zane Phantom movie, but after that, she was in the Mask of Zorro and Entrapment. It was right around then she caught my eye as my new Wonder Woman candidate. She not only had the look, but the acting chops. In the late 90s, we fans had no idea we were standing on the edge of a run of 15 years of non-stop super hero films. Batman & Robin had just about ruined our hopes for anything good. Then along came a movie called Blade and things began to slowly turn around and in Marvel's favor. But just think, what if we had gotten a competently produced Catherine Zeta-Jones led Wonder Woman film around the same time? What could that have done for comic book movies? And DC films? I think it could have been a hit and most certainly a Wonder Woman movie we deserved.
Even though none of these ever happened, I am glad that we'll finally see Wonder Woman on the big screen and I can put to rest my personal quest to cast the character. Hopefully she'll be great in Batman v. Superman and even more importantly, hopefully her solo movie afterward is truly a Wonder Woman movie we deserve.