Somehow, as often happens with my friend Todd, we got on a search for something cheesy and random. In this case, we got stuck perusing the entertaining TV Cream site’s theme song collection. Sadly, not all of them are the original recordings, but some are or are close enough for government work.
One bit of cheese that was too much dairy even for Todd was the Wonder Woman theme. I was never a fan of comic books in general, nor Wonder Woman in particular, but I did watch a bunch of episodes of hte Linda Carter series on weekday afternoons in elementary and middle school (you would not believe how little there was on TV in those days, particularly living in Taliban-wannabe South Carolina–we actually thought Diff’rent Strokes was entertaining, and not in a retro-camp kind of way). Being the only really breakout comic featuring a female superhero, it has an iconic status far beyond its sales, deeply intertwined with the modern feminist movement–none of which I was aware of until much later. However, that piano bass line is one of the underrated masterpieces of the TV genre, right up there with Barney Miller, and always gets me rockin’. Unfortunately the rest of the song doesn’t hold up to it, but that just served as a vehicle for me to remark that Joss Whedon, who Todd knew from my relentless flacking of Serenity, was hired to write and direct a Wonder Woman movie.
This of course led to a hunt for who was going to play Wonder Woman (nothing decided yet, sorry fellas hoping for hot actress shots) and seeing a bunch of interviews with Joss about it. In it he mentioned something I’d wondered about: he was definitely going to work in the bracelets, an updated version of the tights (well, duh), the golden lasso that makes people tell the truth, above-normal strength (no flying, possibly jumping), and the invisible plane if he could work it in. He mentioned that a key element would be that it’s an origins story, and it would treat Wonder Woman as a young woman or late teen new to our world, and coming to grips with its less savory aspects.
Of course, he gave no specifics and at this stage of the writing there may not be (m)any. But it set me to wondering tonight, as my brain did a weird turn as it is wont to do: how could you piece a story together that has a woman acquire or already have super-strength, get bracelets, the lariat, and maybe a jet–and want to cover herself in something at least somewhat patriotic (to the USA or some star-spangled red-white-and-blue country–sorry, Canadians).
So here’s my guess, based on pure speculation and almost no familiarity or great caring about the original material:
Wonder Woman will indeed be an Amazonian princess, raised to age five or six in some hidden community dominated by super-fine yet ass-kickin’ wimmen. Hopefully it won’t be a boring gynotopia, but we only have one movie here, so if there is it will be subtext and our little princess will be shielded from most of it. She maybe has slight impish/rebellious streak and wanders out in some forbidden place and sees a pontoon plane land, and is enthralled with the idea of flying. She swims out, crawls in, and stows away. Possibly something will be happening to the Amazonian paradise–hopefully something nice and ironic that will fuel the story later on–that causes her to flee to the plane and hide away, and prevents them from coming after her. Actually, this could be a pretty shocking dark bit that breaks with the Linda Carter-thoughts in viewers’ minds.
Fortunately the owner is your movie-brand Nice Old Man, who discovers this stowaway, takes her to his vast spread in Montana or some such place and, recognizing her unique qualities, hides her from prying eyes and raises her as his own. This guy tries to shield her from the harsh realities of the world and instead raises her on an intellectual diet of Reagan-brand Americana: founding fathers, liberty, justice, hard work and a quiet pride. I think it’s important he be a man, so she doesn’t have a natural distrust of men later on.
He raises her until she becomes a young woman, at which point, as all men who take in orphans in movies do, he dies in a heart-rending scene, leaving the girl on her own, bank foreclosing on the farm, and with maybe a home-schooling certificate with which she can go out and seek employment and an education. She randomly picks a place to go to, overcome with grief.
Then we get some slightly typical little-girl-big-city stuff, though Joss always throws in some curves, so this point there’s no telling. So we’ll just go with my version, proving once and for all that Joss Whedon is where he belongs and so am I. She gets to the city, somehow uses her knack of flying (it was a BIIIG spread with a light plane or three that she never flew within seeing distance of civilization hand-wave, hand-wave before the bank got them all) to get a job with Evil McNasty’s corporation. McNasty’s hands are on the helm of the corporation, and he’d like to put one of those hands on her corpus. But maybe he really needs her flying ability, so he butters her up instead of slipping her a mickey, and she gets to see all kinds of military projects, including: material that can stop bullets, truth-inducing flobotnam that can be extruded as a lariat for tying up Gitmo prisoners, and, yes, a frickin’ invisible jet. There’s also a potential yet dangerous love interest of a guy they’ve hyped up to be the ultimate soldier for this stuff. (Oh, I’m just ripping off Spiderman and Batman Returns right, left, and center.)
Evil finally attempts to take advantage of her, she objects with super-strength, and things get dangerous…she takes off with the accouterments and a knowledge of what nasty things Evil McNasty is doing through our government, escapes naked and grabs a patriotic spandex costume from a costume shop as her disguise which soon gets slinkily cut off the arms and legs, and she makes a St. Crispin’s day speech about how she’s going to restore the America she knew, battles the good-looking misogynist spawn of McNasty, and rides off into the sunset in her invisible jet.
Are there holes? Sure. But there’s a plausible scenario and a waste of an evening. The effort would make more sense if were fan enough to have remembered about the lasso before hearing the cheesy lyrics of the song…but I am only vaguely in control of my brain.
Joss, I won’t be expecting a credit or a call, and I’m hoping you can do better.