Wonder Woman Cutting Off Heads? It Almost Happened in the First Film

Wonder Woman might now be a fixture of the blockbuster movie scene, but for years, writers and directors struggled with the character. While it’s hard to imagine any other take on the character now that there have been two films with Gal Gadot, Warner Bros. at one point planned a much more violent take on her story.

Director Patty Jenkins has been surprisingly candid about her time with the series during the press tour for Wonder Woman 1984 and recently discussed the state of the first film at the time she signed on to direct.

‘Wonder Woman’ was once going to be a very violent film

Wonder Woman 1984 convoy
Gal Gadot in ‘Wonder Woman 1984.’ | Clay Enos/DC Comics

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During a recent appearance on comedian Marc Maron’s podcast, WTF, Jenkins went into detail about the state of the first ‘Wonder Woman’ film once she came on board. According to her, the plan was for a surprisingly dark and brutally violent film that left a bad taste in her mouth, The Playlist reports.

“There was such mistrust of a different way of doing things and a different point of view,” Jenkins said. “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.”

Jenkins also vented frustrations with the disregard Warner Bros. seemed to have for her input on the project. As she explains, the studio seemed intent to keep making the film the way it wanted to and only hired a female director to save face.

“They wanted to hire me like a beard,” the filmmaker said. “They wanted me to walk around on set as a woman, but it was their story and their vision.”

Producer Zack Snyder seemingly confirmed Jenkins’ claims

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 1984
Gal Gadot | Clay Enos/DC Comics

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Man of Steel director Zack Snyder served as a producer on both Wonder Woman films in his capacity as the one-time overseer for DC film projects. In a tweet posted after the WTF episode, Snyder shared a behind-the-scenes image from an earlier version of the first movie that seems to confirm Jenkins’ more grisly assertions.

The photo shows Wonder Woman carrying a bundle of severed heads as she stands alongside a group of her fellow soldiers. It is well-known at this point that the first film was to have been set during the Crimean War before Jenkins brought the setting forward to World War I.

Snyder’s description of the character arc for Diana of Themyscria fits in with the darker, jaded, and cynical takes on Superman and Batman that he presented in his earlier DC releases. While Snyder’s vision for these characters certainly garnered a very loud online fanbase, many others were put off by the intensely grim and depressing vibe of his films. Perhaps it was for the best that Jenkins was able to put her own stamp on Wonder Woman.