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2017’s Wonder Woman might have been the DC Comics hero’s very first movie. But after rave reviews and more than $800 million worldwide, a new franchise was born. Director Patty Jenkins committed to not only the movie’s 2020 sequel but also an untitled Wonder Woman 3. The director nearly worked with Marvel instead, however. And now fans know exactly why that deal fell through.

Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot at the 'I Am The Night' premiere
Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot at the ‘I Am The Night’ premiere | Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

‘Wonder Woman’ director Patty Jenkins was once hired by Marvel

Following her directorial debut with 2003’s Monster, Jenkins didn’t make another movie for 15 years. Partly, this was due to her ultimate goal of making a superhero movie, she told host Marc Maron on a recent episode of his WTF podcast. And with her interest making the rounds, it didn’t take long for Marvel to reach out. In fact, the Wonder Woman filmmaker was slated to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe at one point.

In 2011, Marvel announced Jenkins would direct Thor: The Dark World. But much to the dismay of star Natalie Portman, Jenkins left the project. Marvel brought in Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor to replace her. Upon its 2013 release, Thor: The Dark World earned more than $640 million worldwide. But Jenkins has no regrets about not working with Marvel Studios then. After all, she did land Wonder Woman a few years later.

Here’s why she decided not to make ‘Thor: The Dark World’ for the MCU

Of course, that’s not to say Jenkins didn’t appreciate the opportunity to work with Marvel. If she had directed the Thor sequel, the Wonder Woman director still would have been the first female filmmaker to helm a modern superhero movie. But as she told Maron, this simply wasn’t the right project for her to cut her teeth on a big-budget blockbuster.

“To Marvel’s credit, like on a movie [Thor: The Dark World] that did not require a woman at all, they hired me. I’ve always been super grateful to them, even though it didn’t work out. … They wanted to do a story that I thought was not going to succeed, and I knew that it couldn’t be me. It couldn’t be me that have that happen. If they hired any guy to do it, it was going to be no big deal. But I knew in my heart I could not make a good movie out of the story they wanted me to do.”

To Jenkins’ point, Thor: The Dark World remains one of the least popular MCU movies. It wasn’t until Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok the franchise really became a fan favorite. Moreover, Taylor followed his tepidly received Thor movie with another blockbuster, Terminator Genisys. Jenkins likely wouldn’t have been able to bounce back so easily. Or make Wonder Woman.


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Patty Jenkins has successfully avoided tying into the larger DCEU

Often, the biggest criticism lobbed at the MCU is how the franchise sacrifices a single story to set up the next round of films. Jenkins has been vocal in her disinterest in building a shared universe. It’s fitting then that her Wonder Woman movies remain sequestered away from the rest of the DCEU. She even turned down the chance to direct a Justice League movie.

Because they take place decades earlier, Jenkins’ movies have little need to feed into the modern-day heroics. So fans don’t have to wonder why Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) doesn’t reach out to Batman (Ben Affleck) or Superman (Henry Cavill) for help. Will Wonder Woman 3 break that mold, or will we see Diana strolling through the 1990s next, Captain Marvel-style?