The world has been riding high on Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman, which broke box office records and ushered in some excellent kid reactions. It's something of a shock to remember that director Joss Whedon had been trying to get his own Wonder Woman script together back in 2007.
Last month, Whedon's script leaked on the internet. This weekend, people started paying closer attention to the actual contents of the script:
Thanking the entire universe for not allowing the sexist & terrible Joss Whedon Wonder Woman to ever get made. pic.twitter.com/xZrBsjmVY4— ?libby ? (@ladylibberty) June 15, 2017
I'm reading Joss Whedon's original script for Wonder Woman pic.twitter.com/r0NOIrfEew— Pauline ????? (@Punziella) June 16, 2017
If Wonder Woman taught us anything it's that a woman should be writing and directing Batgirl not Joss Whedon— Martian Manhunter Jr (@BlckBolex) June 16, 2017
Turn Joss Whedon's god awful cancelled Wonder Woman script into a Creepypasta, because it really is that horrific. pic.twitter.com/WuOLp0pCEh— Ashleigh (@holocronz) June 15, 2017
My condolences to everyone who spent last night reading and/or finding out about Joss Whedon's Wonder Woman screenplay. IT? IS? HELL??— Gavia Baker-Whitelaw (@Hello_Tailor) June 16, 2017
If the Joss Whedon Wonder Woman script reveals anything, it's that even the most well-meaning of us have to actively work to evolve.— Alisha Grauso (@AlishaGrauso) June 16, 2017
The joss whedon wonder woman script is KIND OF cringey... by kind of i mean really. pic.twitter.com/TX0B6j0uSB— #kamalakorp (@agentfitz777) June 16, 2017
One excerpt details Diana's entrance into the fray, which happens... after Steve Trevor's intro POV:
"To say she is beautiful is almost to miss the point. She is elemental, as natural and wild as the luminous flora surrounding. Her dark hair waterfalls to her shoulders in soft arcs and curls. Her body is curvaceous, but taut as a drawn bow. She wears burnished metal bracelets on both wrists, wide and intricately detailed. Her shift is of another era; we'd call it ancient Greek. She is barefoot."
*slight spoilers for the Wonder Woman film below*
Compare this treatment to, say, Diana's first appearance in this year's Wonder Woman, which focuses solely on the young Diana and the Amazons of Themyscira. Now, this Wonder Woman script is by Allan Heinberg, and the overall story is by him, Jason Fuchs, and Zack Snyder. But it seems Whedon, who helped introduce canonical heroines like Buffy the Vampire Slayer into pop culture, took the script in a way that started with and centered Steve Trevor, rather than Wonder Woman herself.
One Twitter user tweeted out multiple sections of the script, and yeah, there are definitely cringeworthy sections:
reading the wh*don wonder woman script was never any fun but after seeing/crying at actual WW it becomes a viscerally insulting experience— Rave Sashayed (@_sashayed) June 15, 2017
There's this tidbit, where an in-universe newscaster shares, "Reports have come in from all over the city. Descriptions vary, but all describe her as female, impossibly strong and scantily clad." Hm.
this script is so gut-deep bad, angry & depressing i feel like im picking on a scared nerd even tho whedon is a millionaire &i tweet in bed pic.twitter.com/56DzMAWvL4— Rave Sashayed (@_sashayed) June 16, 2017
Now, the Wonder Woman film does address Diana's sexualization by outsiders, but nothing quite as irksome as that. It's not as though Jenkins's eye is the only one guiding the production, but Wonder Woman herself is squarely at the center of her own story. Whedon's script, by contrast, seems to treat her solely like an exquisite creature to be examined by Good Guy Steve Trevor and the larger world.
After all, this (through Steve) doesn't really seem like something that's mean to build up Wonder Woman as powerful, self-assured, and well, competent and interesting beyond her ~*sexy costume and bod*~.
"I think you're dangerous. I think you mean well but you're looking for trouble and you're wildly adept at finding it. I think you've got delusions of grandeur and some actual grandeur, which is confusing. I don't like confusing. I hate the fact that I'm so attracted to you, just touching you is overwhelming and I keep hoping you'll turn around so I can see more of you naked."
Some of the reactions to the leaked script: "Jesus that is horrific. Whedon's script completely ruins Diana and Steve there." "I can only assume that, somewhere in this, Wonder Woman breastily thinks about her ivory curves of her luscious bosom in the script notes." "The PJ movie is certainly open to criticism. This one is just so mind-boggling awful that it's indefensible."
Of course, leaked work doesn't stay in its final form. But who knows how this script would've turned out if it had gone through the studio process? It's not as though Whedon has another shot at an iconic comics heroine... oh.
me reading joss whedon's original script for wonder woman and realising he's gonna direct batgirl pic.twitter.com/bfBaIVKwXZ— moony (@avxnger) June 16, 2017
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.