Zack Snyder has recently shared a photo of Wonder Woman and it has sparked a lot of conversation.
The photo in question depicts Wonder Woman standing amongst a diverse group of soldiers during the Crimean War. This was used as a placeholder for Batman V Superman before Patty Jenkins was brought on board to direct the first Wonder Woman.
The contents of the photo that sparked the debate is the image of Wonder Woman posing with severed heads. This is a stark contrast from the Wonder Woman picture that made it into the final film. The picture that made it into final film took place during WWI whereas the original took place during the Crimean War. The reason Snyder chose the Crimean War was because it was the first war where photography was used.
If there is one thing that is certain about the original picture that Zack was using as a placeholder, its that it is definitely more brutal. It almost feels candid, as if Diana and her soldiers just got done with battle. They look war torn. And those severed heads definitely send a message. But why did they change it?
WHAT IT REPRESENTS
The significance of the picture that was used in Batman V Superman is that Diana was looking for a picture that had Steve Trevor. That same picture was later used in Wonder Woman and is seen as Diana’s connection to the good in humanity. With the original picture, the context of the image could be different. It could be that Diana is trying to cover up her past to stay hidden. Or that Diana is trying to cover up an ugly history. Or it could be Diana simply wanting to preserve a memory.
A cool thing about the original photo is that it does foreshadow Justice League in some respects. You might notice there are seven soldiers in the original picture which mirrors the #UniteTheSeven campaign of Justice League. And also the three severed heads foreshadow how Wonder Woman will defeat Steppenwolf. As Zack has said, he uses gods to kill gods.
HOW SNYDER VIEWS WONDER WOMAN
With a more savage depiction of Wonder Woman as the picture represents, many have called into question how Zack Snyder views Wonder Woman. Especially in contrast to how Patty Jenkins views Wonder Woman. With Wonder Woman 1984, we were shown a much more lighthearted version of the character than what was seen in Batman V Superman. And with the picture that Zack shared of his original vision, some feel there is a disconnect. But I think that’s because some view these characters as one note and one dimensional. With Zack’s current track record, it’s apparent that he views these characters in a much more complex light. They’re not infallible or unchangeable. They’re ever evolving characters that reflect the wide array of human emotions, except on a mythological scale. Describing Wonder Woman’s beliefs, Snyder said,
“WW- I stand for truth and love… But those who wish to destroy truth and love, I will strike down with furious vengeance.”
Zack’s picture of Wonder Woman depicts a war torn version of the character. And something that Zack loves to do with his characters is put them in our world and see how they react. So it stands to reason that Wonder Woman experiencing mankind for the first time in World War I would be different than if she experienced mankind for the first time during the Crimean War. So I don’t think there’s a disconnect. Whether that version of Wonder Woman is canon or not, she still would have met and been changed by Steve Trevor, thus having her faith in humanity restored.
ZACK AND PATTY AT WAR?
So are Zack and Patty at war with Wonder Woman?
I felt extremely supported in my vision on both films by @wbpictures, @ZackSnyder all the producers and everyone on board our eventual team. Just was a long road to get to make it. Let's chill the dramatic headlines like "war". https://t.co/V7Tj1rOTBS
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) January 6, 2021
I’d say no. If you just look at the press tour for Wonder Woman 1984, Zack has supported Patty Jenkins at every turn. Zack is not only a producer on Wonder Woman 1984, but he received a story credit for the first Wonder Woman. So the Wonder Woman that appears in Patty’s films is just as valid as the one that appears in his. Patty and Zack are just choosing to highlight different aspects of the character.
And it’s okay for directors to have different ideas for what the character is. Even early on when Patty was being approached by WB to direct Wonder Woman, she expressed her reservations for where they might’ve wanted to take the character.
“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… I’m a ‘Wonder Woman’ fan, that’s not what we’re looking for.’”
This may seem like Patty was against Zack’s vision, but it’s important note that what she may have been told was out of context. Like much of Snyder’s ideas, they sound crazy at first, but when given context, the meaning behind it becomes clear. There’s a reason he had to convince Nolan that killing Superman in BvS was the right choice. (Which Nolan agreed to)
Even if Patty didn’t want to go down that route, Snyder and herself would have worked it out. That’s what collaborating is about. Two people with different points of view on a material come together to produce a final product of what they both think its about. And in the final product I think we got a pretty good marriage between Snyder and Patty’s vision for this character.
Fans will always try to pit their visions up against each other, but no matter what they will always be within the same canon. Snyder has said as much himself when describing why the original photo will not be used in the BvS IMAX remaster.
“It will not be used as it contradicts the brilliant movie Patty made and I supported and did the story for.”
Snyder is in complete support of what Patty does with Wonder Woman. And Patty is in complete support of what Snyder does with Wonder Woman. Which is why Snyder said that photo is to be seen as an elseworlds story. And though that picture could have been consistent with the characterization of an ever evolving Wonder Woman. It contradicted the first Wonder Woman, which is why it was only a placeholder.
Either way, it was a cool picture that Zack shared. And it’s neat to get a glimpse of the behind the scenes aspects of these films and how things can evolve from an ever changing production. I look forward to seeing what he does with Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. And I also look forward to what new direction Patty has planned for Wonder Woman 3. And who knows, with DC diving into the multiverse, maybe we might see an elseworlds story centered around that photo.
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