Altering the source material for a comic book adaptation can go both ways. Either it fails, and the filmmakers face the wrath of comic book devotees appalled by their decision, or the film turns out great, and nobody minds. Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and screenwriter Allan Heinberg revealed to EW why they altered Diana’s origin story for the highly-anticipated film.
The key point is that the crux of the film is centred on Diana meeting a US soldier who prompts her to leave home and fight in the ongoing war in 1918, while in the comic books, Diana was already part of the war as a nurse. Why the alteration to Diana being an outsider joining the war? Heinberg explained that the key elements that started WWI are beginning to re-emerge today:
“We are in a very WWI world today with nationalism and how it would take very little to start a global conflict”, he said.
Director Patty Jenkins was initially dubious about the idea and worried about changing the origin story, before coming around and agreeing to it:
“World War I is the first time that civilisation as we know it was finding its roots, but it’s not something that we really know the history of. Even the way that it was unclear who was in the right of WWI is a really interesting parallel to this time.
Then you take a god with a moral compass and a moral belief system, and you drop them into this world, there are questions about women’s rights, about a mechanised war where you don’t see who you are killing. It’s such a cool time”.
It’s a clever way to allow a character like Wonder Woman – who some audiences might not be as familiar with as her superhero contemporaries like Batman and Superman – to relate to her audience through a shared history. It should bring her humanity to the forefront and make the time jump back almost a hundred years be a little easier to digest for audiences.
Early reviews seem to suggest this alteration from the source material will fall into the latter camp – the film turning out great, and thus nobody minding – which is great news for DC.
Wonder Woman is released this Friday, June 2.