Tag Archives: superhero costumes

Wonder Woman and the Costume

Getting back in the saddle again, and one of the funnier things that happened when I was on hiatus was the release of photos from the supremely weird DC Comics movie venture, Batman v. Superman.

I have not had occasion to write about Wonder Woman for several years, largely because nothing much was happening with Wonder Woman. The television series was scrapped, the new look and new story version of Wonder Woman in the comics (the comfy pajamas look,) went bye-bye at the conclusion of that alternate universe idea, and she returned to an outfit that was a variation of the older version that also is in the animated stories, and got another slightly changed origin story. And of course, there was no Wonder Woman film on the horizon because it was “too hard” for them to do apparently.

Then came word that Wonder Woman might be in the possibly going to get made Justice League movie, DC’s attempt to build a Marvel-style multi-franchise. And then it was announced that she would have some sort of bit part in Batman vs. Superman, and be played by actress Gal Gadot. Shortly before and at the San Diego ComicCon, DC released some promotional stills that included the new movie Wonder Woman in her new costume.

What were they going to do? Would they go with the classic signature stars bathing suit, (which originally had a skirt that got shorter and shorter and then removed,) like they did in the t.v. show of the 1970’s? Would they put her in pants, like the comics attempted and they’d planned for the t.v. show? Would she have a full out unitard like Batman and Superman? Here’s what they went with:


That might seem a tad familiar:


Yep, they made Wonder Woman into Xena: Warrior Princess. This is not entirely unfair, as the look and some parts of the character of Xena were loosely modeled after Wonder Woman (ancient Greco-Roman don’t you know,) but the similarities are quite striking. Wonder Woman now has, like Xena, a sword, over the knee boots, bracers on her arms instead of bracelets, a leather doublet, a skirt of leather strap panels, all turned a dark wine red color akin to Xena’s reddish brown outfit.

In other words, their solution to the not really a problem costume problem was to go with yet another generic (and still impractical) style of costume — the fantasy lady quest warrior. Other than that she still has the lasso attached to her hip, you’d be very hard press to know that this picture of Gal Gadot was Wonder Woman unless you were told, and not instead a photo of some new character for the next 300 film sequel.

The irony of course is that in keeping their rebooted Superman, Henry Cavill, who is firmly rooted in the modern world, and having an aged version of Batman, played by Ben Affleck, DC/Warner actually had some grounds for giving Wonder Woman one of the more contemporary looks to match them. Instead, they went pseudo-ancient, so perhaps Wonder Woman is popping in from another dimension to borrow a cup of sugar. And when she does, she’ll be just another generic if kick-ass female, not distinctive, iconic, her own person. Not red and blue and gold — because Superman wears red and blue. Not immediately recognizable, like Batman in his unchanging black cowl. Just a female in red leather with a sword who could have been called anything.

Here’s hoping that they don’t decide to cut her out of the movie altogether in the end. Because for the last 75 years of Wonder Woman history, she is apparently very, very scary just as herself.




Filed under Movies/TV, SFFH

Some SFF News

1) Author John Wyndham has been on my radar recently because first, a young guy on SFFWorld on getting my recommendation to read The Day of the Triffids begged me to tell him it wasn’t really about killer plants, and then my daughter, who is going to be reading Wyndham’s other novel The Chrysalids for school, was surprised to hear that Triffids was about carnivorous plants. And of course it is, which is wonderful, and it’s also about many, many interestingly rendered subjects as well as and through the symbolism of the carnivorous plants. And now, it is getting a film adaptation, after many decades of development hell, thanks to the new advances in 3D technology for special effects. The film is being produced by Michael Preger and Dan Murphy. Preger worked on the BBC television miniseries adaptation of the novel that came out in 2009, which unfortunately I haven’t gotten to see.

2) Actress Rachel Bilson will be getting a comic television series with U.S. network NBC and her old O.C. producer Josh Schwartz called Ghost Angeles, about a young woman in L.A. who can see ghosts. This will be the third female who can see ghosts show in awhile. The other two were moderately successful, and Bilson, who has shown comedy chops on guest stints on How I Met Your Mother and Chuck, should do well.

3) Also coming to t.v. — Wonder Woman. It seems that all that speculation I and others did about whether her DC Comics costume makeover would be translated to the big screen (see below) is now moot, as Warner Brothers has decided that doing a superhero feature film with a female superhero is just too risky, given that so many studios have messed it up before, and has shuffled off the project for a new reboot television series. The original Wonder Woman series starring the eerily perfect Lynda Carter did well in the late 1970’s.

This is disappointing but not surprising news. With the Superman franchise dead for the moment while they figure out the reboot plan, Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds not yet ready and untested, Superman t.v. series Smallville ending its run, and the Justice League movie appearing to be a no go, Warner’s superhero prospects are slim except for its Batman franchise. Even though kick butt females can do very well — Angelina Jolie in Salt, Milla Jovanovich in Resident Evil — Warners is unlikely to take the risk when they have other male superheroes to choose from and clearly see Wonder Woman as too old fashioned. But on t.v., she has a shot and it may well involve some variant closer to the original costume than the current comics incarnation.


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The Costume is Still Impractical

Of all the female superheroes who have graced comics, the one who is most well known, on a par with Batman, Spiderman and Superman, is Wonder Woman. The comic was not exactly a feminist landmark, even for the 1940’s,  and was initially saddled with fetishist content, but the icon outgrew her origins, turning into a pure-hearted, kick-ass warrior woman in a star spankled leotard, useful accessories and boots, and paving the way for countless female hero characters in spandex. Over the years, Wonder Woman made the transition to animated films and television shows with the other major superheroes and in the 1970’s, got her own live action show in the U.S., starring Lynda Carter, a woman who so looked like the embodiment of Wonder Woman, it was frightening.

With all the work to reboot major comic franchise characters from both the comic titans of Marvel and DC Comics, there has of course been interest in having a live action film of Wonder Woman in some form, but the project has been in limbo forever. One of the problems cited is that Wonder Woman looks like this:



It being no longer the 1970’s, how, they wonder, do you get a live young actress into an outfit like that and not have it look utterly cheesy? (Although, seriously, in the days of reality shows and Lady Ga Ga, I don’t really understand why they are having this concern.) So DC Comics has now revamped Wonder Woman’s costume and completely changed her story in one of those alternate universe things that the comic folks like to do, and now she looks — at least in some comics — like this:

This has caused enormous debate, and it’s not all because the costume is slightly less sexy. Essentially what the rejiggered look does is make Wonder Woman look like every generic action movie heroine in a body suit and half the female comic characters as well. She’s Laura Croft with more jewelry. This then makes it very easy for an actress to slip into the costume, if the film ever makes it that far.

Will it matter if Wonder Woman’s new look has the personality of a toaster? Hard to say. But even with the update to a hip club ensemble, I am once again struck by the great impractibility of superhero costumes. The lack of pockets. Of lightweight body armor to dull the impact when the superhero is thrown. (Sure, Superman’s skin won’t be battered when he gets driven into a building, but if he had armor that absorbed some of the impact, he might not be driven so deep into the building and have to waste seconds climbing out of it.) Of practical boots with thick rubber soles. Basically, the old Wonder Woman fought crime in her bathing suit and the new one is fighting crime in her comfy pajamas. You’ve come a long way, baby. 🙂

And if they’re done now, could we have the movie please?


Filed under Movies/TV, SFFH