Wonder Woman Wasn’t Always Set During World War I

During a recent Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice commentary Zack Snyder revealed something interesting about the development of the Wonder Woman film's World War I setting.

Wonder Woman
Photo: DC/Warner Bros.

As many creators have been doing during this period of social isolation, director Zack Snyder took to social media app Vero on Sunday to give live commentary on his 2004 DC film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film marked the first live-action cinematic portrayal of Wonder Woman, as played by Gal Gadot. Gadot would go on to play the character in the 2017 Wonder Woman film, which mostly takes place during the events of World War I. In his commentary (via THR), Snyder revealed that this was not always the plan for the DC Extended Universe version of Diana Prince.

According to Snyder, while DC had already decided at this point that this incarnation of Diana would have already been around for hundreds of years prior to the events of Dawn of Justice and the rough plan was to see Diana helping a group of soldiers in the Wonder Woman standalone, the Powers That Be were not considering WWI as a specific setting. Rather, they were looking at The Crimean War, which ran from 1853 to 1856 or the American Civil War, which ran from 1861 to 1865. In other words, they were going to set the majority of Wonder Woman even earlier in our world history.

It’s unclear at what point this idea changed and the setting for Wonder Woman was moved to 1918 and the final year of “the war to end all wars,” the screenplay was penned by Allan Heinberg from a story by Heinberg, Snyder, and Jason Fuchs.

This isn’t such a surprising revelation. Film settings change all of the time, and this was a good three years before Wonder Woman would grace the world with its presence. It also says a lot about the film’s relationship to its setting. While the movie draws a fair amount thematically from its war setting, the plot could probably switch WWI out for another horrific example of human suffering and violence to similar thematic results.

Ad – content continues below

This doesn’t seem to be the case for Wonder Woman 1984, which, you may have noticed, makes a nod to its setting in its very title. Patty Jenkins and DC/Warner Bros. chose to name the Wonder Woman sequel after the year in which it is set, which suggests the film will lean into the vibe of the 1980s, for better and worse. The 1980s have been a relatively hot setting in genre fare, especially since Stranger Things dropped to such cultural and commercial success on Netflix.

Sadly, we will have to wait even longer to find out how much Wonder Woman 1984 will draw from its setting. The film’s release was moved from June to August, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic which has shut down movie theaters across the country and world. You can find out more about the film here.