Waiting for Gadot: Why has Hollywood ignored Wonder Woman?

Gal Gadot attends the "Fast & Furious 6" Los Angeles premiere on May 21, 2013. (Andrew Evans/PR Photos)

Gal Gadot attends the “Fast & Furious 6″ Los Angeles premiere on May 21, 2013. (Andrew Evans/PR Photos)

Today, we learned about Israeli model and actress Gal Gadot’s casting as Wonder Woman in an upcoming movie being tentatively billed as “Batman vs. Superman.”

But for fans of the superhero genre, a big question remains: Why has it taken so long to bring our favorite superheroine to the big screen?

Wonder Woman is an icon. She has been around since 1941, when she first pulled out her golden lasso in All Star Comics #8. But she hasn’t — ever — starred in her own movie, despite the years-long omnipresence of costumed heroes in summer blockbusters. Even in the upcoming movie, Wonder Woman won’t be the central focus: Ben Affleck as Batman and Henry Cavill as Superman seem likely to dominate the spotlight. Meanwhile, such minor figures in the superhero pantheon as the Green Hornet and even Ant-Man have received movies all to themselves. So why the neglect of Wonder Woman?

It’s obvious that there’s a double standard at work here, even in the high-flying, super-powered alternate universe of comic book heroes. (For one thing, you could fashion several superheroine costumes out of the amount of fabric Superman wears, as if skin exposure was some sort of prerequisite for female crime-fighting. And this clever parody image shows us a thing or two about the sexualization of superheroines.)

But why the boycott of Wonder Woman, who was Superman’s super-colleague long before any of his (count ‘em) seven feature films? Maybe studio executives, seeking the approval of young men, believe comics fans will stay away from theaters where a strong female figure with an equally strong backstory is vanquishing foes. Maybe they think the only role for women in comic-book movies is being an accessory/intermittent hostage, dangled endlessly off buildings by supervillains, like fragile, emotional windchimes.

But maybe, just maybe, seeing Gadot’s Wonder Woman onscreen will inspire moviemakers to unleash a slew of superheroine movies. In the meantime, I’ll be polishing off my golden Lasso of Truth to snag me some advance tickets.

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