Patty Jenkins‘ 2017 blockbuster Wonder Woman is a terrific film that suffers from a climactic battle that sticks out like a sore thumb. While the rest of the movie’s fight scenes felt tactile and personal, the final battle devolved into a CGI-heavy slog which left a bad taste in some viewers’ mouths. Turns out that wasn’t the original plan: Jenkins says the studio forced her to change the ending at the last minute, and says her original ending was on a smaller scale.
With Wonder Woman 1984 arriving in theaters and on HBO Max this week, director Patty Jenkins was asked about the difference between the endings of the new sequel and her 2017 original movie, with an IGN interviewer wondering if the choice to tone things down slightly in the sequel was a purposeful one. “The original end of the first movie was also smaller, but the studio made me change it at the last minute,” Jenkins revealed. “So that’s always been a little bit of a bummer that [the ending is] the one thing people talk about because I agreed. And I told the studio we didn’t have time to do it, but it was what it was. I ended up loving it, but that was not the original ending of the movie.”
I remember getting so excited when I was watching Wonder Woman in the theater for the first time because it felt like the ending of the movie was leading toward something really daring from a storytelling perspective. It seemed as if everything were pointing to the idea that Ares, the God of War whom Diana had been hunting for the whole movie, was not a physical being that could be slain, but instead just one facet of humanity, one that might be defeated through the kindness and love that she represents and inspires. But instead, it turned out that David Thewlis’s Sir Patrick was actually Ares, and he and Diana had a huge fight in the rain on a military base.
Armed with the knowledge of Jenkins’ new comment, I’m now wondering if she may have originally intended to go with that more subversive ending I mentioned, but Warner Bros. and DC got scared and forced her to add that big CGI battle. (The fact that the visual effects don’t look very good seems to align with her warning that they didn’t have time to do what the studio wanted.) Studio filmmaking is a game of compromises, and though Jenkins lost this particular battle, I think she ultimately ended up winning the war.
Wonder Woman 1984 will be available to stream on HBO Max on December 25, 2020.
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