What future Star Wars filmmakers can learn from Wonder Woman


After the critical and box office success of Warner Bros.’s first female-directed superhero film, Wonder Woman, we take a look at what future Star Wars filmmakers can learn from the Amazonian princess’s story.

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, is a smash hit. In its opening weekend alone, the superhero film garnered over $100 million at the U.S. box office. If any franchise understands this kind of success, it’s Star Wars. But even though Disney and Lucasfilm have the money-making part of filmmaking down, there are still elements of storytelling which future Star Wars filmmakers can learn from Jenkins’s story of the Amazonian princess.

First, let’s talk about the character of Wonder Woman. Diana Prince is a fierce fighter, but physical prowess is not the limit of her persona. She is also kind, funny, and charmingly naive. She’s not so naive, however, that she could ever be mistaken for dumb. In the beginning of Wonder Woman, when she leaves the hidden, female-only island of Themyscira and enters the world of mankind, she does not fully comprehend the gray morality of humanity. It confuses her, but she learns how to cope with it. Like any well-rounded hero, she fails many times before she succeeds. In the end, she is forced to accept many outcomes she did not foresee or desire. Yet through it all, she emerges steadfast in her belief in love.

Image Credit: Warner Bros. (via ComingSoon.net)

In an interview with The New York Times, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins affirmed her intentions behind the purity of Diana’s faith:

"“I wanted to tell a story about a hero who believes in love, who is filled with love, who believes in change and the betterment of mankind. I believe in it. It’s terrible when it makes so many artists afraid to be sincere and truthful and emotional, and relegates them to the too-cool-for-school department. Art is supposed to bring beauty to the world.”"

Diana’s pure, honest belief in love is also a core tenet of Star Wars storytelling. Consider Rogue One, the plot of which rests on the undying hope of a relentless few. In spite of its many tragic deaths, the film is about believing that good is worth fighting for, that it will triumph over evil in the end. It seems essential to the life of the franchise that filmmakers remember these simple truths are what make Star Wars so raw and relatable.

Another lesson Star Wars filmmakers should learn from Wonder Woman is the latter’s inclusion of women in its cast. I find it sad that I had never seen a movie with so many women in it before I watched Wonder Woman. Not that we needed any, but this film is proof that men need not be the default casting choice. A good film utilizes both men and women indiscriminately. One Star Wars film which could have benefited from this lesson is Rogue One, which inexplicably featured only one woman in the Rogue One team.

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Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Star Wars filmmakers (and fans) should take Wonder Woman as a reminder that female characters can be heroes to both women and men. Lucasfilm succeeded in creating relatable heroines in Rey, Jyn Erso and Princess Leia who effortlessly command respect among their male peers. Going forward into The Last Jedi, in which Rey takes on the mantle of the hero figure, it is important to remember that the gender of a hero matters less than what they believe.

This brings me to what I find the most important and memorable line in Wonder Woman, spoken by Diana herself: “It’s not about [what people] deserve, it’s about what you believe.” In the end, that’s what Star Wars is about, too.

What did you think of Wonder Woman? Would you like to see Patty Jenkins direct a Star Wars movie? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.