Last night while many of us were cozied up on the couch, watching Rupaul’s Drag Race, DC Comics dropped a bomb: Michelle MacLaren is off the Wonder Woman movie.
When she was hired last fall, the internet rejoiced. Not just because finally studios were letting female helmers into their superhero sausage fest, but also because MacLaren is a badass director with credits that include Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. But according to THR, Warner Bros says she left the project over “creative differences.”
So creative differences between the woman who brought us “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” and the people who brought us Man of Steel? We’re with Joanna on this one:
If it's a creative difference between Zack Snyder and Michelle MacLaren I think you all know which side I'm on.— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) April 13, 2015
Now “creative differences” is a old chestnut that can cover any number of issues from budget disagreements, to casting, or script notes. But THR was quick to point out that the same excuse was used when Patty Jenkins lost the Thor sequel. Sure, it was also used when Edgar Wright got pulled off Ant-Man or when anyone pulls out of anything. But THR needed to make the Jenkins connection for this line:
“The fact that both MacLaren and Jenkins [are] off their respective projects is sure to raise the question of whether women filmmakers are welcome in the world of high-stakes, superhero movies.”
This will raise questions? THIS WILL?! Not that only ONE superhero movie of the much much many since 2002 (Spider-Man) has been directed by a woman? (That’d be Punisher: War Zone by Lexi Alexander. Hear her thoughts on how that movie got boned by its studio here.)
So where do we go from here?
There’s speculation that Warner Bros. will be on the hunt for another female director to replace MacLaren. Otherwise they’ll lose all that goodwill they’ve earned hiring her to begin with. But hiring another woman now could smack of tokenism. But does that matter if she makes a great movie? But can you make a great superhero movie when Zack Snyder is your producer? Even if you can, who’s going to want to touch Wonder Woman now? Will her movie become the football that Ant-Man was once Wright left, passed off the umpteenth shmuck offered it?
And what comes next for MacLaren? Wonder Woman was meant to be her feature directorial debut. Will she return to helming intensely beloved TV shows? Or might Marvel take advantage of DC’s fumble and scoop MacLaren up for their superheroine pic Captain Marvel?
Of course, MacLaren doesn’t need to be bound solely to superheroine movies. She’s proven to be a force with whatever heroes she’s handed. But if we could get someone as talented as her in the Captain Marvel’s directing chair—well, I’d be rejoicing like it was the Purple Wedding all over again.
Kristy Puchko hates this news, but does appreciate an excuse to use Game of Thrones gifs.