Though the overall film has been raved about, there’s one particular sequence in this week’s “Wonder Woman” that transcends the rest of the film – Diana’s walk across No Man’s Land.
It’s a hugely important scene thematically, symbolically and story-wise as, having seen all the suffering around her, she makes a stand and says ‘no more’ as she presses forward into a hail of bullets – one painful step at a time.
People have raved about the scene, but according to director Patty Jenkins, it was a real fight to keep that scene in the film. Why? Because it’s a moment of self-affirmation and thus doesn’t fit the tired “heroes vs villains” trope. Jenkins tells Fandango:
“It’s my favorite scene in the movie and it’s the most important scene in the movie. It’s also the scene that made the least sense to other people going in, which is why it’s a wonderful victory for me.
I think that in superhero movies, they fight other people, they fight villains. So when I started to really hunker in on the significance of No Man’s Land, there were a couple [of] people who were deeply confused, wondering, ‘Well, what is she going to do? How many bullets can she fight?’ And I kept saying, ‘It’s not about that. This is a different scene than that. This is a scene about her becoming Wonder Woman.'”
In a separate interview with Collider, producer Charles Roven talked about the screenplay and explained how both Patty Jenkins and Geoff Johns actually did most of the work on the final film’s script but because of writer’s guild rules, the screenplay credits went to a bunch of other guys like Zack Snyder and Jason Fuchs who ultimately had little input in the final script:
“Really early on, before Patty came on the project, we put our toe in the water with two writers. They took completely different approaches to the material – one was the Crimean War and one was World War I, but a completely different World War I experience. We had quite a Writers Guild arbitration with a number of writers because we had a lot of writers, and then there were the preceding writers and the other incarnations of the development of ‘Wonder Woman.’
But for our ‘Wonder Woman, ‘ we didn’t like the ultimate take on those scripts, even though they’re talented guys, and Zack [Snyder] and Allan Heinberg then collaborated on a story. We had a different director on at that time, and that director — which was OK’d by the studio — brought a number of writers on. We had more writers working with — everybody had knowledge because you can’t do it with the Writers Guild without telling everybody what you’re doing and everybody has to be OK— but we had more writers working at the same time than I’ve ever done. In the history of all the movies that I’ve done, it never worked out that way before.
While there are things that most of [the other writers] contributed that are in the script, there wasn’t anybody who ended up making such a contribution that they were able to get a credit. A guy by the name of Jason Fuchs got the third position in the ‘Story By’ so it’s Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg, and Jason Fuchs, but Allan Heinberg got the full screenplay credit.
Even though after he wasn’t able to finish working — he had to go back to the TV series that he was working on — [DC Films head] Geoff Johns and Patty did a tremendous amount of collaboration. But again based on the rules they weren’t allowed to get any credit, but they did a lot of writing that stuck. So that’s the long-winded version of the answer being that we had a basic arc of a story, but scene to scene it really came together when Patty got involved.”
Roven adds that the whole fish out of water comedy and Diana’s naivete due to living such a sheltered life on Themyscira, those are all elements that began with Jenkins.
“Wonder Woman” is out in cinemas now.