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Wonder Woman Is ‘Ripe’ For TV, a Regretful David E. Kelley Says

Prolific producer David E. Kelley admits he made mistakes in 2011 with his rejected revival of Wonder Woman for NBC, but he insists the DC Comics superheroine remains a viable television property.

“I think it’s ripe to do it. We made mistakes with ours,” he told The Hollywood Reporter at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour. “My only regret is we were never given a chance to correct them. We had a lot that was right about it and a great cast. In time, we could have fixed what we had done wrong, we just didn’t get that chance. […] We produced it at warp speed and it’s a special effects show and it took more time than we were able to give it. We were able to give it more time and extended it had we been picked up. Just learning the storytelling — the genre was very different for me and I had a lot to learn; my learning curve probably would have gotten better.”

Despite his regrets, Kelley wishes The CW success with Amazon, a planned origin story focusing on Wonder Woman as a young superhero. Written by TV producer Allan Heinberg, better known to comics fans for his stints on DC’s Wonder Woman and Marvel’s Young Avengers, the project is being compared to Smallville, with a young Diana coming from “a remote, secluded country and until now has spent most of her life as a soldier and a leader on the battlefield.” By contrast, Kelley’s version starred Adrianne Palicki as a successful corporate executive who fights crime in Los Angeles while trying to balance the elements of her extraordinary life.

“I’m sad we didn’t get to do it but I do believe it can work for The CW,” Kelley said. “They’re smart to try it.”


  • mel

    Honestly, I’d rather see a big budget movie.

  • Tomi Hanzek

    Yeah, just because there was a Wonder Woman show in the 70’s doesn’t mean it can only work as a low-budget TV show. With all the love Greek mythology is getting today (God of War, Clash/Wrath of the Titans, The Immortals,etc.) why NOT do a big budget movie starring one of the most recognizable comic characters of all time?

  • M. Walsh

    Wanting to correct mistakes is all well and good…provided one
    knows and understands what those mistakes are and why the were mistakes.

    In the case of this Wonder Woman show, is he aware one of the huge,
    blaring errors was characterizing Diana as a violent sociopath?

    Ah, and meanwhile we have Allan Hernberg’s show where Diana is, yet again, a violent berserker (who doesn’t understand ice cream, no less), so I probably shouldn’t expect much.

    Between all these show concepts and the way she’s written in the comics, when did Wonder Woman become a Saiyan?

  • Yanks5179

    If the CW wants to get it right, they shouldn’t call it “Amazon;” they should call it frikkin’ “Wonder Woman,” because that’s what it is.  If you tell someone, “Hey, there’s a new show called Amazon I want to check out,” what are the chances that person is going to think of Wonder Woman?  That was part of what hurt John Carter–people kept saying they had no clue what it was about and thought it was a biopic.  I bet dollars to donuts that the movie would have performed at least somewhat better had they added the “of Mars” in the title, even though it wasn’t the original name of the book (A Princess of Mars).  Marketing is a HUGE deal, people.

  • Curtis Andrew Hedrick

    They need  to look to the Dc Animated Movie Wonder Woman.  Probably the best representation of Diana I’ve seen.

  • MrFreezeRhino

    Well WW in the Justice League reboot is a little more bloodthrirsty at times than other versions so Hernberg’s version isn’t that far off.  Personally I’d prefer a characterization closer to her New 52 solo series which has been amazing so far.

  • xsikal

    Eh… they’re following the same path they took with Smallville (not Superman) and Arrow (not Green Arrow), both of which have been working out okay for them.

  • M. Walsh

     Personally, I think the new 52 in general has been a complete disaster for Wonder Woman–both in Justice League and her own title.

    So I guess I shouldn’t be too upset that filmmakers and television writers can’t get Wonder Woman right. The guys making her own comics don’t even get her…what chance does anyone else have..?

  • MrFreezeRhino

    I don’t see how her 52 solo series could be seen as a disaster by any means.  It’s been the best selling and most critically acclaimed era for the character in a very long time (possibly ever) since its debut.

  • Stevegus

     All they had to do was to get rid of the character, her origin, and her entire world, and make everything dark and ugly. 

    I will give this a try, but there had better not be any Azzarello in it. 

  • Matthew Garcia

    Completely disagree. If there was any one character who has benefitted from the New 52, it was Wonder Woman. Instead of just facing evil after evil, her whole world has been pulled out from under her, and she’s lost everything she’s ever had. The fact that she endures and the way she endures and as we’re watching her try to figure out new ways to figure out how she sees the world makes her something bigger and more interesting and wonderful. 

  • demoncat_4

    nice for david to admit that he knew certain things he was trying to do with wonder woman was wrong mostly making her like a female batman head of a big company by day crime fighter by night . hope amazon works and gives wonder woman some justice and treats the character the way she needs to be treated in other media. right. 

  • M. Walsh

     Yeah, yeah….her entire life and motivation has been made a complete mockery, but she “rises above” and “endures” despite being revealed as a vacuous victim of the gods, her people, and her mother. Blah, blah, blah, blah.

    What a crock.

  • Pink Apocalypse

    Kelley’s attempt didn’t simply have a ‘couple of mistakes that needed fixed’. It was deeply flawed in just about every way imaginable, from initial concept to final execution. In my opinion, anyway.

  • Orphan

    I totally agree with you.The thing that killed the Kelley version were the stuck in the mud fans who seemed to have taken over the focus group showing and did nothing but spew venom and ended up getting it cancelled outright.Smart move Bozo’s.In order to get more action adventure on TV which is wallowing in Bridezillas,Gold Rush clowns killing half the Yukon wilderness without being held accountable for the damage, and Honey Boo Boo spinoffs,just give the creative teams a chance before you slam everything.This is a comic character not a freaking religion and as far as I’m concerned the silliest and most dated one in the DC roster.I hope this never gets made, but will support it because if it succeeds in front of the wider audience it could mean more of these shows involving characters I do like The constant references to world wide audiences and iconic stature aren’t borne out by real numbers.Go with the flow people or leave comics altogether. 

  • Alex Dragon

    The Kelley WW pilot had some problems but they were fixable and not nearly as big/bad as some comics fans made it out to be. First and foremost Kelley wasn’t making a WW tv show for comic fans he was making it for a tv audience. Why would anyone make a tv show for a WW comicbook fan audience when those fans weren’t enough to make the book a top 50 seller at the time of the pilot? Secondly, at the time of the pilot WW the WW book had been in such a state of flux with every writer trying something new that never really stuck it only makes sense Kelley would try something different and not look toward the comicbook that at the time for so long couldn’t get it right.

    Some of the stuff Kelley did would’ve actually worked for a tv audience who doesn’t have such a strong preconcived notion of what they think WW should be. Some aspects of it didn’t quite work but I think if he was given a shot and time to tweak it he could’ve ended up with an entertaining show.

  • TheFlyingDachshund

    I just would like to see Adrianne Palicki in the role again… I think she did a FANTASTIC job, and deserves the title of Wonder Woman!!

  • Shadowpdf

    Kelly is a high-class gentleman.

  • Tar’dis mofo

    The best weay for WW to work would be to return her to her roots and make a sort of WW set in the 50’s complete with her original original costume/haircut etc. and have a sort of fetishy/burlesque bettie page WW noir. THat would get bums on seats … mine anyway…

  • batGRRRl4ever

    That goes into the CBR thread about how DC is ashamed of their super hero properties, to which I agree.  DC’s emphasis in their movies and tv shows is to minimize the “super” as much as possible, while Marvel has been showing how it’s done with their successful Avengers, Spider-Man, and X-Men movies, along with their upcoming SHIELD series.

  • MrFreezeRhino

    Pretty sure the character is there just as much as she’s ever been.  Her origin is tweaked, but c’mon… Was her being a girl born out of clay more interesting than her being Zeus’ daughter from a storytelling standpoint? I definitely don’t think so.  Greek mythology was always a heavy part of her stories and that’s still there.  It’s a bit darker, but I don’t see how it’s necessarily “ugly”.  All in all this is a much better revision of the character than the one we got in the half-assed jean jacket reboot, and she’s more interesting than she has been in a long time. It’s pretty unrealistic to expect that writer not to be present in his writing.  Also, if you haven’t “given it a try” how are you making all of these criticisms? Are you just going off of second-hand comic book forum posts?  Because if so that’s a pretty stupid way to judge a book. 

  • MrFreezeRhino

    Sounds better than being a bland character who’s been severely lacking in characterization and storytelling.  When you’re supposedly part of the Big 3 yet Flash, Green Lantern, and Aquaman have had a greater number of memorable story arcs you have problems.  There’s a reason why DC decided to give the character a complete overhaul only a year before the New 52 reboot.

  • M. Walsh

     All Azzarello’s brought to Wonder Woman–aside from reducing her to a mundane, vapid imbecile–is angst. Whiny, cliche, hackneyed, emo angst.

    “Wah…the mean ol’ Amazons used to call me Clay and I never felt like I belonged and no one understands me. Wah….the Amazons are really rapists and murderers and I’ve been too stupid to notice it. Wah….Zeus is my dad, so now have daddy issues.”

    Yeah, real exciting to have her just be another generic bastard child of Zeus like Hercules, Perseus, Helen of Troy and over dozens of other characters.
    Not to mention he’s completely botched Wonder Woman’s backstory and motivation…but hey, we can’t expect the guys writing the damn character to know
    her own motivation. We’re too busy “reinventing” the gods and myths and
    making them “edgy.”
    Oh look, that one goddess is bald and goes to bars!
    How innovative and groundbreaking!

    “Wonder Woman” my ass. I think “Mediocre Warrior Woman” would be a more appropriate name.

  • MrFreezeRhino

    “Mediocre”? Really? Because I’m pretty sure the sales and reviews of every issue since the launch of the New 52 have been pretty stellar when compared to what came before.  What pray tell were her  different”backstory and motivation” pre-reboot? Because she still seems to be an Amazon princess that has traveled to man’s world to fight the good fight while still dealing with the Gods and Monsters of her mythological Greek heritage.

  • Tophman

    I think one major problem with Kelley’s failed pilot was the fact that he depicted WW as an Amazon warrior (as has been in the comics this past decade or so) rather than the super-heroine she is mostly known as.

    When my friends (whose only exposure to WW was the Linda Carter series) saw the pilot, they were shocked at how brutal WW was (and they hated the corporate angle –didn’t seem to fit).

    If they are going the Amazon Warrior route, a back story of why she’s brutal in combat would work (for instance since that’s all she’s known growing up). I think Diana adjusting to and connecting with *man’s word* could end up being a great journey. Just give her a good supporting cast and DC can run with it.

    Anyway, CW did well with “Smallville” and I’m loving what they’ve done with “Arrow”. So definitely high hopes for “Amazon” when/if they ever make it for the small screen.

    PS: I can also see CW succeeding with something called “Nine Lives”, a Catwoman: Year One of sorts about a catburglar who inadvertently saves people during her escapades. ;)

  • M. Walsh

     Pre-reboot, the Amazons philosophy was based on peace and tolerance. Diana became Wonder Woman believing mankind was fundamentally good and decent and that she could help bring peace to the world–largely due to being raised among the Amazon beliefs.
    If she was raised by a bunch of violent, man-hating savages, which is what Brian Azzarello has turned the Amazons into, why did Diana even want to be Wonder Woman in the first place? Why does she “fight the good fight?” What is that based on, if not her upbringing?

    Not to mention, it cheapens Diana. One of the things that made her heroic was Themyscira was a idyllic paradise and Diana CHOSE to leave it behind to fight evil. She could’ve easily lived her life in peace and tranquility, but gave it up for to take up her mission.
    Now, post-reboot….why wouldn’t Diana want to leave Themyscira? It’s a shit-hole and the Amazons are wretched, loathsome monsters that openly mocked her. Azzarello has reduced her to a product of lies and hypocrisy.
    But we can’t have our protagonist actually be heroic, can we? Of course not, after all, this isn’t a superhero comics, it’s a “horror” book. EDGY.

    New 52 Wonder Woman is a vapid cypher. I have no frame of reference. I have no idea who this character is, what she wants, why she wants it, nor do I have have any reason to root for her. She’s a generic, bland, static cardboard cut-out; void of anything likable or appealing. Every review of the book I’ve seen always says the same thing: the stuff with the gods if great…but Diana herself is meaningless. She’s an incidental bit player in her own title.

    And to answer your other question: off the top of my head, Greg Rucka’s run. He showed a good grasp of the character and re-imagined the Greek gods for a modern setting and he did it without retconning Diana’s backstory or making a complete mockery of it.
    That’s one. I can name others.

  • Give-us-a-WWmovie

    David Kelly wished he could fix what was wrong? That was EVERYTHING! Nothing about Kelly’s TV show was Wonder Woman at all. I was given a bootleg copy and it was painful to watch from start to finish. Just do a big budget movie already and quit down playing a 72 year old hero for small TV. And for petes sake quit trying to change everything about Wonder Woman.

  • Give-us-a-WWmovie

    I’m with you. Wonder Woman is bigger then TV. It was fine for the 70’s but this is 2013. Get on with it already Warner Bros. As long as it isn’t this revamped Wonder Woman by Jim Lee. 

  • Give-us-a-WWmovie

    If they are going to do a Wonder Woman film or JLA movie with Wonder Woman in this Nu 52 style that Jim Lee has brought to DC Comics I’d rather go without. It would be a shame to wait long years for a Wonder Woman feature only to be handed this reimaged generic version of Wonder Woman who is only recognized in title only.