The release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice sees the big screen debut of Wonder Woman, who hasn't been seen in live-action since the 1970s TV series starring Lynda Carter.
Hollywood has made many attempts to bring the Amazonian princess to life on TV and in film since the 1960s, but only the 1970s series ever saw any success. There are also a few lost Wonder Woman movies, as well as several TV pilots that never got off the ground.
One might argue that the pressure to get the character just right and please comic book fans is too much for Hollywood to bear, but it does seem that, finally, Gal Gadot's portrayal of the character will get it right.
But that still leaves several failed Wonder Woman projects out there, making us wonder about what might have been.
Who's Afraid Of Diana Prince?
The first effort to bring Wonder Woman to live-action for a television series came in 1967 when Batman producer William Dozier hired writers to come up with a pilot. After several changes in writers and script rewrites, Greenway Productions — the studio behind Batman — filmed a 5-minute partial pilot titled Who's Afraid of Diana Prince? with Ellie Wood Walker in the title role. But the producers decided to cast Diana's alter ego, Wonder Woman, as a different actress, Linda Harrison.
As expected, the series had some of the same camp and humor as the Batman series and the story was way out there: In this pilot, Diana is an awkward woman who lives with her mother, who constantly berates her for not having a boyfriend. But Diana becomes Wonder Woman, a completely different person, when her mother leaves the room.
The pilot never got greenlit and nothing more came of it, which is probably for the best.
Wonder Woman (1974 Movie)
Hollywood tried to bring Wonder Woman to life again with a 1974 movie starring Cathy Lee Crosby sporting a very sensible costume that didn't even include the tiara. In this movie, Diana's secret identity wasn't secret: everyone knew who she was. The plot followed Wonder Woman as she worked with government agent Steve Trevor in tracking down a villain who stole some classified information from the U.S.
This version of the character was more Emma Peele than Amazonian warrior, although it did allow Wonder Woman some of her comic book powers, such as the ability to talk to animals, superstrength, superspeed and bracelets that deflected bullets. Instead of a golden lasso, though, she had a gold length of cable, which basically only acted as a rope she used to tie up villains and engage in the occasional grappling.
Although this made-for-television movie failed, it did lead to network interest that resulted in the successful Carter-helmed Wonder Woman series.
Untitled Joss Whedon Wonder Woman Movie
Although a Wonder Woman movie got batted around in Hollywood like a hot potato, with names like Angelina Jolie and Sandra Bullock attached to the role, in 2005, Warner Bros. announced that Joss Whedon would bring a new movie about Diana to the masses. Whedon began the screenplay later that year with a plan of covering the Amazonian princess' origin story that begins with Steve Trevor crashing on Paradise Island.
Two years later, though, Whedon still didn't have a finished script.
"Let me stress first that everybody at the studio and Silver Pictures were cool and professional," wrote Whedon on his blog. "We just saw different movies, and at the price range this kind of movie hangs in, that's never gonna work. Nonsympatico. It happens all the time. I don't think any of us expected it to this time, but it did. Everybody knows how long I was taking, what a struggle that script was, and though I felt good about what I was coming up with, it was never gonna be a simple slam-dunk. I like to think it rolled around the rim a little bit, but others may have differing views."
After that, Hollywood continued to toss around the idea of a Wonder Woman movie, but nothing ever came to fruition.
Failed Wonder Woman Pilot
David E. Kelly was the next to try to bring a live-action Wonder Woman to television. He shot a pilot starring Adrianne Palicki as Diana, who ran Themyscira Industries, a large corporation. Diana has trouble balancing her life with her alter ego, but still wants to fight the evil that threatens the world.
Although NBC planned on airing the pilot in 2011, it never happened, partly thanks to negative publicity garnered after screenshots of the episode showed off a costume that Wonder Woman fans just didn't like. At one point, the costume designers made alterations based on fan comments, but by then, the project already had the word "failure" attached to it.
It's probably a good thing fans never saw the completed pilot, though — many who saw it referred to it as "embarrassing."
Several years after, David Kelley reflected on the pilot's failure, but still believed that a Wonder Woman series was viable.
"The genre was very different for me and I had a lot to learn," he said to Digital Spy. "If I were going to do [another] superhero franchise, I'd probably call Joss Whedon and beg him to try and do it with me! He's pretty good at it."
Although these projects ultimately failed, a live action Wonder Woman finally hits the big screen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on March 25.