WONDER WOMAN: DC Unveils First Footage, Immediately Botches Messaging

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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WONDER WOMAN: DC Unveils First Footage, Immediately Botches Messaging
Fans of iconic DC Comics character Wonder Woman got themselves a treat last night when DC's Geoff Johns appeared on the Dawn Of The Justice League TV special on The CW and, in a chat with Kevin Smith, unveiled the first footage from Patty Jenkins' upcoming film. It should be said that what footage they showed really looks quite good. It should also be said that they got the messaging very, very wrong.

The pressure on DC and Warner Brothers here is significant. They're bringing out the first female led superhero film of the current capes-and-tights explosion and they are openly playing the feminism and female empowerment cards while doing so. Which is good and right. They should be doing that. But, while doing so they should probably have someone vet the rest of their messaging. Because they somehow managed to get what should have been a relatively simple task remarkably wrong pretty much immediately.

For those who want to play along, you can find the footage and the complete presentation clip below. Johns gets things started by establishing the roots of the character. Why does Wonder Woman even exist? Says Johns, "These Amazons were once created to protect man's world." Not humanity. Not the human world. Not people. Man's world. Specifically man's world. And lest you missed it, he says it again almost right away. "Diana's asking constantly, 'Why don't we go do what we were created to do and protect man?'" Oh, good. You're presenting what you want to sell as the world's first feminist superhero film and literally the first thing the head of the company behind her has to say about her in public is that she was created and divinely ordained to be in a subservient role protecting man. Well, fuck.

Let's continue.

We then have Chris Pine talking about how now is such an important time to tell this sort of story and bring this story to the screen before Johns returns to praise her strength and fighting skill. "She's the best fighter in the DC universe!" he proclaims, accompanied by an ass shot. A long one. In slow motion. Oh, good.

And then they finally let their director speak about the character and her importance and Jenkins, being a good soldier no doubt bound by a very particular PR clause in her contract - as all blockbuster directors are - sticks to the script she's given and explains that's what's really important about Wonder Woman from the female perspective is how loving she is. Because, you know, women want a loving super hero. With a tight ass. Who was created to protect men. All of that in a mere minute and twenty seconds.

Fuck, DC, this really wasn't that hard. There was only one thing that you really needed to avoid in marketing this movie. And you've gone and done that very thing at your very first opportunity. Damn.
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Todd BrownJanuary 20, 2016 8:57 AM

We did, at least, get the new Suicide Squad trailer. They got that one pretty damn right.

God of JoyJanuary 20, 2016 8:57 AM

hey Todd. "They're bringing out the first ever female led superhero film..." what of Supergirl (1984) and Catwoman (2004)?

Todd BrownJanuary 20, 2016 9:02 AM

Catwoman's a villain. And I guess I'd blocked Supergirl from my memory due to it being so very, very bad. Heh. Point taken, though, I shall tweak that.

Matt BrownJanuary 20, 2016 10:03 AM

Thumbs up brother

Matt BrownJanuary 20, 2016 10:03 AM

And Elektra, if we're gonna be all Internet about this

Todd BrownJanuary 20, 2016 10:29 AM

Heh. Another one I clearly blocked out due to rampant awfulness.

MikeJanuary 20, 2016 10:37 AM

And boy is that a surprise.

Todd BrownJanuary 20, 2016 10:50 AM

I know, right? I had zero expectations for that one and it looks super fun. I actually think it's going to end up owning the space that Deadpool has been aiming for. Suicide Squad looks like it hits that tone way better.

Matt BrownJanuary 20, 2016 10:53 AM

Well, I'm a Supergirl defender. And some of my reasons are even legitimate. But yeah Elektra is garbage.

ManateeAdvocateJanuary 20, 2016 11:37 AM

It looks amazing.

ManateeAdvocateJanuary 20, 2016 11:43 AM

I know, right?! Jesus. I'm glad I'm not alone with my perceptions of this. DC just keeps fumbling around in the dark it seems.

KurtJanuary 20, 2016 12:12 PM

And TANKGIRL, and hell why not: RESIDENT EVIL, ULTRAVIOLET, and most of Milla Jovovich's filmography.

Todd BrownJanuary 20, 2016 12:35 PM

Been aaaaaages since I've seen it but I kind of loved Tank Girl when it came out. Mea culpa. I have no excuse on that one.

Mr. CavinJanuary 20, 2016 2:36 PM

well it's male gazey as all crap, as long as we're on the subject. Looks like SUCKER PUNCH in the stills.

Todd BrownJanuary 20, 2016 3:35 PM

No argument there but they are, at least, delivering exactly what they promised and set out to deliver. With this one they're explicitly trying to sell it as a feminist exercise and can't even go twenty seconds before putting the woman in a subservient position.

Mr. CavinJanuary 20, 2016 3:42 PM

Oh yeah, I totally agree. Just pointing out the obvious because this seemed like a better place to do it than over there.

There's something to be said about how kind of crappy it is that DC is mixing their message further by attempting to deliver this at the same time they are delivering that. Sort of the same gesture the comic book store makes when it puts all the huge-breasted pornstar-looking superhero books in the front window and then points at Squirrel Girl and pats itself on the back for mitigating the hostility.

SpurpleJanuary 20, 2016 4:06 PM

Pathetic clickbait garbage. You know "man" and "mankind" refer to humans as a whole, not just males? Consider the context before whining like an ignorant bitch. "Man's world" is a term used in DC lore by the Amazons, whose civilization is comprised of only women.

Christopher O'KeeffeJanuary 20, 2016 4:41 PM

"...of the current capes-and-tights explosion". That rules out Supergirl. Catwoman too, I would say.

MikeJanuary 20, 2016 5:36 PM

Nice use of a gendered slur in your complaint about political correctness. That'll show them!

Todd BrownJanuary 20, 2016 5:40 PM

Hey! We lasted most of the day before someone broke out the gender specific insults! It's a new record!

Todd BrownJanuary 20, 2016 5:41 PM

That was my edit to correct my original statement.

tonyJanuary 21, 2016 12:39 AM

Have you read a wonder woman comic, seen the justice league animated series or her animated movie? The amazons refer to the outside world as man's world! It's not something DC/WB conjured up for this sneak peak. Do your research next time. The rest of your article is completely over analytical and you seem to just be looking for something to complain about.

SepulchraveJanuary 21, 2016 12:53 AM

"The rest of your article is completely over analytical..."

How dare he apply any thought to a piece of media instead of just mindlessly slurping it down!

SepulchraveJanuary 21, 2016 1:16 AM

I kind of love the fact that ww started out as basically a fetish character and has slowly been retconned into being better than superman. Some of her older incarnations were full of contradictions that I always thought would have made for an interesting movie: An ambassador of peace, but raised as a warrior from a utopian society that was only achieved by segregation.

Mr. CavinJanuary 21, 2016 1:17 AM

Let's ask a different set of questions, while we're at it. Is DC primarily selling this movie to people who have ever read a Wonder Woman comic, seen the Justice League animated series, or her animated movie? I'd hazard no. I imagine that DC is attempting to reach the widest audience it can, to sell this movie to people who might accept the words for the things they mean to US society at large, and not what they mean to a comparatively small audience made up of DC's readership. Since the overall tone of the advertisement package linked above seems to underline their desire to be looked on as a feminist venture, it seems like leaving out the specific explanations you're referring to can be seen as either willfully confusing or accidentally inept.

tonyJanuary 21, 2016 1:33 AM

Fair point. The point that I was making is that that phrasing of man's world is cannon and an important aspect of her story. Could they have left it out, sure. But do I think it hurts their branding of her character to a wide audience, no. Most people aren't going to look that in depth into her branding and analyze it as this article has done. All and all I don't think this particular phrasing matters as well as some of the other complaints.

Jaguar LivesJanuary 21, 2016 5:21 AM

The footage looked murky, the action dull, the format cheesy... this was not an auspicious debut.

Todd BrownJanuary 21, 2016 8:24 AM

The fact that they've been using sexist language to describe the world for a long time makes it no less sexist. Saying on one hand that you're creating the world's first feminist superhero movie while simultaneously saying that she was created by a god for the service of man does not compute. It simply does not.

Jarren DJanuary 21, 2016 1:54 PM

In order to make hose connections, you have to actually be a) intelligent and b) know about the character. These people clearly do not belong to either of those camps.

Jarren DJanuary 21, 2016 1:56 PM

"Have you read a wonder woman comic, seen the justice league animated
series or her animated movie? The amazons refer to the outside world as
man's world!" Yeah. WE know that. People who have not read Wonder Woman DON'T. When they hear "man's world", they hear "men", which gives them the wrong idea. I think that's kind of the point of this article.....

tonyJanuary 21, 2016 5:29 PM

Well the way you are interpreting it is not what was said in the first look preview. Amazons where some of the best fighters and their help was sought out and they were very much living in what was considered to be "man's world." They lost faith in man's world and separated from it. Fast forward centuries later wonder woman was born/created. She was not created "for the service of man," so I do not know where you got that from in this promo. What was said is that she wanted to know why they don't protect man's world like they once did. And that's why she leaves the island. Unless I'm mistaken they didn't say she was specifically created for man's use as you Are saying. So it does compute. She wants to protect not serve. I guess I'm getting that you are interpreting that since she wants to protect man's world, she is serving it? If so then superman and all the other heroes are servants to the world. But to be subservient, you have to allow yourself to be controlled and that's not what's happening. Unless you are making the argument that all heroes are subservient because they are controlled by the troubles of the world then you just have a issue with the man's world phrase.


And I'm not saying your opinion is invalid. I'm just saying that I think you are blatantly over analyzing something to find a issue where inherently there really isn't a big issue. You can over analyzing anything and find issues that weren't immediately intended. I believe that the majority of the audience isn't going view this as you have and I don't think they should.

tonyJanuary 21, 2016 5:31 PM

Well someone already replied to my comment making this point and I've replied back, so see that comment.

MigeulitoJanuary 22, 2016 11:39 AM

"she was created and divinely ordained to be in a subservient role protecting man"

HOW did you even get to this conclusion?? As many others have stated Man's World is a canonical stand in for our world of which WOMEN are the majority and a pretty significant if not absolutely necessary part. I'm pretty sure the general public doesn't have a bone to pick with social justice point makers so the idea of Man's World wouldn't be that far fetched an idea that they can't equate it with our own. You're selling the public short and finding supposed issues where none exist. And how you can conjure up such a convoluted "analysis" of a few clips completely out of context is a feat in itself. So kudos, I guess.

MigeulitoJanuary 22, 2016 11:41 AM

Well-thought and over-thinking are two different things.

MigeulitoJanuary 22, 2016 11:44 AM

It's also a female dog so pick your offense! Last time I checked, compared to humans, dogs are pretty ignorant.

MigeulitoJanuary 22, 2016 11:47 AM

She was NEVER put in a subservient position. YOU went there on your own by taking everything out of context, creating a controversy and selling it to all the people who want to be victimized.

Todd HarringtonJanuary 23, 2016 10:32 AM

I don't know why but I'm surprised at the amount of defensive vitriol in the comments here. The whole "man's world" language was shifted at DC years ago to "mortal world" (starting, I believe,with the George Perez run on WW) in part to get away from the inherent bias in the previous.

While it HAS been used on occasions since -- both in the comics and the animated films/shows -- it has been done in the context of highlighting the sexism of the term and of world history in general, ie: the Amazons retreating from the mortal world and banning men from their island because of how badly men (prone to Ares' siren call) muck everything up. While they tried to do that in the teaser, that angle is lost and the bulk of the "read" is "these women were created by/for men".

Here's the fact of it: as a professional writer and a real-economy business owner, I can tell you unequivocally: words matter.

They may not matter that much to you. You may not feel they are a big deal in some cases, including this one.

But this Wonder Woman relaunch -- between BvS, Wonder Woman and the Justice League movie -- is over a half-billion dollars in production monies looking to cement Wonder Woman as not so much a pro-feminist icon as pro-girl in the vein of Katniss, Hermione Granger and, now, Rey (Kenobi? Skylwalker?).

All to, hopefully, reap billions of dollars in merch sales (which, imo, will be stunted by the dark-ish Goyer/Snyder world they have decided to build but that is a different conversation).

To have one of the architects of that relaunch drag in counter-message (even if canonical) language like that was a MASSIVE fubar situation and I know for a fact that WB and Time Warner heads exploded when they saw it (their fault for not controlling the messaging better).

To jump all over these facts with "I don't care" is fine; but saying "they don't matter" simply isn't correct -- women pick up on these inconsistencies more than men (for obvious reasons, ie: they're the ones earning $.70 to a man's dollar) and a screw up like this can cost Warners money.

MikeJanuary 23, 2016 11:24 AM

Wow, you're right! It's technically also used in a way that's different from the way this person is obviously using it, and that's made me realize that I'm actually the asshole here. Thanks!

DanielJanuary 25, 2016 9:51 AM

The ignorance of the word "Man" is the problem here and not its use. The
word "Man" comes from the word Moon, and it means something along the
lines of "Race of the Moon" and encompassed both Male and Female and not
just the Male, it was later on that this word became twisted by idiots
and was eventually only associated with the Male and not the Female. So
Mankind refers to both Male and Female and not just the Male. But, as I
say, due to the terrible ignorance of most human beings meaning and
truth is lost. Further in the future people will probably think the word
Human or Hu-man will refer only to the Male of the species. Sigh.

DanielJanuary 25, 2016 9:56 AM

This movie looks crap though. So i don't think it will do much harm to anyone.

Lauren CaitlinFebruary 17, 2016 10:20 PM

Catwoman is an anti-hero actually.

SabretruthtigerMarch 15, 2016 8:36 PM

Whoa, completely missing the point and throwing logic out the window. Man has the evolutionary role as protector so women filling this role and protecting man is a feminist's wet dream, taking over the male role and the man taking over the female 'protected' role.

Pamp LusaMarch 15, 2016 10:48 PM

dude, live and let live. There's no universal rule as to which gender is meant to be what. We have plenty of male protectors, and females too, there's room for everyone. I guarantee there are plenty of women in the world that are stronger, smarter and braver than you are

Pamp LusaMarch 15, 2016 10:59 PM

While there was certainly a sexual undercurrent in the old Golden Age Wonder Woman comics, to describe Wonder Woman as a "fetish" character is incredibly reductive. Furthermore, she was upon her creation, as strong as Superman. She lost that and now she's getting it back

Ra's Al GhulMay 6, 2016 5:53 AM

so what you use instead of sunrise and sunset since those terms are wrong too?

Ra's Al GhulMay 6, 2016 5:55 AM

mankind? is it really hard to understand they're referring to our world?

SAMURAI36May 26, 2016 8:22 PM

Wow, this is completely DUMB. In the comics, The Amazons refer to the modern world as "Man's World". That's because they view males as the source of many of the problems in the world.

Therefore, Johns referring to it as "Man's World" is extremely relevant to the story.

SAMURAI36May 26, 2016 8:23 PM

Uhmm, where on EARTH (clearly not the moon) did you get that etymology from??


SAMURAI36May 26, 2016 8:28 PM
The whole "man's world" language was shifted at DC years ago to "mortal world" (starting, I believe,with the George Perez run on WW) in part to get away from the inherent bias in the previous.

You do realize that alot has happened Perez's run and now, yes? They've long since reverted back to calling the modern world "Man's World", as can be evinced in the WW animated movie (2009), as well as in the New 52, and even in the pre-52.

SAMURAI36May 26, 2016 8:30 PM

Then those people should not be allowed to spread a false narrative, by writing articles like this.

SAMURAI36May 26, 2016 8:32 PM

So, your issue is one that is taken outside the context of the actual story? One that you are clearly ignorant of? One that you could have very easily educated yourself about, prior to writing this article, thereby rendering said article moot.

Okay then.

SAMURAI36May 26, 2016 8:32 PM

And you're gleaning that from a 5 minute spot, that hardly a fraction of said "widest audience" probably even saw?

SAMURAI36May 26, 2016 8:33 PM

What "gender slur" was that? I musta missed it. Like I did the point of this artile.

SAMURAI36May 26, 2016 8:35 PM

This is just the typical DC vitriol that we find on the internet these days.

Cobra_renkiMay 30, 2016 7:06 PM

The thing is being a feminist, doesn't mean you have to look like a librarian. Women can still be sexy,beautiful and confident. Not saying for her to have G string on, but the amazons were beautiful and they didn't take sh*t from nobody, they were warriors. So I have no problem with how she is being portrayed and I think Gal Gadot is doing a good job. If you want to be accurate, especially in Greek mythology alot of women were half naked, but we won't go there. Bottom line Gal owns that WW costume, which no one has been able to do since the 70's tv series. Gal ftw.

Mr. CavinJune 7, 2016 1:10 AM

It's a fair point that this was hardly an advertisement package for the widest possible audience. I assume it was a reel for a convention or something, and therefore probably packaged for those who were at least partially familiar with the source material. But I'm a pretty good example of how plenty of people who are not familiar with that material were still able to watch the promo and draw conclusions about the way they are marketing the film with it (note that I was not drawing conclusions about the film, I was expressing an opinion about the spot itself).

SAMURAI36June 7, 2016 1:21 AM

The result is the same. The idea of "Man's World" is one that WW eventually comes around on, hence the story itself.

This is much ado of nothing. It just reeks of the typical anti-DC sentiment that the internet is rife with these days.

Besides, many of the people who will watch this movie, are no doubt familiar with Lynda Carter's version of WW, in which "Man's World" was very much a part of that story as well.

Besides, the set up for this was already demonstrated in BVS, when Diana talked about Man's world, and her opinion of men during the film. Therefore, the majority of people may not have seen this promo, but they likely will have seen BVS already, if they are watching WW for her continued story.

Mr. CavinJune 7, 2016 1:42 AM

Well, for the record, I don't agree with that. This is a very little bit of ado about how Warner has decided to pitch the movie using a posture of empowerment that is belied by the language and images they have picked and packaged together into this advertisement for it. I detect very little anti-DC sentiment in the article, and I, for one, am not making any sweeping predictions about the movie. The promo was cut and released into the wild--and much of this conversation happened--well before BATMAN V SUPERMAN was released, bee tee dubs.

I am all for an excellent WONDER WOMAN movie, and I hope this was just a boner pulled by the ad folks in charge of this spot.

SAMURAI36June 7, 2016 1:51 AM

This article was made months ago, and the original video has long since been removed, so I can't speak on it's contents.

However, if this is what we are referring to:


Then the promo does more than enough to go into the concept of WW's origins.

Beyond that, you A) didn't even acknowledge the things that I said, and B) are just being nitpicky.

It has nothing to do with "Marketing", and everything to do with speaking about WW's origins. We live in an age where people can go right to the source of the info, with just a few clicks on a keyboard (assuming they are not too lazy to do even that), and find out all the info they want to about the character's origins.

Which is why I said it's much ado of nothing. There's no story here, no issue, no conflict. Those who wish to watch the film, are going to watch it. Those who won't, if they don't want to watch this highly anticipated film because of "Man's World", then they likely weren't going to watch it anyways.