I probably know what you’re thinking: ” Zack Snyder IS credited in Wonder Woman. His name appears in the end credits.” And you’re right! What I’m seeing lately is how many people are praising Patty Jenkins’s directorial success, Gal Gadot’s excellent portrayal as the Amazonian Demigoddess, and all of the wonderful women involved in the film, but somehow forgetting that Snyder was a key part in the development of the film. Instead, people are still bashing him because of his other works like Batman v Superman, Man of Steel or even Watchmen. I am not here to deny Jenkins’ work or anyone’s work involved in Wonder Woman; nor am I here say what you can or can’t think about Snyder’s film. What it can’t be denied is that without him working on his DC films (either it be great or not), there was never going to be a Wonder Woman. Which leads me to the first point I want to bring up.
Having Wonder Woman In The DCEU
If you asked people a few years ago if DC and Warner Bros. would be making a Wonder Woman solo film, they would have laughed or scuff at the idea. Zack Snyder, however, had a different view on bringing the female superhero on the big screen for the first time in 75 years since her creation. In a press conference for Batman v Superman, he said:
“I was obsessed with the Trinity. I really wanted to see the Trinity, that being Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, in a single moment,” Snyder added. “That was a thing I was really interested in trying to get into this movie. And those conversations are really what lead to this ‘Dawn of Justice’ subheading for the film. That we could now have conversations about the fact that the Justice League and or the DC Universe now could evolve from this.”
Bringing Batman and Superman on the same movie was a huge deal back when WB and DC started production on the film, but Snyder didn’t stop there. He wanted to bring another crucial member of the Justice League for the DCEU, the same way fans of the female superhero wanted to see her on the big screen. Without her, it would’ve felt unfair to the source material. It was Snyder’s decision to add Diana Prince in the film that set off a chain reaction to the DCEU and, ultimately, helped Wonder Woman be a reality.
Casting Wonder Woman
Probably the most simple and straightforward argument I want to bring up is that Zack Snyder was the person responsible for casting Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot. He has talked about how casting Gal Gadot was a success for him, as he stated in a interview with Film Ink:
“…But the thing with Gal is that she’s strong, she’s beautiful, and she’s a kind person, which is interesting, but fierce at the same time. It’s that combination of being fierce but kind at the same time that we were looking for. She can get serious, but she’s amazingly fun to be around. And by the way, she really held her own with Ben in the screen test. Ben was like, ‘Whoa, that girl is something else!’ That was a good sign, because Ben is very tough in the scene, and he’s big and commanding. Anytime that you’re doing a test like that and you’re looking at the other person, you’re thinking, ‘Okay, that’s good stuff.’ That was part of the process, and over time as we got to know Gal, we found out how amazing she is.”
Casting an actor or actress for a role is an important process in film making. The director trusts that the actor or actress can bring their character(s) to life, while maintaining the vision set for the movie and appealing audiences. Snyder trusted that Gal Gadot could make Wonder Woman her own character, and she exceeded those expectations with the debut of the Amazonian warrior in Batman v Superman, being one of the biggest highlights of the whole film. Even Director Patty Jenkins has stated that she never would’ve thought on casting Gadot for the role. Diana’s first debut on Batman v Superman was critical for her solo film to be made, and Gal Gadot made it her character. She IS Wonder Woman.
Writing Wonder Woman
Of course, I have to talk about Snyder’s role in the film itself. He is credited as the writer for Diana Prince’s origin story and how it all ties up to the events of Batman v Superman, as well as Allan Heinberg (also the screenplay writer) and Jason Fuchs. Snyder has spoken about the importance of the character as he wrote the story:
“This idea that, like, this warrior for love will set the world right, and not through what we would consider the normal sort of, like, aggressive male, like ‘grr, I’m gonna fight for it,’ though if challenged, of course she will,” Snyder said. “But this deep sort of impossible for, I think at first, impossible to understand this mystery of sort of feminine power but that it’s driving you to have to explore.”
Sure, writing a story for a film and directing it are two different things. Patty Jenkins has proven herself that she is capable of directing a solid blockbuster film, and also proved that female directors can create great movies. That said, it doesn’t make Snyder’s work any less than Jenkins and vice versa. She even had something to say about Snyder’s involvement with her film.
“Zack was making Batman V Superman simultaneous to making this, but he was very instrumental in the direction the film was going to take. That ended up leading to my signing on, because I know enough about these worlds now that unless we really have a shared vision, it’s going to be two years of fighting, and who wants that? I had a very strong feeling of what kind of Wonder Woman film I’d want to make.”
Instead, there was this brilliant duo of talented people in Hollywood creating an artwork for others to laugh, love, and aspire to. Snyder wrote the story, and Jenkins told that story from her perspective, and it worked out perfectly. After all, two heads are better than one; and without both involved, there would never be a Wonder Woman for girls AND boys to look up to.