It feels like 2017 all over again with Patty Jenkins being the hottest director in demand. She closed out 2020 with Wonder Woman 1984. Leaving a future bright and her calendar filled for a couple of years.
Up for the Challenge
Warner Bros. immediately greenlit Wonder Woman 3 for production with Jenkins back to direct. Though expected, the news comes a month into her announcement of directing the upcoming Star Wars film, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. So which film gets pushed back? Neither! Jenkins recently spoke with Collider, revealing that she’ll be working on both films, along with the remake of Cleopatra, simultaneously.
“All of them really, and I have a TV show, all of them’ but I’m super excited to head into… I think they’re all great and I continue to push them along and we have sort of plans for what will go first and try to organize how multiple things can happen,” Jenkins explained.
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron looks to be like Top Gun, but with X-wings and “in a galaxy far, far away.” During the recent Disney Investor Day, she mentions in her promo video that most of her inspiration comes from her father, a former fighter pilot. She explained that losing him,” …ignited a desire in me to turn all of that tragedy and thrill into one day making the greatest fighter pilot movie of all time.” This film is scheduled to hit on December 22, 2023.
One with the Force
She understands that directing a Star Wars movie is about high expectation and an angry fandom on standby. “You can never do it in one year. You could never do a good Star Wars movie in one year or a good Cleopatra in one year. I think each of those movies take two years probably,” Jenkins said. “Certainly, until I’m on set shooting Star Wars, I could be developing all sorts of other things and pushing them forward. It is actually possible. So, I think that’s apparently how people do it, do multiple things at one time, which I’m usually pretty singularly focused, but I’m getting better at this all the time.”
To be clear, Jenkins has been confirmed as the director for Rogue Squadron before the public knew of Rogue Squadron. She even confirmed with Collider, that the pre-production is almost finished. “So, it ends up being like where you’re fairly close to a well-along screenplay by the time I’m done with the treatment in my process. So yeah, we’ve been working on it for a while. It’s going great. I’m super excited about it. I’m super excited about the story,” she clarified.
A Disturbance in the Force?
Star Wars is an amazing opportunity, but she’s “not out of the woods yet.” Revenue from the theatrical release of Wonder Woman 1984 have crossed the $100M mark. However, it failed to break even with its $200M budget. Reviews are mixed with several critics comparing it to Sam Rami’s Spider-Man 3 or Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man 2. In defense of box office numbers, the ongoing pandemic prevents a huge theatrical turn out. As for the tone, some critics could understand that it was harkening back to Richard Donner’s Superman franchise. But it couldn’t excuse their valid issues with the villains, character arcs, and plot holes.
Past actions also linger. Star Wars fans remember a period that President of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, would immediately part with a couple of directors. It was heavily rumored that she prevented Colin Trevorrow from directing Star Wars 9 after his film, Book of Henry, bombed at the box office. Another rumor was when she did the same to Josh Trank. After his version of Fantastic 4 underperformed, his Boba Fett standalone film, was tossed out.
With Wonder Woman 1984’s response and Kennedy’s pattern, is there still hope for Star Wars: Rogue Squadron directed by Jenkins? There actually is. During the Investor Day, Kennedy was ecstatic to have Jenkins on board to direct. She summarized the project as, “a new, previously unexplored era of Star Wars lore set in the future beyond The Rise of Skywalker.”
The concerns are currently there, but her accomplishments speak louder. Prior to this sequel, she got Charlize Theron an Oscar for Monster; was able to play through Gal Gadot’s strengths in Wonder Woman; credited for “saving” the DC Extended Universe (DCEU); and gain several Emmy nominations from direction tv shows. Based on Warner Bros. fast-track for a third film and the passion brought to that Star Wars pitch, her momentum isn’t stopping, and neither are these projects.
Wonder Woman 3
Reviews and box office numbers can’t stop Chairman for Warner Bros. Pictures Group, Toby Emmerich from announcing Wonder Woman 3 moving forward. According to Deadline, he stated, “As fans around the world continue to embrace Diana Prince, driving the strong opening weekend performance of Wonder Woman 1984, we are excited to be able to continue her story with our real life Wonder Women – Gal and Patty – who will return to conclude the long-planned theatrical trilogy,” Emmerich stated.
Jenkins had previously mentioned that she would want to set this installment in modern day. “I’m not planning to put it in the past again, because where are you going to go? You have to go forward. It’s definitely a contemporary story,” she told The Hollywood Reporter a couple of years ago. It looks to be going back to the basics of the first film with more of a realist take. However, it’s not to be speculated to be as gritty as Batman films or even Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. A release date has yet to be set. Like Rogue Squadron and her other upcoming projects, the expectations for a redemptive film are higher than Wonder Woman’s flying abilities.