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Monster director Patty Jenkins to replace Michelle MacLaren on Wonder Woman film

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

A mere three days after announcing that Michelle MacLaren would be leaving Wonder Woman due to "creative differences," Warner Bros. has secured a new director for the Amazon Princess' first feature film adaptation. Patty Jenkins was very nearly the first woman to direct a movie in Marvel's modern cinematic universe, and now it seems she'll be doing Warner Bros. that favor for its own DC films.

MacLaren's departure from Wonder Woman was announced on April 13 ignited some juicy rumors that Warner Bros. felt her interpretation of the character would alienate fans by giving her a talking tiger companion. The viral potential of a ridiculous verbal feline aside, the official stance was that the split was over "creative differences."

Monster movie poster

Somewhat ironically, this was also the reason Marvel Entertainment gave when it removed Patty Jenkins, writer/director of the superlatively well-received Monster, from the production of Thor: The Dark World. Jenkins was reportedly hand-picked for the film by Natalie Portman, as part of a concession by Marvel to the actress' reluctance to return to the franchise. If Jenkins had remained on the film, she would have been the first woman to direct a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Lexi Alexander directed 2008's Punisher: War Zone, but it is not a film that Marvel considers to be within the same universe as The Avengers. At this date, Marvel still has yet to hire a woman to direct any film in the Marvel cinematic slate, though one hopes Marvel's producers will follow Warner Bros.' lead and look for female directors for their upcoming Captain Marvel, featuring the Carol Danvers incarnation of the character.

Bringing Wonder Woman to the screen will require a director to navigate a host of challenges; not simply the regular hurdles of comic book adaptation, but also the significant Hollywood skepticism that accompanies any woman-led action movie. Jenkins' Monster — a biographical film about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, starring Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci — is a story about women, and of a sort that is not often told. Or, at least not often told to widespread Hollywood acclaim and awards nominations. Having a director who can expertly deliver a story about a real female serial killer may prove to be just the thing to handle a fictional female hero.

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