Following the shocking announcement last week that DC Studios had axed Wonder Woman 3, Patty Jenkins, who directed the first two Wonder Woman movies, has finally weighed in on persistent rumors about what led to this move from the studio. On Tuesday, Jenkins denied reporting from The Wrap and other outlets alleging that the project had been canceled because she’d walked off and declined to work with studio executives on requested changes to the movie.
“When there started being backlash about WW3 not happening, the attractive clickbait false story that it was me that killed it or walked away started to spread,” Jenkins wrote in a lengthy statement posted to Twitter. “This is simply not true. I never walked away. I was open to considering anything asked of me.”
Last week, sources told The Wrap that Warner Bros. Film Group Co-CEOs Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy didn’t agree with Jenkins’ plans for Wonder Woman 3, and Jenkins refused to work with them on changes to her proposal. According to a source, Jenkins became so frustrated with De Luca and Abdy that she sent an email to them that concluded with a link to the Wikipedia definition of “character arc.” The source told The Wrap that the studio invited Jenkins to pitch a different direction for Wonder Woman, but she declined and ultimately left the project.
Jenkins seemed to push back on this reporting entirely. “I do not want what has been a beautiful journey with WW to land on [a] negative note. I have loved and been so honored to be the person who got to make these last two Wonder Woman films,” she wrote. “[Wonder Woman] is an incredible character. ... I wish her and her legacy an amazing future ahead, with or without me.” Further, Jenkins called Gal Gadot, who portrays the titular Wonder Woman, “the greatest gift I have received in this whole journey.”
The director also clarified that she’d been so dedicated to getting Wonder Woman 3 off the ground that despite being tapped to direct Disney’s Rogue Squadron—making her the first woman to direct a Star Wars film—she originally left Rogue Squadron to focus on WW3. This led to Lucasfilm, the studio overseeing the Star Wars franchise, to make a new deal with Jenkins that would have allowed her to work on Rogue Squadron after her work on Wonder Woman 3 wrapped.
But now, Jenkins’ Star Wars project appears to be in limbo, and she’s no longer working on Wonder Woman either, in a pretty devastating turn of events for the director.
To be clear, per The Hollywood Reporter’s original reporting earlier this month, Jenkins’ iteration of Wonder Woman 3, specifically, is not moving forward. But the Wonder Woman franchise as a whole hasn’t been killed by DC Studios, and Gadot remains attached to the role at this point.
According to The Wrap, Wonder Woman’s direction remains undecided, as the studio has yet to meet with Gadot to discuss her future in the role. But Gadot tweeted earlier this month, “A few years ago it was announced that I was going to play Wonder Woman. … Can’t wait to share her next chapter with you.”
News that Wonder Woman 3 is no longer moving forward comes amid major restructuring within DC Studios and Warner Bros. Discovery. Since CEO David Zaslav took over, he scrapped Batgirl—despite how the $90 million movie had already wrapped filming—and a number of other DC projects in order to cut costs at the company. In October, James Gunn and Peter Safran were named co-CEOs of DC Studios and given a mandate to wholly reshape the DC landscape. Amid these massive changes at the studio, The Wrap reported that the only projects deemed safe and not to be “messed with” were the sequel to The Batman, J.J. Abrams’ Superman, Joker 2, and Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 3. It seems despite significant efforts to cut costs at Warner Bros., budget wasn’t a factor in why Wonder Woman 3 was scrapped.
Still, it’s hardly a good look for DC to cut an upcoming sequal for its most visible female superhero, whatever your opinion of Gadot and her controversial politics and penchant for out-of-touch music videos. As a cringe Marvel fan, I can say that for all my fandom’s many—and I mean many—ongoing problems, Marvel doesn’t lack for representation. Jenkins’ departure from Wonder Woman 3 is also a loss for equally vital off-screen representation—women comprise just 23% of film directors, and even fewer in the action genre. If Wonder Woman 3 moves forward, I can’t imagine it being helmed by a male director, but the removal of a barrier-breaking pioneer like Jenkins is a loss, nonetheless.