David E. Kelley has proved he can't write for Wonder Woman. And Allan Heinberg has already shown he can.
The success of Arrow has more than whetted the CW's interest in a distaff counterpart to its high-testosterone superhero hit, and DC stablemate Wonder Woman is the obvious choice--enough so that the casting breakdown is already out even though the pilot hasn't completed the script-building stage, much less been commissioned for production.
A New Woman
The Arrow version of Oliver Queen is something of a reinvention of the character; after all, the new boy had to be diligently set apart from the version seen regularly on Smallville not many months before in order to claim fresh interest and new directions.
And already the mandate to reinvent Wonder Woman, to create sharp delineation from both the occasionally high-camp 1979 Lynda Carter series and the more recent Kelley failed pilot, is a subtle subtext even as the writers seek to hew to Wonder Woman's inherent, longstanding appeal. The good news is that Heinberg has already helped reinvent Wonder Woman once, when he was a writer at DC.
In fact the precedent is deep. Wonder Woman is one of the more regularly reimagined characters in the superhero pantheon, responding to new trends in the depiction of female heroes in general and Diana Prince in particular from generation to generation.
A Young Warrior
The tone of the show and the character seems reflected in the title, Amazon. The series starts from the lead character's life as a young Amazon, before she becomes a warrior princess or gains her super powers. It is designed to be a prequel, and as such has access to the rawest form of her personality, and her background as an inhabitant of a hidden paradise newly exposed to the mortal world, have received some tweaks as well within the familiar setup. (Reports that her name will be Iris, rather than Diana, seem to involve coding the confidential casting process rather than an actual deviation.)
Here's the breakdown as it's been reported in the press: "She... has spent most of her life as a soldier and a leader on the battlefield. Because of relentless brutality of her life at home, Iris looks at our world with absolute awe and astonishment. It's all new and fascinating and sometimes slightly troubling to her. Iris is completely unschooled in our world, our culture, our customs. And she's completely inexperienced at interpersonal relationships. She has no social filter, does not suffer fools, and tends to do and say exactly what's on her mind at all times. Hers is a true, noble, and generous heart. And she will fight and die for the people she loves. Iris is a fierce warrior with the innocent heart of a romantic and she will fight to the death to make the world safe for innocents and true romantics everywhere."
Joining the Stable
The folks at Arrow say they're not worried about being crowded out by the Lasso Lady. Arrow exec Marc Guggenheim has insisted that there is "totally room for both shows" on The CW's schedule. "It would be fun to share a night with them; the CW programs two hours a night and that'd be a pretty kick-ass night of television," he mused.
We're still in very early days, so expect the shape of Amazon to change before, during, and after the crucial casting of the lead role.