Late last night a mysterious package arrived at iFanboy HQ. It contained a couple of surprises, one of which was the script for David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman pilot, that was recently picked up by NBC.

You may have seen that other websites have gotten their hands on the same script and have offered up their thoughts. Now having read it myself, here’s what I think.


The script is marked is titled Wonder Woman “Pilot” and is credited to David E. Kelley. It is dated December 16, 2010.


When it was announced that NBC had picked up the pilot, the show was described as “a reinvention of the iconic D.C. comic in which Wonder Woman — aka Diana Prince — is a vigilante crime fighter in L.A. but also a successful corporate executive and a modern woman trying to balance all of the elements of her extraordinary life.”

And that’s pretty much what you have here.

In this script, Princess Diana AKA Diana Themyscira AKA Diana Prince AKA Wonder Woman is a busy woman juggling multiple identities and multiple roles. She shares much of her backstory with her comic book character counterpart: Steve Trevor crashed his plane on Paradise Island, she pulled him from the crash, it was love at first sight, she left the Amazons to spread peace as Wonder Woman. We find out all of this in flashbacks. In the present day where the script takes place, Diana and Steve Trevor have broken up and it’s extremely painful for her; she’s definitely not over it. But that’s okay, because she’s got a lot to do to keep her mind off her ex-boyfriend.

Primarily, she is Wonder Woman, superhero crime fighter in Los Angeles. In a world (and a town) that worships celebrities, she’s the biggest one there is. She is also Diana Themyscira (her “secret identity” is not a secret to the world), the head of Themyscira Industries, whose primary function is to make money to fund Wonder Woman’s super heroics. They do this primarily through selling Wonder Woman merchandise. But Themyscira Industries also functions as her super hero support staff: she’s got analysts and techies and such to help her while she’s in the field. What most people don’t know is that Diana has a THIRD identity, that of Diana Prince. In this identity she pulls a Clark Kent act – she puts in colored contacts and puts on glasses and changes her hair and her body language. This identity serves to help Diana feel more normal and more a part of the world around her, which will clearly be a running theme in the series. It is implied in the script that as Diana Prince she also holds a low level job at Themyscira Industries, which is honestly kind of bizarre.

While Wonder Woman’s costume is not specified in the script, it is implied that she is wearing the new Jim Lee designed version that she has now in the comic books. There are a few nods to the original Wonder Woman costume that you’re either going to love or hate depending on how you feel about the recent costume change.


Assuming this makes it past the pilot stage and to series, how well Wonder Woman is portrayed and how much the audience likes her is what is going to probably decide if this show is a success or a failure. (Well, it’s on NBC so it’s probably a failure before it hits the air. Kidding! Kind of. Seriously, that network is in huge trouble.) The good news is that I found Wonder Woman, as she was written, to be extremely likable. Like Superman, Wonder Woman can be a tough nut to crack. She has to be an awe-inspiring, statuesque beauty who can pick up a truck and throw it at you while still remaining relatable. That’s pretty much what we have here. Through Diana’s multiple personas, we get different sides to her character. She’s the kick ass super hero as Wonder Woman. She’s the uber charming and internationally famous beauty as Diana Themyscira. And she’s the regular girl who, at the end of the day, is kind of lonely and misses her ex-boyfriend as Diana Prince. I like this portrayal of Wonder Woman a lot, but casting this role is going to be tricky.

I also liked the portrayal of the culture around Wonder Woman. The first time we meet her she’s chasing a bad guy down Hollywood Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles. While she’s chasing a bad guy she’s also being followed by a news helicopter broadcasting the chase live (when I lived in LA, they loved the live broadcast high speed chase on the local news). And when she ends ups finally catching the perp (with her magic lasso, natch) in front of the Kodak Theater, she is swarmed by tourists like she’s the biggest movie star in the world, which in this world, she kind of is. And then later, Diana finds herself bored out of her skull in sales meetings at Themyscira Industries having to approve designs on new Wonder Woman dolls. I like the examination of what being a super hero would be like in this modern day world of celebrity obsession.

For the fans of the Wonder Woman comic book, there are a bunch of characters you’ll recognize. Diana’s personal assistant is Etta Candy. The primary nemesis of the pilot (and possible of the show itself) is Veronica Cale from Greg Rucka’s run. And of course, there is Diana’s ex-boyfriend Steve Trevor.


As much as I enjoyed the characterization of Wonder Woman, and by extension, the script itself, which I’ll get to in a minute, I’m predicting that there will be a lot of people who won’t like this pilot as written. There is a lot of David E. Kelley preciousness in the script that at times even had me wincing, and I’m generally a David E. Kelley fan. (Though now that I think about it, I haven’t watched one of his shows in probably five years.) This is a new look at Wonder Woman that, while ringing familiar, will probably put off a lot of Wonder Woman traditionalists and, I’m assuming, most comic book fans. This is a Diana that likes to sing along — loudly — to the radio when she’s driving into work and eat a bunch of ice cream in her pajamas because she ran into her ex-boyfriend. Some people are going to find that endearing and some people will find it annoying.

The only part of the script that I really actively disliked was Diana’s support staff of so-called nerds dubbed “The Animals.” I found them to be kind of annoying and obnoxious and when we first meet them they are having a mid-day Kanye West dance party in their work area which actually made me roll my eyes.

And speaking of music, that was probably the other negative in the script. The music cues were all named and they were about as non-subtle and on-the-nose as you might expect for a show about a woman in her early 30s written by a middle aged man. Songs like “Single Ladies” and “Bad Romance” and “Last of the American Girls” and “Extraordinary Girl” just to name a few. (And if these songs actually end up getting used in the pilot or if they are actually place holders we won’t know until we actually see the thing — music rights are super tricky.)


Casting will be the key as to whether or not Wonder Woman will be charming or annoying. Dialogue that doesn’t quite sing on the page can be saved by a talented and charming actor. If The Animals end up being portrayed by funny people with chemistry then their scenes might really work. And of course, there is Wonder Woman herself, and I do not envy David E. Kelley and his casting team on this one. She has to be strong and fierce and beautiful and smart and vulnerable, and she has to be able to pull off ass kicking Wonder Woman, powerful executive Diana Themsycira, Clark Kent-ish Diana Prince, and regular girl Diana. It’s a tough and challenging roll and possibly the hardest to cast of all the super heroes out there.

Diana only really appears in costume as Wonder Woman twice in the two major action scenes in the script: one that pretty much kicks off the episode and one at the climax. As action scenes go they read fun and exciting and I can see why there were budgetary concerns when this script initially made its way through the networks. I know from watching Smallville every week and reading people’s comments that comic book fans demand as much action from their TV shows as they do their comics, but that’s just not feasible from a budget perspective. Besides, this show is not just an action-adventure, it deals with the multiple aspects of Diana’s life and I think that one of the strongest elements of the script is that it juggles all of these aspects really well. By the end I had a really good handle on who Diana was and what her insanely chaotic life was like.

Ultimately, I enjoyed the script. While overall it’s a different take on Wonder Woman, it’s not so out of the realm as to be completely foreign to those familiar with Wonder Woman from the comics or cartoons. There are enough familiar elements that make Wonder Woman who she is that any fears that they are just slapping the Wonder Woman name on a character who is not Wonder Woman are unfounded. The character in this script is clearly Wonder Woman, just filtered through the lens of a modern day comedy/drama/action-adventure/romance from David E. Kelley. Whether or not that is something you’ll like is dependent upon your tastes.

I hope NBC picks up Wonder Woman. I look forward to seeing this script come to life.


  1. I read another assessment of this script on another site. Now, I’m a guy who thinks the icons can be really malleable, ya know? I don’t worry about “is this like the comics?” But from what I’ve read, I get the impression that the few things of Diana’s that I WOULD keep are exactly the things he’s jettisoned.

    Stuff I really like about the post-crisis WW are the “stranger in a strange land” quality. The fact that she comes from outside our society and it forces us to look at our culture from a new perspective. That, to me, is something that makes WW really different from Superman or Batman. The fact that she’s a warrior for peace with a global mission.

    But, hey, I’ll give this a shot when it hits the air. It’s maybe not the direction I’d go, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’ll just take a while to let go of my own notions of what makes WW work.  And again: I haven’t read the script — just breakdowns other folks have made. 😉

  2. I actually like the sound of this, but, as Conor says, there’s about a jillion things that still have to go right, such as casting.

    I particularly liked the idea of a third identity. Although having her work at the company is a bit weird. And probably illegal. I mean, does she get two paychecks?

  3. This really doesn’t make me very enthusiastic about the show.

    But it sounds like it’s looking to capture the audience that made other David E. Kelley shows successful.  Will the audience that watches “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Desperate Housewives”, “Glee” (just me painting a broad brush over viewers) show up for this and attach to the very things that drive away comic book traditionalists?  And I ask this as a fan of “Smallville”, even when it’s been a chore to watch. 

    Maybe?  If it doesn’t pull better ratings than “Heroes” at the end on a big 4 network, it will die quickly.  Don’t forget the short-lived “Bionic Woman” remake on NBC.

  4. The Daily Beast review of the script really nailed it for me. Feminist icon superhero reduced to tacky pop song placement, ice cream sleepovers, and crying over her ex-boyfriend? If it’s going to be as bad as this sounds I hope it does make it to air. 

  5. It doesn’t seem out of the question that Diana would get depressed and go on an ice cream binge.  This seems like very human behavior that has been missing from the characterizaton of Diana in the comics.  I like the idea of Wonder Woman being a celebrity, and taking  advantage of modern capitalism to fund her superheroics.  But how much in the way of funds does Diana need?  After all, if this show is successful, DC is going to rake in millions on Wonder Woman merchandise in the real world!  I also think the idea that Diana would want an anonymous identity where she can act “normally” makes sense. This appears to be a promising concept.

  6. This actually sounds pretty good. I’m actually not that familiar with David E. Kelly’s work. Boston legal is one of my favorite shows ever and I enjoyed the blink and you missed it run of The Wedding Bells, but I’ve never seen any of his other shows. (Mystery Alaska was a great movie, though!) 

    After a couple of years of iFanboy reading/podcast listening, I’ve come to trust Conor’s judgement. If he likes something, chances are I will, also. This sounds pretty promising. It does miss a couple elements of the Wonder Woman character that I like, but that doesn’t mean they won’t eventually make it into the show. It’s hard to cram 60 years of character development into one episode of a TV show. I would definitely check this out if it hits the airwaves. 

  7. well, there’s only one woman live today who could inspire the awe, empathy and excitment of wonder woman.

    that woman’s name is oprah winfrey.

    i’m starting the internet campaign right now. Cast Oprah as Wonder Woman!

    get on that, conor.

  8. wow another re-make show that nbc messed up ( bionic women) i don’t like this script i don’t like the non WW action scenes.  Hey listen i  love it when they modernize are favorite comic book hero’s but there still needs to be a strong essence of the original comic character, and not a gossip girl feel to it.

  9. It sounds like it’s leaning a bit more towards Ally McBeal than I’d prefer.

    Not a diss on McBeal, but that’s not quite what I’d want/need out of Wonder Woman.

  10. I don’t want another TV show, I want a kick ass movie with Megan Fox as Wonder Woman. I wish Geoff Johns would sort this character out as well!

  11. Although to be fair, he is married to Michelle Pfeiffer who is still incredibly fit so he must know something about women

  12. Oh no, the Wonder Woman fans wont like it, how WILL it get viewers…..

  13. Aisha Tyler

  14. suffering Sappho!!

  15. Reading this makes me nervous.  It all sounds very soap-y and not so much like WW.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, but right now, I’m not hopeful.

  16. I like this for the most part. I feel like Wonder Woman is a character who’s had so many different tones, backstories, settings and voices that as long as you keep the spirit of the character intact she can work in lots of different stories. The whole 3 identities thing seems a bit… over-complicated, but It could definately work in the right hands.

    As for the complaints that this is too “soap operatic?” All superhero comics are soap operas, and by extention pretty much every TV show based on a superhero will resemble that format. Smallville falls squarely in the action/prime-time soap category, as does… wow, where are the rest of the superhero TV shows?

  17. As a Wonder Woman expert & connoisseur, I had high hopes for this show as a way to explore a facet of Wonder Woman that hardly gets explored in the other mediums…her personal life, and the humorous aspect of her mythos. Namely the sexual themes…bondage, etc. And a comedy drama is a great way to present it all! Plus a combo of action…hey…you got yourself a winner.

    But after seeing the Pilot, it was disappointing to see that it didn’t live up to that expectation. What needs to happen is David E Kelley come read all my Wonder Woman articles, do his homework on Wonder Woman, then reconsider the angle he wants to take, then try again!!