The XX Factor

Michelle MacLaren Deserves Better Than Wonder Woman

Director Michelle MacLaren in Los Angeles last month.

Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Variety

Back when a Wonder Woman movie was first announced, fans had mixed feelings. On one hand, it was exciting to hear that, finally, the main character in a big-budget superhero movie would be a woman. On the other hand, unlike lighthearted Marvel, D.C. mistakes moroseness for gravitas, even when it comes to Wonder Woman’s costume. That’s enough to drain away a lot of anticipation. 

Hopes kicked up when Michelle MacLaren, one of the more interesting directors on both Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, was picked to helm Wonder Woman—surely she could give us the Wonder Woman we deserve, who is feminist and fun instead of brooding and boring. Alas, our hopes were dashed when MacLaren exited the project, citing the usual “creative differences” with Warner Bros. A lot of the feminist press is bummed about this, and making matters worse, there’s been chatter that the opinions of the joyless and hypermale sector of nerddom known as “fanboys” may have influenced the decision.

But I’m not bummed. It’s hard to imagine that even MacLaren could have eked a fun Wonder Woman that could adhere to D.C.’s dreary tone. She shouldn’t be hitching her wagon to this franchise. She should be doing something much cooler. 

And she might be doing just that. The Wrap reports that MacLaren is rumored to be in the running for the upcoming Captain Marvel movie, Marvel’s first female-driven movie. While D.C. has “a history of underutilizing, underwriting and just plain ignoring their biggest female icon,” as Shoshana Kessock explained in 2013, Captain Marvel has become a cult hit for Marvel Comics, particularly with female readers: She’s a badass Air Force pilot who leads the Avengers and has a devout following of women who call themselves the Carol Corps. She even wears pants! She’s a dynamic character who lacks Wonder Woman’s baggage—with Captain Marvel, there’s no particular need to dance around the tender sensitivities of the fandom. It’s a much better vehicle for a talented director like MacLaren, and I hope that this rumor comes to pass.