I was one of those who was beyond excited at the thought of Joss Whedon directing an adaptation of DC Comics' Wonder Woman character. Whedon has directed, and created, wonderful superheroic female characters in the past, and I can think of almost no one better to tell the story of one of DC's "big three" (the other two are Batman and Superman). Alas, it was not to be and Joss Whedon has stepped away from the project.
After reading the brief ICV2 blurb, which sited "script differences" as the culprit and left thoughts of narrowminded suits dangling in my mind, I was relieved to read the Hollywood Reporter article on the subject. The article describes in much greater detail the causes, and includes comments by Whedon himself. Whedon's comments are extremely gracious, which one can attribute to two things (among others). The first thought that might come to mind is that Whedon is being polite because he wants to be able to work on future Time-Warner projects, including scripting comics, in other words self interest. The second is that Whedon is doing good press because he is a nice guy. Given how nice he is to people who randomly stalk him at comic conventions this is not unimaginable.
What people won't probably think of is that Whedon might be making the comments because they are true, this is especially true of the fanboy types who still blame "suits" who wanted giant spiders for the demise of Kevin Smith's Superman screenplay. If you believe that, I have some prime real estate in New York I'd like to sell you.
Before you all begin anti-corporate screeds, let me give you a little of what Whedon said. I'll give you gust enough to see what I'm talking about without violating Borys Kit's copyright on the article.
According to the Hollywood Reporter Whedon stated, "Everybody knows how long I was taking, what a struggle that script was, and though I felt good about what I was coming up with, it was never gonna be a simple slam-dunk" and "The worst thing that can happen in this scenario is that the studio just keeps hammering out changes and the writer falls into a horrible limbo of development."
In other words, Whedon was taking a long time to write a screenplay for which Warner had set a large amount of money aside. And, as anyone who has read Rob Long's book Conversations with My Agent knows, "development hell" is a bad thing for both product and creators. Does any real fan of comic books want a screenplay that has been "patched" together through a long and difficult process which includes 6 or more screenwriters? Does anyone remember Catwoman? That was exactly what happened with that film and we ended up with one of the worst comic movies of all time.
Seems to me that contrary to what the most skeptical might imagine, the reasons for Whedon leaving the project aren't solely due to corporate mindset. It seems they are do to a combination of corporate mindset and a genuine desire for a quality product.
Maybe they can talk Doug Liman into doing the project, that would be awesome.