Before Patty Jenkins made movie history as the director of the record-breaking comic book tentpole “Wonder Woman,” she was attached to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the filmmaker behind “Thor: The Dark World.” Jenkins was best known at the time for helming the Charlize Theron-starring Oscar winner “Monster” and directing the acclaimed pilot episode of the AMC drama series “The Killing.” Marvel hired Jenkins in September 2011, but, not long after, the two parted ways over “creative differences.” In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Jenkins revealed a poor script made her realize it would be impossible to make a good “Thor” sequel at Marvel.
“I did not believe that I could make a good movie out of the script that they were planning on doing,” Jenkins said. “I think it would have been a huge deal — it would have looked like it was my fault. It would’ve looked like, ‘Oh my God, this woman directed it and she missed all these things.’”
Jenkins knew signing on to direct “Thor: The Dark World” came with the pressure of being the first female director to helm a comic book tentpole. The success or failure of the “Thor” sequel would have big implications on the future of women directors working in the Hollywood studio system. Jenkins was aware of this fact, and it’s the main reason she skipped on “Thor” and went forward with “Wonder Woman,” a project she had more faith in would be great.
“[‘Thor’] was the one time in my career where I really felt like, ‘Do this with [another director] and it’s not going to be a big deal. And maybe they’ll understand it and love it more than I do.’ You can’t do movies you don’t believe in. The only reason to do it would be to prove to people that I could. But it wouldn’t have proved anything if I didn’t succeed. I don’t think that I would have gotten another chance. And so, I’m super grateful.”
Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” would be a critical and box office sensation in summer 2017, grossing $821 million at the worldwide box office. The success of “Wonder Woman” led to greater female representation in comic book films both in front of and behind the camera. Marvel released “Captain Marvel” in 2019, and this year has the women-directed “Birds of Prey” and “Black Widow.” Jenkins herself is back for “Wonder Woman 1984,” which will open in theaters August 14.