Patty Jenkins on Wonder Woman 1984, Star Wars, and Cleopatra


[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Wonder Woman 1984.]

With Wonder Woman 1984 now streaming on HBO Max and in select movie theaters around the world, I recently got to speak with director Patty Jenkins about making the highly anticipated DC sequel. During the wide-ranging interview, Jenkins revealed if she’s going to release an extended or director’s cut of Wonder Woman 1984, deleted scenes, how they came up with the invisible jet, the post-credits scene, and more. In addition, she talked about her upcoming Cleopatra movie with Gal Gadot, the status of the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron screenplay and who is writing it, and how she is balancing all her projects.

As all of you know, Wonder Woman 1984 finds Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman living in 1984 and squaring off against Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), a media businessman and TV infomercial celebrity. He’s not the only villain in the film, however, as Kristen Wiig fills the role of Barbara Ann Minerva, a.k.a Cheetah. In addition, Pine is somehow back as Steve Trevor…

Check out what Patty Jenkins had to say below.

Collider: Have you seen the Snyder Cut?

PATTY JENKINS: No, I have not.

Do you think Zack will show it to you early?

JENKINS: I’ve been so busy I haven’t even asked. I’m sure he would if I asked. I would love to see it. Oh, actually Gal and I may try to see it sometime soon.

Very jealous. A year ago we spoke at CCXP and you told me that you had basically locked picture and you were basically done.

JENKINS: Yeah.

So this last year you’ve been working on a Cleopatra movie, a Star Wars movie, a Wonder Woman sequel, another Wonder Woman sequel. When you wrap doing press on this movie, what is the first thing you’re working on?

JENKINS: All of them really, and I have a TV show, all of them, but I’m super excited to head into… I think they’re all great and I continue to push them all along and we have sort of plans for what will go first and try to organize how multiple things can happen.

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Image via Warner Bros

You’re in this rare position where you’re going to be able to make some really cool movies. Is it one of these things where you’re like, “Okay, I’m going to do all three and I’m going to make them one year, one year, one year”?

JENKINS: You can never do it in one year. You could never do a good Star Wars movie in one year or a good Cleopatra in one year. I think each of those movies take two years probably. But I do think, as I even learned on the two Wonder Woman’s, I already had sold a limited TV series that I was in love with when they decided to move the Wonder Woman 1984 release date up. So suddenly it was happening on top of each other. And I was actually able to write a huge treatment and have a bunch of creative meetings and go off and do my show while pre-production was happening for Wonder Woman 1984. So, there are a lot of ways. Certainly, until I’m on set shooting Star Wars, I could be developing all sorts of other things and pushing them forward. It is actually possible. So, I think that’s apparently how people do it, do multiple things at one time, which I’m usually pretty singularly focused, but I’m getting better at this all the time.

When we spoke a year ago, we talked about how you were working on the edit, the final length of the movie.

JENKINS: Yeah.

I’ve heard there was a little debate between the studio and you about what that final runtime would be. The movie is two and a half hours. Have you had any conversations about doing an extended cut for HBO Max or the Blu-ray?

JENKINS: No. I wouldn’t even want to. The reason why is because I grew up with the pacing of films being a little bit slower and I think that’s great. And when I show those movies to my son, there’s no part of him that thinks they’re too slow. When you watch Superman or you watch Raiders of the Lost Ark, nothing about it is too slow. We’ve gotten pretty quick moving in movies a lot now, but that doesn’t add up to emotion to me. But I’m also a director, so who knows? I may be indulging myself and just playing around in scenes for too long to sustain the movie. Generally directors do that when you leave them alone.

So that’s the only difference that I end up having is I would like to take a little more time and have a little more air all over the place in scenes we really had anyway. And that’s it. So, if I aired my longer cut, it would be 15 minutes or 10 minutes longer and everybody would say, “I couldn’t tell the difference,” because it would just be a little bit slower pace across the board so it’s not really worth it.

I get it. I like having moments to breathe in a movie. And I think, for example, that all the stuff with Chris in the apartment when he’s trying on stuff. If that scene had been twice as long, I still would have loved it.

JENKINS: Great. That’s how I feel.

But again, it depends on the scene. What was the last scene you cut out and why?

JENKINS: I didn’t cut out very many scenes in this movie. I cut out only parts of scenes. The only scene I can even think of that we cut out was Steve and Diana hailing a cab outside of The Natural History Museum to get to Black Gold. That’s the only actual scene I think we cut out.

Wonder Woman 1984 Gal Gadot Chris Pine
Image via Warner Bros.

Did you have much input in how Wonder Woman would fit into Justice League, either version, and did that affect how you approached the sequel at all?

JENKINS: I did not have any input into how she fit into either version of Justice League. I was shooting Wonder Woman at the time that they started shooting Justice League so it was a very, very busy time. But no, I never had any input or even really knowledge about what was going to be going on in Justice League. Yes, I always have tried to kind of be respectful of knowing where she kind of ends up and keeping the same suit and all of those kinds of things, but I didn’t really know exactly what was going to happen there.

Whose idea was it for the invisible jet?

JENKINS: That was something that I was dead set on. I remember when I started saying I wanted to do Wonder Woman and someone said to me, “Well, how do we make her cool?” And I was like, “Well, first of all, hire someone who already thinks she’s cool, like me.” And number two, none of them are cool. Like none of these characters are cool on the page in the 1950s. We make them cool. And so I was like, the invisible jet was the absolute hardest thing to figure out how to make it cool because of everything you’d ever seen of her sitting in the seat. I was like, “I’m going to figure this out one of these days, how to make this invisible jet.”

And so I just remember it was a moment that Geoff Johns and I were sitting together and talking about a scene and how they get to Egypt. And all of a sudden we were like, “Oh my God.” We figured out how to do that scene. I was so psyched and I worked so hard on like, it made sense, that if her father hid Themyscira, then they figured out how to make the wall. And so it was such a cool thing to figure out.

Can you definitively state whether or not Porkins is the star of Rogue Squadron?

JENKINS: I can not definitively state anything.

I’m just clearly joking. It’s obviously not Porkins.

JENKINS: I know. It’s so hard to talk about.

Wonder Woman 1984 Gal Gadot Kristen Wiig
Image via Warner Bros.

Clearly. I know you have to be careful about talking about that, but can you tell people where you are in the writing process and who’s actually writing the screenplay?

JENKINS: I want him to have his own proper announcement, so I’m going to wait until that comes out, but we’re very far into the, we’re finishing the treatment basically, which is pretty big. So it ends up being like where you’re fairly close to a screen, a well-along screenplay by the time I’m done with the treatment in my process. So yeah, we’ve been working on it for a while. It’s going great. I’m super excited about it.

Cleopatra is something that’s a project that many filmmakers have tried to tackle over the last decade or two. What do you think it is about your version that is going to get that green light, that’s going to get it actually made?

JENKINS: I think I actually have a history of looking at complicated characters…in Monster, who you could tell the story and then, and then, and then. But the truth is when you get into that person’s point of view, it becomes an interesting story in a different way. And hopefully I did that with Wonder Woman as well. So applying that same approach to one of the most famous women in history, Cleopatra, the truth is, the only story that we know of her was told by the Romans who killed her and hated her. And so once we really start looking at what does exist elsewhere about Cleopatra, you see a pretty bad-ass, incredible leader. One of the great leaders in Egypt.

So once we really got down into the nitty gritty details, there’s a pretty incredible story there that is the same story but you understand totally differently if you change things just a little bit where you’re seeing it from. So I just think it’s a story that she deserves to have told one day beautifully. Gal has been developing this for a while and when she brought it to me, I was so excited by what it could possibly be. And I think she’d be an amazing Cleopatra.

I already got to go. A million other questions. I’m just going to say, I’m super happy for you and congrats on booking Star Wars.

JENKINS: Thank you, Steven. I appreciate it so much. I hope you like it.

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Gal Gadot in 2017's Wonder Woman
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The director originally wanted something more toned down.


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