In the least shocking news ever, Warner Bros. has lassoed Patty Jenkins to direct Wonder Woman 2, and the only question is — what the heck took them so long to make the news official? The first film in the DC franchise has been shattering box office records left and right, so of course the studio should once again turn to the woman responsible for making it all happen. And now Jenkins has moved on from shattering records to shattering glass ceilings, since her deal with Warner Bros. will apparently make her the highest-paid woman director in the history of Hollywood, according to Variety. (Jenkins' reps declined to comment.)
Jenkins was already onboard the project in some capacity, writing a script treatment for the sequel alongside DC Comics president Geoff Johns. But this news not only means her role as director is 100 percent confirmed, it also gives Jenkins a huge pay bump from the reported $1 million she received for the 2017 blockbuster to near $8 million for the second film, per Variety's report. This is a huge deal (literally) in an industry that's so often still unfriendly to female filmmakers and performers. As a constant champion for women in the industry, Oscar-nominated actor Jessica Chastain was quick to celebrate this fact, heralding the news on Twitter.
And Chastain isn't alone in her enthusiasm. Other women have been quick to express their support for Jenkins, and excitement over what her success could mean for gender diversity in Hollywood moving forward.
The news of Jenkins' fortune comes hot on the heels of another blockbuster director's misfortune, as Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow was recently let go from his job helming the trilogy-capping Star Wars: Episode IX. In the wake of it all, Star Wars fans and filmgoers in general have been clamoring for the studio to give the opportunity to a woman director in his place, citing such acclaimed filmmakers as Michelle MacLaren (Game Of Thrones), Lesli Linka Glatter (Homeland), Kimberly Pierce (Boys Don't Cry), Kathryn Bigelow (Detroit), Ava DuVernay (Selma), and even Patty Jenkins herself.
Lucasfilm should pay heed to the clamor over their own film and the roar of approval over Wonder Woman 2. Last year, Hollywood managed to make a bad situation for female filmmakers even worse, and it's time to reverse that downward trend. Remarkably, San Diego State's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film found that, in 2016, only seven percent of the year's top 250 films were directed by women — which was actually down two percentage points from the year before.
It's perhaps too early to make any claims that Jenkins' success has ushered us into a new and better Hollywood era; but the massive success of Wonder Woman and the studio's show of support towards Jenkins (as evidenced by her sizable raise) may indicate that there is a sea change ahead when it comes to the big studios' attitudes towards female filmmakers. Hopefully the days are gone in which a man can be catapulted to blockbuster status with very little experience under his belt, while movie studios ignore a woman who has been churning out great work for the past two decades.
Experience is more important than gender, and Jenkins' success proves that. It appears that Warner Bros. is finally getting that message, and one can only hope that the other major studios will follow suit and start giving more chances to talented women who have so far been toiling in the shadows. With more voices of support from powerful celebrities like Jessica Chastain, we may see even more Patty Jenkinses materialize in the very near future… and Hollywood will be all the richer for it.