In 2009, Wonder Woman made her magical flight on a direct-to-DVD animated feature, also called “Wonder Woman.” Directed by Lauren Montgomery and written by Gail Simone (“Birds of Prey,” “Batgirl” and “Red Sonja”) and Michael Jelenic. The voice cast included Keri Russell as Wonder Woman/Diana and Nathan Fillion as Steve Trevor.
The animated feature was violent enough to garner an R-rating for the first cut. The action sequences were then re-edited for a PG-13 MPAA rating (for violence and suggestive material).
In this storyline, the Amazons led by Queen Hippolyta (Virginia Madsen) battle the god of war Ares (Alfred Molina) and his army. Hippolyta beheads her own son, Thrax (Jason Miller), the product of a sexual assault by Ares, who is fighting with his father. She then is about to behead Ares when Zeus (David McCallum) intercedes on behalf of his son. Zeus’ wife, Hera–Ares’ mother (Marg Helgenberger), places a limiting magic over him. Ares can no longer draw power from the death and violence and can only be released from this limitation by another god.
The Amazons are charged with keep Ares under wraps and given the island of Themyscira where they will remain hidden from the world of men and not age. Hippolyta was also granted a daughter from the sands of the island’s beach and her own blood.
USAF Colonel Steve Trevor (Nathan Fillion) crash lands onto the island and is taken prisoner. Using the magic golden lasso, the Amazons interrogate him. When Hippolyta decides Trevor is not an enemy, an emissary must be chosen to take him back to the world of men. Diana volunteers, but is assigned to guard at Ares’ cell. Hippolyta holds a competition to choose the emissary and Diana is able to participate when her sister Alexa (Tara Strong) volunteers to take her guard duty.
Disguised, Diana wins but the victory has a price. Ares has seduced another Amazon, Persephone (who in Greek mythology was the daughter of Ceres and the unwilling wife of Hades but here is just an Amazon voiced by Vicki Lewis). Persephone kills Alexa and released Ares. Diana is then allowed to take Trevor to New York City but also charged with finding Ares and bringing him back to the island and his prison.
Of course, Ares will be vanquished, but along the way Trevor will save Diana and the two will fall in love.
Trevor is represented as a bit boorish. Hippolyta notes, “Here the true nature of men is laid bare. What other depraved thoughts must you be thinking?” Trevor replies, “God, your daughter’s got a nice rack.” Later, Trevor tells Diana, “The truth is, I’m really not such a pig. No, that’s not the truth. I am a pig. A womanizer. Been one for a long time now. Sometimes I think it’s because I don’t wanna be hurt. Well, not again. This macho bravado, it’s all a facade. Wait, why am I telling you this?”
Still Trevor brings up a point about the Amazons themselves. When Diana criticizes Trevor for saving her instead of stopping Ares (as if a mere mortal could do that, she declares that he would have acted differently if she was a man, but Trevor replies, “Oh, playing the sex card again, are you? You know what? I’ve had just about enough of listening to you go on about how terrible men are.”
Diana replies, “Does the truth hurt, Steve?” but Trevor reminds her, “News flash: The Amazons ain’t so perfect either. You act brave, but cutting yourselves off from the outside world was cowardly. Not to mention stupid. Like less communication between men and women is what the world needed.” He adds, “You met your first man, what, like 15 minutes ago. And you think you have us all figured out. Well, I’m sorry, but not everything a man does is to further some misogynistic agenda. We don’t hold doors open or pull out chairs for women because we’re trying to keep you down. And I didn’t save you because I thought were some damsel in distress. I saved you because… Because I care about you, Diana. And I’m not gonna abandon a friend in need, man or woman.” Yet what really makes this exchange notable is Trevor further admits, that while Diana feels he “should have saved the world, not me,” he feels, “Maybe I figured the world’s not worth saving if you’re not in it.”
In the end, they develop a cozy understanding. When they see a super villain robbing a bank, Diana comments, “I guess I’ll see you at your apartment,” to which Trevor quips, “Call if you’re going to be late! I don’t want dinner getting cold!”
As charming as Fillion is in person at SDCC or was in his recently cancelled series “Castle,” this Trevor falls flat and the animated violence is treated as if it were not particularly alarming.
The special commemorative edition includes special features:
- What Makes Wonder Woman
- Wonder Woman: A Subversive Dream
- Wonder Woman: Daughter of Myth
- Commentary by the creative team
- Sneak peek of animated movies “Batman and Harley Quinn.”