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Gail Simone
09-03-2009, 08:49 AM
I'm going to ask several creators to post excerpts from their WW scripts, so I figured I'd start it with something I wrote that most people haven't seen, which is the first draft of the WW animated film. The final film was written by the great Michael Jelenic, and I love it, but the two stories have lots of differences, so I thought it might be fun to see. Watch for lots more script excerpts coming from myself and others.

Gail Simone
09-03-2009, 08:50 AM
“Wonder Woman”

ACT ONE



FADE IN:

EXT. ENDLESS OCEAN MID-DAY

Clouds appear over a seemingly endless and empty bit of ocean. The camera moves forward over the water, no visible sign of civilization or land, passing through some low cloud cover.

MENALIPPE (V.O. Narration)
Hidden for centuries in the area
you call the Aegean Sea we have
lived, sacrificing all to guard
a creature of evil beyond your
imagining.


We come to a larger mass of clouds and move right into it, momentarily unable to see anything but gray.

MENALIPPE (V.O. Continued)
Our lives are hard and long, very
very long. We live in isolation,
observing from afar as your cultures
became fossils, and your empires
became myth.

The cloud disperses and we see

EXT. THEMYSCIRA

The island, a rich, lush, green island dotted with Greek-inspired architecture and sculpture and tall, massive, bronze sculptures of Amazons, both in combat poses and scholarly poses, holding books.






MENALIPPE (V.O. Continued)
We are a proud people, resigned to
our duty. We are a people
devoted to art and poetry and
faith in one’s comrades-at-arms.
But perhaps most tragically…

PAN UP TO GLOWING SUN ABOVE THEMYSCIRA

MENALIPPE (V.O. Continued)
…we are a people that has forgotten
what it means to be young.

MATCH-CUT TO:

HIPPOLYTA’S GOLDEN SHIELD, with a SUN design (again, inspired by Greek art) around the edges, and a stylized Wonder Woman “WW” design in the center.

ARTEMIS (O.S.)
No. I forbid this. It is foolhardy.
It is wreckless and selfish.
It is…

INT. HIPPOLYTA’S CHAMBERS

The queen is wearing an outfit for combat. Leather armor, bow and quiver, and importantly, her sword and scabbard. She’s lacing up her long boots, preparing for battle. She’s not wearing the tiara here. Finally, there is a silver mirror which does not cast a reflection as she passes it--this is the Silver Mirror which is used to view the outside world, and comes into play later.

HIPPOLYTA
It is decided, Artemis.

Artemis, armed to the teeth, determined.

ARTEMIS
Then, if this task must be done,
send me. Or send Persephone.

Hippolyta, resigned to her duty, reaches first for her lasso, which she attaches to her belt, and then her shield and spear (that last of which has three ribbons trailing from the shaft: red, gold, and blue, Wonder Woman’s colors).

Only to be grabbed by the arm by Artemis.

Hippolyta looks at Artemis’ hand on her arm with one eyebrow raised—touching the queen like this simply isn’t done.



ARTEMIS (cont.)
We…we can’t afford to lose you,
my queen.

Hippolyta tenderly removes Artemis’ hand and affords her a brief smile.

HIPPOLYTA
If I don’t return, Artemis…then
it is your duty to lead our people.
Value mercy over anger, and forgiveness
over revenge. But above all—

She places the golden tiara on her own head. Finally, she checks the blade of her very distinctive sword with a kind of reverence, before sheathing it at her belt.

HIPPOLYTA
--guard the gate, weaponsmistress.
Guard the gate, lest all be lost.

Gail Simone
09-03-2009, 08:51 AM
EXT. TALLEST PEAK ON THE ISLAND – NIGHTFALL

ZOOM TO:

EXT. THICK FOREST NIGHT

Hippolyta uses her spear to cut thick brambles and vines that block her path. Everything here is twisted and thorny.

HIPPOLYTA
(grunting from exertion)

EXT. ISLAND CAVE

The cave, carved into the very mountain top, in the shape of a misshapen, malformed troll’s mouth, flanked by two burning torches. Hippolyta stands before the entrance, gathering her courage, when a sound comes from inside—it is three distinct voices speaking in perfect, unearthly unison…the voices of the Cottus.


COTTUS (from darkness of the cave mouth)
I know why you come, Hippolyta.
You shall find no answers here but
death, should you disturb my slumber.

HIPPOLYTA (a bit intimidated)
I rule the fiercest tribe of warriors
this world has ever known. I
guard the Gate of Tartarus by the
strength of my swordarm.
You will do as I command, creature.

COTTUS
(cackling, echoing mocking laughter)
Oh, by all means, then, little one.
Come ‘command’ me.


Hippolyta takes one of the torches and walks into the cave, enveloped by darkness.

The gaping maw of the cave’s mouth closes behind her with a loud thud, like two boulders scraping together, dust raised by the impact.

CUT TO:

INT. BLACK ROCKY CAVERN

Hyppolyta walks forward into the bleak cave, her torch the only light we see.

She raises her spear to listen in the dark.

SMASH CUT TO:

One of the beast’s arms slashes out, knocking the torch to the ground, where it continues to burn, casting deep shadows on the walls.

Another of the beast’s disturbingly elastic and elongated arms swipes upward to knock Hyppolyta completely off her feet.

CUT TO:

The queen being smashed against the wall by the impact.

HYPPOLYTA
(impact grunt)

Another arm slashes at Hyppolyta, and she raises her shield at the last moment, shield in the other hand.

COTTUS
(terrifying triple squeal)

Two arms reach towards her and YANK the spear from her hands.

Silence for a beat, as Hyppolyta regains her balance and draws her sword, unable to see the creature.

HYPPOLYTA (command)
Face me, hellspawn!

COTTUS (three voices in sync)
Face you?

CUT TO:

Darkness of the deep cave as a dozen arms, each with a clawed hand at the end, shoot out from a central trunk of the beast, as yet unseen.

SMASH CUT TO:

Hyppolyta being slammed against the wall by the force of the arms, her own arms trapped by the strength of the beast.

CLOSE ON:

The beast’s hands, closest to Hyppolyta’s face, as the ‘mouths’ on each palm open to show razor sharp, irregular teeth and dripping bits of saliva.

COTTUS
I’d rather taste you!

Hyppolyta struggles and we hear the shambling sound of the beast as it pulls itself out of the darkness towards her.

HYPPOLYTA
(exertion grunt)

CUT TO:

The Cottus drags its body to face her. It’s horrible, a creature with three mouths on its central trunk and one great bloodshot eye.

COTTUS
Surely a queen may spare a meal for
the Cottus--an arm, perhaps? Or a leg?
I can never decide.

CUT TO:

Hyppolyta’s arm, reaching towards her sword.

FLASH

Hyppolyta whips the sword up through the arms holding her against the walls, severing half a dozen.

COTTUS
(inarticulate scream)

Hyppolyta falls to one knee as the arms restraining her drop. We see several of the hands fall onto the ground around her.

CUT TO:

The Cottus, using its grotesque arms, tries to pull itself away.

CLOSE ON:

Hyppolyta, as she pulls the tiara off her head. It sparkles once, razor sharp in the torch light, and the queen flings it, like a boomerang.

HYPPOLYTA
(exertion grunt)

QUICK CUT TO:

A rock wall, as the tiara hits it and careens off of it, like a pinball.


QUICK CUT TO:

A second rock wall, same action.

CUT TO:

The beast, from behind, as the tiara zips in front of it, presumably slashing at the creature’s eye.

COTTUS
(intense, extended triple voice scream)

Hyppolyta walks towards the writing beast...she’s picked up the torch as it continues to writhe in pain.

CUT TO:

Worm’s pov, Hyppolyta’s boots as she reaches down next to the squealing beast, to pick up her tiara.

CLOSE ON:

Her face, as she puts the tiara back on, regally, showing no fear or elation. She merely has performed her duty.

CUT TO:

The creature as it begins its transformation back into its true form, that of the crone oracle, Menalippe.

Hyppolyta squats beside her, respectfully waiting for the transformation to be complete.

MENALIPPE
Sort of a terrible houseguest, aren’t
you?

HYPPOLYTA
You attacked me, crone.

MENALIPPE
‘Crone,’ is it? How polite we are.
I expect you want something from me?

Hyppolyta stands, lending a gracious hand to help the old woman up from the ground.
HYPPOLYTA
You know what I ask, Menalippe.
Our people, the Amazons...they
lose hope for the future. They
ache for the lives they led centuries
ago.

Menalippe turns away, to pick up the severed hands.

HYPPOLYTA
We never age, but every year, a
few of us die from injury, sickness
or despair. We need a symbol.
A sign that we will live on. That
our way will continue.

Menalippe pauses, her back to Hyppolyta.

MENALIPPE
There is a way, my Queen. But...
if we ask this favor of the gods,
there is a dark prophecy, as well.


Menalippe turns to face her.

MENALIPPE
That you will lose what you so desire. That she will leave the island for the outside world...

Gail Simone
09-03-2009, 08:52 AM
CUT TO:

EXT. ARES’ CELL, A GREAT ROUND METAL GATE - NIGHT

We see the great round metal door to the cave where Ares is imprisoned. A glowing circle of mystical hieroglyphs bind him inside, and only an eyeslit in the door allows any contact with the world outside his cell. The eyeslit is empty, until...

Abruptly, Ares’ incredibly intense and savage eyes appear at the eyeslit, hinting of things to come as he stares out of his cell in quiet rage.

MENALIPPE (cont.)
...and the great evil will cast its eye
on her, and all the Amazons.

WIPE TO:

EXT. ISLAND HILLSIDE - NIGHT

Hyppolyta running down the same hillside we saw her climbing down before.

HYPPOLYTA
(running, shortness of breath)


MENALIPPE (v.o)
Run, Hyppolyta. Form your
heart’s desire from the clay
of Themyscira’s beach.

Hyppolyta bursts through the thick brush and onto the beach, where the waves are starting to show signs of a storm.

CUT TO:

The sky above, as clouds form and lightning begins to form.

FLASH

Hyppolyta, as rain starts to fall, drops to her knees and begins digging in the island clay with her dagger.

HYPPOLYTA
(desperate, exertion grunts)

MENALIPPE
She will be a piece of the storm,
Queen. And the blood, yes, the
blood...

Hyppolyta has formed a crude baby shape out of the clay.

FLASH

She lifts her dagger in the storm, almost possessed herself, raising it high.

CUT TO:

She slashes her thumb open, blood coming out instantly.

Hyppolyta makes a star shape on the clay form’s forehead, similar to that of her own tiara, out of the blood from her cut thumb.

MENALIPPE
...will make her your own
FLESH.

Hyppolyta reaches up to the sky as the rain begins to pummel down at her. She seems almost frenzied.

CUT TO:

The sky as the black clouds rumble and turn, bits of lightning illuminating them.

HYPPOLYTA (v.o.)
You gods above, who watch over my
tribe...for centuries, we have
been your servants.


CUT TO:

Hyppolyta as the sky flashes around her. She’s still on her knees here.

HYPPOLYTA
We have kept the beast underground
as you commanded. We have forsaken
all else. I beg of you.


CLOSE ON:

Her rained on face as she screams at the sky.

CUT TO:
The full moon, as it turns a deep blood red.

HYPPOLYTA (yelling, desperate)
Give us a reason to hope.


CUT TO:

The sky as a huge bolt of lightning flashes from the clouds.

FLASH

The entire beach is illuminated as the lightning flashes down, hitting the form of the clay baby, knocking Hyppolyta backwards completely off her feet.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. QUEEN’S CHAMBERS

Persephone and Artemis are waiting, impatiently. Artemis paces, while the more taciturn Persephone stands, arms folded.

ARTEMIS
This is my fault. I should never
have let her go.

PERSEPHONE
All due respect, Artemis, but
I don’t see how you could have
stopped her.

ARTEMIS
I could have shot her in the leg.

PERSEPHONE
Yes. That hadn’t occurred to me, to
be frank.

ARTEMIS
Not near an artery.

PERSEPHONE
You are the soul of thoughtfulness,
Weaponsmistress.


They both turn to the large open windows that look over the courtyard, at the sound of tumult outside.

RANDOM AMAZON (o.s.)
She returns! The Queen returns!

AMAZON CROWD (o.s.)
(excitement, drawn breath)


Persephone and Artemis run to the door.

CUT TO:

EXT. AMAZON COURTYARD - NIGHT

The Amazon courtyard, a beautiful place of flowers and manicured shrubbery and statuary. The place is full of Amazons who have clearly been waiting in the rain for the return of their queen. The crowd goes silent as an exhausted Hyppolyta limps into the crowd from the forest, holding her cape like swaddling clothes, the baby unseen and unmoving within.

Artemis and Persephone arrive, Artemis tries to help her queen walk, but is ignored.

ARTEMIS
My queen...you’re injured.
Let me...

Hyppolyta walks into the center of the gathering. It is deathly silent for a beat.

HYPPOLYTA
Sisters. Warriors. Amazons.

CUT TO:

The stunned, apprehensive faces of the Amazons in the rain, unknowing if the baby lives.

HYPPOLYTA (v.o)
Child of the storm, daughter of the
Hunter’s moon. I present her
to you all.

SMASH CUT TO:

Hyppolyta thrusting the baby, wrapped in its leather cape blanket, up to the sky.

FLASH of lightning and thunder.

CUT TO:

Birds eye view as the baby is held up to the sky in the rain, and begins to howl, as babies do, and rain pounds down from the night sky.

HYPPOLYTA
The first born child of Themyscira,
Princess Diana.

BABY DIANA
(Cries strongly)

CUT TO:

Pan across the crowd as they circle their queen and princess. The women are stunned, they have no idea how to react at first. But as the pan continues, several of the women smile or wipe away tears of joy. Persephone, hardest of all amazons, turns to wipe her tears so they can’t be seen.

Artemis takes a tentative, timid step forward, followed by the rest, as they crowd around the baby, reaching up their hands to touch her skin and the leather blanket.

Hyppolyta smiles, a joyful smile.

HYPPOLYTA
She belongs to us all, every one.
Guard her as your own, always.

SLOW TIME:

Side view, as the Amazons gently but insistently move closer, arms raised to touch their princess, in the rain.

HYPPOLYTA (cont.)
Diana, meet your protectors.
May you be shielded by them
from harm always, forever.

aegisbearer
09-05-2009, 03:15 PM
This is the scene that should have played out in the movie. I think my only question would be: what about the gifts of the gods bestowed upon Diana. Did they still impart her with aspects from their own sphere of influence? Is it just that the storm is the manifestation of this creation that Hippolyte sees, but the Perez involvement of the gods still exists? I'm intrigued.

ShaunN
09-05-2009, 06:25 PM
This is great. This is, essentially, the scene that plays out in "The Circle" storyline, isn't it?

I'm also curious about the contributions of the gods here. I think it's evident that they have made their contributions, just that it is happening off-screen. I can't recal how Perez handled this; my sense is that the gods involvement was more direct, or at least more obvious, but I could be wrong.

4PointOh
09-05-2009, 06:43 PM
You ever read something and get the feeling that what you've read is precisely how it should have been written?

I felt that way after reading this excerpt. The first words that came to mind were "Of course."

RealWonderman
09-05-2009, 10:28 PM
WOW...would have loved to have seen this! More please???
BTW...have you saved your spript for a live action film???

Gail Simone
09-05-2009, 10:59 PM
We're going to be posting LOTS more Wonder script excerpts from several writers. I'm excited to see!

I think the final draft of the WW animated film did a lot of things fantastically well, and I hear raves about it all the time. But yeah, I was writing this and the opening issues of the CIRCLE at the same time, and one really informed the other!

Gail Simone
09-07-2009, 12:43 AM
You ever read something and get the feeling that what you've read is precisely how it should have been written?

I felt that way after reading this excerpt. The first words that came to mind were "Of course."

The script was a lot of fun, and I was intensely proud of the character work, but it DID have some narrative issues (I'm talking about MY drafts here) and Michael Jelenic did a wonderful job with that stuff.

I'll post more soon.

Gail Simone
09-17-2009, 05:23 PM
Does anyone want to see more of these types of excerpts? I can ask some of the pros who have dropped by!

ScottyQuick
09-17-2009, 05:29 PM
I'd freaking love to see it!

DiogoR
09-19-2009, 03:12 PM
Yes, yes, yes!!!

Cam63
09-19-2009, 03:22 PM
That'd be great :)

Make it so, Simmo !

Wonder Watcher
09-19-2009, 03:25 PM
Does anyone want to see more of these types of excerpts? I can ask some of the pros who have dropped by!Absolutely. These insights are fascinating.

EricAD
09-19-2009, 03:38 PM
Great scene Gail! Yes, I would love to see more :smile:

I can understand why it was cut though, as these DCU animated films need to be 75 minutes in length, and therefore need to "get to it" much faster than a live action film. Although I think the animated film would be great in live action, and that scene would really fit in there. I really think a copy of the animated movie should be sitting on the desk of every Warners exec. who thinks that Wonder Woman can only be a girly movie and have no mainstream appeal.

It looks like they used your exchange of "I could have just shot her in the leg" and gave it to Artemis talking about Diana instead...glad they used it, it was funny. :biggrin: