Sad news for comics fans everywhere — Michelle MacLaren, best known for her work on Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, has left the director’s chair for the upcoming Wonder Woman film, citing “creative differences.” The film, scheduled to come out in 2017 (a year before the release of Marvel’s Captain Marvel, which just nabbed two all-star female screenwriters), has a leading lady in Israeli actress Gal Gadot, and a screenwriter in Jason Fuchs (Pan, Ice Age: Continental Drift), but clearly needs a director replacement soon for the film to meet its scheduled release date.
One of the reasons fans were stoked for MacLaren was because, aside from her hefting TV directing credentials, she’s a woman. Given the state of gender diversity both behind and in front of the camera, any high profile female hires are welcome and necessary, but especially for a project and a persona like Wonder Woman, which is literally all about lady power. MacLaren was a great choice, but given her exit, which other female directors could take on the legacy of Diana Prince? Here are our top seven picks to tackle the project:
Like MacLaren, Horder-Payton has made her name in recent years as a TV director on shows as varied as The Shield, Criminal Minds, Once Upon a Time, and Sons of Anarchy, but she has assistant director credits on a filmography that goes back for decades. She’s proven adept with everything from straight fantasy to dramatic action; Wonder Woman should be a great mix of the two, and Horder-Payton could make that happen.
Two words: Jennifer Lawrence. It was a star turn in Granik’s film Winter’s Bone that propelled Lawrence into the franchise-leading lady she is today, but while she’s been taking plum roles right and left, Granik hasn’t made the same mainstream leap. A shift into the blockbuster circuit, with a bonafide hit on her hands, would change that, and she’s clearly got a gift for getting great performances from her actors.
Fun fact: She’s the only solo female director on a Marvel film thus far. While 2008’s Punisher: War Zone didn’t dominate the box office, critics of the film still had to give it up for its action sequences. And while bad critical and commercial receptions haven’t hurt other (male) directors’ careers, Alexander hasn’t really had a chance to redeem herself, and a turn behind the camera for a DC property would be sweet indeed.
Another director who’s mainly worked in TV over the past decade, Leder’s racked up credits on shows like Shameless and The Leftovers, but the meat of her resume comes from late ’90s action hits Deep Impact and The Peacemaker. She’s clearly got the chops to direct an action-packed feature, so why not let her use them?
Her 2013 reboot of Carrie was both respectful and horrific (in the good way), and her 1999 debut Boys Don’t Cry is still one of the most thoughtful and gripping portrayals of queerness in recent feature memory. Considering Wonder Woman‘s origins and its focus on female power, Peirce would be an astute and gender-aware choice for the film.
Asante’s biggest feature credit to date is for 2013’s historical drama Belle, and while its star Gugu Mbatha-Raw is now cracking into the mainstream, Asante is still working on indie projects. She might be a “risky” choice for Wonder Woman, but consider this: Director Marc Webb’s only feature directing credit was the indie romance (500) Days of Summer before he got picked up for The Amazing Spider-Man.
Getting the Oscar award-winning director of powerful and political films like The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty to go the comic book movie route might be a shot in the dark, but imagine if she actually ever went for it. Bigelow’s vision of the world might be bleak, but there’s no question that she would make a Wonder Woman with depth and gravitas — much like Christopher Nolan did with his Batman films.