Even though comic book movies are all the rage these days, what we usually get to see on the big screen is a watered-down, sanitized version of the comics. One of the biggest examples of this phenomenon involves Princess Diana aka Wonder Woman, and Themyscira, the island of Amazons she calls her home.
In the comics,Themyscira was an island nation founded by Queen Hippolyta, Diana’s mother, after she was forced to flee from her original home in Greece. The reason for fleeing was an attack by Hercules and his army on Hippolyta’s home, during which she and her country’s maidens were subjected to a brutal mass rape. In an interview with Collider, Connie Nielsen, who plays Hippolyta in the DCEU, revealed that the original plan had been to incorporate the mass rape event into the Amazon’s backstory in 2017’s Wonder Woman until director Patty Jenkins stepped in.
“[Jenkins] was very clear about what the Amazons were supposed to be. And I think that there had originally been some idea that the Amazons had been deeply traumatized by some kind of horrible event that involved mass rape. And Patty just said, ‘Hm, no. No, no, we’re not gonna put that on those Amazons. We don’t want to start out seeing them as victims, and why would we? Let’s just get rid of that part and make sure that these are heroes in their own terms.”
In the comics, Hippolyta’s past torture at the hands of Hercules and his men led to a deep distrust of all men, which is why she creates Themyscira as a haven for women away from mankind where they can learn to fight and defend themselves. This distrust of men was also the main reason why she was so dead set against sending her daughter out into the world as Wonder Woman.
In the movie, this particular aspect of Hippolyta’s motivations was removed, and the Amazons were instead presented as a race of magical beings specifically created by Zeus to be separate from the rest of humanity. According to Nielsen, Jenkins’ main desire for changing the backstory for the Amazons was to show them as being heroic and fierce warriors on their own terms as opposed to due to some past trauma.
“[Jenkins stated that] they’ve not been part of the victims of history. They are these unbelievably courageous women and we’re not gonna saddle them with a trauma from the outset. We’re going to have them be received by people on the basis of who they are. What is their culture? Why are they so fierce? What does it mean to live on an island where there are no guys?’ It made so much sense, you know? You needed them to have a very uncomplicated background in order to be able to just accept them as the heroes that they are.”
We will soon be getting a deeper look at the history of the Amazons with a Wonder Woman spinoff movie that Jenkins is currently developing, which will see Nielsen returning as Hippolyta. The project does not yet have a release date. This news originated at Collider.