Before Patty Jenkins made movie history as the director of the record-breaking comic book tentpole “Wonder Woman,” she was attached to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the filmmaker behind “Thor: The Dark World.” Jenkins was best known at the time for helming the Charlize Theron-starring Oscar winner “Monster” and directing the acclaimed pilot episode of the AMC drama series “The Killing.” Marvel hired Jenkins in September 2011, but, not long after, the two parted ways over “creative differences.” In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Jenkins revealed a poor script made her realize it would be impossible to make a good “Thor” sequel at Marvel.
“I did not believe that I could make a good movie out of the script that they were planning on doing,” Jenkins said. “I think it would have been a huge deal — it would have looked like it was my fault. It would've looked like, 'Oh my God, this woman directed it and she missed all these things.'”
Jenkins knew signing on to direct “Thor: The Dark World” came with the pressure of being the first female director to helm a comic book tentpole. The success or failure of the “Thor” sequel would have big implications on the future of women directors working in the Hollywood studio system. Jenkins was aware of this fact, and it’s the main reason she skipped on “Thor” and went forward with “Wonder Woman,” a project she had more faith in would be great.
“[‘Thor’] was the one time in my career where I really felt like, ‘Do this with [another director] and it's not going to be a big deal. And maybe they'll understand it and love it more than I do.’ You can't do movies you don't believe in. The only reason to do it would be to prove to people that I could. But it wouldn't have proved anything if I didn't succeed. I don't think that I would have gotten another chance. And so, I'm super grateful.”
Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” would be a critical and box office sensation in summer 2017, grossing $821 million at the worldwide box office. The success of “Wonder Woman” led to greater female representation in comic book films both in front of and behind the camera. Marvel released “Captain Marvel” in 2019, and this year has the women-directed “Birds of Prey” and “Black Widow.” Jenkins herself is back for “Wonder Woman 1984,” which will open in theaters August 14.
Patty Jenkins did not believe she could make a good movie with the Thor: The Dark World script. Additionally, she did not want to be blamed for the sequel's failure, which seemed to be inevitable. The sequel is often hailed as the worst movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That particular topic blew up on social media this past weekend as passionate fans argued over whether Thor 2 or Iron Man 3 was the worst MCU project. Spoiler alert: Most of the votes came in for the Thor sequel.
Patty Jenkins was originally on board to direct Thor 2 and she had some different ideas from what Marvel Studios had in mind. She has noted in the past that she had a vision of a space opera with Romeo and Juliet mixed in. That is a far cry from what the finished movie became. Jenkins has not really talked about the experience very much over the years, but she recently went in depth as to why she left. The director had this to say.
'I did not believe that I could make a good movie out of the script that they were planning on doing. I think it would have been a huge deal - it would have looked like it was my fault. It would've looked like, 'Oh my God, this woman directed it and she missed all these things.' That was the one time in my career where I really felt like, Do this with [another director] and it's not going to be a big deal. And maybe they'll understand it and love it more than I do. You can't do movies you don't believe in. The only reason to do it would be to prove to people that I could. But it wouldn't have proved anything if I didn't succeed. I don't think that I would have gotten another chance. And so, I'm super grateful.'
Obviously, Patty Jenkins made the right decision. Thor 2 came out how it did and she would have been blamed for it, there's no doubt. Even Chris Hemsworth has said, 'The second one is meh.' Taika Waititi came on board for Thor: Ragnarok and reinvigorated the God of Thunder, while Jenkins went on to direct DC's Wonder Woman, which was absolutely massive. She also went on to direct Wonder Woman 1984 and fans will be able to hopefully see the finished product this summer.
While working on Thor 2 didn't work out, Patty Jenkins holds no ill will. 'I really have nothing but positive things to say about Marvel, because, honestly, they gave me that chance in the first place and it was not en vogue to do so,' she said. Marvel Studios does take a lot of chances and having Jenkins on board at that time would have been big, but she went out and found her own franchise to take on.
As for her thoughts on Thor: Ragnarok, she believes they found the right person for the job when they brought on Taika Waititi. She says, 'They found Thor's rightful director. Taika's so good for Thor. Oh my God, I love that movie. His tone with Thor was just masterful. That felt like pure Taika to me.' There's a lot of MCU fans who would agree with her, and more than a few who would have liked to have seen what she could...