When Wonder Woman 1984 hits theaters next summer, fans won’t just be transported into the 1980s via the film’s setting—the entire movie will actually feel like a 1980s blockbuster if the intended effect is pulled off. Director Patty Jenkins unveiled the first trailer for the movie at CCXP in Brazil over the weekend, and during a separate roundtable interview with Collider and a few other journalists, Jenkins stressed the film’s reliance on practical effects over CG and explained how she was inspired to actually craft the film from an 80s standpoint.
Jenkins separately revealed that she and the filmmaking team chose the 1980s as the setting for the sequel for thematic reasons (it was a time of American excess, after all), but in execution the filmmaker says she never wanted the movie to come across as though it’s making fun of the decade that gave us Indiana Jones, E.T., and Die Hard:
“I think I’m super excited to finally get people to have a look at what we’ve been doing because there are two things I really care about. First of all, the message of this movie is something that I deeply believe in and came to us while we were even working on the first movie. I knew exactly what I wanted it to be. But then the thing that excites me the most is we literally set out to do something that I may never get to do again, which is to say, let’s not make a movie that’s ‘funny haha, the 80s,’ let’s make a grand tentpole like they made in the 80s so it’s as if you—I want it to feel like you’re seeing a movie in the 80s.”
To that end, Jenkins and her team committed to doing as many stunts and effects practically as possible:
“We did almost all of our stunts and our fights practically. We flew to locations all over the world. We have some of the most extensive, incredible wire work that nobody’s ever done before because no one has ever tried. Wire work has come such a long way, but people aren’t doing fights that way anymore. We got Cirque de Soleil to come and work with us. What I loved was instead of shooting in a stage and doing this greenscreen thing and then you’re hoping for the best in the end, we literally flew all over the world and shot these incredible things, which was a nightmare for [Gal Gadot].”
Indeed, when we see Diana Prince take her giant leaps, that won’t be Gal Gadot hanging on wires in front of a green screen. That’ll be Gal Gadot hanging on huge wires in an actual location, actually making the jump. They even used these wires to allow Gadot to run as fast as Usain Bolt, as the actress and 1984 producer explained during the same interview:
“We shut down Penn Ave. in Washington DC, which was just for itself was incredible. And then we had wires and rigs for kilometers, for miles, so I can run the same speed that Usain Bolt ran in the Olympics… But it was a lot of work and we’ve tried to make it our own [with] new and fresh things that were never done before. That was really, really challenging for us in many different ways.”
It’ll be interesting to see all of this in action. Plenty of filmmakers boast about practical effects, only for the finished product to be chock-full of CG action. And while CG is going to be necessary in a Wonder Woman movie (Jenkins also confirmed at CCXP that Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah will be at least partially CG), it kind of sounds like she’s stressing that this is one way 1984 will contrast with the first movie. Whereas that film’s villain was a CG monster, here you have Diana squaring off with humans played by Pedro Pascal and Wiig.
At the very least it’s easy to see the 80s connections in the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer, and I’m excited to not only see the finished product, but all the behind-the-scenes footage that shows how they pulled it all off.
For more on Wonder Woman 1984, check out what Jenkins had to say about how Chris Pine returns. The sequel opens in theaters on June 5, 2020.