For years Marvel has dominated the market of white actors named Chris, building a veritable Chris army with the likes of Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Pratt. But now Warner Brothers/DC is striking back, claiming a Chris of their own—Chris Pine, who is negotiating to co-star in Wonder Woman. He will play Steve Trevor, Wonder Woman’s love interest, an Army officer who is in constant need of rescuing. Scott Eastwood was originally rumored for the part, but Variety says he took a smaller but guaranteed role in Suicide Squad rather than test for Wonder Woman and risk not being cast.
Wonder Woman is slated for June 2017, which would make it the first female-led superhero movie in the current superhero boom. Marvel’s first female-led feature film, Captain Marvel, isn’t slated until November 2018, so WB/DC should have no problem winning that particular race. But Wonder Woman is in a precarious position, its future heavily dependent on how audiences react to Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Superhero Face Punch. If people don’t like Gadot, if Superhero Face Punch doesn’t win audiences like Warners desperately needs it to (and Man of Steel didn’t), it throws their whole DC slate into jeopardy.
No matter which movie ends up coming out first—and it probably will be Wonder Woman—if it isn’t as big a hit as any one of the male-driven projects, everyone will throw up their hands and say, See, female superhero movies really don’t sell. It’ll be an excuse to not try it again for another decade. Wonder Woman HAS to be good. It HAS to be successful. The burden is crushing and unfair—no one cares if the Thor movies underperform compared to other Marvel movies, Marvel will keep making Thor movies. But if Wonder Woman doesn’t work, if Captain Marvel isn’t a hit, that’ll be it. There won’t be sequels. They can’t f*ck this one up. They just can’t.