Diana Prince in Justice League

Reported Details of Gal Gadot’s Bad Experience on Joss Whedon’s Justice League Set Are Infuriating

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Joss Whedon was held up for years as a “feminist” icon because he made Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the late ’90s/early 2000s. As someone who hadn’t watched the show in the late ’90s and only started it in the last few years, I didn’t understand the praise he got, but that’s neither here nor there. We’ve moved past the era of Whedon’s beloved status, but the more we learn about his behavior on the set of Justice League, the more that image seems like a lie to help him climb his way into Hollywood.

The Hollywood Reporter published a massive article detailing the treatment of Ray Fisher on the set, as the Cyborg actor has been very vocal about the mistreatment he endured while filming from Whedon, Geoff Johns, and others at Warner Bros. Our own Vivian Kane covered Fisher’s newest statements, and among the many upsetting new pieces of information in the piece were some details about how Gal Gadot was treated.

Though she’s indicated there were problems before, Gadot herself still hasn’t really gotten into specifics publicly, telling THR only, “I had my issues with [Whedon] and Warner Bros. handled it in a timely manner.”

I’ve been very loud about how much I hated Diana Prince’s storyline in the original Justice League—something that, at the time, I had attributed completely to Joss Whedon because I had read the horrendous Wonder Woman screenplay that he wrote. I knew that the blatant sexism in her storyline was his doing and was proven right by the time we got Zack Snyder’s Justice League and I got to see his original plans for Diana.

All of that is now reinforced by the fact that Fisher (and other various sources) says that he, Gadot, and Jason Momoa all struggled to talk to Whedon about their character arcs and the dialogue he wrote and changed for them, and honestly, after seeing both versions of Justice League, it makes perfect sense as to why. His dialogue for Cyborg, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman was, for lack of a better term, hokey to say the least.

“It feels like I’m taking notes right now, and I don’t like taking notes from anybody—not even Robert Downey Jr.,” Whedon reportedly told Fisher of his input on his character, and sources say that he was equally as dismissive of both Jason Momoa’s Aquaman input and Gal Gadot’s input on Diana’s lines. I don’t think I need to point out that out of the entire Justice League cast, it seems as if Whedon’s lines for the two heroes of color and the one woman were the problems, but I’ll do it anyway just so we’re clear.

THR writes:

A knowledgeable source says Gadot had multiple concerns with the revised version of the film, including “issues about her character being more aggressive than her character in Wonder Woman. She wanted to make the character flow from one movie to the next.”

The biggest clash, sources say, came when Whedon pushed Gadot to record lines she didn’t like, threatened to harm Gadot’s career and disparaged Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins. While Fisher declines to discuss any of what transpired with Gadot, a witness on the production who later spoke to investigators says that after one clash, “Joss was bragging that he’s had it out with Gal. He told her he’s the writer and she’s going to shut up and say the lines and he can make her look incredibly stupid in this movie.”

This is beyond infuriating. So Whedon was willing to sacrifice a character arc, one that made Warner Bros. a lot of money, because the actress offered criticism? And that was okay for the company?

It seems pretty telling that Whedon allegedly thought it was something to boast about that he, essentially, put Gal Gadot in her place by telling her that he’s the writer and she’s going to say what he writes and that’s that. Because what Joss Whedon wrote for Diana was a flaming hot pile of sexist garbage, so I understand Gadot’s upset—not only because of how out of character Diana Prince was in Whedon’s Justice League but also because, at that point, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman was the most successful movie (in terms of reception) out of the DCEU. So for Whedon to think he knew better than both Gadot and Jenkins truly boggles my mind.

The entire thing says a lot about Whedon’s ego and the willingness the studio reportedly had to let him complete his vision. And now we have the gift of knowing what Snyder had originally planned to see just how gross the changes Whedon made were. When I say that I was upset about Diana’s storyline in the theatrical Justice League, I don’t mean that lightly. Diana Prince has always and will always be a favorite hero of mine. I’ve loved her since I was a young girl and what Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot managed to do with her character in Wonder Woman gave me such hope. I went into Justice League extremely happy because I loved where her character went from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to Wonder Woman and was, instead, confronted with a sexist arc and a character who had Barry Allen falling into her chest and ass shots filling the screen.

Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot are single-handedly responsible for me not giving up all hope on the DCEU. Wonder Woman (2017) was the story I wanted for Diana. I know that people have their problems with Wonder Woman 1984, but I also loved the Diana I got in that movie, as well. So for Whedon, who had a failed Wonder Woman script and was known as the man who reduced Natasha Romanoff to a “monster” because she couldn’t have kids, to allegedly come in and think he knows better than them both? It’s a reflection of his horrid ego and the fact that he clearly thinks he knows best and he was just let free to do whatever nonsense he wanted.

Whedon should have never been given Justice League, especially not after that awful Wonder Woman script. I just wish I could stop being so mad about this situation, but I don’t think I ever will be. The more I learn, the angrier I get. Ray Fisher told us time and time again how horrible that set was, and people didn’t listen, and the more he opens up, the more I want to know why Whedon just got away with it.

(image: Warner Bros.)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.