Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist.
I'm doing something a little different for the month of March. It's Women's History Month, and I've decided to take a look at the history of Wonder Woman. As we all know, the first theatrical film is due out later this year. But what if it wasn't her first? What if there had been as many onscreen Wonder Women as Batmen? That's the question I'm exploring, as I imagine movies based on the major eras of Wonder Woman comics, cast with stars from those time periods.
In the 1940s, the idea of a big budget Hollywood superhero movie would have seemed ridiculous. Superheroes were the stuff of cheap cliffhanger matinee serials, and Wonder Woman never got any of those. But I think if William Moulton Marston had put his mind to it, he could have used his impressive hustling skills to convince a studio to give Wonder Woman a shot. So below is my cast for a late-1940s star-studded Wonder Woman movie, based on the first few years of comics by Marston and Harry Peter.
(Hollywood historians should note that I'm ignoring who was under contract to which studio at the time, in the interest of the best cast possible.)
Jane Russell as Wonder Woman
Surprisingly tough for a young ingenue, Russell would have made a fantastic Wonder Woman. And Wonder Woman would have made a fantastic vehicle for her, here in the first decade of her career.
Old enough at the time to be a plausible mother, but still young and beautiful enough to seem immortal, Loy would have shined as the Queen of the Amazons.
Alan Ladd as Steve Trevor
Just look at that worried face! Ladd was the perfect handsome blond hero, and watching him get rescued by a much stronger Jane Russell would be lots of fun.
Shelley Winters as Etta Candy
Etta was a tough one. There weren't many plus-sized actresses getting Hollywood roles in the 1940s, and even fewer young enough to play a college student. But Winters was no waif, and her impressive comedic ability will have to make up for what she lacks in physicality.
Marlene Dietrich as Baroness Paula von Gunther
It seems pretty clear that Gunther was inspired by Dietrich in those early comics, so who better to play a glamorous German blonde than Hollywood's favorite glamorous German blonde?
Bob Hope as the Duke of Deception
The Duke was always a pretty silly villain, and Hope was at the height of his comedic powers at the time, He'd even look great (by which I mean delightfully ridiculous) in that helmet.
There's only one choice in the 1940s for a sultry and dangerous cat-woman. If you've seen Bacall do that slinky little dance in To Have And Have Not, you know I'm right.
Peter Lorre as Doctor Psycho
Lorre wasn't as diminutive as Doctor Psycho was in the comics, but he certainly wasn't a tall man, and this kind of creepy role is what he built his long career on.
You may have noticed there's a lot of villains in this movie. Clearly Mars, the literal God of War, is the one who's sending them all after Wonder Woman. And when he finally shows his face, Welles will convince audiences just how dangerous and powerful he is.
Betty Grable as Aphrodite
Aphrodite makes a lot of cameos in Golden Age comics, answering Amazon prayers and providing a bit of literal Deus Ex Machina. Grable is an ideal choice for the Goddess of Love.