World famous actress Gal Gadot and critically-acclaimed director Patty Jenkins have begun to build the basis of a superteam. After achieving immense critical and commercial success with their work in the newly rebooted Wonder Woman series, recently it was confirmed that Jenkins would direct Gadot’s upcoming passion project Cleopatra, titled after and based upon the life of the last egyptian empire as the name may indicate. When Gadot should be reaching the pinnacle of her success however, some critics appear eager to smudge the legacy she has begun building. Backlash surrounding her passion project Cleopatra, has faced enduring backlash and countless claims of whitewashing the story of the legendary emperor as Gadot herself is not from a multicultural background, only further highlighting the uncertainty surrounding the future beloved Wonder Woman series.
In October, Hanna Flint wrote an article for The Guardian bluntly titled Gal Gadot as Cleopatra is a backwards step for Hollywood representation in which she highlighted that “the casting of an Israeli actor with Ashkezani Jewish heritage as the legendary Queen of Egypt had led to a not unfounded debate about Hollywood whitewashing.” Flint was not alone in her beliefs however, with numerous other high profile film critics questioning the casting decision that seemed to befuddle some of the industry’s most notable voices. Following the backlash, Gadot had this to add in rebuttal to the disparaging remarks of The Guardian writer’s and her abundant number of critics in an interview with BBC Arabic: “I have friends across the globe, whether they’re Muslims or Christian or Catholic or atheist or Buddhist, or Jewish of course, people are people, and with me, I want to celebrate the legacy of Cleopatra and honor this amazing historic icon that I admire so much.” While most have their eyes dead set on the release of Wonder Woman 1984 which will forgo a traditional theatrical release in favor of releasing directly to streaming service HBO Go, Cleopatra should certainly serve as a strong reminder of the multi-talented actress’ skillset.
This also comes on the heels of a gargantuan announcement from Universal, not Wonder Woman’s parent company Disney who announced plans for streaming releases of all of their 2020 theatrical releases; a gargantuan shake-up to an industry that was seemingly on the verge of finding peace once again. This may even raise questions among fans of Gadot regarding the fate of the next installment of the Wonder Woman series and if it will come to light under Disney’s pandemic inspired release strategies, those responsible seem equally conflicted regarding the current prospect of the movie industry. While both expressed an obvious desire to continue on, Jenkins recently said to Variety she would “love to do the third one if the circumstances were right and there was still a theatrical model possible” while Gadot added that she just as much love to do another one if the story is great and with Patty of course. But I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see,”. Though the next chapter seems to be in the minds of many , from fans to the creators behind it, as well as potentially a ways away, only time can tell what will come of the Wonder Woman series.