Diana and Ariel seem to be very different cinematic personas at first glance, but according to Allan Heinberg, who penned the script for the highly anticipated Wonder Woman reboot, Disney's version of Hans Christian Andersen tale The Little Mermaid heavily inspired DC's new superhero film.
Wonder Woman screenwriter, comic book author, and frequent Shondaland scribe and showrunner Allan Heinberg was brought into Warner Bros. in January 2015 to help producer Zack Snyder craft a new version of the heroine’s standalone movie.
Heinberg, whose unique background includes writing both comic books and romantic dramas, seemed to have the perfect combination of skills for bringing Wonder Woman to the screen, and he had a very specific pitch on how to do it.
“The story as I see it is The Little Mermaid, specifically Disney’s incarnation,” he says. “This is a woman who has been raised in a very protective, sheltered life, she’s curious about what life is like outside and she wants to have her own experience. She wants to be where the people are.”
But The Little Mermaid isn’t the only cinematic antecedent fueling Wonder Woman. For the fish-out-of-water aspect to her tale, the creators looked to another mermaid for inspiration, specifically Daryl Hannah in Splash. Says Johns, “There is a drop of Splash in it when it comes to the observations she has about our world. Some are light and fun. Some are poignant. But she’s pointing out things that are absolutely true.”
Few films have been built up with the same kind of anticipation and anxiety as Wonder Woman. Ever since the explosion of blockbuster comic-book movies—since before then, even—fans have been waiting for a live-action adaptation of the Amazonian Diana Prince and her lasso of truth. Then they waited a little bit more. And more. But now, the superhero’s journey is nearly here—set to hit theaters on June 2.