NBC’s Wonder Woman: First Thoughts

Note: EW has released the first image of Adrianne Palicki in her Wonder Woman costume for David E. Kelley’s new series for NBC. Thoughts below. – D.T.

Honestly, I can see what they were thinking here with a lot of the detail choices. Unfortunately it adds up to an unflattering mess.

There’s no reason for the boots not to be red (even though I kind of dig them on their own). There’s no reason for the costume’s iconic white stars and boot stripes to have been ditched. In fact, the number one thing I would change is the boots. The belt attempts to merge the old-school midriff point, the Dodson-style WW, and the current Lee version, but achieves nothing approaching the design sense of any of those. It’s too high for my taste, and too low for the current trends.

The WW emblems on the bracelets make sense for marketing purposes, but the conflicting color scheme makes the design look sloppy. (Obviously, including white or silver in the rest of the costume, especially on the belt and boots would’ve fixed this.) And the red stars all look tacked on, and at different sizes they don’t feel very thought out.

The bustier looks cheap, but it may just seem worse due to the overly photoshopped appearance of this promo image. But everything looks cheap. The gold doesn’t look like gold, and the silver doesn’t look like silver. Again, I’m hoping that’s due to the photoshoppery.

The eagle emblem is acceptable (besides the red star), but by conforming so much around the bust, it lacks visual strength. I’m a huge fan of the comics’ last design, a brilliant, if criminally unnoticed, update of the classic Wonder Woman uniform. Like some artists had before, Terry Dodson’s look combined the eagle and “WW” logos into the cleanest, most unified WW logo ever.

Anyway, like the new Spider-Man movie costume, I don’t think this is a complete disaster, but it doesn’t say Wonder Woman to me. As a guy who runs a site exclusively devoted to redesigning superhero costumes, I can understand why the folks working on film/tv versions of superheroes want to try new things, to put their stamp on a character’s look. But to move this far away from established, iconic, memorable, BRANDED visuals just isn’t smart. It doesn’t please the current fans or the older fans. There’s no nostalgia factor, no built-in love for the character.

Now get off my lawn.

Related at Rooftop:

Wonder Woman Wardrobe War

Jamie McKelvie’s Wonder Woman

Oliver Nome’s Wonder Woman

Shane McDermott’s Wonder Woman

J. Bone’s Wonder Womans

36 comments on “NBC’s Wonder Woman: First Thoughts
  1. I don’t mind the design of it… but only the design if you were just looking at line art. The materials are what bothers me. While I’m sure some of the shininess is photoshopped in, it looks like it’s made with cheap shiny PVC and sewn by someone who has no idea what their doing. Ripples in the front? That seam in the front of the pants? (Sorry, the things that a costumer notices) Not to mention that they didn’t even bother to make her bustier fit her chest. I look at that and think, she’s going to pop out of it the first time she has to dodge someone.

    Oddly enough, the blue boots might have worked a bit better if her pants had either been a darker blue or black. Or the blue pants might have worked if the boots had been the classic red or a non traditional black. But it’s just a sloppy half-assed mess.

  2. I think it’s pretty dreadful. I didn’t expect it to be any better than the average Smallville costume, but I definitely didn’t expect it to be worse. The whole PVC look to it is a terrible idea, for starters. I guess they thought they could get away with it because of the way Silk Spectre was done in Snyder’s Watchmen movie or something, but they can’t get away with it. Can you imagine if they made a Spider-Man costume with that material? Nobody would accept that. Also, superhero costumes with high-heeled boots get on my nerves in a big way.

  3. I wouldn’t think twice if i saw this in a Wal-mart holloween costumes shopper as a counterfeit Wonder woman costume called “wondrous Woman” making it just different enough to avoid copyrights. but nope. apparently this is the real thing. Not to mention the fetish aspect of it all with the shiny latex irks me A LOT.

  4. Seriously, why aren’t the boots red? Makes no sense. Also, the blue should be darker if they’re going to be pants. It’s giving me disco flashbacks and I wasn’t even alive back then. The bustier is also slightly too low…or at least it seems that way with the eagle wings floating over her boobs. The wings should stretch upward – it’ll give the costume lift and connect to her tiara (my eye just dead stops at the eagle). I actually like the tiara.

    I totally agree there needs to be white accents and everything you said about the belt is spot on.

    If you look closely by her belt, you can see that there are stars that go down her leg. Can’t tell what color they are.

  5. On the other hand, I hadn’t even noticed the gold stars down the sides of her pants… I really don’t know how I feel about that.

  6. Oof. If I didn’t have work to do I would be sketching my alterations right this second. That is the most awkward waistline I’ve ever seen!

  7. The last line is a copout, because this isn’t modern at all. It’s one thing to be respectful of other artists’work, but come on… This is a respectable cosplay suit, and nothing else.

  8. In the interest of nitpickery, she does have the stars. They’re a stripe going down the side of her ridiculous PVC fetish pants.

  9. If I didn’t know better, I’d assume that this pic was a new WW Halloween costume based on how cheap and plastic the whole thing looks. Of course, it’s not “sexy” enough to be a WW Halloween costume, so…

  10. Hmmm… my only real objection is that the metals look plastic-y. I sort of figured that when Jim Lee redesigned things last year that this was the reason, to get her into pants so that she’d be easier to market. I’m also expecting a New Coke switch soon. “Oh? You hate the Jim Lee costume? How about this one?” and it will be a marriage of the pants-suit and the bathing suit styles.

    All that said, I’d rather have the old tiara, get rid of the star on the bustier, bring some white stars around onto her hips, (the way Adam Hughes used to draw on the Cassie/Wonder Girl costume) and I’d be perfectly happy.

  11. I’ll be honest, she looks like one of the “sexy costume” models that you find on packages at the Halloween Superstore. The whole thing just looks cheap, and Adrianne Palicki’s lack of any form of “warrior-from-birth” physique and bearing doesn’t seem to be helping it any.

    I had my expectations low for this show anyway, and the “boobs-n-boots” costuming seems to be the first step on the long path of confirmation of that expectation.

  12. It seems like the transition from comic book to movie/TV is the one place branding gets thrown out the window. The actress looks too young to me as well – I’d like Wonder Woman to be a woman. It also seems, in my opinion, that they’re trying too hard to make it sexy. The pants remind me of Peg Bundy – though I’m not sure if that’s a criticism or a compliment. Just my two cents.

  13. It looks like a holloween costume. I mean vinyl lame? Really? Also with primary colors they should have picked one to go dark and nuetral. Midnight Navy for the pants would look impressive.
    Other than that, it aint that bad. I can see why they got rid of the white spangles, its one color too many.
    I like the red stars in the symbol, it unifies her two iconic symbols. I thought it looked better as the flat graphic leaked earlier this week, but whatevs.

  14. I sure hope she never has to bend at the waist while wearing that belt. Reminds me of a girl I saw on the subway wearing a star-shaped belt buckle. She basically had to stay perfectly still to avoid stabbing herself in the abdomen.

  15. I’m pretty forgiving so overall I kind of like it. What I do want to know is why the bracelets are silver when every other metal element in the costume is gold.

  16. This costume reminds me of how Hollywood execs will often design a project so awful for the express purpose of shelving it, but maintaining the copyright. They’ll also design the lead character expressly for toy licensing purposes.

    1) I like the red of the bodice, but the blue for the pants is too light. A darker blue would pull it off better.
    2) I don’t like that they’re going with the current continuity costume because we all know it’s temporary as is often the case. If they’re going to go the Smallville route they could have given it some realism ala the Green Arrow costume. I don’t feel the wet pleather look and candy colors could inspire much respect or confidence from villains or rescuees. Wet pleather only looked well on Trinity from the Matrix for two reasons. It was Black and full body. Although I like that they have truer colors than the “dark” trend you see in movies they could have reinvented the look for more credibility.
    3) The metal pieces look tacky except possibly for the bracelets and the red stars feel Soviet rather than American or even Greek.
    4) If they going to choose to break with the Jim Lee design and have boots they should at least be red.

    I realize that the Wonder Woman costume always walks a fine line between sexy and superhero, but this veers far too much into a tasteless direction. I’m sure everyone here has seen the photos of Alex Ross’ live model for Wonder Woman in full dress and how successful it looked without being salacious or dipped in the pool of “realism” that we see in other super hero costumes that make it to the big screen.

  17. Uhhhhhh…

    That just looks dreadful. Theres no cohesion and in my opinion they’ve lost alot of her visual identity. I mean, what’s Wonder Woman (any Wonder Woman) without the stars? And why such a saturation with the blue? Throws off the balance entirely. “Tacked on” seems to be the most fitting phrase to describe this.

    If NBC were looking for a current costume to run with they should’ve checked out P:R and head straight to Jamie McKelvie’s of Oliver Nome’s designs. Now that would’ve been awesome.

  18. I’d like it better if it was not so shiny. That just makes it look kind of cheap. But maybe it’s better in action?

    And yeah, the boots need to be red.

  19. I agree, the red boots w/ the white stripe needs to be there! Also, I hate the stars down the side of the leg and the misshapen belt.

  20. wow not really sure why my first post didn’t make it, but since everyone else has has now posted, i agree. this is horrible looks like they just went to halloween surplus or something. if they would make things matte instead of gloss might be a little better, personally i think it should be something more like this http://images2.fanpop.com/images/photos/2700000/Wonder-Woman-cobie-smulders-2704733-844-1350.jpg make it less poll dancer more amazon warrior. something that people are going to respect and not laugh at.

  21. Yeesh, shallow costume, shallow casting, guess what’s coming for the script…
    I wonder (pun intended) where anyone can see warrior woman huntress of men in this?

  22. I thought the Spidey costume from the earlier batch of movies looked crappy & cgi, until the actual film came out & I saw it in motion. Film is different than stills, & I’m hopping that what looks shoddy & cheap here– which is a lot, frankly– actually looks good on television.

  23. Oh…. wow…. that’s just awful.
    What little hope I had for this show just evaporated, and I agree 100% with the comments that point out how it looks like something from a halloween costume catalog that skirts right up against the copyright, but not enough to get sued… “Wonderous Woman” indeed.

    This biggest problem with page-to-screen comic adaptations is walking that line between real world functionality but maintaining the fantasy of it, and I’m always a little disappointed when directors go too “real world-y” and lose the GEE WHIZ fun of it all (Christopher Nolan, I’m looking at you)… but this does neither. It’s not respectful of the source, and it doesn’t go anywhere new.

    It’s just crummy.

  24. Oh dear,
    I like your overall impression and critique. I definitely agree with you about the boots. I would also add designwise the high heels are a bad idea. Both as a fantastic character and as an actress playing one, running around in such heels is just an invitation for disaster. In the same light there is definitely the look that it’s going to be a job keeping her from popping her top.

    The choice of materials are poor. Not only do they look cheap but they certainly don’t say “greek demigoddess” unless one has seen Xanadu waaaaay too many times. Also on a second look the eagle looks something like a hood ornament.

    Thank you for letting me comment.
    Lazarus Lupin
    http://strangespanner.blogspot.com/
    art and review

  25. I gotta say this is the worst costume I’ve seen for a superheroine in a long time. The materials are completely wrong and make the outfit look cheap and gaudy. The boots are the wrong color, the high heels definitely need to go, A lot of things on the costume (the red stars on the belt & chest piece and the =W= symbols on the bracelets and boots) look tacked on, the belt can’t make up its mind whether its the classic version or the Terry Dodson revamp, the tiara looks terrible, and they should have kept the white on the boots and the stars on the side of the pants.

    I can live with the pants, they don’t bother me too much. The chest piece is good but it can be better. I agree with Fono on the darker colors, the tumbler after photo looks much better.

    All in all, this is not looking good for the production. And its not just fans that are PO’ed with this. I’ve read comments from other boards and very few are pleased with the outcome. If this continues, I’m sure David E. Kelley will be changing his name to Mud when the masses get their hands on him.

    Mr. Q

  26. I totally agree with everyone’s comments. There are a lot of flaws to this costume, especially since DC took the time to revamp her look in the comics into a….more marketable item? IMO, it would have been easier to adapt the Jim Lee version than try to meld the two looks together.

    I love Terry Dodson’s version of WW as well, and I think you’re dead on that it would have been the best version to adapt for ‘classic’ version but something as simple as the ‘war dress’ instead of pants is still an upgrade from this hot mess.

    I used to remember how the fandom cried for Lucy Lawless to be WW when she was doing Xena….

    Hopefully there’ll be some tweaks to this version, because if not, it’ll go the way of Bionic Woman.

  27. In light of comments that have already been made about the costume, the vast majority of which I agree with, there’s this:

    This costume makes me think Adrienne Palicki is going to have one HELL of a time acting like Wonder Woman onscreen. It’s not just the unflattering lines, the way the costume de-emphasizes the tall, sleek, imposing physique that doubtless helped her get the role–it’s the decision making behind it, which also gives us the storyline where she’s suddenly supposed to be the president of a cosmetics company.

    Have DC learned nothing from Catwoman except not to make costumes of intentionally distressed fabric?

  28. 01) Trade the headband 4 the tiara,and get rid of the plastic ruby-star (just paint a simple star onthe “metal” tiara!
    02) Get rid of the candy apple plastic red corset, and make it more of a velour or faux suede texture so at least she looks like she can breathe & not be impaled by her own uni should she bend or twist (and once again, get rid of that plastic ruby)
    03) Make the wristbands w/o the symbols
    04) If u’re gonna have stars on the sides of the tights, make them natural looking stars, & not cookie cutter stars.
    05) Either make the boots thigh high, knee high,orat least make it so that the tights fit inside the boots, so they’re not bunching as they head 2ward the boots.
    05b) Make the boots red….05c) also keep the heels :-)

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