Let’s talk about impact – like the impact of a speeding bullet being deflected by one of Wonder Woman’s magic bracelets. Arguably, no one has had a bigger impact on the legend of Wonder Woman than Lynda Carter.
Carter brought the amazing Amazon to the small screen in the ‘7’s. DC had enjoyed much success with the Batman television show in the late ’60s and thought they would give Wonder Woman a fair turn.
Although it only lasted 3 seasons and survived a mid-series network change, people are just as ravenous for Lynda Carter’s incarceration of Wonder Woman as they were 40 years ago. As the writer of “Wonder Woman Wednesday” for Fanbase Press, I try to keep my finger on the pulse of all-things Wonder Woman. As any culture has its subculture, I was a little surprised to discover the one that exists among WW fans. There are the WW fans that go gaga for all-things Wonder Woman. And, there are the fans who consider Lynda Carter to be the one true WW and shun all other versions of her. Now, I pretty much fell in love with Wonder Woman due to the Lynda Carter version, but I wouldn’t deprive myself of all other awesome versions of my favorite Amazon. That would be like turning away Domino’s at a pool party, because you only like Pizza Hut! Crazy! I know!
Not to say that Lynda Carter doesn’t deserve her position of worship. She most certainly does. It’s funny: In the past, and certainly of the era when Lynda Carter played Wonder Woman, actors often had a fear of playing such iconic characters. There was always the chance of being overshadowed by the character you’re playing and being typecast for the rest of your career.
Something tells me that thought never crossed the young, struggling actress’ mind. Legend has it that she was ready to throw in the towel. With only $25 in her bank account and no other prospects, Lynda thought she may have to give up her dream of a life in showbiz.
In true comic book fashion, at the 11th hour, Lynda got the call. After auditioning against a lot of big-named talent (and a few Charlie’s Angels), Lynda Carter would be Wonder Woman, a.k.a. Diana Prince.
It was obvious straight out of the gate that Carter was the best and only choice to play Wonder Woman. I mean, can you imagine anyone else in the mantle of WW? (I know! I know! We’ll get to that in a few minutes!) Without much, if any, acting experience, Lynda was a natural. She really lit up the small screen in her role. The enthusiasm and honesty Lynda brought to the role were truly the essence of Wonder Woman. She really proved that Wonder Woman can be soft, feminine, pretty, and gentle without being harsh, or loud, or “mannish,” for lack of a better word.
After only three seasons, Wonder Woman ended. Lynda would go on to do her own TV variety specials, some made-for-television movies, and co-star with Loni Anderson in Partners in Crime, a TV drama about female detectives. After that, Lynda decided to dedicate herself to being a mother and wife.
Out of sight, out of mind? Not this time. Thanks to reruns, DVD releases, and a rabid fanbase, Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman has been a part of the collective consciousness of pop culture since the first time she donned the tiara and star-spangled panties some 40 years ago.
Now, to my question: Can you possibly imagine anyone besides Lynda Carter playing Wonder Woman? Sadly, for the longest time, the answer to that question was a solid, all-caps NO!!!
But, they tried. Many tried and failed to resurrect the Hollywood version of Wondy. From Sandra Bullock and Sarah Michelle Gellar, a myriad of names have been attached to the prospect of a WW reboot. And none would get the chance to see if their version of WW could hold a candle to that of the legendary Lynda Carter. The closest it came was when David E. Kelly filmed a pilot starring Adrienne Padalicki. The rarely scene pilot was never aired and fell flat for those who did see it.
I should give a shout-out to the voice-over actresses who have played WW in cartoon form over the years, especially Shannon Farnon who famously portrayed Diana in the Hanna-Barbera produced Super Friends. Rachel Kimsey is doing a pretty awesome job voicing Wonder Woman for Justice League Action, currently on Cartoon Network.
So, just a couple of short years ago, there was much buzz concerning the sequel to Zack Snyder’s divisive Man of Steel. There was a loud, collective gasp by all of comic-dom when it was announced the film would be called Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, or BvS as it were, and obviously pit the title characters against each other in some classic superhero fisticuffs. And Ben Affleck will play Batman? Ay Caramba! This is good news, indeed. There couldn’t possibly be any better news than this! Oh, yeah. BvS will introduce a Wonder Woman to the DC Entertainment Universe. What????!!!! OMG for realllllsss!! I’m gonna lose it. I’m gonna faint. All right, girlfriend, pull it together. Okay.
Once I regained consciousness, the obvious question now? Who? Who would take the mantle. Who would breathe life new into a role so cemented into the psyche of one nation? And finally, it was announced. The celluloid incarnation of WW would be resurrected by none other than… Gal Gadot! Gal Gadot? Who the heck is Gal Gadot? The chick from Fast & Furious 6? Oh, yeah… yeah. Not so much. Oh, well. She’s pretty. She has brown eyes? That’s cool. She has an accent? That’s cool.
Unfortunately, not everyone felt that way. Just like Clinton vs. Trump, there were the people in favor of Gal Gadot, and then there was everybody else. Naysayers were swiftly silenced after the release of BvS. Yes, Affleck was awesome as Batman, but that was all overshadowed by the appearance, albeit brief, of Wonder Woman. It’s fair to say Gal owned the crap out of her portrayal of Wonder Woman. Tears of joy rolled down my smiling face as I watched her deflect bullets with bracelets, wield a magical golden lasso like nobody’s business, and do it all with a wink and a nod to the brilliance we had to look forward to in her solo film. Largely, she won over a once-pessimistic audience. But what does Lynda think?
I think it’s safe to say that Lynda Carter approves of this new version of Wonder Woman. She past the torch and gave her virtual stamp of approval in many an interview. But the true evidence came at the Hollywood premiere of Wonder Woman. Not only did the actresses embrace and pose side by side, they bowed in mock “we’re not worthy”-ness toward one another.
I think it’s fair to say the new version of WW can live safely by the side of living legend Lynda Carter. I think it’s safe to say that the Lynda Carter version of Wonder Woman will live on forever.
So, did Lynda Carter have an impact on Wonder Woman? Heck yeah, she did.
Happy Wonder Woman Day, everyone!!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️