Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Wonder Woman Cold Open

Today my buddy Hamboogul over at Done Deal posted one of his ongoing writing throwdowns. The challenge? Write a cold open for the Wonder Woman TV show you'd like to see. I managed to sneak by without participating in the other throwdowns, but since this one was pretty much aimed directly at me, naturally I have to put up my take.

I felt a lot of pressure on this one because I've talked a lot about how I'd like to write the Wonder Woman film. This is TV so my take is a little different than I'd do it in a feature, but here's what I contributed, written this morning while I gave a state standardized test:


This place is wrecked. Two customers lie passed out on the floor, covered in spilled coffee. Computer screens are busted, chairs pulled apart, pretentious artwork smashed on the floor.

THREE GOONS advance on a woman, but not just any woman.

This is DIANA PRINCE, 19, dressed in an equestrian outfit - jeans, red tank top, cowboy boots, a pair of super thick bracelets and a headband. She's olive-skinned with dark, soaking wet hair, and she's astoundingly gorgeous if you can get past her current appearance as a drowned rat backing away from these big muscle-bound dudes.

A guy cowers a bit behind her, a cute sciency type in his late 20s, STEVE TREVOR. There's a welt on his neck. He grabs a broken chair leg and holds it out to Diana.


You want this?




Come on, Diana, don't be-

HEAD GOON punches her in the face. Diana grimaces, yanks the proffered chair leg. Swings it at the Goon-

And SLAMS it into his gut. He FLIES across the room, crashing into a percolator. Coffee splashes everywhere. He is OUT.


(to the goons)

We were kind of in the middle of something, guys. You should probably head on home now.

SECONDARY GOON thinks about this, but THIRDARY GOON dives right in, grabs Diana by the waist and POUNDS her into the floor. He's got her pinned.

This gives Secondary Goon the confidence he needed. He rushes Steve, who runs like hell.

While Secondary Goon chases Steve over the obstacle course that is this cafe, Thirdary Goon tries to ground and pound Diana on the floor.

But Diana sweeps her leg around in a lock on Thirdary Goon's leg, and SNAPS it. CRACK!

Thirdary Goon screams. Diana clocks him in the face with one of her bracelets, breaking his nose, then THROWS him off. He lands a few feet away.

She reaches under a table and grabs a LASSO, whips it at him, catches Thirdary Goon around the neck. She yanks. He struggles to breathe.


Where is he?

Thirdary Goon just wheezes. Diana loosens the noose.



He grabs the noose and RUNS at her, full force.

Diana whips the headband off her head and flings it like a boomerang. It CRACKS right into his skull. Thirdary Goon drops like a sack of potatoes.

Diana turns to Steve, who races around the room, throwing muffins at Secondary Goon as the big guy nearly catches up to his prey.

Diana kneels over Thirdary Goon, rifles through his wallet.


You can't run forever, Steve.


Oh yes I can!


You're going to have to fight some time.



He hops over the counter.

Secondary Goon tries to follow him, slips on a coffee puddle, THUNKS to the floor.

Steve stops, spots the Goon, cheers, almost falls off the counter himself.



Steve hops down, kicks the Goon on the floor. He pours himself some coffee from one of the unbroken pots. Drinks.


Still warm!

He offers her some.

Diana ignores him, reads some info she pulled out of Thirdary Goon's wallet.


I've got the address. Shall we?


Who's our back up?

Diana grabs the coffee, chugs it.


We don't need backup, Steve. We've got moxy.


And a gun, right? Please say we have a gun.


Just moxy.


I never should have pulled you off the island.


But then we wouldn't be having so much fun, would we?


Naturally, this is where we'd cut to her back on the island of the Amazons and show how she got here.

To see the thread and the rest of the entries as they go up in the next couple of days, go HERE.


  1. "Thirdary Goon" should be "Tertiary Goon," or else change them to "Second Goon" and "Third Goon." Otherwise, I liked it.

  2. Thanks but "Thirdary" is on purpose. It's just how I do. Secondary, thirdary, fourthary.

  3. Anonymous1:51 PM

    Well done Emily.

    We gave it favorable review.


    H Day

  4. Wow that's really complimentary. Thank you!

  5. Anonymous3:40 PM

    Fantastic...I'd watch

  6. I love that Wonder Woman has its own tag. I'm still debating writing one so I'm not going to read yours yet.

  7. Very cool. I'd be interested in seeing your take on Wonder Woman. In my opinion, she's probably one of the hardest comic book characters to nail. There's so much baggage in her history and backstory, and people's imaginations tend to be filtered through memories the Lynda Carter TV show. Other than that, there hasn't been an incarnation that's had much resonance outside the comics.

    Last year I posted a fake script review of a Wonder Woman movie. The intent was to write what most WW fans would consider their worst nightmare, with just enough borrowed from the comics to give it some plausibility. Imagine my dismay when people thought:
    a) it was legit
    and b) that it was actually my stealth pitch for the way it should be done.

    Worse, one or two minor elements in this review later turned up in David E. Kelley's script.

    When I get a chance, I'll check out that thread and see what I think.

  8. Anonymous6:50 PM

    Now if the proposed pilot was that fun, then NBC would not have put the kibosh on it!

    I love the way you write. I do! Excellent scene! Great job!

  9. I would LOVE to write this one; I have all kinds of ideas. Unfortunately it keeps going to the wrong people. You read the film script the studio bought, right? It was insulting.

  10. The muffins are inspired, and so fun. What great character introductions. I'd watch that Wonder Woman.

    I think Gail Simone sets standard for modern day Wonder Woman, packing such life into narrowly prescribed yet muddily delineated characters (Wonder Woman's powers, gear, foes vary from story to story, and Trevor's also challenge to get right and make interesting). I suspect she would mightily approve of the kick-assery of your warrior princess.

  11. Anonymous2:29 PM

    it's hard to make action read interesting.

  12. The first, second thing works but it gets monotonous. I ususally give them a description "FAT HENCHMAN," "BLOND HENCHMAN," etc.


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