Once upon a time, Wonder Woman was basically the token female DC superhero.  During the 1940s, she was relegated to the role of secretary to the otherwise all-male Justice Society of America.  Then, during a period in the 1960s, when she had to leave the Society’s successors the Justice League of America, the criteria for replacing her on the team seemed to simply “be a woman.”  (Black Canary won that spot.)  But now, with ‘Justice League’ arriving in theaters, she occupies a completely different role in the dynamic: The Star.

Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash have all been glimpsed briefly onscreen, but they are basically new commodities.  Ben Affleck’s Batman co-headlined ‘Batman V Superman’ opposite Henry Cavill, but that film was lambasted by fans and critics.  To be fair, Affleck’s performance was just fine by most accounts, but his Caped Crusader did not become the breakout sensation, perhaps, that Warner Brothers was hoping for.  And despite having appeared twice as Superman, Cavill has yet to prove a box office draw outside of that.

Then came ‘Wonder Woman’, DC’s first home run since Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy.  Not only was the film a critical success, but a true crowd-pleaser, with many fans returning to see it on the big screen over and over.  Its star, Gal Gadot immediately shot to the A-List in Hollywood and a sequel was greenlighted almost immediately.

With ‘Justice League’ arriving in a week, the cast and crew are making the rounds to promote it and as part of that, Gadot has landed the cover of ‘Elle’ magazine.  As part of the cover story, Zack Snyder, who directed ‘Batman V Superman’ and ‘Justice League,’ and Affleck reflected on meeting Gadot and knowing almost instantly that she WAS Wonder Woman.

As Snyder recounted:

“This was the very first time we put her on-camera.  It was a chemistry test with Gal and Ben, shooting a scene I’d scripted to see how Batman and Wonder Woman—as Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince—would look and feel when they were together. It was an intense scene, a moment where they were having a discussion about his plans and whether she would come and join him or not. The tension builds, and at the very end she says, ‘I’m not the one in trouble here, Bruce; you are.’ You really saw how she could go toe-to-toe with Ben. He was supposed to watch her go and then walk off-camera. Instead, he watched her go, slowly turned, looked directly into the camera, and made a face, a ‘Whoof, she’s awesome!’ We all knew she was the one.”

Affleck added:

“I hadn’t seen any of her other work.  But it was clear that not only could she do it, but we really needed to have her; that she could make something great out of this character that is actually a lot harder to play than it looks. Not veering into camp or overly serious—it’s a really fine line to draw. And she’s also breaking ground as a female superhero carrying a movie. There was a lot of pressure on her.”

Well, she handled that with flying colors.  She won’t be the singular focus of ‘Justice League’ but it should be interesting to see how she interacts with the others, particularly the newcomers.

In the meantime, enjoy a sample of photos from her ‘Elle‘ photo layout, by Paola Kudacki:

gal gadot

gal gadot

‘Justice League’, directed by Zack Snyder (with Joss Whedon), stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot, Ciarán Hinds, Ezra Miller and Jason Momoa with Amy Adams, Billy Crudup, Amber Heard, Jeremy Irons, Joe Morton, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons and Robin Wright.  It hits theaters on November 16th.