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Did you spot Wonder Woman’s not-so-secret Disney connection?

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Kayleigh Dray
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Wonder Woman has absolutely shattered box office records all over the world (which must have come as a shock to all those misogynist Hollywood bigots convinced that stories with female protagonists just don’t sell).

Starring Gal Gadot as the titular character, the superhero flick gave us a caped crusader we were fully on board with – and, with her shield, tiara, and lasso of truth in hand, she kicked butt just like we knew the Amazonian princess would.

However there was so much more to Diana Prince than brute force and weaponry: above all else, audiences were inspired by her bravery, her insatiable curiosity and her passion to do right by others.

It should come as no surprise then to learn that 2017’s incarnation of Wonder Woman was inspired by a very familiar Disney princess.

via GIPHY

Speaking with ew.com, Allan Heinberg – who penned the script for the film – has explained that he looked to The Little Mermaid for inspiration when it came to writing and expanding upon Diana’s character.

“The story as I see it is The Little Mermaid, specifically Disney’s incarnation,” he said.

“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.”



And then, calling to mind the iconic Part of Your World song, Heinberg added that Diana, just like Ariel, just “wants to be where the people are.”

The story of Ariel is, in a way, very similar to that of Diana: like the superhero, she rescues a mysterious man from the ocean and leaves the safety of her home to pursue adventure in the ‘other world’ he inhabits.

However Ariel is rendered silent when she leaves the ocean in pursuit of Prince Eric, and quickly becomes a true damsel in distress.

Diana, on the other hand, remains the hero of her own story – and is incredibly vocal as she follows Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor into the dangerous trenches of World War I. And, while she is similarly baffled by the world around her, Diana is able to ask questions about it, and willing to challenge the answers she does not like.

Geoff Johns, who produced the film alongside director Patty Jenkins, added that Ariel wasn’t the only mermaid to be considered when designing Diana’s backstory.

They looked to another famous fish-out-of-water, in the form of Splash’s Daryl Hannah.

“There is a drop of Splash in it when it comes to the observations she has about our world,” he said. “Some are light and fun. Some are poignant. But she’s pointing out things that are absolutely true.”



Elsewhere, Jenkins has used the film to hit back at the tired old idea that female-led movies aren’t as interesting to audiences as those headed up by a famous male actor.

“The market is there, and the money is there,” director Patty Jenkins said at the Forbes Women’s Summit in New York. “As long as you’re obsessed with young male audiences and you’re writing stories with men and directing them with men, nothing will change.

“The world is changing, so if Hollywood wants to get rich, pay attention to this: Women are our biggest audience in the world right now. It would be wise to go after them.”

Images: Wonder Woman / Warner Bros

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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