Evangeline Lilly Considered Wonder Woman Before It ‘Fell Apart’

Was 'The Hobbit' star up for Joss Whedon's scuttled big screen movie?

In an alternate universe, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” star Evangeline Lilly could have played the first ever filmic Wonder Woman, instead of Gal Gadot.

Not in “Batman vs. Superman” mind you, but in a movie Warner Brothers was developing back during the mid-2000s.

“I actually went in and met on Wonder Woman at one point,” Lilly told MTV News. “Before the thing fell apart. That was early, that was first season of ‘Lost’ before I went, wait a minute, I don’t know if I want to do this!”

Lilly is referring to how the fame of “Lost” eventually drove her to forgo the spotlight entirely, preferring to concentrate on charity work and writing rather than massive franchises. Granted, “The Hobbit” drew her back, but at the time Lilly was in the first flush of stardom. And just as “The Hobbit” was one of her favorite books as a child, which is why she agreed to join Peter Jackson’s trilogy as elf archer Tauriel, it seems the same childhood love could have drawn her to Wonder Woman’s star-spangled pants.

“Wonder Woman was my favorite superhero as a little girl,” Lilly noted. ” I still have a huge girl crush on Wonder Woman, I think she’s amazing.”

Though we’re entering pure speculation area here, what’s most tantalizing about this alternate scenario is which version of Wonder Woman Lilly could have worked on if things hadn’t fallen apart.

The first season of “Lost” ran from September, 2004 to May 25, 2005. In March, 2005 Joss Whedon was finishing up work on “Serenity,” the feature film adaptation of cult TV show “Firefly” when he was hired to work on Warner Brothers’ long gestating “Wonder Woman” movie.

So given the timing, did Lilly meet with the future “Marvel’s The Avengers” writer/director to discuss playing Wonder Woman in a feature film?

Maybe, maybe not. April 24, 2005, TV Guide posted a rumor heavy report stating that producers hadn’t even begun casting yet. A year later, Lilly told JustJared that she hadn’t met or spoken to Whedon, though she certainly had interest in the part.

By February, 2007 Joss Whedon had left “Wonder Woman” over creative differences. Warner Brothers turned their attention to a “Justice League” project the same month directed by George Miller (“Babe,” “Road Warrior”), a movie that included Wonder Woman in the cast. Though they tried to rush the movie into production, November of 2007 the Writer’s Guild of America strike occurred, shutting down any progress on the film permanently.

The trick here is to look at the clauses used, and a basic understanding of how Hollywood works. We can assume Lilly did take a meeting for Wonder Woman the character, regardless of movie (“Wonder Woman” or “Justice League”).

It’s doubtful Warner Brothers would be meeting actresses before 2005, as the movie was in a lull between active development periods, with the last activity being when writer Laeta Kalogridis worked on a draft in 2003. So her meeting would have either needed to be for Whedon’s project, or the Miller’s “Justice League.”

Both the TV Guide snippet and the Just Jared article say that casting hadn’t begun, and Lilly hadn’t met with Whedon. But a meeting isn’t an audition. And there’s no reason Lilly would be brought in to meet with Whedon, who was just hired as a scriptwriter. Nor would he even necessarily know that Lilly was meeting with Warner Brothers. Plus, with NDAs in place, Lilly wouldn’t cop to meeting for the part at the time, regardless.

By 2007, “Lost” was still a huge hit, but was already finishing up its third season, far from “early” as Lilly states; the same time Miller’s “Justice League” was gearing up. So by process of deduction, we can assume that in some form Lilly went in for a meeting for the project that could have been Joss Whedon’s “Wonder Woman” movie.

It certainly is very specious. And there are plenty of things that fell apart there, from Whedon’s relationship with Warner Brothers, to Lilly’s waning interest in big budget, center of the spotlight roles. But as a game of what might have been, it’s pretty neat. Plus, it’s not like Lilly doesn’t still find the prospect somewhat intriguing.

“Would I want to jump into a franchise like that at this point?” Lilly mused. “It’s all speculation, but it is super flattering, it’s crazy flattering.”

What do you think? Would Evangeline Lilly in Joss Whedon’s “Wonder Woman” been the project of our dreams?

Writer/Editor at MTV News. You can follow him on Twitter, but not in real life because that would be weird.
@azalben