When Charles Moulton Marston created Wonder Woman, the most powerful female superhero in the world, in 1941, he gave her a secret identity: Diana Prince. When she wasn't saving Man's World from destruction, she was moonlighting as a secretary, serving the needs of man. The concept of a secret identity in superhero lore has always been an allegory for hiding one's true self — and for Marston, a polyamorist psychologist, that struck an especially personal chord.
Professor Marston & The Wonder Women, from writer-director Angela Robinson, tells Wonder Woman's unconventional origin story, but it's even more concerned with Marston's (played by Luke Evans) polyamorous relationship with the women who shaped him and his iconic creation: his wife Elizabeth ( Rebecca Hall) and their lover Olive ( Bella Heathcote).
"It really is a true, beautiful love story about three people who made it work in a time when it would have been taboo to do what they did," Evans told MTV News.
"These characters didn't have words like polyamorous in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s — or words like 'kink' or 'queer' or definitions or categories, so they were, in some sense, living out what felt natural to them," Hall added.
Flash-forward to 2017, and polyamorous representation in film and television is still relatively minuscule. HBO's Big Love was one of the first to depict a polygamous family on television, and its moderate success helped launch its reality-show counterpart, Sister Wives, on TLC. But even these shows depicted polyamory as unconventional, a group of consenting adults living on the fringe of society.
"There isn't really any positive representation of polyamorous love," Hall said.
That's why it was important for Robinson and her cast to depict the polyamorous love between William, Elizabeth, and Olive as a simple romantic relationship between three people — and not as something unusual. (Though, they do face outside prejudice.) Their intimacy is deeply erotic and sensual, and most importantly, never Otherized.
For there to be more positive representations of polyamorous love in media, it's important that audiences see it as legitimate — and Professor Marston does just that. And the poly community is already embracing it.