Wonder Woman 1984 Trailer Breakdown and Analysis
Wonder Woman 1984 brings fans New Order, a dose of the '80s, Kristen Wiig's Cheetah, the return of Chris Pine's Steve Trevor, and more!
Welcome to the future! It’s a brave new world full of jazzercise, breakdancing, and neon lights. New Order’s Blue Monday (the “How does it feel” song) sets the tone for the can’t-miss trailer for Wonder Woman 1984. While there are multiple similarities to fantastic Charlize Theron action movies (the use of New Order’s “Blue Monday,” like Atomic Blonde, and some outrageous car-based stunt work, like Mad Max: Fury Road), WW84 manages to have a completely different vibe, proving just how wide the subgenre of women-fronted action movies can be.
And just in case you haven’t already seen this incredible trailer, now’s your chance to watch it. Or maybe just to watch it again.
Now, here’s all the cool DC Comics stuff and Wonder Woman lore we were able to find in it…
How is Steve Trevor Still Alive?
The trailer opens with Diana lamenting that her life, hasn’t been what you probably think it has.” Inside her apartment, she has Steve Trevor’s watch that he gave her before he sacrificed himself in the first film, as well as a black-and-white photo of herself in front of a sign that says Trevor Ranch, presumably named after Steve. This is our best hint at what Diana has been doing all these years. She also has a framed newspaper clipping with a photo of Steve and a headline that says, “VFW honors local hero.” (VFW stands for Veterans of Foreign Wars.) Clearly, Diana has been missing the one and only love of her life – which she references in a conversation with Cheetah.
Since we all know Chris Pine is back for this movie, the trailer doesn’t waste much time before showing Steve reuniting with Diana, placing a period-approved silver Casio watch in her hand like he did the last time they saw one another. We still don’t know how he’s come to be alive and the same age in 1984, but judging by the rest of the trailer, Steve is with Diana for the majority of the adventures in this movie.
Does this mirror the shot of Diana watching Steve’s plane explode in the first movie?
Wonder Woman 1984 Villain
It looks like Wonder Woman 1984 will bring us one “traditional” villain, and then another baddie from the comics, albeit one that we might be hesitant to root against. Here’s how it breaks down…
Pedro Pascal is Maxwell Lord, a character with deep ties to DC Comics lore, and a specific (and potentially spoiler-y) one to Diana herself. In the comics, Max was the funder and founder of one of the incarnations of the Justice League. A fabulously rich asshole with his own agenda, Max eventually revealed his true colors as a villain.
What the hell is he holding? Could that possibly be an Eclipso gem? That would be incredible.
This trailer positions Maxwell Lord as the villain and shows him in all his “greed is good” Gordon Gecko-style 1980s glory. He’s obviously incredibly wealthy – he’s the one whose ad plays on those TVs they’re selling in the mall, and it’s his voice in the “welcome to the future” voiceover that we hear from that ad.
This would certainly appear to be a secret evil villain island lair. The giant radar dish would indicate that something needs to be broadcast from there. In the comics, Max Lord has some low level mind control powers, so it’s possible that this is something intended to amplify those so he can work his influence on cast swathes of the population at once.
Since a bunch of this trailer is in Washington DC and even appears to be inside the White House, with a couple of scenes in a vaguely Middle Eastern locale, maybe he’s reimagined here as a politician, a lobbyist (whither the K Street villain?), an arms dealer, or just someone leveraging his corporate position with those in the government.
This sure would seem to be Max Lord doing…something evil…in that evil villain lair. We wrote more about the history of Maxwell Lord right here.
Kristen Wiig as the Cheetah
Kristen Wiig’s Barbara Minerva is in the trailer a couple of times, although her Cheetah alter ego doesn’t make an appearance. During the CCXP livestream leading up to the trailer, Patti Jenkins and Gal Gadot said that the movie largely uses practical effects, but given that the character has an all-over cat look in the comics, it’s better that they take their time so we don’t have another Cats on our hands.
Barbara and Diana look like they’re friends, or at least trying to be, talking about love and drinking wine on a balcony. Perhaps this villain is laying a trap for Diana, or being manipulated by other forces like a few of her comic book incarnations, or maybe there’s another explanation altogether? There’s something about the way Barbara mentions falling in love so often and so easily that sounds like trouble. In her New 52/Rebirth incarnation she flirts with women and folks tend to think she’s bi, so if, like me, you got a vibe, there could be a reason for that.
Here, she’s working in a lab, presumably getting ready to give herself some kind of superpowers. In the comics, Minerva, indeed a friend of Diana’s, becomes the Cheetah. Some kind of similar transformation seems poised to take place in this film based on how she emerges for a party later on in the trailer…
Hopefully, this is all a little more nuanced than the Selina-Kyle-to-Catwoman transformation in Batman Returns. But it sure does have a Michelle-Pfeiffer-as-Selina vibe, doesn’t it?
Barbara has big glasses, perfectly-crimped 80s hair, and that quirky energy that Kristen Wiig brings to a lot of her roles, although in a later scene, when she shows up to a party in a black lace dress, she’s all sophistication. That could be a nod to one of her comics incarnations as a socialite, where the imagery of her in some kind of lab might be her in a museum (like the museum stills that have been released), aligning with the original and Greg Rucka versions of her where she’s an archaeologist.
Wonder Woman Golden Eagle Armor
In some scenes, like in the mall, Washington DC, and what appears to be inside the White House, Diana is still wearing a costume that’s more or less the same as the one from the first movie, though the sword is nowhere to be found. While in the mall, she shows that her headband/tiara is actually functional, taking out security cameras with it.
However, we do get to see her full gold costume, which is new for this movie but has its origins in the comics, where its called the Golden Eagle costume. The gold costume, which involved pants (leggings? Who knows, they’re skintight and made of gold) was previously revealed in a poster, but the trailer has an extra reveal that comic book fans have been hoping for: gold wings.
The first time they’re shown, Diana sheds them in a rather intense fashion. In the comics, the Golden Eagle armor protects Wonder Woman even more. We still know little about her adversaries, but maybe she needs the extra protection. In the final shot of the trailer, she’s wearing the full gold, crosses her wrists in one of her power poses, and she’s wearing full-blown wings. So if some of the rest of this trailer had you wondering whether Wonder Woman can fly, perhaps the answer is now: yes, just like in the comics.
This offered us several glimpses of everyone’s favorite hidden island, Themyscira. When Wonder Woman was running through the streets of Washington, DC, she flashed back to her childhood training.
While that looked similar to footage from the previous film, is the more exciting return to Themiscyra a flashback or something new? What are these Amazon games/trials taking place? Might this be something from Wondy’s origin story that wasn’t explored in the first film? In the wake of the first movie and Antiope’s death and Diana’s departure, it will be interesting to see how things have shifted on the island, and how often Diana visits.
Is Themyscira still completely closed off? For many in the audience, the scenes there were among the best part of Wonder Woman, so hopefully there will be plenty more in Wonder Woman 1984.
The Setting and Locations
Aside from the somewhat Orwellian implications of the title, Wonder Woman 1984 is paying subtle tribute to some superhero movies of its era with its title stylings, which look more than a little like the opening credits to Superman: The Movie (1978) and Superman II (1980).
Setting a chunk of the movie in Washington, DC during the Reagan era should put Diana in contact with some interesting characters. Diana did indeed call DC her base of operations for many years in the comics, as well.
Diana destroying the security cameras is perhaps again a nod to the Orwellian nature of its 1984 setting. But from a DCEU standpoint, it helps to explain why her existence was kept a secret between the events of her movie (which took place in World War I) and her public battles in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League in modern times.
Where is this? And what is that wall?
Please god, tell me they are in an invisible jet.
There’s always a question of how do you show something invisible and make it cool, but flying through 4th of July fireworks (they’re in DC and the ad on TV gave us the date) is a damn good idea!
Is this the first time Diana and Steve have ever flown in a plane together? Kind of surprising, considering he’s a pilot.
This trailer shows Diana doing a few new things with her lasso of truth. She lassoes a couple of lightning bolts (!!!), which effectively lets her fly through the sky. She also spins the end of it to generate more power, and uses it to propel herself like a grappling hook.
There’s two shots in the trailer where Diana continues her stance on nonviolence/de-escalation, the one where she crumples guns and the other where she literally takes the bullet out of a gun. It continues to be such a radical and fascinating stance for a superhero, and Wonder Woman might be the only one with this explicit, strongly-held opposition to any more violence than is strictly necessary—because let’s be real, Batman puts a lot of people in the hospital just because.
Diana’s flowy white dress when she first sees Steve was somewhat Grecian and reminscent of her blue dress in the first movie that hid the sword. Her gold bangles appeared to just be decorative, but they’re in the style of Wonder Woman cuffs, so they could be a nod to the original or secretly functional.
Diana is the only person who isn’t really dressed for the 80s. In fact, with her high waisted pants, regular hair, blazer, waistcoat, and wide-collared dress shirt, she appears to be dressing similarly to how she did in England in the first movie. She may not have gone into the ice, but it seem’s she’s DC’s hero stuck outside of time.
What is That Song Playing in the Wonder Woman 1984 Trailer?
That is an incredibly badass version of “Blue Monday” by New Order, which was released in 1983. Like the instrumental version of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross that HBO’s Watchmen gifted us with recently, we really don’t deserve something as cool as this version of “Blue Monday.”
Wonder Woman 1984 opens on June 5, 2020, which suddenly seems very far away. The full DC superhero movie release schedule can be found here.