This article contains spoilers for Wonder Woman and Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice
Wonder Woman is raking in cash at the global box office, and its Rotten Tomatoes page is aglow with positive write-ups. Understandably, talk has already turned to a sequel.
Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins are both likely to return for more (Gadot is signed up, Jenkins – as things stand – isn’t), and Wonder Woman 2 seems to have joined Warner Bros and DC’s ever-growing list of upcoming flicks.
It’s worth remembering here that Justice League is the next film on the DC timetable; it has a UK release date of November 17th 2017. The Flash and Aquaman are both slated for next year, although it seems that only the latter is actually on-track to hit that target at the moment.
There’s also Shazam, Justice League 2, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps, The Batman, Justice League Dark, Gotham City Sirens, Suicide Squad 2, Joss Whedon’s Batgirl, another solo film for Superman, and the rumoured Lobo flick. Warner Bros has expressed intent to make all of these movies, but not given us a clear timetable.
The long and short of it, then, is that we don’t have a clue where the powers-that-be will slot Wonder Woman 2 into their plans. We’d expect it to be on the fast-track, given its status as the sequel to the DC Extended Universe’s most universally praise film to date, but that’s just a hopeful prediction on our part.
We’re going to try and predict a few things about Wonder Woman 2 in the article you’re about to read, but it’s going to be even harder than usual given that packed slate. With that in mind, let’s start with something we know for sure…
Diana will next be seen in Justice League
Gal Gadot will next be seen in the role of Princess Diana Of Themyscira in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which is set for a November 2017 release. Barring any flashbacks or ‘many years ago’ prologues, it’s expected that the film will take place in the modern day.
By the looks of it, then, after getting her picture of Chris Pine back and dramatically jumping off a Paris rooftop, Diana will meet up with Batfleck again and set about assembling DC’s mightiest heroes for their biggest shared adventure yet.
If you’ve seen the promo videos for the film, you’ll know that the easy chemistry between Diana and Affleck’s Bruce Wayne is back in full force. Ezra Miller’s The Flash, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Ray Fisher’s Cyborg – all of whom were glimpsed in Lex Luthor’s files during Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice – are the other heroes they’ll team up with.
The film will see the Justice League coming together for the first time on the big screen, with Steppenwolf being the baddie they’re uniting to tackle. You may have already seen this big grey alien nasty in a deleted scene from Batman V Superman. He’s a minion of Darkseid in the comics, which suggests that Justice League may only be a single stepping stone in an on-going story about Diana and her pals fighting extra-terrestrial nut jobs.
It seems safe to assume that Diana will make it out of the Justice League movie alive. (They couldn’t end with another soon-to-be-undone funeral… right?) From that point onwards, it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen next. There are only a couple of facts we know about Wonder Woman 2, which we’ll get onto now…
It will be contemporary, and set in America
Shortly after Wonder Woman’s release, news nuggets emerged about the inevitable – and very welcome – follow up. During an interview with director Patty Jenkins, the Hollywood Reporter’s Tatiana Siegel wrote that the sequel will be “contemporary-set” and that Jenkins will helm it as long as “all goes according to plan”.
In a different interview, this time with Entertainment Weekly, Jenkins said that the sequel “will take place in the US, which I think is right. She’s Wonder Woman. She’s got to come to America. It’s time”. It’s believed that interview took place before the release of the film.
Combining those two morsels of info together, it doesn’t take a super spy to deduce that Wonder Woman 2 will be a modern day story set in America. This lines up with assumption that Justice League will mostly take place stateside, suggesting – as would make the most sense – that Jenkins’ second Wonder Woman film will take place after Snyder’s team-up movie.
It remains to be seen, though, if America will be the only locale in the movie. Given Diana’s history with the military, there’s no reason she couldn’t fly around (possibly in an invisible jet) and partake in missions in other parts of the globe. We also know that she has a base in Paris, and family in Themyscira.
Perhaps, then, Wonder Woman 2 will have a globe-trotting aspect to it. The main bulk could take place in the US, with tangential action flitting off to other locales. (Kind of how James Bond is based in London, but sods off in the general direction of adventure whenever he fancies it.)
It would certainly be a shame not to revisit Themyscira at some point, given how beautifully it was brought to life in the first film. But yes, all we know that the mo is that contemporary America will be central to the story. This begs a rather big question…
What about all the missing time?
It will be the slicker, sneakier version of Diana – that we saw in Batman V Superman – who likely takes the lead in Wonder Woman 2, rather than the iteration that had centre stage in Wonder Woman. But what did Diana do in the intervening years between those two films? Have we really seen the last of her pre-Batman V Superman exploits?
Indeed, there’s a lot of time there that the writers could address if they wanted to. (Speaking of writers, just as a side note: it’s not yet been confirmed that Allan Heinberg, screenwriter of Wonder Woman, will return).
Whoever ends up penning Wonder Woman 2, there’s another DC property they could look to for inspiration: The CW’s Stephen Amell-starring TV series Arrow, which has deployed flashbacks for most of its 100+ episodes, to join the dots between its protagonist’s modern day heroics and the lengthy origin story that came before.
Again, this is just baseless speculation from me, but what if Wonder Woman 2 saw Diana facing off against a threat in the modern day that has ties to her past? For instance, someone could be trying to kill Diana because she killed his or her Nazi parents during World War II.
This way, the writers could have their cake and eat it too, serving up contemporary action as well as historical backstory to keep everyone happy. After all, there are bound to be people that prefer WWI Diana to BvS Diana, and vice versa. Thankfully, there’s no reason why they can’t have both.
Who could the baddie(s) be?
Assuming that David Thewlis’ Ares is properly dead, they’ll need a new central villain for Wonder Woman 2. (Speaking of which… if Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor is properly dead, a new male lead will probably be needed as well. But this section is about villains, dammit!)
A cursory glance at that there interweb suggests that Cheetah is the pop culture hive mind’s first choice for Diana’s next big screen adversary. Indeed, Cheetah is one of the most lasting foes in Wonder Woman’s comic book rogues’ gallery. (Plus, DC opted to plonk Cheetah into the Injustice 2 fighting game. Are they trying to up her recognition factor ahead of a big screen debut, perhaps?)
If you’re unfamiliar, Cheetah is a villainous mantle that has been held by four fearsome foes in the comics. The first incarnation of the character was Priscilla Rich, a 1940s socialite. She didn’t have superpowers, but she did have a cat costume and an unhinged huntress side to her personality. In one World War II storyline, she stole American military secrets and sold them to the Japan.
Next came Deborah Domaine, Priscilla’s nice, an ecological activist that became firm friends with Wonder Woman. However, she was brainwashed into taking up the Cheetah mantle – again, without superpowers – and fighting her friend, when her aunt succumbed to illness.
After that, archaeologist Dr Barbara Ann Minerva held the Cheetah title, gaining the powers and appearance of a Cheetah thanks to an African tribe. And finally, business tycoon Sebastian Ballesteros convinced to the plant god Urzkartaga to make him the first male Cheetah. All of them are vicious fighters.
It feels like the Cheetah mantle could fit with some of the ideas I’ve already wildly speculated about. They could have flashbacks to a World War II villainess, who betrays the USA and is thwarted by younger Diana, as well as a modern day relative vowing for revenge.
Having two Cheetahs in one film sounds like a lot of fun. Making one of the Cheetahs rich and selfish would set them nicely against Diana’s ideologies, and making the other a potential friend to Diana (a bit like to Kara/Lena Luthor relationship in Supergirl) could provide a fresh angle.
Alternate newbie nemeses for Diana include the mythological menace Medusa, the ginormous Giganta and the ageless sorceress Circe. Also, could there be potential in the idea of turning the Amazonians against Diana?
Will it be less standalone, then?
Right then, it’s time for some final thoughts. If there’s one thing I’m worried about regarding Wonder Woman 2, it’s that – unlike its predecessor – it’ll be close in the timeline to the other upcoming DC movies. This opens the door to cameos from the likes of Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher and even The Rock.
Setting a Wonder Woman film in the modern day also makes post-credits scenes and allusions of things to come much more feasible. They could easily show Diana unearthing some information about Darkseid, or whoever, to tee up the next Justice League film. But just because this could happen, that doesn’t mean that it should.
One of the things that stands out about Wonder Woman is how it is 99% free from connectivity to other films. If you chopped off the thrilling bookend scenes where Bruce Wayne sends Diana Prince a parcel (in the most dramatic way possible) and she sends him an email in return, you’d have a film with no references to the Justice League, Batman V Superman or any other DCEU movies.
This canny approach allowed plenty of time for Diana’s own mythos to be established, as well as giving her space to grow as a character without being interrupted by Easter Eggs. The film had epic scale and huge amounts of intimacy, more than earning the comparison to Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie.
At the risk of sounding like an over-entitled fan with an inflated sense of self importance, I’d like to lodge an official request for Wonder Woman 2 to once again let Diana have a film to herself, devoid of ‘come back next time!’ shoehorning.
Plus, a couple of Cheetahs and some World War II flashbacks would be nice. I, err, don’t ask for much…