Overanalyzing Every Possible Plot Point For Wonder Woman 1984
Please pretend this post is just a bunch of papers tacked to a wall with red thread connecting them.
Most films nowadays keep things so tightly under wraps that we have no idea what’s happening until the film hits the big screen. Fortunately, Patty Jenkins knows how to tease a movie right. While the plot of Wonder Woman 1984 is being kept under lock and key, she has dropped a few big hints along the way.
We’ve seen Diana (Gal Gadot) in her costume, which looks a little more brightly colored than before. We’ve seen teaser images of both Pedro Pascal’s mysterious new character (more on him later) and Kristen Wiig’s Barbara Ann Minerva, a.k.a. Cheetah. And, of course, Jenkins broke our collective brains when she revealed that yes, Chris Pine will be returning to the Wonder Woman ‘verse as Steve Trevor; given that Steve died to save the world in the last film, it’s a bit of a big deal. Reports have confirmed that both Connie Nielson and Robin Wright will return for a flashback sequence as well.
But other than that and the setting — the year 1984, obviously — we know incredibly little about what’s actually going on in the film, outside of the fact that Diana will probably punch some bad guys at some point and we’ll hopefully get a scene as awe-inspiring as Wonder Woman‘s No Man’s Land sequence.
So let’s ring in Friday with some healthy speculation. I’ll be repeating this often, but take this all with a grain of salt; I have been very famously wrong about a lot of films before (ask me about my terrible Rogue One theories), so these might be way off base. However, I will be pulling what we know from the comics, so minor spoilers, possibly?
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) June 27, 2018
Let’s start with Cheetah. There have been several characters who’ve taken on the mantle of Cheetah, but Barbara is perhaps the most famous of them all. Described as “ambitious, selfish, and severely neurotic” in the comics, Barbara was an archaeologist who became the Cheetah through the guidance of the plant god Urzkartaga (more on him later too); however, the host of the Cheetah is supposed to be a virgin and since Barbara was not, her transformation is a bit more chaotic and painful.
The whole virgin/non-virgin thing seems a bit dated, but hopefully if that is something included, they find a way to make it a little more positive and a little less “if you have sex, you’re going to get cursed!” which is something I do trust Jenkins to handle well.
Kyle Buchanan of Vulture reported that in Wonder Woman 1984, Barbara won’t start the film as an enemy, but rather as a friend of Diana’s, who “emulates Wonder Woman, and then to usurp her.” Mark me down as incredibly intrigued by this potential arc, which is drawn from DC’s Rebirth canon.
What remains to be seen is why Diana and Barbara end up on opposite sides of a battle, outside of the fact that canon demands it. To dive into that, we’ll have to look at which major Wonder Woman character tends to play a big role in that (which might explain why he needed to be resurrected).
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) July 30, 2018
But before we solve a problem like Steve Trevor (he gets his own section), let’s take a look at our other mysterious new arrival. Pascal’s character is being kept incredibly under wraps, outside of one teaser image that has been released. Rumors have swirled about him possibly playing Hades (which would explain how Steve gets back), but the current rumor du jour is that he’ll be playing Maxwell Lord, a villain who’s pretty famous for collecting magical artifacts and also for getting his neck snapped by Wonder Woman.
The reports circling Pascal’s character say that: “We hear this version of Maxwell Lord is more “hammy” than people would expect and it will be evident they have gone with a more liberal take on the character. One thing that will differentiate him from his comic counterpart is the fact that he won’t have the psychic powers that he sometimes wields in the comics.”
The article goes on to explain that “the updated takeaway is that the DCEU Maxwell Lord will be exploring the Greek gods and the mysticism associated with them, in order to transcend his mortal coil and become a god himself,” rather than being, as previously reported, a god in disguise. That’s probably for the best, as audiences will be expecting an Ares-esque twist this time around following the big twist in Wonder Woman.
If these reports are true, it is likely that Lord and Barbara will cross paths, as a magical artifact gives Barbara her skills and Lord is interested in procuring such items. However, despite what these reports are saying, I do not think that Lord is responsible for bringing Steve back due to Steve’s canonical comics connection to the artifacts that Barbara into Cheetah.
I also do not think we’ll see the brutality of a moment where Diana snaps Lord’s neck. First of all, the visuals of a white woman snapping a man of color’s neck are not cool, in any way, shape, or form. Second of all, the DCEU first drew criticism when Superman (Henry Cavill) snapped General Zod’s (Michael Shannon) neck in Man of Steel to show how dark and gritty the DCEU was.
Both Superman and Batman (Ben Affleck) have been portrayed as far more cynical and violent, and in the Knightmare sequence in Batman V. Superman, Batman also kills as well. On the other side, Wonder Woman was praised for its hopeful message and Jenkins allegedly disagreed with the decision to make Diana more cynical in Batman V. Superman and Justice League. Diana is a hero known for her compassion and the powerful choice she made to choose love over hatred; to have her snap Lord’s neck would take away from that choice.
Also, she does it in the comics because he’s psychically controlling Superman and she has to stop him. Without his psychic powers here, it would be easy to just avoid that plot point altogether.
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) June 13, 2018
Now that we’ve covered all of this, we can talk all about Steve. O captain, my captain. Steve was beloved by audiences, not only because Pine is a charismatic and talented actor but because Steve was a well-rounded character. His sacrifice at the end meant something to the audiences and to the characters. And now he’s back. This does not undermine his sacrifice, but rather presents a new layer to his character.
He died so that the War To End All Wars could stop, only to come back to find out that not only was another world war fought but the world is teetering on the edge of nuclear destruction. Forget the possible fish out of water antics as he and his fanny pack adjust to the eighties, think of the angst.
And why bring him back in the first place? Now, let’s talk about that god mentioned earlier, Urzkartaga. In the initial run of the comics, Urzkartaga needed a vessel for his transformation to human form; that vessel was none other than Steve Trevor. Of course, Diana saves the day and rescues Steve and Steve’s friends who have been kidnapped as well (in the comics, it’s the Echo Team), and Urzkartaga is denied his vessel.
Cheetah, who is helping him, tries to fight her off but Diana is able to convince her that Urzkartaga fears women and the two, along with several other women who have been kidnapped to be sacrifices, use the Lasso of Truth to kill him.
Steve also faces off against Cheetah frequently, even at one point defeating her during a face-off. If Barbara and Diana are friends in this film before they choose opposite sides, it could be that Urzkartaga tells Barbara that Steve needs to be sacrificed in order for him to take human form and Diana definitely objects to that. While it would be trite and a little dated to have two friends split over a man, it would represent Diana being torn between her past love and her present life, and at least it’s not a love triangle.
Maybe there is something special about Steve that we just don’t know yet, and that’s why he’s brought back to be a vessel for Urzkartaga. The inclusion of Cheetah and Urzkartaga points to them being the reason that he is resurrected, rather than his return being a gift from Hades or a bargaining chip that Lord possesses. It would turn him into the film’s MacGuffin/resident damsel in distress, but it would give him a strong narrative reason to not be dead, and give Diana even more of a personal stake in the conflict, as she would not want to go through the pain of losing him a second time.
But is Urzkartaga even involved, or will Barbara’s transformation be caused by something else? Well, for that, we’re going to dive into some really potentially spoiler-y territory, so abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
While doing some digging in the Wonder Woman 2 Tumblr tag, I stumbled on this tweet from April, before the title was released, before the time period was officially confirmed, and before Jenkins released an image of Pine on set. It’s from the site Production Weekly, which has a fairly legitimate reputation, and it points to Urzkartaga being involved in Barbara’s transformation.
— Jason (@TheWeirdologist) April 5, 2018
The release reads: “The sequel will be a period piece, with Princess Diana facing off against the Soviet Union in the 1980’s and will feature Barbara Ann Minerva (Wiig), a British anthropologist who becomes the avatar of the cheetah god after locating the lost city of Urzkartagan and stumbling into the middle of an ancient ritual.”
The weirdest part of the release, which has been 90% confirmed by Warner Bros at this point through different leaks, is that it lists actors Ewen Bremner and Saïd Taghmaoui as part of the cast, and fairly highly billed at that. Bremner and Taghmaoui both played supporting roles in Wonder Woman as Charlie and Sameer, two of Steve’s close friends who join Diana on her mission to stop Ares.
While they could be in a flashback sequence or some other cameo where they uncover Urzkartaga as a prologue to the main action (given that it’s canonical that they both were part of a team sent on missions to recover artifacts for the government in the bonus scene included on Wonder Woman‘s home release, this would make sense), there’s a small chance that Diana could see several familiar faces returning in some capacity. But that might just be my wishful thinking based around the fact that I’m waiting for the entire team to get their own spin-off show.
I did some digging on this leak (see: I made an account on the site to verify its legitimacy and it appears several times exactly as presented), so let’s pretend for a second that what I’ve put forward is factually correct. This raises a very important question: if Batman V. Superman establishes that Diana has shut herself off from humanity since WWI, and Diana seems to be under the impression Steve stayed dead in both that and Justice League, then what even is this plot?
Jenkins said this of the sequel: “I never want to do more of anything for the wrong reason … I don’t want to go to that place of ‘how do you keep it going and cash in?’ in my head. I have these characters that I love and this world that I love and we can make a whole new movie that’s completely unique and as strong as the first one? Of course I want to do that. But it’s not ‘more’ of anything, even though it’s evocative of everything that happened to the first one.” Gal Gadot also said, “The way we look at this is not a sequel, it’s a new chapter, it’s a new story.”
There have been rumors flying for quite some time that the DCEU wants to reinvent itself. Could Wonder Woman 1984 be a jumping-off point for that? Given what we know, it goes against nearly everything the team-up films established about Diana, from her disappearance for a hundred years to her relationship with humanity and her relationship with Steve.
This is definitely purely speculation, but maybe this film takes place in one of the myriad of multiverses that exist in the DC canon, which would allow Jenkins the freedom to write Diana without the constrains of the planned DC universe. And given that we’re getting several DC films that don’t all seem to be taking place in the same universe, such as the Joker standalone, using their most popular title to introduce the concept to audiences might be a gamble that DC is willing to take.
One thing in support of this is the rumored upcoming Flashpoint movie, which still has no set release date. Flashpoint follows Barry Allen (Ezra Miller in the films) as he tries to save his mother’s life and sort of… wrecks reality, creating a world in which Bruce Wayne was the one killed that fateful night instead of his parents and where Superman was imprisoned by the US Government instead of being raised by the Kents.
At the end of it all, Barry fixes everything, but the fix spawned DC’s rebooted New 52 universe. We could start to get hints of this alternate reality in the standalone films, building to a hard reboot with Flashpoint. This way, DC could keep most of the established cast while changing elements that didn’t appeal to as wide an audience as they hoped.
Wow. That’s certainly a lot to digest on this absolutely terrible Friday, and I’m sure at this point I sound like Charlie Day screaming about Pepe Silva on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. But the math adds up for the most part.
I’m willing to place bets on Urzkartaga being a surprise villain a la Ares and on him being one of the reasons that Steve is resurrected. Lord might take on the role of Colonel Andres Cadulo from the original comic arc involving Urzkartaga, where he seeks to raise the god and use him to take over the world (maybe by inciting nuclear war between two superpowers?).
There are other rogue elements that don’t necessarily fit in, such as reports that the sequel will contain a great love story (we’ve already see Diana and Steve fall in love) and the inclusion of Bremner and Taghmaoui in the production release, but I think we might be on to something here.
What do you think, Mary Suevians? Are there Wonder Woman fans who want to poke holes in my theory? Are you excited for Steve and Diana to reunite? Let us know in the comments section.
(Image: Warner Bros)
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