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Patty Jenkins Doesn’t Like Calling Wonder Woman 1984 a Sequel, so What Is It?

Look, just tell me if my theories are right and let me rest.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

Patty Jenkins didn’t want to make a cash grab sequel to her hit Wonder Woman. “I never want to do more of anything for the wrong reason,” Jenkins said at SDCC. “We can make a whole new movie about something completely new, and as unique in its own right as the first one.” And it looks like she’s getting her wish, as the word ‘sequel’ is not really being used in relation to the film, at least under Jenkins’s eye.

Wonder Woman 1984 producer Charles Roven said to Vulture, “She was just determined that this movie should be the next iteration of Wonder Woman but not a sequel. And she’s definitely delivering on that. It’s a completely different time frame and you’ll get a sense of what Diana-slash–Wonder Woman had been doing in the intervening years. But it’s a completely different story that we’re telling. Even though it’ll have a lot of the same emotional things, a lot of humor, a lot of brave action. Tugs at the heart strings as well.”

A second source close to the production said to Vulture, “It’s a stand-alone film in the same way that Indiana Jones or Bond films are, instead of one continuous story that requires many installments.”

The DCEU recently has voiced a love of standalone movies. From The Joker to a soft reboot of Suicide Squad to the Aqua-spinoff The Trench, the franchise is reportedly moving away from interconnected films to a more standalone universe. This means it’ll probably be a few years before we see any of the characters team up again, which in turn means there’s less of a narrative beginning and end to Diana’s story.

If the DCEU were currently building towards a climactic arc, a la Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Jenkins would be obliged to move the character along narratively through her own films towards that end goal. As a more standalone character, Jenkins can actually take the character in the direction she would like to go. There is less of an obligation to an overall narrative arc and more of a narrative obligation to tell a new installment in Diana’s life.

This is also good news for fans who weren’t fond of Diana’s cynical attitude in Batman v. Superman and Justice League. I get being upset that Actually Good Love Interest Steve Trevor died, but to completely shut yourself off from humanity because the guy who you knew for like five days and made out with once died is not a very Wonder Woman-y look. Jenkins sort of course corrected that at the end of the first Wonder Woman, but it’s nice to see that she’ll really have the free reign to let Diana be the compassionate hero she should be.

Of course, just as I am required to put in a plug for that Etta Candy TV show every time I write about Wonder Woman, I also am required to speculate what this means for Diana’s future in the DCEU. There’s already talk of a third film in the series, but what happens after that? Will Wonder Woman 3 be a complete ending to Diana’s story, or will it also function as a standalone?

In the Marvel universe, characters tend to get three standalones to form a trilogy and then have the team ups to continue their stories. There’s a definite narrative arc to Iron Man’s story, to Captain America’s, and to Thor’s. Does Wonder Woman getting standalones rather than sequels mean that her story could, hypothetically, continue on in the DC universe indefinitely? Of course they can’t keep making Wonder Woman films forever, but will the character always be around?

The future of the DCEU might be uncertain, but it certainly is exciting. I cannot wait to see how the idea of this film being a standalone fits into Diana’s journey, Steve’s return, and all the other theories I have about the film. 2020 cannot come fast enough.

(via Vulture, image: DC)

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Kate (she/her) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions she has. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, she is now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for her favorite rare pairs.