Saturday, June 16, 2018

Is Wonder Woman 1984 Going Meta? and Other Thoughts about the Sequel

Wonder Woman 1984 Gal Gadot
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
We have another year to go before Patty Jenkin's highly anticipated return of Wonder Woman hits theaters. As more details like production stills and filming locations surface online, I'm already wondering what in the world is going on in this sequel - a surprising return? nods to George Orwell? comedian Kristin Wiig as the villain? Here are some thoughts and theories of what may be coming (full circle) in Wonder Woman 1984. 

Spoilers and theories are included beyond this point - you've been warned!

Wonder Woman 1984
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The George Orwell connection

Wonder Woman 1984 automatically brings up one iconic book to mind: George Orwell's classic Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the dystopian novel, Big Brother watches over everybody as the Thought Police persecutes anyone who thinks and acts independently than the whole of society. Winston Smith works for the system but secretly hates the party, and falls in love with a young girl. The story explores themes of nonconforming identities under a totalitarian regime, and propaganda used by the government to strip people of their freedom - to say the least.

To go from the page to reality, Wonder Woman's sequel is set in the early 1980s, and the title itself puts the movie right along the lines of the Cold War. International tensions began shortly after World War II as the United States believed Russia sought world domination through communism; USA put political, economical, and military pressure on the Soviet Union until it disintegrated, so the ideas that Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four explored fits in with the movie's timeline. (George Orwell even coined the term Cold War in an essay You and the Atom.)

Here's a taste of how chaotic the year 1984 actually was: Ghandi was assassinated, AIDS virus was identified, Ronald Reagan becomes President, Margaret Thatcher won the general elections in the U.K., and banks freefall into a Post-Depression crisis. While on the lighter side, six astronauts attempted first untethered space walk, Magnum P.I, Dynasty, and Cheers were hit television shows, and Apple Macintosh was introduced.

Since we last saw Diana, she and the Allies were victorious in WWI, but she tried to avoid being disenchanted by mankind after witnessing some of its greatest evils. From the 1940s with Japanese Internment Camps to the Red Scare in the 1950s, Diana's going to become familiar with how isolated the U.S. (and the world) makes itself.  Some signs are already pointing to exploring Diana's sense of disillusion in the 'modern' era. As we know Diana has distanced herself from mankind throughout the 20th Century, the 1980s might play a bigger role in her choice than any other era.

Kristen Wiig as Cheetah and Wonder Woman

Cheetah as the Next Villain

In March 2018, Patty Jenkins shockingly revealed via Twitter than SNL Legend and actress Kristen Wiig joined the cast. She will be taking on the role of Cheetah, who's one of Diana's most popular villains.

Cheetah crosses paths with Wonder Woman through several iterations in the comic books, but most believe she'll playing Barbara Ann Minerva - though which version is not yet confirmed. Basically, she's a British archaeologist who uncovers the lost of city of Urzkartagan and transforms into a human/cat hybrid. In the earliest version, Minerva after becoming the Cheetah, she will do anything to defeat Wonder Woman to own the Lasso of Truth and add it to her collection of historical artifacts. In the newest version, Minerva and Prince are friends first instead of foes; Minerva is tricked into becoming the Cheetah, something Diana blames herself for. And the two have on and off rifts between them. With the emergence of Cheetah, it's possible we might see Themyscira again, as Paradise Island and her mother Hippolyta are regularly used as a threat against Diana by Cheetah and possibly her other villains-to-be.

Wonder Woman and Circe

Magic Hour

Though Minerva becomes a mystical empowered demi-god, Wonder Woman 1984 is currently filming under the title "Magic Hour". Which brings up the question if the sequel might use misdirection over the main villain i.e. Ares in the first movie.

Circe is an immortal sorceress with immense beauty whose powers includes magic, projective animal metamorphosis, clairvoyance, and teleportation. Her history with Wonder Woman is complicated to say the least, but her beef goes all the way back to the Amazons, which she thought Ares had destroyed. When Diana unexpectedly comes onto the scene years later, Circe's convinced that she's a witch fulfilling out a prophecy Circe's maker once promised and and she must kill her in order to possess her powers. There's a lot of kidnappings, betrayals, being cast to Hades - you know Greek mythology OVERLOAD. Mayhem ensues throughout several different comic book storylines, but basically the two duel it out over powers of the Gods, each trying to claim the title of Wonder Woman. In two different feuds with Circe, one takes place in Washington D.C. (where WW1984 is currently filming) as Circe begins a declaration of war between the United States and the Amazons with nuclear warheads, and she uses Cheetah plus a few other of semi- villains against Wonder Woman in another feud.

So far the full cast for the WW sequel seems quite small, so there's no telling if Jenkins has something else up her sleeve. We'll have to wait and see where and how the magic happens.

Steve Trevor Wonder Woman 1984
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Steve Trevor Returns...or does he?

Hey, Steve. Yeah, last time we saw were pretty dead. Soo, ummm...Welcome back good-lookin'!

The last time we saw Trevor he broke our hearts by wanting more time with Diana than they got and blew himself to smithereens in order for her to defeat Dr Poison, General Ludendorff, and Ares.

Here are a few theories making their rounds: Dr. Poison (somehow) injected him with a serum making him D.C.'s version of Marvel's Winter Soldier; the mystical bath he visited in Themyscira made him immortal or at least ageless.; he's basically the villain's fault like a vision that Cheetah (or Circe) is imposing on Wonder Woman. There's also the possibility that Pedro Pascal has been cast in an undisclosed "pivotal role", which leaves plenty of room for him to play a villain in disguise.

While it'd be pretty cool that Trevor has nine lives, for me, that kind of goes against the power of the first movie's ending. So my favorite theory suggests that WW1984 is going full circle. In the original television series, Steve Trevor was also killed in WWI but comes back as his son Steve Trevor - both characters were played by the same actor. In the first Wonder Woman, Trevor does have a strong emphasis on getting married, starting a family, and settling down when the war isn't raging is there a possibility he fathered a child he never knew about, and that child grew up knowing his dad died a WWI hero? which is why Steve Jr tries to reunite with Diana? (Hopefully they don't pull a Captain America falls in love with his niece disaster....) *side eye*

While it is a lot to go off of, the costume design is really honing in on Diana's original style. Some on-set production photos hints that the current reigning Wonder Woman might be coming full circle with the former television queen portrayed by Lynda Carter. The original Wonder Woman has been popping up as costume easter eggs since the red number in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of the Justice and the blue gala dress in Wonder Woman.  And, the connections continue with the middle beige and grey suit Gadot wears above was taken during the filming of WW1984.

Which begs me to wonder if the past eventually catches up with the present. Rumors have been swirling since the first movie it's only a matter of time before Carter makes a cameo in one of Jenkins's WW movies, and as far as we know, the duo was still in talks for her own appearance as early as April 2018. If Pine ends up playing a younger son version of Steve, and Carter twirls her way into the movie, there is a possibility that Wonder Woman 1984 could be more meta than we anticipated.

What do you guys think of Wonder Woman 1984? What do you think about Steve's return? I'm super excited about the possibilities of where it could go. Let me know your thoughts!

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