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The key questions that ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ will answer

Wonder Woman 1984 has tentatively been given a release date of December 25, 2020, making this sequel a potentially welcome Christmas present for fans. The first Wonder Woman film generally attracted acclaim from both critics and audiences, which has set a high bar for subsequent movies to surpass. Wonder Woman 1984 is primed to include many of the characters that made the first film such a success, but fans will be hoping that this sequel also stands out in its own right.

Here’s a look at a few of the key questions on our mind before Wonder Woman 1984 hits movie theaters and streaming platforms. 

What do we know about the movie so far?

Gal Gadot reprises her role as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince, while Patty Jenkins also returns as director. Given that Jenkins’ direction was credited as a massive part of the first movie’s success, that bodes well for Wonder Woman 1984. Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen will also feature once again in the roles of Antiope and Hippolyta, so the sequel is reuniting many of the talented female performers that excelled in 2017’s Wonder Woman.

Notable newcomers include Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal. Wiig stars as Cheetah/Barbara Ann Minerva, an archaeologist whose acquisition of animalistic powers and her ambitions of glory bring her into conflict with Wonder Woman. Pascal plays Maxwell Lord, a charismatic businessman who wields significant influence in 1984. Lord’s nefarious plans may bring him into some sort of alliance with Minerva, which will spell problems for the movie’s hero.

The 2017 film used World War I to provide context for its narrative, and this time it is the backdrop of the Cold War that will accommodate the action. It will be interesting to see how Wiig, an actor more famed for her comedic work, brings gravitas to the role of primary villain, while it will be similarly fascinating to observe how the normally likable Pascal fulfills the role of seedy manipulator.

How will the Steve situation be handled?

It’s not a spoiler to reveal that Chris Pine looks like he is reappearing as Steve Trevor, given that his face is plastered all over the movie’s promotional material and forms a prominent part of the trailers. If you watched the first Wonder Woman movie, then you will rightfully be surprised to see Trevor back in action alongside Wonder Woman.

Without going into specific detail about the conclusion of Wonder Woman, the simple fact that the first movie takes place in the 1910s and this one rather appropriately takes place in 1984 means that Trevor’s presence should raise a few eyebrows. This could well be one of those scenarios that annoys large swathes of the audience.

Whether it’s a time travel situation or this 1984 Trevor is actually a descendant of 1918 Trevor/a ghost/a figment of Diana’s imagination, the reveal could be contentious. Director Patty Jenkins has indicated that Trevor’s return is the result of Maxwell Lord’s ability to make dreams come true, although this could be misdirection. While Pine and Gadot’s chemistry deserves more time to shine, Trevor’s return could feel cheap and convenient unless the situation is handled with appropriate nuance.

Can this movie solidify this series as the definitive ‘Wonder Woman’ portrayal?

One strong standalone movie and a couple of memorable appearances in other DC films isn’t enough to make Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman the definitive portrayal of the character. For many people, Lynda Carter’s interpretation of this iconic comic book hero is still the ultimate on-screen depiction, with the actor starring in the titular role of the 1970s television series Wonder Woman. The esteem with which Carter’s work is held is made clear through the other media and products inspired by the show.

DC’s recognition of Carter’s appeal came in 2015 with the release of Wonder Woman ’77 Special, a comic book series by Marc Andreyko that was situated in the universe of the television show. Andreyko’s continuation of Carter’s character spread across a number of specials, including a Batman crossover. Williams Interactive’s Wonder Woman Bullets & Bracelets brings the character into the extensive world of free slots, and like Andreyko’s comic series it pays homage to the 1970s show. Images of Carter feature heavily, while the symbols and bonus features on the slot reflect Wonder Woman’s unique abilities.

One of Wonder Woman’s attributes in the 1970s series was the ability for Carter’s character to switch from Prince to the superhero with a ballerina-style spin. This pirouette transformation has become synonymous with Wonder Woman and has since been incorporated into a range of comic books and animated productions Super Friends and Reign of Supermen. Hallmark has sought to capitalize on the legacy of the TV show with the creation of a Christmas ornament featuring a figure decked out in Carter’s costume. The ornament plays the show’s famous theme tune, another element of the 1970s series that many people still readily associate with the superhero.

If Gadot’s Wonder Woman is going to be elevated above Carter’s as the definitive take on the character, then Wonder Woman 1984 will need to introduce something as idiosyncratic and memorable as the spinning transformation or the theme tune from the hit 1970s series. 

How will this movie shape DC going forward?

It is likely that DC will want to, at the very least, wrap up Jenkins’ work on the superhero in the neat package of a trilogy. Jenkins is believed to have a clear character arc in mind for that prospective third movie, so that should end up in production at some point in the next few years unless Wonder Woman 1984 is a flop of epic proportions. Given the strength of the team working on the movie and the groundwork laid by the first film, a flop doesn’t appear to be on the cards.

Wonder Woman 1984 will also answer some important questions about the future of DC movies in general. Gadot’s Wonder Woman was supposed to lead DC into a new cinematic era alongside Henry Cavill’s Superman and Ben Affleck’s Batman. There are serious questions about whether the latter pair will return to those roles, so Gadot is now the clear figurehead of whatever DC have planned for the remnants of their Extended Universe.

Ezra Miller’s The Flash and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman are both expected to head up standalone movies in the not-too-distant future, so it will be interesting to see if Wonder Woman 1984 gives any indication about if these heroes’ paths will continue to cross. Until Wonder Woman 1984 gets its long-awaited release, all we can do is speculate about the answers to these tantalizing questions.

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