The first look at Wonder Woman raises a whole bunch of questions
Along with the first Suicide Squad trailer, last night Warner Bros. also gave us our first look at the upcoming Wonder Woman film. The movie won’t be released until 2017, but filming is underway.
The character of Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot, will first be introduced in Batman v Superman It won’t be the first time that the character was active in the new, shared universe though, at least not chronologically.
In the comics, Wonder Woman was introduced during World War II. Her origin has been retconned several times over the years – there have even been two characters known as Wonder Woman – but the most common and widely accepted version of the character has her originating on the hidden and advanced island of Themyscira.
She and her amazon brethren are gods or demi-gods, and for centuries they have remained isolated. Depending on the origin story, Wonder Woman is then sent out to “man’s world” to act as an ambassador – or reconnaissance – and see how the world of man is faring. Once in our world, most depictions have her take on the secret identity of Diana Prince.
One significant alteration in the film from the comics is that Wonder Woman will be a period piece, set during World War I. It’s not clear why the origin was changed, but there are significant implications.
WWII was seen as a heroic struggle against evil. Although some of that is down to propaganda, the Axis was undeniably a force that needed to be stopped. If it had won, life for many would have been much, much worse.
Even if we tend to look back at the Second World War with rose tinted glasses, it was a war that needed to be fought for the future of the world. World War I, however, was the result of bad treaties and foolish monarchies. That combined with antiquated military tactics led to countless deaths that by modern standards seem both unnecessary and even insane.
World War I was a horror show. Millions died, and very little good came out of it. If anything, the end of the war led to even more bad decisions, as the crippling sanctions against Germany directly led to the rise of the Nazis. It was not a good moment for humanity.
Having Wonder Woman appear in this setting seems like a way to justifiably make her more cynical. WWI was humanity at its worst. For someone coming from an outside (and presumably somewhat idyllic) culture, to have her first experience of humanity be WWI can’t be a good introduction.
The real question is what happened to Wonder Woman in the years between WWI and Batman v Superman. Presumably she is either immortal or close enough, so perhaps she remained in the world, acting as Diana Prince, doing good on a more abstract level. Or perhaps her experience in WWI was enough to send her back home until the event of Man of Steel convinced her to return.
If it is the latter, that raises the question of how Chris Pine fits into the movie. He plays Steve Trevor, a character that is traditionally seen as a love interest for Wonder Woman.
All of these questions were present before the first look, but actually seeing footage raises them again.
Wonder Woman will be the fourth film in the new DC shared universe, following Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Suicide Squad. It will hit theaters on June 23, 2017. The character will then return on screen for the third time in four years in Justice League Part One later that year.