Wonder Woman is an iconic superhero, who ranks right up there with Superman and Batman in terms of name recognition. And after being sidelined by her male counterparts for years, it’s a particularly great time for Wonder Woman now that DC has decided to give one of the first female superheroes her own film in 2017, starring Gal Gadot. In the lead up to her big debut, she’s also set to make an appearance in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice next year, which will mark the first time the trinity has appeared together on the big screen.
But while everyone’s heard of Wonder Woman, many people don’t know that she was born Princess Diana of Themyscira. Unlike Superman and Batman, she hasn’t had countless movie adaptations that allowed the average movie viewer to familiarize themselves with her background and powers. Now that she’s finally swooping back to the forefront of pop-culture, we’ve created a list of 10 Facts You Need to Know About Wonder Woman to help you prepare.
She’s the Daughter of Zeus
As one of the longest running running comic book heroes, Wonder Woman’s continuity has gone through several changes over the years. For a long time, her origin story remained the same: her mother formed her out of clay and she was brought to life by the Greek gods, which meant she had no father. Wonder Woman’s superpowers were a result of her blessings from the Gods, including superhuman strength from Demeter (Goddess of the Earth) and super speed from Hermes (God of Messengers).
But the origin story was changed significantly when Brian Azzarello rebooted the character as part of DC’s recent New 52 relaunch. In the New 52 reboot, Wonder Woman is actually the daughter of Zeus – King of the Gods. A Batman V Superman producer has said that the DC movie universe will follow the new origin.
William Moulton Marston Created her to be a Model Liberated Woman
In a comic book landscape dominated by male heroes, a consultant for DC named William Moulton Marston had an idea for a modern female superhero. The character that would become Wonder Woman was partially inspired by Marston’s wife Elizabeth, along with Olive Byrne, who lived with the couple in a polyamorous relationship.
Marston created the character to rival the strength of Superman, but also have all of the positive characteristics that he associated with females, such as fairness and loving of peace. He originally called her Suprema, The Wonder Woman, but her name was shortened before she made her comic book debut in All Star Comics #8 in December 1941.
Wonder Woman was granted her own series in 1942, and while it was meant to appeal to both sexes, the comic books included articles and advertisements designed to appeal to a female audience. She was quickly accepted into the superhero world, even becoming the only female member of the Justice Society (a precursor to the JLA). But it wasn’t all female empowerment, as she was quickly excluded from the team’s battles and relegated to the team’s official secretary. Men!
Marston Had a Hand in the Creation of the Polygraph
Marston wasn’t just a comic book writer and creator of Wonder Woman; he was also a psychologist, lawyer, and inventor. He is said to have invented a systolic-blood-pressure measuring apparatus, which eventually lead to the invention of the polygraph. Marston believed there was some connection between blood pressure and a person’s emotions, and he believed that women were more likely to be honest.
Although there isn’t any evidence of a direct connection, many people believe Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth, which forces anyone ensnared within it to tell the truth, can’t just be a coincidence. Some suspect it was designed to promote some of his psychological theories on emotions and truth telling.
She’s Princess of the Amazons
Wonder Woman hails from Paradise Island, later dubbed Themyscira, which is home to the Amazons. Her mother is Queen Hippolyta, which makes her Princess of the Amazons. Inspired by Greek mythology, the Amazons are a race of warrior woman living free from men. The story of how the Amazons came to call the island home has changed over time, with one version saying that they parted from Greece to escape the evil deeds of mankind and another saying they are the reborn souls of abused women.
All of the Amazons are well-trained in combat from a young age, which makes Wonder Woman a formidable foe in a fight thanks to her combination of combat skills and god-like powers. At one point, Batman considered Diana to be one of the best melee fighters on the planet.
She is the Goddess of War
In the New 52, Diana spent a year of her childhood on the island under the guidance of Ares, God of War, further developing her skills in combat. When she refuses Ares’s orders to slay the Minotaur, choosing instead to show it mercy, she loses his favor and respect. But her tutelage and history with him becomes important later, when she is forced to kill her former mentor during a conflict with her evil half-brother. In the process, she herself becomes the new War.
While the extent of her powers as War hasn’t been fully explored, she can telepathically control and communicate with the world’s soldiers. Whether she also developed Ares’s former power to raise dead soldiers for battle is still unknown.
Her Bracelets Keep Her Powers In-Check
Wonder Woman is one of the strongest DC superheroes, with superhuman strength that puts her at least in the same category as Superman. She has even overpowered Supergirl, who is sometimes considered more powerful than Superman, though Wonder Woman is admittedly aided by her Amazonian warrior training. It was long thought that her silver bracelets, which were created from the remains of Zeus’s shield, added to her powers since they are unbreakable and can be used offensively.
But in the New 52, Wonder Woman removes her bracelets in order to fight a God, explaining that the bracelets are what actually protected her opponents from her intense power. It remains to be seen how powerful Wonder Woman is compared to other superheros without her limiting bracelets on.
Her Alias Is Diana Prince
Wonder Woman’s secret identity is Diana Prince. In the Golden Age comics, the character was originally just an army nurse who bore a striking resemblance to Wonder Woman, but Wonder Woman arranged for the real Diana Prince to meet up with her fiance in South America in exchange for her credentials, and thus an alias was born. Wonder Woman continued to work for the army as Diana Prince, quickly attaining a promotion to lieutenant in Army Intelligence.
She Is a Founding Member of the JLA
The initial lineup of the Justice League of America, which debuted in 1960, included only one female superhero: Wonder Woman. Also included on the team were Superman, Batman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, Green Lantern, and Aquaman. Eventually, more females joined, including Zatanna and Hawkwoman. Wonder Woman is almost always depicted as a founding member, sometimes even acting as the groups leader along with Superman and Batman.
However, during one reboot, Wonder Woman was replaced with Black Canary as a founding member of the new Justice League. Wonder Woman was eventually given her founding member status back though. The latest version of the Justice League in the New 52, which drops “America” from its title, features Wonder Woman as the only female founding member once again, but Atom (Rhonda Pineda) and Elemental Women also join the team.
She’s Wielded Thor’s Hammer
Thanks to the success of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, almost everyone has heard of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. On the hammer’s side reads the inscription, “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” In Avengers: Age of Ultron, much to do is made over the fact that Thor is the only character who can lift the hammer. But you might be surprised at the number of characters who’ve wielded it in the comics who aren’t the God of Thunder, including Wonder Woman.
During the 1996 Marvel vs. DC crossover that pitted Marvel heroes against DC heroes, Wonder Woman gets the opportunity to try her hand at lifting Thor’s hammer. In the comic, Thor loses control of Mjolnir during a battle with Shazam/Captain Marvel. When Wonder Woman stumbles upon it, she is deemed worthy of the power and easily able to lift it. But Wonder Woman, not wanting to give herself an unfair advantage, chooses to discard the hammer when it comes time to battle Marvel’s Storm, and she ultimately loses that battle when Storm zaps her with some lightning.
Previous Live Action Adaptations
There have been many attempts at creating a live action Wonder Woman, most of them unsuccessful. In 1967, there was a failed TV pilot entitled Who’s Afraid of Diana Prince?, which was meant to have the same campy feel as the successful Batman series of the time. In it, Linda Harrison played Wonder Woman, while her alter ego, Diana Prince, was played by Ellie Wood Walker. Then, a made-for-TV movie starring Cathy Lee Crosby hit the small screens in 1974.
Just a year later, Diana would return to the small screen played by Lynda Carter for a new television show on ABC. It was cancelled after its first season, but CBS resurrected the show and kept it on for two more years. In 2011, NBC attempted to bring Wonder Woman back to television with their own television reboot. Adrianna Palicki, who now plays Mockingbird on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., was cast as Wonder Woman, but the project was cancelled before the pilot could even air.
Those are just some facts you need to know about Wonder Woman. How much did you already know about Wonder Woman? Have we left anything important off our list? Let us know in the comments!