[WARNING – This article contains SPOILERS for Wonder Woman as well as DC Comics’ Wonder Woman Rebirth.]
Wonder Woman is certainly having her moment. Her first ever feature film has debuted to thunderous acclaim and continues to break records at the box office. The overwhelmingly positive response to the film, both critically and commercially, makes it the unequivocal success Warner Bros. so desperately needed for the DC Extended Universe.
Interest in the Amazon princess is at an all time high, and though Diana will return in this November’s Justice League, a proper Wonder Woman sequel is already guaranteed. Director Patty Jenkins is expected to return (though nothing’s official yet) as is star Gal Gadot, and it’s been suggested the sequel will move away from the early 20th-century setting to something more contemporary and American. However, producer Charles Roven is quoted as saying “nothing has been written,” meaning that any details surrounding a Wonder Woman sequel can potentially change between now and the start of production. For our part, we’ve argued that any Wonder Woman sequel should utilize the huge time gap between the end of Wonder Woman and Diana’s first appearance in Batman V Superman, turning her sequel films into Justice League prequels.
Additionally, a Wonder Woman sequel doesn’t necessarily need to be set around a war. Sure, as a warrior created to kill the God of War, Diana is forever linked with battle, but throughout her 70+ year publication history, Wonder Woman has gone on many different kinds of adventures. And with the superhero genre continually evolving, a Wonder Woman sequel would be better served by exploring new ideas rather than retreading old ones. (See the Captain America film series, which followed up a WWII action-adventure with a modern day spy thriller.)
With that in mind, Wonder Woman may have already planted the seeds for a sequel during the present day scenes which bookend the film. In these scenes, Diana is shown at The Lourve in an office adorned with ancient weaponry and other artifacts, presumably working there in come capacity for the museum’s archeological department. And if that’s the case, then it seems only too likely that working in this field would bring Diana into contact with one Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva, an archeologist better known by another name — Cheetah.
Wonder Woman’s Friend & Foe
When we discuss possibilities for a superhero movie sequel, much of the discussion inevitably surrounds the villain. In Wonder Woman, Diana already went head-to-head with arguably her most powerful enemy when she fought and defeated Ares, the God of War. But Ares isn’t Diana’s most iconic villain, he isn’t her Joker or Lex Luthor. That would be Cheetah, a woman cursed with superhuman strength and speed as well as the appearance and insatiable hunger of a cheetah. And though Cheetah has had several identities over the years, the most persistent and popular is the Barbara Ann version of the character.
Created by writer Len Wein and artist George Perez in 1987, Barbara Ann began as a selfish and ambitious character who becomes obsessed with stealing Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth, believing it capable of curing her condition. That origin, however, was tweaked in the recent Wonder Woman Rebirth series by Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp, and Nicola Scott. Barbara Ann is still an ambitious archeologist, obsessed with finding hard evidence of the mythological — like the Amazons and their patrons, the gods — but her relationship with Diana doesn’t begin with the two as established adversaries, but rather as friends.
In DC Comics’ new Rebirth continuity, a pre-curse Barbara Ann meets Diana when the Amazon first arrives from Themiscyra. Diana isn’t yet able to speak English, so Dr. Minerva is summoned to help facilitate communication, using her understanding of ancient languages. Barbara Ann — along with Steve Trevor and Etta Candy — then becomes one of Diana’s first friends, helping her acclimate to life in our modern world. It isn’t until later that their relationship sours, forced to become adversaries when Diana is manipulated and Barbara Ann cursed.