[This article contain potential SPOILERS for Wonder Woman.]
Although the DC Extended Universe’s first major female-led film Wonder Woman won’t hit theaters until next June, fans are already excitedly speculating about which characters from the DC Universe will show up, as well as which of Diana Prince’s many enemies will cause problems for the Amazonian princess. The first trailer, which aired during San Diego Comic-Con already set curiosities ablaze after it revealed a mysterious half-masked woman, played by Elena Anaya, acting in a menacing manner towards a battle-ready if gussied-up Diana.
The recent release of a second Wonder Woman trailer not only cemented the timeline for the DCEU, but it also offered more hints about Diana’s main menaces from the movie, including several more glimpses of the mysterious masked woman, mixing up a lethal batch of toxins and tossing a bomb into a room. After piecing together a few clues, we have a pretty good idea who that curious woman is, so it goes without saying, possible SPOILERS ahead.
From the clues sprinkled throughout the second trailer, the dubious woman in the creepy half-face sure looks a lot like Diana Prince’s classic foe Doctor Poison. For those unfamiliar with the ‘good doctor,’ the first adversarial turn of Princess Maru came in the pages of DC came in Sensation Comics #2 (1942). Created by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter, she was an Axis spy (primarily for the Japanese and the Nazis) as well as their head evil chemist.
During her introductory story, she contaminated the U.S. Army’s water supply with her “reverso” formula, which flipped the soldiers’ orders on their heads. She also managed to capture Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman (no small feat). Of course, Diana escaped and spoiled her poisonous plans, but the princess of Themiscyra hadn’t seen the last of the toxic terror. The noxious nemesis seen in the trailer possesses a clear fondness for lethal gasses in this iteration. During the New 52 (which Geoff Johns played a role in) retconned Doctor Poison slightly into an expert in biological warfare.
Her World War II origins may not align exactly with her Great War activities in Wonder Woman’s solo shot, but swapping one world-domination-seeking German army for another isn’t much of a stretch, especially in the comic book film world where an Asiatic villain becomes a washed-up British actor. During the trailer, though, we clearly see the German forces creating a devastating new airborne toxin capable of eating its way through a gas mask. If that doesn’t suggest to the strengths of Doctor Poison, our next clue may seal the deal.
Sure, connecting Anaya’s villainous character to Doctor Poison because she’s working with toxins is tenuous at best. Certainly no other villains in the pages of DC have ever mixed up a deadly dose of chemicals. At the same time, this femme fatale also enjoys hiding her mug behind a mask and a hood, something both the classic and updated Doctor Poisons (as well as her offspring) wore. One clip even has her in an almost stereotypical spy outfit, complete with trenchcoat and fedora no less. Toxins, masks and disguises, spy-mastery combined certainly makes Doctor Poison a perfect candidate for one of Wonder Woman’s main adversaries.
Of course, the mask may be as much of a disguise as a motivation as well. During the early 1900s, creepy prosthetic masks were often worn as a form of ‘facial reconstruction’ (see Phantom of the Opera). In addition to its use as a disguise, the mask could also speak to a war injury which twisted her good intentions and chemical know-how into a vehicle of destruction. Perhaps all of this combined visual evidence isn’t 100 percent confirmation, but it seems pretty reasonable to assume we’ll meet the chemical weapon maker/spy mistress behind Villainy, Inc. in Wonder Woman’s first outing.
Naturally, it’s possible that Diana could be facing off against another adversary like Circe in human form. Source stories are often modified or re-imagined during their transition from page to script to film – witness how Deadpool shrank an unholy mess of villains down into Ajax and Angel Dust. Director Patty Jenkins or writers Allan Heinberg and Geoff Johns may have decided to combine both characters into one for the sake of simplification. After all, Wonder Woman has a veritable rogues gallery of her own. On the other hand, knowing Johns’ propensity towards the comics he’s often written and clearly loves, it seems unlikely that he’d willingly merge two great characters with a possible sequel or three down the line.
Still, a connection between Anaya’s character and Danny Huston’s German officer – hypothetically a slightly modernized incarnation of Diana’s classic foe Ares – would make some degree of sense. The Greek god of war certainly wouldn’t be adverse to working alongside a Homeric witch by way of DC.
The most likely possibility, though, is that Ares, who gains his powers from humanity’s continued warfare, is working in concert with Doctor Poison to create greater carnage in WWI and feed his hunger for violence. In light of Ares and Circe’s statuses as major historical Wonder Woman adversaries, featuring them both prominently in her first outing seems like overkill. It would make more sense to introduce a lesser-known if potent adversary alongside a major foe – one who will continue to ape Diana Prince throughout her tenure.
All goes well, Wonder Woman ought to land at least one sequel. Doctor Poison would make a perfect foil for her first outing, one who’s devious, a strong female adversary, and appropriately enough, a throwback to Diana’s early days. Sure, audiences may catch a glimpse of other big baddies like Circe or Cheetah, but Elena Anaya’s character has all the hallmarks of Princess Maru.
Plus, as far as Ares goes, it wouldn’t make sense to introduce one of Wonder Woman‘s biggest heavies in her first movie just to kill him off (*cough Doomsday cough*). Even if the god of war (assuming again that Danny Huston is Ares) manages to escape Diana’s wrath in Wonder Woman, after a good working over no doubt, the audience should have the pleasure of watching her take down at least one satisfying villain.
Whomever Elena Anaya’s villain is, she certainly looks like trouble for the Amazonian princess. When the the first reel rolls in theaters next summer, fans will be excited to find out whether DC broke out one of Diana’s earliest adversaries for the first and most-revered of superheroines. We’ll keep you posted as more details about Wonder Woman arrive.