Wonder Woman is out in a matter of weeks and the marketing is beginning to really step up, but one thing has been conspicuously absent from most of the trailers – the villain. Of course, this is in part because, being the solo feature film debut for the premiere female superhero, much of the focus in on Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince and how she became the warrior seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, it is nevertheless noteworthy that this essential part of any comic book movie adaptation is being downplayed.
The latest trailer does put the focus on a certain character and tease their scheme, although based on everything we’ve heard that’s more misdirect than it is a true plot tease. Here’s a rundown of Wonder Woman‘s true antagonist, as well as a theory for what it all means.
Ares: God of War – The Big Villain
The villain of Wonder Woman is, plainly, Ares. The Greek God of War, he’s been one of Diana Prince’s most iconic foes pretty much since the heroine’s creation and definitely one of her toughest; feeding off conflict, he’s an immortal, super-powerful being who never quite stays down. Although those involved in the film have been reluctant to confirm any physical presence, reveals from toys and brief trailer snippets have confirmed he’ll be there in giant form and for an epic final fight.
What has been revealed officially is that Ares has a key part in the new origin of the Amazons. From what we’ve been told, in the time before time Zeus created mankind, only for his son Ares to poison their hearts and minds. The Amazons were created to directly combat this, bringing peace to the world. Love prevailed for a short time, but Ares eventually led a revolt and killed his father. In Zeus’ dying moments he made Themyscira as a place to hide his pure creation from Ares’ wrath.
The film picks up millennia after this prologue, but provides the core conflict of the film. When Steve Trevor arrives in Themyscira, he brings with him news of the outside world and “the war to end all wars”. Diana believes Ares is behind the war and away they go. Although that’s where it gets complicated.
Ludendorff and Doctor Poison – The Secondary Villains
The way the marketing’s been telling it so far, the film’s villain is General Ludendorff – a totally new character with no direct comic book history (although screenwriters Allan Heinberg and Geoff Johns are sure to have gone back to the source material in some form). Played by Danny Huston, he’s a German military official who, in the dying days of World War I, is trying to swing the tables in the Axis’ favor. His plan is essentially to develop a new form of poison gas – chemical weapons such as mustard gas were a frequently used tactic in the conflict – that will completely decimate the Allied forces.
The final trailer added more to the mix by focusing on Doctor Poison, the scientist played by Elena Anaya, who is responsible for developing the gas. Unlike Ludendorff she does have a comic book counterpart from the very early days of Wonder Woman and appears to be fairly accurate lifted – she’s shifted wars (created in 1942, the original Poison was a Nazi) but her contamination goals remain.
As presented it’s made to look like this pair are the film’s primary threat; they’re who Steve Trevor has information on when he crashes on Themyscira, and why he must go to London once he leaves. Indeed, preview footage shown at various events suggests there’s something more supernatural to Ludendorff than first appears, possibly indicating a link to Ares. However, the villain’s true identity and indeed purpose in the film may be something completely different (potential spoilers ahead).