WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Wonder Woman.
The Wonder Woman movie may not have the obvious DCEU connections and seeds for future Justice League sequels as Batman V Superman but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in twists, shocking DC character deaths, and a surprising ending. In fact, while Wonder Woman might seem like a more conventional origin story in the superhero movie genre, a closer look shows just how many unpredictable turns it takes – almost all of which were kept quiet in the movie’s marketing (take note, all other superhero studios).
With the arrival of Wonder Woman‘s own movie comes the first feature film version of the Amazons of the DC Universe. The origin story may not seem like a far cry from the version told in the world of DC Comics for decades, but some distinct changes open up a new conversation among fans. Questions about who created the humans of the DC Universe, how and why the Amazons were molded by the gods to safeguard the world, and most importantly… how disaster landed the Amazons on a hidden island in the middle of the sea, and steered man’s world towards a history of war and violence.
Fans eager to know the new, canon origin story in the DCEU aren’t alone either – since a young Princess Diana wants to know just as badly. After seeking to claim the life and destiny of an Amazon hero, Diana is placated by her mother’s promise to tell of her own days of glory. The film’s storytelling shifts into an artistic style reminiscent of classical paintings, and with the help of Hippolyta – and the more colorful chapters described by Antiope – Diana gets the creation story of Man and Amazon from start to finish.
And so do the fans. Needless to say, there will be SPOILERS in our breakdown of Wonder Woman‘s DCEU Amazon Origins Explained.
Zeus Created Mankind
In the classical Greek story of creation, the credit for creating Man goes to Prometheus (something Zeus is decidedly unhappy about). In the original origin story of the Wonder Woman comics, five goddesses formed the souls of unjustly slain women into clay forms, creating the Amazons – Hippolyta the first of them, and their queen. In the version of the story told by Hippolyta to Diana on film, the role of Zeus, Ares, the Amazons and the other deities is much closer to other religious creation myths and stories.
In the beginning, there was Zeus. Zeus created Man to worship he and his fellow gods, and saw that it was good. Those who have seen the movie know that, despite Diana actually being the daughter of Zeus, he plays a relatively small role in the story. But this new origin (and his later assistance shown to the Amazons) establishes Zeus as a good, just Creator. He created Mankind in his own image, after all, and before these creations were turned towards darkness, they lived happily, peacefully, and in a manner befitting the romantic art style of the sequence.
In Greek myth Zeus is shown to be as amorous or cunning as any other god, but still overall leaning towards the virtuous. In the DCEU, it seems that virtue is amplified (at least in the stories Hippolyta tells to her daughter). The bigger point to take away is that the rest of the story follows Hippolyta’s mythical account perfectly… so it would appear that in the DCEU, Mankind may actually have been created by Zeus (unless THAT part of the story is intended as more of a “once upon a time” beginning to the tale).
Amazons Were Made To Battle Corruption of Ares
If Zeus is playing the part of the ‘Creator’ in this story, then the role of his evil opposite is the Amazons’ historic enemy Ares, who looked upon Zeus’s creations and believed them to be wicked. Ares’s motivations are disputed in the film, with Hippolyta implying the other son of Zeus sought to corrupt his father’s creation out of jealousy, pride, or perhaps just outright villainy and love of violence and war (it is kind of his thing). Ares later explains that he simply knew Mankind was not as “good” as his father and the other gods believed. And to prove it, he corrupted Mankind with anger, jealousy, and hate – and before long, they threatened to obliterate themselves from the face of the Earth.
That was, until Zeus created a new race of proud, honorable, skilled women to remind Mankind how to return to the light. These were the Amazons, and they served their purpose well… until Ares decided that time had come to take things to a new level. Before then, they acted as a purer embodiment of what Zeus had instilled in Man. If we’re sticking to a Judeo-Christian idea, it’s tempting to picture the Amazons as something closer to Angels – even if only a lower order, they were created with a purpose to serve Zeus. But what makes the DCEU version so interesting is that the sequence depicts the Amazons emerging naked from the sea, fusing their creation with Earth as much as the gods, and injecting some heavy Aphrodite imagery as well.
As is almost always the case, it looks to be Hippolyta among the first to be born. The mission seems to remain significant to the Amazons, with Diana telling Steve Trevor that they represent “a bridge to a greater understanding” as if it is the truth as it was taught to her. Sadly, that goal soon proved to noble for either Ares or Mankind.