The Krypton Solution
At present, the smart money is on Goyer and Snyder side-stepping as much Amazonian backstory as possible, at least for the time being. Even comic writers have brushed Wonder Woman’s mythological ancestry to the background in “Justice League” stories since mentioning Zeus or Athena in a tale featuring Green Lantern, The Flash or Batman can get messy. Again, the top priority is to keep readers from asking too many questions that there aren’t particularly clear-cut answers to.
Not that this is necessarily a bad thing; the uproar surrounding Gal Gadot’s physical size, ethnic background and age – not to mention the backlash against the Kryptonian rumor – showed that people tend to vehemently defend elements of the character that writers and authors have experimented with on a consistent basis. But the story elements which remain constant – Wonder Woman’s potency in combat, the bond with her mother, her sisters, and her overall mission – are what define the character in her best arcs.
If a decision to cast Diana and the Amazons as Kryptonian in origin doesn’t affect those central themes or traits, then it should be worth exploring for at least a moment, at least to weigh it against the alternative.
In the Man of Steel universe (one audiences have already been introduced to) Krypton was established as a space-faring society, having traveled to thousands of worlds in search of resources, life, and knowledge. And the oft-sourced Man of Steel prequel comic proved that in that same fiction, Kryptonian scouts landed on Earth (albeit unintentionally) roughly 10,000 years ago.
Many theorists have pointed to that comic’s confirmation of Kara Zor-El’s existence (also known as Supergirl) as a sign of things to come, but while her crashed Scout ship seen in the film may have included an open stasis pod, the ship’s state, location, seemingly intact Genesis chamber, and age seem to rule out any appearance in the future.
But as the comic also confirmed, Earth was known to Krypton long before Kara was marooned upon it. The obvious question, then, is if Kryptonians had arrived on Earth in mankind’s ancient history, did they stay? If they did, is it also possible that they weren’t lost on the planet, but sought it out in favor of Krypton?
For those hung up on the idea of changing Wonder Woman’s origins, or that of the Amazons in any way, let’s look at the facts: according to DC Comics, the Amazons are a militaristic, isolated culture with strong (but unclear) ties to Greek gods and goddesses. Those gods and goddesses, in turn, can be described as a group of ancient, supernatural beings who resided above the mortal world, occasionally blessing human beings with gifts, knowledge, or assistance, and were worshiped for their superhuman strength, wisdom, and vitality.
Is it so outlandish to think that ancient Greeks may have stood in awe not of supernatural deities, but far more advanced people from a society which outdated theirs by millenia? This kind of talk unavoidably strays into the ‘ancient alien theory’ territory, so if people want to call this potential twist on Greek mythology – that ancient gods may have actually been alien visitors – they’ve got more than DC Comics brass to rail against.
Yet if the same lens is applied to the notion of stranded Kryptonians as it was to every other aspect of Nolan and Snyder’s approach – that logic and believability provides the backbone of fantasy – then many, if not all the pieces fall into place.
Simply introduce a Themsycira vaguely reminiscent of Krypton’s architecture and the questions are explained away logically, not more and more ludicrously; the Kryptonian refugees found an isolated home, and their connections to Greek mythology and superhuman powers make perfect sense.
Why would they live apart from humanity? They aren’t human. Why has the island never been found? Kryptonian technology. Where does their militaristic society originate? Man of Steel provided all the evidence needed. How can there be only female Amazons, and why? Kryptonians have shown mastery over the reproductive process, not to mention the tendency to hold grudges (in this case, presumably against an entire sex).
With this new origin, Wonder Woman may possess similar powers to Superman (which contrary to many theorists would not disappear over time, since that’s not how evolution works – especially not when birth is engineered) but would not be a relative of Kal-El’s. And with 10,000 years separating her society from his, the idea of either finding solidarity in a culture they were both a product of, but torn apart from, seems unlikely.
From a dramatic standpoint, the relationships between the ‘Big Three’ of DC’s cinematic heroes also becomes enriched; with a similar heritage, Wonder Woman embodies the crisis of identity and Earthly purpose that Kal-El endures as a super-powered counterpart, while Batman does the same for his human side.
If Superman is the anchor of DC’s movie universe (something we’d be happy to see), positioning his colleagues as facets of himself wouldn’t be unwise (think upon the same dynamic used to great effect with Star Trek‘s Kirk, Spock and McCoy).
In other words, a ‘Kryptonian’ Wonder Woman is still a stranger to the human world, and Superman is more a part of it than her own. Snyder and Goyer’s Amazons may be Kryptonian in their blood, but they are something else entirely when the time comes to spill it.