WARNING: This article contains MASSIVE 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).
To prove that point, and show how many of the movie’s deaths, details, and larger mythology packed a punch because it wasn’t spoiled in the trailers or TV spots, we’re breaking down all the biggest moments and revelations in the first female-led superhero blockbuster in the current shared universe landscape.
Those who have yet to see the movie, but plan to should (obviously) read no further in our list of Wonder Woman Biggest Spoilers & Twists Explained.
15. It’s Bruce Wayne Who Asks For Diana’s Story
When the first trailer for the movie dropped, we spotted one clue to where Wonder Woman fits into DCEU’s timeline in the form of a slip of paper marked with Wayne Enterprises’ letterhead. The final cut of the movie confirms our suspicions, beginning with Diana going to work at The Louvre as an armored truck bearing the ‘Wayne’ logo is unloaded nearby. The suitcase they remove is headed for Diana, who opens it among the archives to find a small note, and the original glass slide from the camera that captured the now-infamous shot of her World War I teammates. The same photo that had been digitized and acquired by Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman, facilitating Diana’s journey from Paris to Metropolis in the first place.
Bruce Wayne got his hands on a copy before inquiring as to Diana’s true, seemingly immortal identity. And judging by the handwritten note from him musing that perhaps someday she might “tell him her story,” she has yet to reveal her own origin to her soon-to-be Justice League teammate. Diana returns her gaze to that original photograph, taking in the image of her younger, more naive self, and the very first friends she ever met outside of Themsycira… Steve Trevor chief among them. And so, “her story” unfolds in the film that follows.
14. Zeus Created Man & The Amazons
It may be set a century before the current DCEU events, but Wonder Woman gives an origin story of life on Earth itself, in a time before… well, time. The reveal comes as young Diana asks her mother to tell her the story of how the Amazons came to exist in their present state, and Queen Hippolyta yields, pulling out an illustration of exactly that. And in this version of the story, the beings who populate the Earth are the creation of Zeus, formed in his image, and blessed with his very best qualities… at least to start.
It was only when the dark, warmongering influence of Ares began to corrupt mankind that they turned away from their better instincts, embracing envy, hatred, and violence. At least, that’s the version of the story that Hippolyta and Zeus would have told. Ares has a different take on things, obviously. Either way, after creating human beings on Earth, Zeus created the Amazons to remind them of their grace and honor. Since the rest of Hippolyta’s account of their history turns out to be technically correct, it would seem the world of the DCEU may have a more direct connection to Greek mythology than we assume in our own world.
13. Ares Slaughtered The Old Gods
So, why is it that the Old Gods of Greek and Roman mythology haven’t been intervening or pulling the strings behind the events of the DCEU? Because as soon as the Amazons broke free of enslavement at man’s hands – with help from the Olympian gods – Ares took his vengeance upon them. In another sequence in Hippolyta’s history lesson, she reveals a great battle of the gods in which Ares succeeding in slaying every one of them before Zeus stepped in to punish his petulant child. So fans are free to assume that all the Greek gods traditionally credited for Diana’s powers did exist on Earth at some point… but they’re not around now, and definitely aren’t coming back.
What the movie doesn’t clarify is how those Greek gods came to be, which actually is explained in the pages of DC Comics. The explanation came courtesy of Darkseid, who has a more than minor connection to the upcoming Justice League movie. In the pages of Genesis #3 (1997) Darkseid explained that the Fourth World inhabited by the New Gods of Apokolips and New Genesis is, obviously, the fourth such existence of greater beings. Back when the Second World was destroyed in a massive calamity, it took the Old Gods of the cosmos with it – and sent out a wave of divine energy across the DC Universe, which he dubbed the ‘Godwave.’ As this Godwave passed Earth, it planted the seeds of the Greek pantheon, among others. Will that be revealed in the DCEU as well? Only time will tell.
12. Hippolyta Has Been Hiding From Ares
The official story of the Amazons’ creation, as Hippolyta tells it, is that Zeus struck Ares down before giving the Amazons a place to live hidden from the outside world. There they could live in peace, and train for the event that Ares returned to see the world consumed by warfare. When that day came, the Amazons would be able to strike him down once and for all through use of the Godkiller weapon. But as the audience soon finds out, the question of the Amazons’ secrecy and duty to protect the world from Ares is a bit more complicated. Especially since Antiope (Robin Wright) believes that Ares has returned, and is executing his plan as they speak.
Unfortunately, Hippolyta’s love and concern for her daughter (and perhaps her people) have driven back her sense of duty or responsibility, claiming when pressed by Antiope that they have no reason to believe Ares is up to anything dangerous – “he’s probably long dead.” She’s clearly lying to herself, and that favoring of her own people and family over the Amazons’ original charge is what allows Ares to orchestrate a war capable of ending civilization once and for all. We won’t say it’s explicitly Queen Hippolyta’s fault that the war got that far, but… well, we can leave viewers to decide for themselves.
11. Antiope is Killed By The Germans
When Steve Trevor comes crashing out of the sky and into the waters off Themyscira’s shore, the German boats in pursuit aren’t far behind. Once the shock of seeing a dark fog give way to a tropical oasis wears off, the Germans head to shore with guns drawn – sadly doing away with a number of unarmored Amazons before they even reach land. But Antiope isn’t far behind, rushing onto the beach at the head of a cavalry charge now famous thanks to Wonder Woman‘s trailers. And it’s impossible to miss just how thrilled the Amazonian general is to be back in combat once more, unleashing her arrows upon these foreign invaders.
She makes quick work of nearly everyone she encounters, too (and the same goes for Hippolyta). But when a German soldier levels his rifle at Diana’s back, Antiope knows the future of the Amazons is more important than herself – and leaps into the path of the bullet, taking it herself. Everyone is horrified to see the Amazons’ fiercest warrior fall, and as Diana sits at her side, Antiope delivers a final message: “Go, Diana. Go.” It’s all she can get out before death claims her, opening the door for Diana to make her exit from Themyscira.
10. Wonder Woman’s Headpiece is Antiope’s
It may be the most recognizable part of Wonder Woman’s costume, but the classic tiara, emblazoned with a red star, has gotten a bit of an update for the DCEU incarnation.Originally the royal headpiece signified exactly what you would think: that Diana was Princess of the Amazons, daughter of Queen Hippolyta. But in the marketing for the film, few noticed that the new, bronze, star-marked headpiece worn by Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was the same one placed inside a leather encasement – and worn by Antiope as part of her helm. When she dies, the circlet falls to Diana.
It’s given as a gift from Hippolyta to her daughter when the former realizes that her daughter is determined to leave Themyscira, and seek out Ares through the fog of his global war. Claiming that the metal accessory is reserved only for the fiercest, most accomplished warrior of the Amazons, it says the things that Hippolyta may be too distraught to herself. Diana takes it as a standard to live up to, a tradition to adhere to, and takes the symbol of the Amazons she fights for along with her.
9. The Amazons Know Diana’s Secret
When Diana and Steve depart, it’s clear that she hasn’t been given the entire context of just what she’s headed for, what she’s up against, or just how ‘destined’ she is to take on this task. Hippolyta and Antiope both knew and discussed it on more than one occasion, with Antiope hinting that Diana must be trained as the very best of them due to the secret of her true nature. And when Diana’s otherworldly powers first manifest as Antiope pushes her in combat – blasting her away with concussive force – she simply smiles, knowing that she has pushed Diana to the point of assuming her true potential.
She’s not alone, apparently. As Diana and Steve set sail Hippolyta is left on the shore… and approached by Menalippe (Lisa Loven Kongsli). The Amazon warrior asks if Hippolyta “should have told her,” to which the Queen simply replies that “The more she knows… the sooner he’ll find her.” The audience isn’t let in on the secret being referred to here (but the comic readers know it), yet it seems that more than a few high-ranking Amazons knew exactly what Diana was capable of, and what her true purpose to their people really was.
8. Diana & Steve Spend The Night Together
It’s to be expected in a superhero story with leads this good looking that some kind of romance is bound to take hold, even if Wonder Woman‘s marketing left Chris Pine out of the spotlight in favor of its actual leading lady. Since the pair first meet against the horrors of The Great War, the early stages of their relationship are a mixture of curiosity and practicality. But once Diana shows what she’s capable of – taking out entrenched Germans, and clearing a small Belgian town almost singlehandedly – Steve Trevor is left with few words. And as she sees more of the war Steve chose to fight, she realizes the two of them are both far from home, both without friends or family, and both living only part of a life.
Most of this connection is made as Diana and Steve dance in the snow – and don’t kiss – but when Steve ends the evening by walking Diana to her room, the two share a long, calm look before Steve decides to stay. The two kiss in shadow, in a scene resembling the beginnings of a love scene in an honest, bleak war film more than a superhero blockbuster. As their kiss deepens, the shot switches to the exterior of the house, with only a single window dimly lit.
7. The Heroes Save a Village… To See It Gassed
Sadly, the victory won by Diana in liberating the Belgian town of Veld is short-lived. The team set out for an exclusive gala held at General Ludendorff’s castle the next day, only to discover what looks to be the setup for a weapons demonstration. Steve Trevor eventually prevents Diana from killing the general (whom she believes to be Ares in disguise) by staying her hand at the last second. An act which soon makes them less than friendly, as Ludendorff heads directly to the aforementioned weapons demonstration platform – and fires mustard gas shells into the village liberated the day before.
Diana is furious with Steve for preventing her from stopping the man responsible, and rushes on horseback to the town as quickly as she can manage. She arrives far too late, with the town completely swallowed up in a sickly orange-brown fog. Diana heads into the gas (it can’t affect her) to see the townspeople, women and children all dead from the attack. It’s what sends her on her final attack, tracking Ludendorff to his full chemical weapons factory with some help from the rest of her team (Steve in pursuit).
6. Diana Kills Ludendorff With Godkiller
While Ares may have been kept out of marketing in his true, godly form, the role of ‘tough-talking villain’ in trailers and TV spots was played to perfection by actor Danny Huston, portraying (a fictional version of) real German military leader General Erich Ludendorff. He was able to even stand against Diana thanks to a strange chemical concocted by his mad scientist Maru, granting him improved strength and energy. But as brutal or tough as the stimulant may make him, he’s still no match for an Amazon, let alone one with Diana’s unique powers. And since she believes the fate of the world is on the line… well, Ludendorff never stood a chance.
Wonder Woman catches him by surprise atop a security/communications tower in his factory complex, and delivers the lasso lift-and-slam now made famous in countless trailers and TV spots. Raising up the Godkiller sword, and bidding farewell to the God of War who has driven mankind to self-destruction, Diana plunges the sword through Ludendorff’s chest… and with his death, she believes, returns mankind to sanity. Except nothing happens, and the soldiers keep doing their duties – because Ludendorff was never Ares in disguise.
5. Sir Patrick Morgan is The Real Ares
Not long after Diana kills Ludendorff, she gets a sickening feeling in her stomach, as his death has not brought about any cessation of chemical weapons manufacturing, or ‘warring’ in general, as she expected. As Steve runs off to finish the mission, Diana is forced to accept that there never was any Ares pulling the strings… until Sir Patrick Morgan (David Thewlis) arrives in that very guard tower, a long way from home. And it doesn’t take long for her to realize that the man pushing for peace, and an armistice to cease hostilities – and even funding Steve and Diana’s mission to stop the chemical weapons – is the God of War himself. Disguised with a limp, no less.
He offers a new perspective on the version of history told to Diana by her mother, claiming he never ‘corrupted’ mankind from following its ‘inherently good’ nature. He believed man capable of terrible things, and set out to prove that he was right. It’s for that reason that he hasn’t been forcing people to do evil, or even holding a position allowing him to actually launch attacks or inflict horrific violence. He’s merely determined to show that mankind will, if possible, tear itself apart for its own gains. But when Earth has been purged of man… what comes next will take a little help.
4. Diana is The Daughter of Zeus
Diana wraps the Lasso of Truth around Sir Patrick to see through his deception, but finds that he is telling the absolute truth. He may be Ares in disguise, but his motives and view of man is exactly as he states it to be. In a moment of clarity, Diana remembers her entire mission, and attempts to slam the Godkiller Sword entrusted to the Amazons for this very moment – only to see it turn to dust against Ares’s palm. The sword isn’t what Zeus left behind to kill his son, he explains… Diana is. She is a daughter of Zeus, born of an Olympian god and the Amazons he created to guide humanity towards the light. But Ares is hoping that truth will show her that there is wisdom in his words.
He’s chosen his moment well: just as she believes that mankind is no longer deserving of the Amazons’ protection, Ares shows up to reveal the other lies she has been told, and ask for her help. Together, as brother and sister, their powers can combine to remake the world into a paradise fit for the gods. By crackling lightning from the tips of his fingers into the Lasso still held by Diana, he transports her to this hypothetical paradise, tempting her into seeing the world and its people his way. She resists, and he begins a fight to the death.
3. Wonder Woman Flies
The battle that ensues doesn’t go in Diana’s favor for most of the encounter, the true form of armored Ares is bathed in flame, taking shape one piece of scrap metal called to him at a time. But as the fighting intensifies, Diana finally begins to embrace her full power and parentage. In superpower terms, that means hovering up off of the ground to float opposite her brother, Ares. Steve and his fellow soldiers catch a glimpse of the hovering Diana and realize that her destined fight with Ares is not only accurate, but taking place. And while her defiance of gravity comes more as a result of her communing with her demigod nature than the simply flying and leaping of the comics, it’s obvious that the DCEU’s version of Wonder Woman CAN fly.
Her abilities to leave the Earth behind her never seriously change the look of the battle, since Ares also remains grounded for the majority. But when all is said and done, Diana chooses to calmly float back down to the ground. The final shot of the film also shows her leaping into the sky over Paris with no indication of falling back to Earth… so Justice League or the coming Wonder Woman sequel will hopefully set the record straight on when, how, and why Diana may choose to embrace her divinity enough to join Superman in the clouds.
2. Steve Trevor Dies Saving The Day
While Diana was still doubting whether humanity was even worth protecting, Steve Trevor jumped into action, determined to save untold thousands of innocent civilians from the chemicals being mass produced, packaged, and shipped under Ludendorff’s watch. With the rest of his ragtag team, Steve discovers that the massive bomber being loaded by the Germans is bound for London, intended to contaminate and kill an unthinkable amount of Londoners. The armistice would be obliterated, and so devious an attack would surely send the war into an even more destructive spiral. Unfortunately, the remote timer and flight plan for the bomber means this crisis must be averted manually.
As an explosion in her battle with Ares sends Diana smashing into the runway before him, Steve takes a final moment to tell Diana that he loves her, and that she can’t stop him from doing what he must. “I’ll save today; you save the world.” With that, he runs to the bomber, climbs aboard, and straps in behind the controls as it flies into the sky. As he reaches peak altitude, he points his pistol back into the fuselage – packed to the ceiling with the combustible chemical shells – and takes a few moments to find peace with his life. He opens his eyes, cracks a hint of a smile, and Diana can only watch as the massive fireball ignites above the clouds.
1. Wonder Woman Kills Ares
Needless to say, the moment that Diana realizes Steve Trevor has sacrificed his life to foil Ares’s plan is a major turning point. Having just grasped the meaning of love, and truly understood what Steve and her had come to share, not even metal sheets crushing her body at Ares’s command could hold her. In the blink of an eye, Diana erupts into the air, consumed by the kind of anger, rage, and destructive bloodlust usually reserved for the Olympian gods (and their children). She doesn’t take the extra step of murdering the Germans around her, but does put an end to their entire operation with a sense of ferocity, leaping from one man to the next, smashing them together and guaranteeing that few will be getting up any time soon.
It’s all good news to Ares, until Diana remembers the other half of her lineage. Finding a moment of calm, she takes to the skies, and tells Ares that whether or not mankind is “worth saving” or not, Steve Trevor has shown her that believing they are, or can be, is all that matters. With that, the fight turns in her favor. Ares’s lightning sent as an attack to wound her is simply caught, contained, and manipulated by Diana’s bare hands. Spreading her arms and drawing even more lighting out of her (apparently the signature of Olympian gods), she finishes the job her father started, blasting a hole clean through Ares’s chest. The fire and smoke clear, the dust settles, the dawn breaks, and the soldiers around her drop their weapons, knowing that the war, for them, is over.
The scenes that follow help to sew up the conclusion, with Diana paying her respects to a photo of Steve Trevor’s first days in a uniform. From there it’s a return to the present day as Diana reaffirms her commitment to her Amazon ideals, and that found belief in defending mankind on faith alone. We know she’s headed for a new fight on mankind’s behalf in Justice League, but for now, the most shocking reveals and spoiler-heavy twists in her story are behind her.