Wonder Woman: 15 Biggest Changes From Comics To Movie

Wonder Woman Tank Poster Cropped

After over 75 years of comic book stories, a live-action iteration of the iconic Wonder Woman character is finally gracing the big screen, and to the delight of film fans everywhere, the picture is being been met with universal praise from fans and critics alike.

While the live-action adaptation remains relatively true to its source material, there are more than a handful of changes from the comics to the movie. This is certainly not uncommon, as superhero films usually have decades of content and character alterations to draw inspiration from.

There is nothing wrong with a filmmaker attempting to carve out their own version of a popular character, especially if the changes made serve to improve the story being told on film. With countless comic book runs of heroes being slightly altered and different from the last, there is also no truly definitive story. The deviations between characters and the narrative over the years are often a representation of the changing times, and, as we will soon learn, Wonder Woman is no exception.

Here are the 15 Biggest Changes From Wonder Woman Comics To Movie.

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Wonder Woman in the 1950s New 52 and Gal Gadot
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15 Her Costume

Wonder Woman in the 1950s New 52 and Gal Gadot

The first major difference between the comics and the film that fans took notice of is Wonder Woman's less vibrant costume. Superheroes and villains in the comics are known, generally speaking, for their bright and colorful outfits. Wonder Woman is, of course, not the exception to this rule, however, since her appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice last year, fans were not expecting the stars and stripes outfit that we have become accustomed to over the decades.

Live-action film adaptations of comic book properties in the past have been fairly liberal with costume design – the X-Men franchise immediately comes to mind – so moviegoers should not be taken back by this more modern look. That being said, it appears as though Diana’s get-up has brightened up significantly since we last saw her in the aforementioned Batman v Superman.

14 The Timeline

Wonder Woman WWI Picture

It is important to remember that comic book heroes and villains, especially those as iconic and historic as Wonder Woman, can have several different origin stories throughout their histories in the comics. With characters like Diana, there is no definitive version, but there are popular iterations that fans hold more near and dear than others.

Most comic iterations of Wonder Woman, including the original comic series, take place during WWII. However, the film adaptation takes place decades before this, during the first World War. Truth be told, this is a smart move, seeing as it is able to separate itself from MCU picture Captain America: The First Avenger, as well as a slew of other films set during WWII.

All in all, this change did not affect too much of the film, but it is certainly a notably big alteration nonetheless.

13 New Location

Wonder Woman becomes President of the United States in the comic books

Along with the change in timeline, there is also an altered setting and various character tweaks. One example of this is the fact that the United States of America is not at all featured in the movie. Wonder Woman herself might not be from the United States, but her red, white, and blue outfit certainly embodied some sort of American patriotism, which was occasionally seen within the comics.

Additionally, love interest Steve Trevor is generally depicted as being from the United States-- particularly in the comics, but also in the movie due to his accent. However, in the film he states he's been assigned to British intelligence, removing the US from the story almost entirely. Again, this does not represent a major shift between the comic book universe and the film, but it is certainly notable for the fans of her many successful comic runs. This also serves to distance itself from Marvel’s Captain America origin story.

12 Lack of Kangas

Wonder Woman Riding Jumpa the Kanga

Wonder Woman is not the first film, nor will it be the last, to veer away from super pets. For example, Krypto and Bat-Cow are fun in the comics, but might not necessarily have a place in the big-budget blockbuster world. The live-action film universe generally tends to be a bit more grounded, and, with a limited amount of screen time, the narrative focus needs to be kept a bit tighter than that of a long-running comic book series.

In the DC Multiverse, Kangas are a fictional alien species similar to kangaroos. Multiple iterations of the Wonder Woman comics portrays Amazons on the backs of these giant beasts as a common mode of transportation. In the comics, Diana had a partner Kanga by the name of Jumpa, who served as both pet and crime fighting companion. Kangas were left out of the movie, and were replaced by horses.

11 Amazon Olympics

Unlike the daily training montage with Diana and her aunt Antiope, the comics feature Wonder Woman in an Olympic-style competition of strength and courage. The idea behind this tournament is that the winner would earn the right leave Themyscira in order to return Steve Trevor back to the “Man’s World” and fight the Nazis.

In many iterations, Diana’s mother, Hippolyta, was extremely overprotective of her (just as in the movie), so Wonder Woman feels the need to disguise herself to compete in the tournament. However, her identity is later revealed and she is finally allowed to leave the island and fight the forces of evil outside Themyscira.

Ultimately, the two iterations are not all that different, but the film’s narrative plays more toward Diana’s various relationships with the other characters, and Hippolyta’s ultimate acceptance of her daughter leaving Themyscira stays true to these themes.

10 New Powers

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman

As a result of Diana winning Hippolyta’s competition in the comics, Princess Diana is awarded with the role of Wonder Woman, in addition to new abilities and a special outfit. Her strength and speed are both increased and she is also awarded with the ability to communicate with animals. Diana also receives indestructible bracelets, her royal tiara – which can also act as a boomerang – in addition to the lasso of truth, and her invisible airplane.

The extent of Wonder Womans' powers in the DCEU is still unclear. Her ability to communicate with animals is alluded to in the film but not shown, and her out-of-control rage is also teased. Additionally, the film showcases Diana stealing her weapons and equipment, rather than being awarded them by Hippolyta, again, playing into the dynamic between an overprotective mother and her daughter.

9 No Invisible Jet

Wonder Woman Sequels May Include Invisible Jet

One power that occasionally eludes Wonder Woman throughout the comics is flight. Some comic book runs lend the character the ability of flight, while several others are less generous. For early iterations of the character, the invisible jet was a necessity due to her inability to fly on her own, which made travelling to destinations off Earth possible.

Wonder Woman’s invisible jet seems to fall into the campier side of the character’s lore that most comic book films tend to veer away from. However, there has been talk that the jet could possibly make an appearance in an upcoming sequel that is already in the works. It would seem as though Gal Gadot’s Diana is flightless (though we see her levitate and jump great distances), making the invisible jet plane somewhat useful, as it was in the character's early comic book adaptations.

8 The Zeus Controversy

Zeus Wonder Woman New 52

Diana being the daughter of Zeus takes from the DC Comics New 52 storyline, but in this updated version, Hippolyta’s relationship with Zeus is a bit more fleshed out. In the New 52 run, it is Hippolyta and Zeus’ forbidden love that gives birth to Diana, not the wishes of a mother.

For much of Wonder Woman’s run in this more modern comic, her origin is kept a secret from her. Zeus had been married and, if this adulterous tale were to become known, Hippolyta and Diana’s lives would both likely be in danger. It should also be noted that the original iteration of the Wonder Woman origin story in the movie said nothing about Zeus in relation to Diana, only stating that the gods brought life to her previously clay form, granting the wish of her mother. However, it is later revealed by Ares that Diana is, in fact, the product of Zeus and Hippolyta's relationship.

7 Olympian Goddesses

In the 1987 relaunch of the Wonder Woman comics, the Amazons are said to be the reincarnated souls of women who were slain by men throughout history. Additionally, it is established that five Olympian goddesses – Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Hestia, and Aphrodite – are the ones who constructed Themyscira and granted the Amazons their amazing powers.

Aphrodite, in particular, plays a large role in numerous comic book runs. Diana’s love for Steve Trevor is, in fact, forbidden by the goddess. According to Aphrodite, if Diana falls in love with a man, she is at risk of losing her powers. Over the course of over seven decades, there are several issues of Wonder Woman comics that depict the heroine without her powers, but, due to the comics' relative lack of popularity, they were quickly forgotten.

6 Ares

Ares Wonder Woman Comics and Movie

As Diana’s half-brother, Ares (also known as Mars in various comic  runs) is often referred to as Wonder Woman’s archenemy. As his origins have switched several times from Greek to Roman mythology and back, different authors have penned him in several different lights, but always with similar features. For example, Ares has almost always opposed the Amazons as well as the goddess Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.

In the original Wonder Woman comic book run, Ares telepathically sent thoughts of war and destruction to the Axis leaders, but as the god himself and not appearing as a political leader, like Sir Patrick from the movie. However, later iterations of the character do see Ares possessing a criminal named Ari Buchanan, who later changes his name to Ares Buchanan.

5 Dr. Poison

Dr Poison Wonder Woman Comics and Movie

Since the character’s inception in 1942, Dr. Poison has seen several different iterations with various identities and even different ethnicities. The film’s depiction of her as a scientific genius with an affinity for toxins and poisons is spot on, in line with her various comic book representations, but with the origins are unique.

First, in 1942, Princess Maru, also known as Dr. Poison, was depicted as a chief scientist of the Nazi Poison Division. She later became Russian in the New 52 comic book run, and in DC Rebirth, she is known as Colonel Marina Maru, a Japanese soldier working for an organization known only as Poison – an organization founded by her family. In the live-action film, however, Dr. Isabel Maru is a Spanish scientist hired by the Germans to develop chemical weapons during World War I.

4 Etta Candy

Etta Candy Wonder Woman comics and movie

While Dr. Poison is still roughly the same character she was in the source material (barring a change in ethnicity, of course), Etta Candy is probably the greatest departure from her comic book representation.

Etta Candy’s relationship with Diana may not have been explored to the same extent as Steve Trevor’s, but in DC Comics, she is known as the superhero’s best friend and sidekick who (as her name might imply) has a great affection for candy. Later iterations of the character, however, depict Etta as an Air Force officer with a romantic link to Steve Trevor.

Etta is also credited as the leader of Holliday College’s Beeta Lamda Sorority (a group of students also commonly to referred to as the Holliday Girls). The women of Beeta Lamda were also good friends and allies to Diana, and were featured throughout her many comic book adventures.

3 Steve Trevor

Wonder Woman - Chris Pine as Steve Trevor

In the Wonder Woman comics, Steve Trevor was originally an intelligence officer for the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He met Diana and the rest of the Amazons of Themyscira when his plane crash-landed there. Much like in the film, Diana decides to accompany him to the outside world and fight the forces of evil.

Steve Trevor of the comic books is often depicted as a gentleman-in-jeopardy. While Steve generally fights alongside Wonder Woman, he continuously finds himself in situations in which he is kidnapped or somehow in peril.

Additionally, the original character of Steve Trevor had no idea that Wonder Woman and his secretary, Diana Prince, were secretly the same person. Also, as stated in the previous entry, more recent iterations of the Steve Trevor character find him romantically linked and even married to Wonder Woman's sidekick and friend, Etta Candy.

2 The War Comes to Themyscira

While Steve Trevor’s arrival on Themyscira was quickly followed by German troops in the film, this was simply not the case in the comics. In All Star Comics #8 – Wonder Woman's first appearance – Officer Trevor was simply conducting a test flight over the Bermuda Triangle when his plane mysteriously crash-landed on what was known then as Paradise Island (later renamed Themyscira).

While the German troops arriving at Themyscira is a slight deviation from the source material, it is certainly a welcome change. It creates a sense of urgency within the narrative and brings the war to the Amazons. Not to mention, it gives audiences an opportunity to see these badass women kick some butt in one of the better choreographed fight sequences in the film, which is certainly saying something, given some of the movie's later scenes.

1 Diana Prince

Wonder Woman as Diana Prince Gal Gadot

Diana Prince is now the widely known alias of Wonder Woman, but, unlike in the recent live-action movie, there is actually a much more detailed explanation of how our heroine happens upon this alter ego.

In the original comic book run, Diana Prince was first the name of a U.S. Army nurse during World War II. Wonder Woman came across a sobbing Diana Prince, learning that her fiancé was located in South America, and she lacked the funds to reach him.

Realizing that the two women looked similar to each other, Princess Diana (Wonder Woman) decided to pay Ms. Prince a significant amount of money in exchange for her name and credentials. After obtaining her civilian identity, Diana pursued a job as Steve Trevor’s secretary and continued to fight crime as Wonder Woman on the side.


Did you notice any other major changes between the Wonder Woman movie and comics? Do you think these changes were made for the better, or for the worst? Make sure to let us know in the comment section.

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