Warning: The following may contain spoilers for Justice League and Wonder Woman 2
Wonder Woman's success was a big deal for the DC Extended Universe (for lack of a better name). While the shared universe wasn't exactly lacking in passionate fans after 3 critically divisive outings, it was important to land a win where everyone could unequivocally agree that the movie was a critical and financial success. Almost the second the film hit the big screen, the conversation quickly changed from "Will Wonder Woman be good?" to "When will there be a sequel?"
Fortunately, it didn't take long for that question to be answered, as Geoff Johns confirmed at San Diego Comic-Con that he was already writing the script for the next one, and a few days later it was given a release date in December of 2019. Initially, there was a debate over when Wonder Woman 2 would take place. Should it occur after the events of Justice League, or could it be another historical piece? Screen Rant was the first to break the story that the sequel would be set during the 1980's as Diana participated in some covert action during the Cold War. The Wrap was quick to verify the story, just leaving fans to wonder where Wonder Woman fits into the events of the Cold War?
It's a seemingly difficult situation because the setting presents a set of requirements that put significant limitations on the story. There's still plenty to explore, of course, but an alternate history set during a time as critical as the Cold War means the scope of the story needs to be small enough so as to not introduce continuity issues in the DCEU, yet big enough to make for an exciting story worthy of following her battle against Ares.
Well, thanks to the trailers for Justice League, we might finally have our answer about how the story could do all those things and still be a thrilling sequel.
How Justice League Could Reveal Wonder Woman 2's Plot
The Justice League trailers appear to be mostly spoiler free, avoiding a full-on Superman reveal or a 3rd act reveal anywhere as significant as Batman v Superman's marketing reveal of Doomsday, but we've still seen enough in trailers and marketing images to piece together a few set pieces, with one of the biggest reveals being the apparent confirmation that the heavily featured battled with the red skies/mist may take place in the ruins of Chernobyl. We've seen several landmarks that match up with the former Soviet nuclear site, a promotional photo from Empire showed the iconic Ferris wheel on a monitor in the Batcave, and the most recent trailer explicitly showed parademons swarming out of a nuclear silo.
Exactly what Steppenwolf wants at the site is unclear, but with some sort of growth covering much of the area, he may be utilizing the radiation for a particular purpose. Whether radiation is rejuvenating for Apokoliptans, it has some connection to the Mother Boxes, or he just wanted a hideout in an abandoned nuclear site isn't readily apparent, but regardless, the choice of Chernobyl could be a major hat tip to the plot of Wonder Woman 2.
In the same way that the first Wonder Woman provided a slightly alternate history to the end of World War I (and Captain America: The First Avenger for World War II), Wonder Woman 2 could be providing an alternate history of the Cold War, particularly the Chernobyl disaster. The fact that Chernobyl was both a nuclear disaster and behind the borders of Soviet Russia during the Cold War means there's some discussion around the "true" story of what happened, as the existence of several popular Chernobyl conspiracy theories shows.
Of course, as many may want to point out, the DCEU isn't supposed to be that connected. Wonder Woman 2 having a connection to Justice League like that seems to go completely against what many people expect of the universe right now, but it's important to understand the kind of connective tissue the DCEU will see in the future. Where the MCU movies so far have revolved around a mostly central throughline involving the Infinity Stones, culminating in Avengers: Infinity War, the DCEU is going to have all characters involved in their own completely stand-alone stories, but those stories will still take place in the same DCEU tapestry. So, the cumulative story of all the individual movies in the universe may not tell a larger singular story, but, as Geoff Johns says, it's still "100% connected."
So, how could Chernobyl tie Justice League and Wonder Woman together?
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- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Cyborg (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
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- Green Lantern Corps. (2020) release date: Jul 24, 2020