It’s safe to say that the world is now a fan of Wonder Woman. Finally making her feature film debut, Diana has breathed new life into the DCEU and comic book films in general. What could have been yet another bland, predictable origin story was turned into something very new and exciting. It wasn’t the usual dour DC film, nor was it an interchangeable, mass-produced Marvel comedy. The Wonder Woman movie was as unique as the character—embracing the strangeness of her world while also balancing it out with the right amount of humor, stakes and, most importantly, a strong focus on character development. As a hero, she was strong but still vulnerable, and she was ultimately more of a true hero than we’re used to seeing these days. There was no moral ambiguity to her. She’s just a good person trying to do the right thing.
That said, the expectations for Wonder Woman 2 are going to be out of control, with people already speculating what the movie could/should be about. While we only know two things—that it will take place in contemporary America and that Patty Jenkins will be returning to direct—there’s still plenty to speculate about.
Also, as much as we loved the movie, there are some things that could be changed to make the sequel an absolute classic. Here are 15 Ways To Make The Sequel Ever Better.
15. A More Involved Villain…
The Ares reveal in Wonder Woman was a very well-orchestrated twist. David Thewlis brought class and viciousness to the role (even if his last few minutes were marked with hammy yelling). They say that in franchise films, the first movie is about the hero and the second is about the villain. While that should not necessarily be the case, the need for a different kind of baddie for the sequel is great. And ideally, it’ll be one that’s more personal for Diana herself.
Cheetah makes sense, but not yet. They should cast Barbara Ann Minerva in the sequel, have her and Diana become close friends, and tease her turn over a few movies so that when she does turn, it’s an emotional reckoning.
You can also look closer to home on Paradise Island, with a rogue Amazon like Aresia attempting to wipe out men, for instance. They could also up on Menalippe from the first film. She was none too pleased about Antiope being killed by invading men. Maybe enough to go full genocidal. Look, in the comics, Lex Luthor once went crazy because he lost his hair. There have been worse reasons to want to destroy the world.
14. …but not one that ends up dead
Wonder Woman is one of the few heroes where it makes total sense for her to kill. She’s a warrior. She carries around weapons. Not toys, weapons. But at the same time, one of the most important aspects of her character is her compassion. Her desire to save people and win the day without having to take a life is key. Sometimes, a hero is a hero because they punch the bad guy. Sometimes, a hero is a hero because they show mercy.
All pretentious philosophizing aside, it’s really hard to build a great villain roster when they all keep dropping dead. From a filmmaking perspective, it makes sense—having the final battle end in an arrest rather than death can be anticlimactic—but, and we’re just spitballing here, why not hire writers who know how to end a good story while keeping the villain alive? You know who’s good at that? Actual comic book writers.
And how great would it be to see a hero actually keep the villain from getting killed? It’s such a rarity as it is, and it would help further add to Wonder Woman’s uniqueness. She’ll save any life, because life is worth saving.
13. More Amazons
Themyscira is an island full of attractive, asskicking women. Yeah, who would ever want to see more of that? The early parts of Wonder Woman worked so well because we had never seen anything like Themyscira before. The Amazons’ culture, belief system, and philosophy were entirely new to us. There’s nothing like it in comics or their adaptations. They are an entirely closed-off but self-sustaining society that was, by necessity, underdeveloped in the movie. There is a clear desire from fans and creators to delve into the Amazonian culture and history. After all, we know they weren’t always confined to the island.
Future movies can add secret histories that affected Man’s World, adapt their sister tribe, the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall, and further complicate the already difficult relationship Diana has with her mother (and the rest of the Amazons as well). This is new ground for a superhero feature: an unexplored civilization that is familiar enough to be identifiable and different enough to be a character in its own right.
12. Wonder Woman Using More of her Mythic Weapons
Brian Azzarello’s New 52 run added a great deal to Diana and her world, and one of the additions was a change to her bracelets. While they can’t do that shockwave thing we saw in the movies, Haephestus altered them so they could generate any weapon she desired. Along the way, she also acquired Eros’ pair of Golden Desert Eagles, which she used to shoot Hades. She’s even used her tiara to disarm people, cut throats, and bludgeon.
Most of all, we would love to see her remove her bracelets. In the New 52, once she took them off, her full god-like powers were unleashed. It’s like going Super Saiyan without having to sit through 6 million episodes of Goku and Frieza talking to each other from a distance. How awesome would it be to see Wonder Woman take on a horde of enemies, get her ass kicked, only to toss the bracelets and rip their world apart? That’s money right there.
11. Changes to the Slo-mo
For some reason, Zack Snyder’s patented use of slo-mo/speed-up/slo-mo was used in Wonder Woman. However, director Patty Jenkins was able to use this gimmick to greater effect; it felt unique to the film’s world and underlined the spectacle of seeing the Amazons and the Wonder Woman herself as they performed badass moves that were begging to become posters and phone wallpapers and Facebook cover photos. However, there was still just too much of it, to the point where the stops and starts felt more random in certain places. (Admittedly, nothing was going to beat that high knee on the Veld battleground.)
Using it rarely would make it more effective—say, in instances of showing off a complicated chain of moves or to highlight the brutality of the moment of impact. Also, show some blood and missing teeth once in a while. We know PG-13 is PG-13, but some color never hurt anybody.
10. Delving Further into Greek Mythology
Wonder Woman comics have always used the Greek gods as characters. She’s fought a number of them, too. However, no one did it better than Brian Azzarello during his New 52 run. He modernized the gods—Apollo dressed like a businessman, Strife like a club kid, Dionysus as a J-Rock star, etc.—and made them more accessible. They were as petty or as kind as any ordinary person; they just also happened to have insane powers. Now, granted, the Wonder Woman film established that Ares wiped out all but Zeus, but here’s the thing: in comics, death is a curable condition. It’s covered under Disability insurance. Plus, they’re gods. They don’t have the same rules that we do; they’re harder to kill than Tom Cruise’s career. (How do you survive Knight and Day and Rock of Ages? HOW? It’s inhuman!)
Having Wonder Woman deal with the Greek Gods allows for more of a unique presentation in supporting characters and design, and it creates a potential bridge to explore Jack Kirby’s New Gods, which will feature heavily in Justice League. This could lead a tightly knit universe in a way that doesn’t feel cluttered or forced.
9. Adding her Ability to Fly
Wonder Woman can fly, though she has yet to obtain that ability in the DCEU as far as we can tell. While flight was something that was just slipped in under the table over the years, more recently, it became an important facet of Diana’s early development. Usually, Wonder Woman is portrayed as being well over a thousand years old by the time she joins Man’s World. In the New 52, she’s twenty-two. She’s younger, less experienced, and is only beginning to understand the world around her. She earns her ability to fly.
It’s given to her by Hermes (which is why we could really use the Greek gods running around) after Diana took a header off a cliff to save her infant half-brother Zeke. Hermes plucked one of his own feathers, and it poked her knee, allowing her to fly. She saved Zeke and then gave Artemis the beating of her lifetime.
While the invisible jet can be useful and a fun fan callback, there is something more striking about seeing a superhero flying. Hell, the marketing for the 1977 Superman movie was focused on us “believing a man can fly.” It’s an added bump to the super in superhero.
8. Lynda Carter Cameo as Hera
Rounding out our mini-trilogy on the Greek gods is this fun idea. We already know that there have been talks of having the lovely Lynda Carter take on some kind of role in Wonder Woman 2. Connie Nielsen is doing an excellent job with Hippolyta, so there’s no room for Lynda there. Since she can’t play Wonder Woman’s mother, the only role suitable for someone like her is the mother of the gods herself, Hera. With the recent addition of Wonder Woman being the daughter of Zeus (in both the movie and the comics), Hera and Diana have had some uncomfortable encounters. Hera found out about that Zeus and Hippolyta had an affair, so she turned Wonder Woman to stone and the entire Amazon tribe into snakes…and then tried to have Diana killed. All things considered, it was a fairly measured response when you take Hera’s blood-alcohol level into account.
A showdown between Gal Gadot and Lynda Carter would not only be a great fan-wink moment, but a passing of the torch that acknowledges Carter’s contributions to the character and allows her a way to remain connected to the franchise.
7. What Happened after World War I
In Batman v Superman, we learned that sometime after World War I, Diana lost faith in humanity and became a recluse before something made her come out of hiding. This is contradicted in the voiceover at the end of Wonder Woman, where Diana says she’s remained a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A dark knight, if you will. This could mean she operated in the shadows, or it could mean this is a plot hole created to explain away the stupidity of the idea that Wonder Woman would turn her back on humanity.
Regardless, the nearly hundred year time jump is a lot to gloss over. Say what you will about Snyder’s Watchmen adaptation (and there is plenty), the opening credits—hell, the fact that there were opening credits is a plus—told the history of the Watchmen universe brilliantly and seamlessly in the time it took Bob Dylan to nasally remind us how much times are changing.
Wonder Woman 2 could adopt a similar method, further creating a myth around her; unlike Batman and Superman, she’s been around the longest, and despite her origins, that longevity she has grants her a greater understanding of people as well.
6. Focusing on What Makes her Wonder Woman: The Desire for Peace
As a famous diplomat, Wonder Woman is in a greater position than either Batman or Superman to promote an agenda of peace. It also certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s public knowledge that she can lift a tank and has no problem collapsing churches on people, but let’s digress. We mentioned earlier that her greatest strength is her compassion. Add to that the longevity that’s allowed her to see humanity develop over a long period where she’s lived in different countries and has been witness to the very best and very worst humanity has to offer.
The inherent contradiction of Wonder Woman is part of what makes her an interesting character. She wants peace, but she’s an indispensable weapon. She carries both the sword and the olive branch, and the question of when to use which is a question of duality. She has to walk the line. That’s an incredibly difficult thing to do, and it’s something we’d love to see explored in a sequel, kind of a Wonder Woman attempts to stop World War III thing. It’s a reasonable threat that still informs on the character.
5. How Wonder Woman Views the Modern World
Like we said, a hundred years is a long time. People have changed. Societies and cultures have changed. Despite being a feminist icon in the real world, Wonder Woman comics have deftly avoided becoming political where others have made their agenda the priority over character and story. While telling a politically motivated Wonder Woman story in the sequel would likely be eye-rolling, if it is touched upon delicately and cleverly as it was in this first feature, it could appease just about everyone. How Diana deals with the modern world will be more important to us than how she dealt with the old one.
Societies have changed substantially. Wonder Woman is an international hero in a world that is growing smaller by the day. Her interfering in one country’s affairs while living in another could be construed as an act of war. How does she feel about the current state of civil and human rights in America and abroad? How does she feel about women’s rights in the Middle East? This can so easily be turned into a soapbox segment, but if handled with the open-heartedness Diana had in this first movie, there could be poignancy without finger-wagging.
4. A Major Action Scene that Separates her from Batman and Superman…
Okay, well those last two were pretty downbeat. This is more fun. Wonder Woman believes in peace, but she’s hardly afraid of a fight. Just ask Maxwell Lord’s chiropractor.
Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are the holy trinity of DC’s comic book heroes. In a fight, Superman is the powerhouse. Batman relies on his brains, his gadgets, and some good old fashioned martial arts. And Wondy? She combines the best of both worlds. She’s as strong as Superman, but she’s also well trained. In Wonder Woman 2 (and hopefully in Justice League as well), we need to see more of how different of a fighter she is from Supes and Bats to further show us what makes her a unique threat. The Justice League shouldn’t be a homogenized group, because if you can beat one, then you can beat them all. With Warner Bros. possibly looking to make Wonder Woman the backbone of the DCEU, differentiating her—pointing out what makes her different and special—will go a long way in solidifying her new place in pop culture.
3. Continue with the Character-based Plot
Wonder Woman can be a difficult character to write. Very few have been able to clearly delineate where the peacekeeper and the warrior split and make it organic for her to be both. For some, it’s hard to believe that she can be as compassionate as she is while also being the same person who has led an army into war. It’s part of what makes her a three-dimensional character that fans love to read–as well as what makes her a frustrating character for writers to write.
Wonder Woman used the backdrop of World War I to perfection. She’s horrified by the scale and senseless brutality, but that horror requires her to act. The viewer learned who Diana was by watching her react to the events around her. Continuing with that, especially in a modern setting, will be important to continue defining her for a new generation of fans.
For those of you who are too impatient, the crux of the character is encapsulated by a quote from Aristotle: “We make war that we may live in peace.” It’s an unfortunate contradiction, but a necessary evil.
2. Avoidance of Destruction Porn
Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman are misunderstood in some ways. The DCEU is clearly trying to tell a mythic, Biblical story that is, at the same time, era-defining. That’s why so much of the destruction of cities we see feels so uncomfortable. It’s made to mimic the realities of the post-9/11 world. It’s a heady and even an admirable aspiration, but the scenes are handled with a jackhammer rather than subtlety. They’re verbose and overlong, and they earn the destruction porn trope because the spectacle outweighs the meaning.
Sequels often mean “bigger,” a trap that we’re all hoping WB won’t fall into. Wonder Woman didn’t have destruction porn at all, and it was great. It’s part of what made the movie fun. Entertainment should be allowed to just be entertainment sometimes. The fate of the world doesn’t need to always be in the balance. Sometimes, all you have to do is endanger a character fans care about in a plot that doesn’t insult their intelligence.
1. No New Love Interest, Please And Thank You
Killing Steve Trevor was audacious. While not at the level of Lois Lane, Steve Trevor is certainly the Lois of Wonder Woman comics. He’s been there from day one as a vital aspect of Diana’s mythology. Steve’s sacrifice reminds Diana of the good that humans are capable of, but it keeps her grounded: you can’t save everyone, and war has a high cost. We’re not saying Diana should be locked away in a distant nunnery next to Ophelia (that’s right, a Hamlet joke. That’s how we roll here), but that death needs to have a long-term purpose.
Also, and let’s call a spade a spade here. Do any of us like the romance angle in superhero pictures? The whininess of Mary-Jane/Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker? The chemistry void that was Bruce Wayne and Rachel Dawes? The conflicted Tony Stark and the barely awake Gwenyth Paltrow? Do we need more of this? Diana and Steve had good chemistry. Let’s not push our luck.
What do you want to see in Wonder Woman 2? Let us know in the comments.
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