Next year, Wonder Woman will finally get her own long-overdue live-action movie. Starring Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman will be part of the ever-expanding DCEU and will introduce the world to Diana Prince’s backstory. Given how long Wonder Woman has been a staple of the comic book world, it’s shocking that she hasn’t had more screen-time – a TV series (and a failed TV pilot) and some animated appearances do not do justice to the importance of this incredible superheroine. There are plenty of things from her long history that we cannot wait to see in the upcoming film – her lasso, her bracelets, her mythology, and so much more. There is one thing, however, that we probably won’t be seeing on screen anytime soon – her Invisible Jet! A staple of Wonder Woman’s earlier adventures, this invisible plane has become a punchline as much as a legitimate comic vehicle, but there’s a lot more to it than you might expect.
15. The Invisible Plane Was Introduced In The 1940s
Wonder Woman’s jet has been with her since the very beginning. Diana made her first appearance in December 1941, as a supporting character in an ‘All Star Comics’ story. However, she made her first full appearance as the lead character in January of 1942 (in a ‘Sensation Comics’ story), and her invisible jet was right there with her. In fact, it was an integral part of the story. First, she uses it to fly Steve Trevor back to the US, then to follow him when he sneaks out of the army hospital to go shoot down a Nazi plane, then to save him when his plan goes wrong, and finally to fly to a secret Nazi base, save the day, and return Steve to hospital again. The plane remained part of Wonder Woman’s arsenal throughout her history, although she used it less and less as time went on. The invisible plane still exists in the DC comics universe, but Wonder Woman no longer flies it – after decades, it was given to A.R.G.U.S. in the Post-Flashpoint universe.
14. The Plane Has Had Several Names
Over the years, much has changed about the Invisible Plane – how it works, what it does, how Wonder Woman uses it (and why), and even what it’s called. When it was first introduced, it was called the Transparent Plane – a straightforward description. It was also called an Invisible Plane, with the two terms being used concurrently at times, until “Invisible Plane” became more common. As it became more powerful, and as planes in the real world did as well, the Plane was often called a Jetplane or even just a Jet, to emphasize its incredible speed and power (and to make it sound more advanced). The plane has also been referred to as the Invisible Robot Plane, but this didn’t stick, especially as it is actually Diana who controls it – it’s not technically an entirely robotic plane at all. However, almost any variation on Invisible Plane is considered correct, even if some are less common than others.
13. The Original Jet Was Amazonian Technology
The Invisible Plane, like many characters and items in comics, has multiple backstories. In fact, the Plane has a whopping five different fully formed backstories, which have appeared at different points in the DC Universe. According the very first Golden Age version of the origin story, the Plane was simply built by the Amazons of Themyscira. The Amazons are known for their advanced technology, so the creation of an invisible plane was no great stretch of the imagination. This first origin also explained perfectly why the Invisible Plane was on Themyscira to start with, and how it came to be given to Diana (who was chosen to take Steve Trevor back to our world, and given the plane as a way to get there). The original plane has also been said to have been something that Diana worked on in her younger years on the island (so she knew it inside and out), improving the planes that the Amazons already had to make them invisible.
12. The Second Jet Was A Reward
In a separate Golden Age origin, the Invisible Plane was the reward for Diana completing three tasks. Each task was set, and once a challenger completed the task, they would be rewarded with a part of the plane. Upon completing all three, Diana was able to combine them in order to form the full plane. There was quite a bit of magic and mythology to this version of events – not only did three smaller parts combine to form an entire plane with the help of a little magic, but the story bears a strong resemblance to that of the labors of Hercules. Although this was only rarely mentioned, and quickly faded out of comic book memory, the reward-based jet was a clear reference to Wonder Woman’s place in Greek mythology. Despite the fact that there were actually two Golden Age origins for the Invisible Jet, this second story is usually superseded by the better known Amazon-tech version.
11. The Third Jet Was Related To Pegasus
In the Silver Age, the origin story of the Invisible Plane was re-worked once again. Like the second story, this third origin was closely related to Greek mythology – specifically, Pegasus, the winged horse. The original Pegasus came into being when Perseus slew Medusa, and went on to aid the Gods and heroes of Greek mythology. Later, Pegasus (along with other creatures of Greek myth) were kept on Themyscira as part of Wonder Woman’s menagerie. The Amazons bred the winged horse to create flying steeds that they would ride into battle in the air. In one little known storyline, Wonder Woman had to tame a Pegasus (another task to prove her worthiness), and when she succeeded, the horse became the Invisible Plane, able to fly her through the clouds and off the island. In the majority of comics, however, Diana has both the Invisible Plane and a Pegasus, and uses them for different purposes.
10. The Fourth Jet Was Alien Technology
Post-Crisis, the Plane’s history was altered again – and this time, all connection to Greek mythology was removed. The new Plane wasn’t actually a plane at all, but a Lansanarian Morphing Disk, a gift to her from the alien Lansinarians. The tech was a small disk/orb type object that could turn into a number of invisible objects, including a plane when needed. This new version made several changes to the plane, most notably that it would make the passengers invisible as well (previous planes would allow anyone else in the sky to see the passengers seemingly suspended in mid-air!). The disk also made it easier for Diana to use the jet in a pinch, as she could carry the disk easily and transform it in an instant (rather than calling the jet to her from wherever it was parked. This plane was sentient, and could talk to Diana, and even eventually sacrificed itself to save her.
9. The New 52 Jet Doesn’t Belong To Wonder Woman
In the New 52, Wonder Woman no longer really has need of her Invisible Plane, although Batman did provide her with a jet that had Stealth Technology at one point. However, the Invisible Jet didn’t disappear entirely from the DC Comics Universe. Instead, it reappeared as a jet designed and built by A.R.G.U.S., the branch of Homeland Security that deals with superhuman activity and was founded by Steve Trevor. In this new continuity, the jet is the main form of transport for the Justice League that answers to A.R.G.U.S.. Because Wonder Woman is still a member of this team, she is able to continue to use the jet when a mission calls for it. However, the jet no longer belongs specifically to her, nor does it have a history with Themyscira or the Amazons. This jet is also rarely used – Wonder Woman’s flying ability is now such that she never needs it for herself, and so it only comes into play to transport others in the League who cannot fly (or who are civilians).
8. The Invisible Plane Is Packing Heat
Early versions of the plane were used solely for transport, and the only real defense that the jet had was its invisibility. As time went on and the jet developed, this began to change. By the time of the Post-Crisis Morphing Disk Plane, Wonder Woman’s transport came with a full array of weaponry. However, Wonder Woman rarely used the plane’s various missiles and projectiles in battle. For one thing, she has other weaponry that she prefers to use, and generally uses the jet for transport rather than for fighting. The main reason that she doesn’t often use the on-board systems is that these deplete the plane’s energy sources (as they are formed out of the morphing disk itself at times). The more that the weapons are used, the harder it is for the Invisible Plane to maintain its Invisibility. The jet can be destroyed, so it is more important for Diana to keep it safe and invisible than it is to use the jet’s weapons in the majority of cases.
7. It Is Destructible (But Can Re-Form)
Earlier jets, being no more than high-tech invisible planes, can be destroyed and damaged like any other. This is where the invisibility came in so useful – it’s difficult to destroy what is impossible to see. In fact, this has been said to be the reason that Diana upgraded the Amazonian technology to make their planes invisible to human eyes (and radars) – so that they could not be shot down by enemy aircraft. Pre-Crisis, Wonder Woman even crashes the jet at one point. Post-Crisis, however, the morphing ability of the alien jet allows it to regenerate and repair itself when damaged. This obviously came in very handy, as the jet could be damaged and still recover (along with her home, the WonderDome). However, Diana still wouldn’t want to be careless with the Invisible Plane, as regeneration is time consuming, and difficult for the sentient ship. Because of this, she continues to avoid attacks, rather than rely on the jet’s ability to re-form.
6. The Invisible Plane Can Fly In Space
Unlike our pedestrian airplanes (and even the average military jet), Wonder Woman’s plane can fly into outer space. This applies primarily to the Post-Crisis Lansanarian Morphing Disk version, which makes perfect sense – alien technology would presumably have the ability to travel in outer space. While in space in the jet, Wonder Woman could also temporarily use the jet’s oxygen to breathe, although this wasn’t something that could be maintained for long periods of time. She has stayed in space in her Invisible Plane (breathing normally) for up to twenty minutes – potentially this could be possible for longer. Because this version of the plane also morphs, it may be possible for Wonder Woman to ask the plane to morph itself some kind of equipment to create a longer-lasting oxygen supply, but she has had no occasion to do this, so we don’t know for sure. Still, space travel is potentially incredibly useful, especially if it comes to battling many of the inter-galactic villains in the DC universe.
5. The Plane Used To Have A Drop Ladder
The original Invisible Plane was essentially just a normal plane that you couldn’t see – which meant that the early (less superpowered) version of Wonder Woman needed a way to get from the ground up to the cockpit. At first, she would store the plane in an abandoned barn, and when she needed to fly it she would use a drop ladder to climb inside or onto the wing. The ladder, along with the rest of the plane’s various parts and supplies, was also invisible (which must have made it tricky to climb!). As Wonder Woman’s powers grew through the years, the ladder became less and less necessary. After a while, she could simply jump up onto the wing of the plane (and control the plane from there). Finally, when the ability to fly was added to the Wonder Woman arsenal, she could simply fly up into it – even flying out of it and back in again while the plane is in the air if she so desired.
4. Passengers Remain Visible
The iconic image of Wonder Woman and her invisible jet shows our heroine flying through the sky in a seated position, looking for all the world as though she is suspended in mid-air. This was the result of the early Invisible Plane being unable to extend its powers of invisibility to passengers (or cargo, although Wonder Woman usually didn’t fly with anything on board). Although all the various parts of the plane were transparent, anyone inside it would remain visible – not a huge issue when in mid-air, but it did mean that any nearby pilots would be able to see them. This was often confusing to first-time passengers, too. The Post-Crisis version of the plane, however, was able to extend its invisibility to anything inside of it, much like other cloaking devices in science fiction and other comics. This was much more practical (although less interesting to draw, or see on the page for long periods!), as it allowed Wonder Woman to more effectively stay hidden, escape, or sneak up on enemies.
3. Wonder Woman Has A Telepathic and a Tiara-Based Connection To The Plane
Although Wonder Woman is often pictured sitting in an invisible pilot’s seat, holding on to an invisible steering wheel, she doesn’t actually need to fly the plane the same way that a human pilot would. She can, of course, but she doesn’t need to. Instead, she has a telepathic connection to the plane that allows her to call for it over great distances, pilot it, and use its various weapons systems. This was especially important with later, sentient versions of the plane, where it could communicate with Wonder Woman, rather than just being piloted remotely using telekinesis. She has also used her Tiara to control the plane in the past. In this case, the tiara contained Amazonian tech that could control the plane from afar, especially when it came to the plane’s course. Because of this, Wonder Woman could (and often did) pilot the jet while on top of it, rather than inside it – very handy for battling villains in the sky.
2. It Can Become The Flying Fortress: WonderDome
The Post-Crisis alien plane was able to morph into anything – including an incredible floating fortress called WonderDome. Like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, this was a base of operations for Wonder Woman, as well as somewhere to relax away from the demands of the human world (and the need to appear human all the time). The WonderDome takes its appearance from typical Grecian architecture, with various columned structures that serve different purposes. Between these are gardens and promenades, with Wonder Woman’s living quarters in the center. In all, the main level has an armory, two menageries, a Temple of Arts and Science, a Temple of Foreseeing, a garden, two promenades (Warriors and Champions) and three halls (Olympus, Heroes and Wonders & Miracles). Parts of the WonderDome can morph when needed, and even break off to form chariots that Wonder Woman can send to Earth to collect visitors. The WonderDome also has all the other functions of the plane/Morphing Disk – it is sentient, and she communicates with it telepathically, it can change shape, create weapons out of itself, and become invisible.
1. The Invisible Plane Won’t Be In The Movie
Fans have wondered whether we would be seeing the Invisible Plane in the movie (and made many jokes about how we wouldn’t be able to see an invisible plane anyway!), but it won’t be arriving just yet. During a Hall H panel at SDCC, director Patty Jenkins was asked if the jet would be making an appearance – and replied with an emphatic “no.” However, Jenkins did say that although it would not be in this movie, it could well make an appearance in future, saying that this movie is set too early in Wonder Woman’s story to give us “the jet we want”. All of which suggests that not only might we see the Jet in future, but if we do, it would be the alien/WonderDome version, rather than the Amazonian tech version. If it does appear down the line, it won’t be the first time that the jet has been on-screen. In the live-action series, a transparent full-size plane was used to show Wonder Woman flying through the air.
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