When Patty Jenkins’ ‘Wonder Woman’ first came to theatres in 2017, audiences weren’t prepared for the cultural impact it would create, especially considering DC’s checkered box office and critical success. And three years ago, we couldn’t have possibly imagined the kind of world we’re in right now. But here we are: Watching our first major superhero movie of the year at the very end of it, and fans across the world will get to watch it in quite different ways.
Warner Bros’ surprise announcement last week to release their entire 2021 slate in a hybrid manner — theatres and streaming at the same time — ruffled many big feathers. But ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ will be the first film to test the model. While UAE fans still get to watch the movie a whole week before it releases on Christmas Day in the US and other markets, there’ll be a wider audience watching it on the streaming service HBO Max in their homes.
And even as filmmakers like Christopher Nolan (‘Tenet’, ‘Inception’), a long-time Warner Bros collaborator, lashed out at the studio for the sudden decision, director Jenkins has gone on record to say she’s at least curious about testing the waters.
“I am not for this way of doing things in general. But these are strange days and there are no good solutions,” Jenkins said in an interview with AP. “There’s nothing perfect about this release plan and there was nothing perfect about any release plan. And that’s the point.”
But Jenkins is also just excited for audiences to finally see the film and hopes that it might bring a little joy at the end of a devastating year. “Honestly, it brings tears to my eyes the idea that I got to make a film that you would watch for Christmas,” she said. “I just think it’s so special.”
Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about ‘Wonder Woman 1984’, which sees Gal Gadot return as the titular hero.
From the First World War to the neon-coloured 80s
If the global pandemic has warped everyone’s sense of time, get ready to do some more time travelling in ‘Wonder Woman 1984’. While the 2017 film had an understandably darker tone, being set in the First World War, the sequel throws its cast into the neon-hued excesses of the 1980s in the United States — bad perms, shoulder pads, garish costumes, synth pop, the works. Think ‘Stranger Things’ on steroids, and with even larger stakes. “This [movie] should be as if you’re going to a massive temple in the eighties, that’s completely authentic,” said Jenkins in an interview with comicbook.com.
Steve Trevor returns — but we don’t know how
Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor — the First World War fighter pilot and soldier who died at the end of ‘Wonder Woman’ — magically reappears decades later in ‘Wonder Woman 1984’, but the makers are tight-lipped about his resurrection. However, from what we can make out from the trailers and promos, Trevor is very much a huge part of the film as Diana Prince’s paramour. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Pine said of his returning role, “In the first movie, I played the world-weary soldier who has seen all the depravity that humankind is capable of displaying. And in this one I get to be much more wide-eyed and joyful. My role is really just as a friend, lover, boyfriend-cum-bodyguard who’s trying his best to help Diana on her mission. I’m like the Watson to her Holmes.”
The big bad villains
In ‘Wonder Woman 1984’, Kristen Wiig (‘Bridesmaid’, ‘Ghostbusters’) makes her debut as the classic Wonder Woman villain, Cheetah. In the comics, the character first appeared as far ago as 1943 and has seen multiple iterations over the years, even as a male character once. The Cheetah we see in ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ will be the Barbara Ann Minerva version, a shy and awkward gemologist working alongside Diana Prince at the Natural History Museum in Washington DC
“The physical part of it was a really important thing for me as an actress, to even just be comfortable in doing this part, because I’ve never done a role like this, I’ve never been in a movie like this. Cheetah is a strong, powerful person and I wanted to feel that way,” said Wiig about her role in an interview with the Sunday Morning Herald.
Joining Wiig at the big bad’s table is the Mandalorian himself. An unmasked Pedro Pascal (‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Narcos’) plays Maxwell Lord, a business mogul with sinister intentions. “It’s this character who encompasses a component of the era which is, you know, ‘Get whatever want, however you can. You’re entitled to it!’ And at any cost, ultimately, which represents a huge part of our culture and this kind of unabashed — it’s greed,” said Pascal in an interview with EW.
What’s up with Wonder Woman’s Golden Eagle armour?
Since early promos of ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ dropped online, one particular look has captured everyone’s imagination: Diana’s armour of gold with a magnificent set of gilded wings to match. Dubbed famously as the Golden Eagle armour, the look first, of course, originated in comic book pages, with its debut outing in 1996’s ‘Elsewords: Kingdom Come’ by Alex Ross and Mark Waid.
In the comic book, set in a dystopian future, Diana dons the armour to fight a new class of metahumans and supes gone rogue. It’s decidedly a darker moment in Wonder Woman’s history as she fights violence with extreme violence, a characteristic antithetical to her very nature that is inherently anti-war and violence — something we saw in the original ‘Wonder Woman’ film as well. She eventually comes around, with a little help from Superman, and takes off the armour.
Keeping this in mind, it makes sense for our current Diana Prince to put on this armour, as she takes on two of her biggest nemeses — Cheetah and Maxwell Lord.
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‘Wonder Woman 1984’ releases in the UAE on December 17.