Wonder Woman 1984’s splashy debut on HBO Max managed to jumpstart a conversation that fandom has not had in a while. Even though public reaction to the film is incredibly divisive, many can agree that it’s nice to have a conversation like this after COVID-19 threw a wrench into the 2020 movie season.
After any superhero film, whether it be good, bad, or divisive, fans get to dive into what comes next for the series. It’s been confirmed that the next film in the trilogy is being fast-tracked with Patty Jenkins returning to direct and Gal Gadot returning in the titular role. Other than that, not much is known as far as plot, characters, or tone, which gives us a blank slate to speculate what may come next. Here are our top five things we want to see in the next Wonder Woman film:
Return to Original Tone
If 1984 taught us anything, it’s that fans do not care for Wonder Woman’s cartoonish tone, at least in live action movies. Wonder Woman has a complicated history in the comics and other mediums. The original comic fandom is divided between depicting Diana as a warrior goddess or as a beacon of hope, love, and peace. Director Patty Jenkins recognized this divide and tried to make the second film for fans of the latter. While Jenkin’s original thesis is valid, it is now abundantly clear that general audiences prefer the warrior depiction of the character.
Jenkins tried to make a film that honored the legacy of the character, particularly in the 1970’s when Lynda Carter held the lasso. Although some fans felt the nostalgia, a good portion of the audiences did not. Jenkin’s would be wise to take note of this and construct the third film in a way that takes the best elements of the character and develops a story with mass appeal, much like the first film did.
Return to Modern Day
Up until now, the Wonder Woman series has stuck to period pieces that distance themselves from the contemporary timeline of Batman v. Superman and Justice League. Diana’s modern persona set up by Zack Snyder is one of the best elements of BvS and it would be great to explore the way she operates in the modern world.
This would also give Jenkins the chance to fill in the gaps between the continuity of her films and Snyder’s. Exploring Diana’s mindset during the modern timeline could explain why Diana has such a different mindset in these films versus Snyder’s. Accomplishing this may require flashbacks to fill in the 40 year gap and allow for the deep character exploration that Jenkins looks for in Wonder Woman.
Fix Cheetah, but stick with Wiig
Cheetah was a missed opportunity in Wonder Woman 1984. The classic comic villain played second fiddle to Pedro Pascal’s Maxwell Lord and was not given time to shine. Her arc was essential to the film, but her full transformation into Cheetah was shoehorned into the third act. 1984 would have been better all-around if Kristen Wiig’s full arc had not played out until the third film.
Wiig however made a surprisingly good Dr. Barbra Minerva. She played the personality change well for comedian turned dramatic actress, but the character could use a tune up. Switching back to the tone of the original film could elevate her character to new heights. The end of 1984 returns Minerva to her human form (because Lord renounced his wish), but since she made her first wish before Lord became the wishing stone, she still her abilities and darker personality. This would allow Jenkin’s to explore what Minerva has become since she lost her apex predator status, and possibly give a more robust origin story for her transformation.
Return to Themyscira
One of the best contributions that Patty Jenkins made to the Wonder Woman mythology is her depiction of Themyscira. The island of mythological warriors has never been so beautifully realized in live-action or animation, but so far, the island is not used very much in the series. Narratively, it’s been established that since Diana left the island, she “may never return.” Her mother Hippolyta tells her this most likely because the island is intentionally impossible to locate, but the next film could find a way to allow Diana to locate the island using her abilities inherited from her father Zeus.
Returning to the island could be a main plot point in the next film and focus on Diana’s relationship with her mother and her bond with the island. Diana can also challenge the misconceptions that the Amazons have about mankind, which would continue the themes of the first film while incorporating the lessons Diana learned in the second. Using Themyscira as a main setting for the third film will allow for deeper exploration into Wonder Woman mythology and what makes the character so special to this day.
Explore Greek Mythology, Asteria, and maybe Wonder Girl
One of the most unique aspects of Wonder Woman’s backstory is her connection to Greek Mythology, but it has not been explored too deeply in these films. It’s existed as an echo in the background but has never taken center stage. Audiences have proven to gravitate towards Greek mythology, so exploring the origins and intentions of the Amazons’ existence would benefit the film greatly.
A major aspect of Greek mythology that was hinted at in the second film was Asteria, the Amazon that was left behind in the world of man. Bringing back Lynda Carter full-time would be an incredible selling point for the film, but even better would be looking into the future and introducing the next generation with Wonder Girl.
Introducing the human orphan Donna Troy, who is given Amazonian powers after Diana rescues her and takes her in would guide the DCEU into a future that takes advantage of the wonderful young heroes in DC mythology. The beauty of introducing Wonder Girl into the DCEU is that she has a connection to both the Teen Titans and Young Justice, both of which would be an incredible and fresh direction for DC to take beyond its core cast of the Justice League that cannot seem to completely stick the landing.