Potential Villains for the next Wonder Woman movie
Despite having a seventy-five year publication history, Wonder Woman’s gallery of rogues is nowhere as diverse as that of her male contemporaries. Unlike Batman or Superman whose villains are almost as popular as the heroes themselves, i.e. Joker, Penguin, Lex Luthor and Zod just to name a few. Outside of comic book circles, most people would be hard pressed to name any of Wonder Woman’s most enduring villains. With the success of the 2017 film, which at the time of writing is poised to surpass Batman vs Superman at the box office, interest is mounting in who Diana will be facing in her next movie. Wonder Woman’s debut saw her fighting not one, but two villains from her roster of rogues, Ares and Doctor Poison. While Ares’ fate was resoundingly decided in the film, the fate of Doctor Poison, played by Elena Anaya in tragically haunting performance, is more ambiguous, and could surface in the future. Still with the plans to scatter Diana’s adventures throughout the last century, eventually marrying up with her emergence in Batman v Superman combatting Doomsday, pitting Diana against a different villain at each turn, might make for better storytelling. It would also allow each adventure to be a self-contained story, not needing to pay service to the broader cinematic universe DC is presently building. Future sequels could capitalise on Diana’s immortality by allowing her to see the progress of the Women’s Movement through the century as she faces enemies who are products of their time. CHEETAH
Cheetah has been around almost as long as Wonder Woman herself, making her first appearance in 1943, as Priscilla Rich, a debutante with a split personality whose other persona, a ‘treacherous, relentless, huntress’ embarks on a wave of crime. This Cheetah bore none of the supernatural elements of her more recent incarnation and had several run ins with Diana until she eventually shed her destructive alter-ego on Themyscira.
Following Crisis on the Infinite Earths, readers were introduced to the most enduring version of the character, Barbara Ann Minerva. This version was an archaeologist who was more than an unstable woman in a cheetah costume. Barbara was scientist who travelled to Africa on an archaeological expedition and following the murder of her team by bandits, ends up consuming the blood and berries of ancient plant god Urzkartaga. This transforms her into a part animal, part human savage with a thirst for blood. With DC aversion to placing Diana in the middle of World War 2 to avoid comparisons with Captain America, setting Diana’s next adventure in the 1930s can be a homage to the serials of the period, in the way Indiana Jones has so successfully done. It would allow characters like Etta Candy, Sameer, Charlie and the Chief to be seen again and introduce Barbara Minerva as an evil archaeologist in search of power, by finding Urzkartaga and becoming the Cheetah. Fan casting suggestion: Jessica Chastain
Circe arrived in 1949 with her Greek mythology origins from the Odyssey intact. A powerful sorceress, her mandate was to destroy Wonder Woman at all costs to circumvent a prophecy claiming Diana would be her undoing. Exceedingly beautiful, Circe’s modus operandi was to enslave men by turning them into bestiamorphs who would do her bidding. In recent years, Circe has supplanted the Cheetah as Wonder Woman’s primary nemesis. While she retained her mythological roots, this version of the character was not only beautiful and immortal, she was an extremely powerful sorceress with a cruel and sadistic streak, often relishing the humiliation of her enemies. A sequel involving Circe could take advantage of the heady days the late 60s and early 70's, giving the audience Diana’s perspective of the Women’s Lib Movement. Furthermore, if any there was any villain who could better exploit the era of free love, swingers parties and sexual expression, Circe would definitely be it.
Fan casting suggestion: Eva Green SILVER SWAN
Whatever her origin, pre or post Crisis, one thing about the Silver Swan is abundantly clear, she is all about the pretty.
One of the newer villains in Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery, Silver Swan arrived in 1982 as Helen Alexandros, a failed ballerina rejected because she was deemed too homely for the stage despite her ability to perform. Dancing at an ancient Greek temple, Helena declares her hatred of men for being marginalised because of her appearance and is visited by the god Mars (presumably the Roman cousin of Ares) in exchange for destroying Wonder Woman. Mars offers Helen the chance to be exactly what men want, a beautiful woman. The Silver Swan’s story doesn’t improve much following Crisis. Instead of being a failed ballerina, her alter ego is now Valerie Beaudry, a horribly deformed woman who was exposed to nuclear radiation in the womb. Desperate for love and acceptance, she comes under the influence of a manipulative arms dealers who uses her as his guinea pig and turns her into the titular Swan, a beautiful woman with a hypersonic scream, determined to keep her beauty any costs. A sequel set in the 90s with Diana watching the fruits of the Women’s Movement distorting by the growing importance of self-promotion, body perfection and super model worship, would be the perfect place to introduce the Silver Swan to modern audiences.
Fan casting suggestion: Amanda Seyfried
Other notable mentions include Giganta, Dr. Psycho and Medusa.