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Sunday, January 8, 2017

7 Cameos to Expect in Wonder Woman

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So far, the DCEU has been pretty terrible.  Even if you liked Man of Steel or Suicide Squad for some ungodly reason, there’s no denying that WB has had a serious problem tapping into the same level of mass popularity Marvel has mustered.  By the same token, the DCEU has come off a lot more scattershot than the competition, with the slow march towards Justice League hampered by the producers regularly hitting the restart button on what the big story should be.  

That means that Wonder Woman will have yet another thankless task in addition to being the first woman-led superhero film of the modern era and needing to turn around the DCEU trend of making terrible movies.  Now, Wonder Woman will also have to be setting pieces in motion for future films like Shazam, Justice League, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman 2.  Given that, I’ve come up with a list of 7 character cameos that I think we can expect from Wonder Woman. 

Here’s an option I wouldn’t have guessed but for some of the recent trailers.  Specifically, the second trailer for Wonder Woman featured a pretty explicit scene of her in the present walking through the Louvre.  She was seen looking at the picture of her from WW1 that was featured in Batman v. Superman, implying that Wonder Woman will feature at least 1 scene in the present of the DCEU.  

Given that, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility for Batman, or rather Bruce Wayne, to show up in some capacity.  We know that Wonder Woman and Batman are going to be working together to form the Justice League in the next movie, so it definitely makes sense to get that ball rolling here.  

What’s more, having Batman on hand would allow the film to use him as part of the framing device, with Wonder Woman telling him the story of her time in World War 1 and why she walked away from the world of men.  It’d give any scene in the future a lot more meaning and usefulness than just reminding us that Wonder Woman exists in the present too. 

This one’s more about building the Wonder Woman brand than the DC entertainment universe as a whole.  Even if the movie ends up a flop, DC/WB has pretty much committed themselves to making these things as if they’re going to spawn a sequel so we can pretty much expect some level of sequel set-up in Wonder Woman one way or another.  Given that Ares is the villain for this first film, I wouldn’t be surprised if Circe ended up lurking in the background to set-up the sequel.  

If you don’t know her, Circe is another character from Greco-Roman myth, specifically The Odyssey.  She was famous in that story for transforming men into pigs, so when she made it into the DCU, she ended up a transformation based witch and a major thorn in Wonder Woman’s side.  She has a bad habit of transforming herself into people as a way to sow deceit, so if DC really wanted to crib from the Thor handbook with the Wonder Woman franchise, Cerci's a good place to start in finding their answer to Loki. 

Cheetah is such a strange part of the Wonder Woman mythos I honestly don’t even know how she’d find a way into things.  She’s a lot like Hawkman or Supergirl in that the concept is very straightforward and clear, but the origin is nearly impossible to string together.  

She’s got somewhere around half a dozen origins, all of which contradict one another and are far too elaborate and unnecessary to explain “killer were-cat woman” as a character.  The thing is, Cheetah was pretty much the first Wonder Woman villain and easily the most iconic in design (no one’s hanging around for the blue snowman,) so she pretty much has to stay around as a villain even if no one’s been able to give her a definitive origin story.   

As such, I would certainly expect to see something in this movie about lost Cheetah people, or maybe the costume shows up somewhere to set her up.  As far as character identities I’d keep an eye out for Priscilla Rich or Barbara Minerva as supporting characters, they’re the civilian identities most commonly associated with the Cheetah. 

I bet you foolishly thought all Amazons came from Paradise Island but nope, there’s actually a second Clan of Amazons from a place called The Bana-Mighdall.  The Bana, as they’re known, were a splinter group of Amazons they left Thymscira eons ago and became a sort of “lost tribe.”  They eventually founded a city in the depths of the Egyptian desert known as the Bana-Mighdall, which became how they were known.  The Bana are often portrayed as a much more egalitarian vision of the Amazons as far as race is concerned.  

See, one of the problems with the Amazons is that they tend to be portrayed as all white people, an idea which eventually became so engrained in the comics sensibilities that they ended up making a whole other tribe and city around the idea of multi-ethnic Amazons.  A lot of that seems to have unfortunately translated to the film so it’d be nice if they addressed it in some way. 

Aside from broaching the diversity angle, the Bana are actually essential to a pair of somewhat important Wonder Woman stories.  Firstly, when they first appeared in the ‘80s and ‘90s, they were key to a story where Artemis, a major supporting character and member of the Bana, took over the mantle of Wonder Woman from Diana.  

Later, they showed up again during the event Amazons Attack, where the Amazons invaded the modern world under the leadership of Cerci and the New Gods, a group of cosmic deities who’ll be the villains of Justice League.  So having them around would be a really solid set-up both for future Wonder Woman film plots and a good starting point for introducing the New Gods.  Add in the Bana’s superior technology, and you can easily see where they’d fit into Wonder Woman’s plot about deadly new WW1 weapons. 

This one feels so obvious I actually kind of doubt they’ll do it.  Atlantis and Themyscira are extremely complementary ideas within universe, they’re both secret hidden cities drawn from classical mythology and based around 1 key superhero to come out of them. 

They’ve both threatened the outside world on multiple occasions, and they’re both seats of incredible magical power, usually with ties to the same pantheon of Gods.  I mean, a vital McGuffin in the Aquaman mythos is “Neptune’s Trident,” I get the sense he’d have encountered the Gods of Olympus on at least one occasion. 

Given that connection, Wonder Woman could serve as a great pre-game to Aquaman.  The thing is, Aquaman is pretty much the only major DC property still on the table at the moment.  The Flash has lost 2 directors, Justice League 2 is definitely getting pushed back, and The Batman has yet to begin pre-production, that just leaves Aquaman to carry this standard through 2018.  

With such weight on his shoulders DC would do well to start teeing up the excitement for him now, a fact they’re keenly aware of given that 2 of his supporting cast members will be in Justice League.  Even if you couldn’t have Aquaman in the Wonder Woman movie, it’d be an easy place to set-up McGuffins or the mechanics by which Atlantis works. 

Here’s another incredibly obvious decision that they definitely won’t do.  Look, at this point, I’ve pretty much given up on the hope of a Shazam movie, if it was happening, I feel like we would’ve heard something by now other than The Rock will be in it as the villain.  

Even that promise rings incredibly unappealing as the Rock isn’t a terribly good villain actor, especially for a role like Black Adam that requires genuine emotion and intensity, neither of which are things the Rock is terribly known for.  However, if WB really is committed to getting a Shazam movie into the world, it should pretty much start with Wonder Woman. 

Firstly, the Wizard Shazam has been around since before Ancient Egypt so he’d definitely still exist during World War 1 if Diana wanted to seek advice from him.  What’s more, Shazam’s power is drawn from several members of Greek myth such as Zeus, Hercules, Achilles, and Atlas so he obviously has a connection to Wonder Woman’s world, like Atlantis would.  

The ties that bind these characters together exist and could easily be used to tie them together into a shared existence, especially with Ares, God of War, as the big bad for the Wonder Woman film.  For instance, if they wanted to avoid having Wonder Woman just kill Ares and thus give in to his way of thinking, the Rock of Eternity, home of Shazam, would be a great mystical prison to introduce as a place to keep him. 

I usually reserve the final space on these lists for the least likely candidate but, in this case, I really do think the New Gods will show up in Wonder Woman.  The big reason is that Justice League is hinging very heavily on the New Gods as a threat and it’d be exceedingly hard to explain who they are AND assemble the team in one film.  As such, teeing up the New Gods in Wonder Woman would get their set-up taken care of, especially because the New Gods are the kind of out there concept Wonder Woman fits into nicely.  

They’re basically space deities, incredibly powerful Gods of abstract concepts that all other Gods exist as reflections of.  As I said, it’s a big, weird idea but setting it up in Wonder Woman means not having to explain it again in Justice League.  It’d also make a lot more sense if Wonder Woman were recounting her World War 1 adventure to Batman to explain the New Gods than if she was just telling him the story for fun.  Actually, given that Justice League is about hunting down 3 supercomputers called Mother Boxes, Wonder Woman’s time in World War 1 could be linked to the location of one of the Mother Boxes.  

Look, the last thing I want for Wonder Woman is for it to just be a prequel to Justice League but realistically speaking those elements are going to be in the film, and it’s best to just lean into them now.  It’d also be nice if one attempt at DCEU world building were handled well rather than completely bungled and if that means Ares is in the thrall of Darkseid or using a Mother Box for evil, well, I can live with that. 

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