As iconic a character as Princess Diana aka Wonder Woman is, she has suffered from a lack of significant villains in her live-action avatars so far. Now, one of the greatest villains from Wonder Woman comics is preparing to make her debut in Wonder Woman 1984, namely The Cheetah, played by Kristen Wiig. The director of the movie Patty Jenkins recently admitted that she had grave doubts about introducing Cheetah in the film for fear it would not look right.
"Executing Cheetah was harrowing. I got to tell you, I knew that I wanted Cheetah to be in it, but from day one I was like, 'Whew, this is ... Got to be right!' You know? I was so scared about not getting it to look right, and it took every second from the moment we started prep to the moment we watched picture to get it there. Like, every single second was so hard to do."
The version of Cheetah who will appear in the film is the alter ego of Barbara Ann Minerva, a shy and diffident archeologist who dreams of becoming as strong and powerful as Wonder Woman. In her quest for power, Barbara teams up with Maxwell Lord, who helps her transform into the "apex predator" Cheetah with the help of some forbidden magic. According to Patty Jenkins, Barbara's arc from where she starts off as Diana's friend before becoming her enemy is reflective of her own experience with certain types of female friendships.
"We talked about it a little bit, it's not a purely feminine arc, but it is an arc that makes a lot of sense to women and their friendships that they've had in their youth. And so it was fun to get to do that, and interesting to get to do that kind of thing, your friend that turned into your frenemy when they realize that they're coveting something about you, and that was really cool. It was cool to try to make her arc really organic, or get to a place where it's my turn. There's that bitterness, I loved her performance there, where she says, 'Now it's my turn. You think I don't understand?', misunderstanding completely what Diana's trying to tell her."
Early reviews for Wonder Woman 1984 have been quite positive, with audiences, in particular, praising the message of the film. Hopefully, Kristen Wiig as Cheetah will go down as one of the iconic actor/character pairings of superhero cinema, and Wonder Woman will finally have that franchise-defining movie antagonist, along the lines of Superman and Lex Luthor, and Batman and Joker.
Directed and co-written by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman 1984 stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, and Natasha Rothwell. The film arrives in theaters and HBO Max on December 25, while debuting theatrically in international markets starting on December 16. The film will be available for a month on HBO Max in the U.S. included at no additional cost. This news originated at ComicBook.com.