Fans never like superhero casting news, and when it was leaked early that Kristen Wiig was playing Cheetah in Wonder Woman 2, the backlash started almost immediately. Just a few days later, director Patty Jenkins confirmed it was true. Now, Diana Prince herself, Gal Gadot, has come out to welcome the former SNL favorite to the cast of her anticipated sequel. Gal Gadot says this with open arms.
"I'm SO excited welcome on board Kristen! This is going to be WONDERful!"
People complained when Ben Affleck signed on as Batman. Fans rallied against Heath Ledger as The Joker when he was initially announced. Heck, there was a whole contingency of basement dwelling weirdos back in the 80s who picketed Warner Bros. when news of Michael Keaton taking on Bruce Wayne emerged. So of course Kristen Wiig being associated with any DC Comics character is going to bring out the banshees. But 9 times out of 10, these unconventional casting choices have worked in the movie's favor. Fingers crossed that's the case here.
Cheetah will be the main villain, in a story rumored to take place in the mid-80s during the height of the Cold War. While there have been a couple different versions of Cheetah in the DC Comics, this one is reportedly taking on the guise of Barbara Ann Minerva, though neither Gal Gadot nor Patty Jenkins have even hinted at that. Cheetah will be a big nerd, so already, you have some pretty spot on casting with Wiig right there.
Minerva is a British anthropologist who gets transformed into a cheetah god after discovering the lost city of Urzkartagan, finding herself in the middle of an ancient ritual. This version of the character first appeared in 1987, as created by DC Comics writer Len Wein. After a short absence, Minerva reappeared in the New 52 comics launched in 2011. Cheetah will be an interesting nasty lady for Dianna Prince to tangle with. She's got enhanced agility, ability to control animals, great intellect, can sense death, shape shift, is rather stealthy, heightened senses and super strength.The character can come across kind of cartoonish in the hyper-realistic world of the comics, so it will be interesting to see how they pull off the make-up in a more nuanced live-action movie.
Gal Gadot returns as Wonder Woman, first introduced on the big screen in Batman V Superman, before taking the lead in her own box office hit this past summer. She then appeared a few months later in the much-less well received Justice League. Though the DCEU is in a constant state of flux, as it experiences one shake up after the next, Wonder Woman 2 is a sure thing. Wonder Woman is also expected to show up in Flashpoint, which just confirmed its directorial team. That movie is said to shake up the DCEU and change it forever as DC Films looks to expand what they are currently doing, and move away from its shared movie universe.
You can check out Gal Gadot's Tweet here, and ponder whether or not DC Films and Warner Bros. made the right choice. Kristen Wiig's movie career is a huge mixed bag of hits and misses. But genre fans who gravitate towards movies like Wonder Woman 2 still see her as one of the main factors that ruined the Ghostbusters franchise. So for the time being, they're not being so forgiving. Let's hope Kristen Wiig can pull a Heath Ledger and turn this opinion around. We're rooting for her to be awesome.