After three relatively underwhelming superhero movies, Warner Bros. Pictures finally struck gold with 2017’s Wonder Woman, a critical and commercial hit that broke a long list of box office records on its way to becoming one of the most successful superhero movies of all time. Its sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, finally has a trailer, and we have our first look at the film’s villain.
The Wonder Woman sequel was officially confirmed in July 2017, with director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot both returning. Wonder Woman 1984 is currently scheduled to hit theaters on December 25, 2020, the latest premiere date after several delays to the release of the film. Here’s everything we know about the movie so far.
Release delayed (again)
In September, Warner Bros. Pictures officially announced the latest delay to the film’s release date, confirming fans and industry pundits’ long-held suspicion that the October 2 premiere wasn’t likely to hold up.
According to Variety, Wonder Woman 1984 will now hit theaters on Christmas Day, December 25. The decision to move the release date for the fifth time likely had to due with the lukewarm box-office performance of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, the first big-budget release to premiere since many theaters in the U.S. — and around the world — closed due to the pandemic.
Previously, WB pushed Wonder Woman 1984 to October 2 after its August 14 premiere seemed untenable. The move was just one of a spate of big movie releases affected by the coronavirus pandemic at that point. The film was originally given a December 13, 2019, release date, only to have WB move the premiere a month earlier to November 1.
In late October 2018, Warner Bros. moved Wonder Woman 1984 from its November 1, 2019, release date to June 5, 2020. While no specific reasons were given for the change, Gal Gadot seemed to indicate that she felt Wonder Woman 1984 was more of a summer blockbuster than an early November release. Then, the coronavirus pandemic forced movie theaters to close and production to cease, leading to the film’s third and fourth release date delay.
Super excited to announce that, thanks to the changing landscape, we are able to put Wonder Woman back to its rightful home. June 5, 2020. Be there or be square!!!
— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) October 22, 2018
During the DC FanDome event in August, Warner Bros. Pictures released a new trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 (see above) that not only delivered plenty of fresh footage but also gave audiences their first look at Kristen Wiig’s character, Cheetah, fully transformed and in action. The trailer featured Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Cheetah battling at several points both before the latter’s transformation and after her full, furry Cheetah makeover.
In September, a Japanese trailer delivered even more new footage, including Diana flying in her golden armor:
First look at Cheetah
New promotional images posted on July 9 on Twitter gave us our very first look at Kristen Wiig’s fully transformed Cheetah, behind an appropriately ’80s filter.
— Wonder Woman News (@WonderWoman84HQ) July 9, 2020
On Twitter, Patty Jenkins revealed just how much work went into finalizing the costume design and nailing the presentation for how Cheetah will appear on screen:
Extremely hard. We wanted it to look fantastic and that ended up being very complex. First, the most incredible design then figuring out how to execute it was a long journey. It ended up being a mix of practical and visual effects but it was worth it to make it look amazing! https://t.co/gdXcM4zTjC
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) August 18, 2020
Empire revealed a new picture of a young Diana competing in the Amazon games — an apparent flashback from Wonder Woman 1984. Their article also includes a few comments from director Patty Jenkins about her hopes for potential spinoffs surrounding Paradise Island.
Some ideas include an animated series focused on the Amazons, as well as an Amazon spinoff film that would be “part of the in-world story of Wonder Woman.” Jenkins also reflected on her thoughts for a third Wonder Woman film. “You’re enjoying the movie you’re making and also reflecting on what could be different or better in the [real] world,” she said. “And therefore what story you want to tell. That’s the greatest thing to me about superhero stories. You’re able to have a dialogue about what a hero would be right now. So yes, I have ideas for what I’d like to say, and Gal does too.”
Patty Jenkins revealed a new, electric promotional poster on Twitter in August.
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) August 21, 2020
Wonder Woman wields her famous Lasso of Truth on a poster for Wonder Woman 1984 obtained by Coming Soon.
Exclusive images from Empire show the evolution that Diana Prince makes from Amazon warrior to gold-clad hero who romantically dances outside the Lincoln Memorial.
“The first movie was a coming of age, it was Diana becoming Wonder Woman,” star Gal Gadot stated. “She was very naive and she didn’t understand the complexities of life. A fish out of water. In this movie, that’s not the case whatsoever. Diana has evolved. She’s much more mature and very wise. However, she’s very lonely. She lost all of her team members and she’s guarded. And then something crazy happens.”
Collider also has a collection of new stills for the upcoming DC Extended Universe (DCEU) movie, including Wonder Woman in action and the return of Steve Trevor.
A photo from Total Film (via SlashFilm) finds Steve and Diana hanging out in a warehouse — she in a jumpsuit, he in a tracksuit. Is this her lair?
A video poster
In a video poster released in March, Diana of Themyscira appears in full gold armor and experiences some tracking issues.
— Wonder Woman 1984 (@WonderWomanFilm) March 13, 2020
Enter the Cheetah
The Wonder Woman sequel is bringing in one of Hollywood’s most entertaining actresses to play the villain in the DC Comics heroine’s next big-screen adventure. Jenkins announced the casting of Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters actress Kristen Wiig in the role of Cheetah in March 2018, and now an unofficial image making the rounds online offers an illustration of her sporting the character’s signature look.
— SC Reviews (@SCReviewsmang) February 9, 2020
The image first appeared on a Wonder Woman fan account and was later removed — but not before it found its way elsewhere around the movie news world. The image certainly makes a strong case for being legitimate, as it features a look very much in keeping with Cheetah’s traditional appearance, with plenty of 1980s-style graphics in keeping with the film’s setting.
Wiig’s involvement in the film was first confirmed via Jenkins in a March 9, 2018, update on Twitter.
So excited to confirm the most thrilling news. Yes! It’s true! So incredibly lucky to welcome the sensationally talented Kristen Wiig to our Wonder Woman family. Can't wait to finally work with one of my favorites. And SO excited by what we have planned. #Cheetah!!! @GalGadot pic.twitter.com/Gn0jICiIAH
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) March 9, 2018
In late June 2018, Jenkins posted the first photo of Wiig in character as Barbara Minerva, whose DC Comics counterpart is a former archaeologist who was transformed into a demigod with the characteristics of a cheetah — enhanced strength, speed, and senses, as well as sharp teeth and claws.
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) June 27, 2018
In an April 2020 conversation with Empire Magazine, Jenkins discussed what motivates Cheetah. “What makes Barbara turn into Cheetah is feeling like she’s never been as good as someone like Diana,” she said. “She reminds me of certain people I’ve known who have such low self-confidence that they’re always holding themselves back. Then once they start to embrace change, out comes this ugly resentment built up over all those years.”
The first trailer
After a quiet few months, Wonder Woman 1984 finally got its first full-length trailer on December 8. The preview served up an introduction to the film’s 1980s setting and some of the new faces — and familiar characters — that will appear in the superhero sequel.
Along with confirming the return of Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, the character who sacrificed himself to save the world in the first movie, the trailer also offers a peek at two of the movie’s likely villains: Maxwell Lord, the businessman played by The Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal, and Barbara Minerva, the archaeologist played by Kristen Wiig who eventually becomes The Cheetah.
The trailer was light on details when it comes to how Steve Trevor returns in 1984, and didn’t reveal much about the aforementioned villains, either — but the footage was accompanied by New Order’s classic 1980s hit Blue Monday, so we’re willing to let it slide.
Colors and armor
Jenkins posted the first poster for Wonder Woman 1984 in June, and it not only featured a rainbow of colors — in keeping with Pride Month — but also offered a glimpse of the new armor Wonder Woman will wear in the film.
By now you’ve heard: WB isn’t going to Hall H this year. We’re so sad to miss you there! And waiting until Dec. to start our official #WW84 campaign in full– But the truth is… we can just… barely… wait… pic.twitter.com/QllFzhYRA6
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) June 5, 2019
The image was accompanied by confirmation that Warner Bros. Pictures would begin more promotion of the film in December.
Just before Christmas 2018, Gadot took to Instagram to share some exciting news. After a six-month shoot that spanned Washington, D.C., the U.K., Spain, and the Canary Islands, Wonder Woman 1984 finally wrapped production on December 22, 2018.
In her social media post, Gadot complimented Wonder Woman 1984‘s 1,000-strong cast and crew for “giving everything they have into our movie,” and singled out director Patty Jenkins for some extra praise. “She always has our backs, she gives us the wings to dare, and every day she helped us find the most creative version of ourselves,” Gadot said. “I am so grateful to call her my friend.”
All in all, it sounds like filming Wonder Woman 1984 was a difficult but rewarding process. “I love this character,” Gadot said, signing off. “I’m so happy and excited, can’t wait to share it with you in 2020!”
Fans of Wonder Woman’s Amazon allies will certainly be happy to know that both Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen will be reprising their roles from the 2017 film as General Antiope and Queen Hippolyta, respectively.
Wright confirmed her return as Antiope during an interview with Net-A-Porter, revealing that she and Nielsen filmed a “flashback sequence” for Wonder Woman 1984 in Spain.
Know the score
As if there wasn’t enough excitement surrounding Wonder Woman 1984, the film has recruited Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer to provide the score for the film.
Zimmer announced his involvement with Wonder Woman’s next solo adventure on his website. The project will bring him back to the DC Comics superhero world after scoring 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which had him create the score for Gadot’s debut as the character. The acclaimed composer has been nominated for 11 Academy Awards over the years, winning in 1994 for The Lion King.
The first Wonder Woman was scored by Rupert Gregson-Williams, Zimmer’s longtime collaborator.
Photos, cameras, and an official title
In mid-June 2018, a flurry of updates on Wonder Woman 1984 made it clear that work was indeed moving along on the film.
After releasing a promotional image featuring “WW84,” Jenkins, Gadot, and the studio confirmed the official title for the film, Wonder Woman 1984, in a series of social media updates. Along with signaling the start of production on the film, the updates also featured the first two photos from Wonder Woman 1984.
An update from Gadot had her character gazing into a series of television screens, many of which depicted iconic imagery from the ’80s.
Following the above update, Gadot also gave us our first look at Wonder Woman’s new outfit. It is largely similar to the one she wore during the first movie, but this new costume is a bit brighter. It has a shine to it that fits in well with the aesthetics of the 1980s.
— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) June 16, 2018
Meanwhile, Jenkins posted a particularly interesting photo of Chris Pine’s character from the first film, Steve Trevor, in a 1980s shopping mall. Given his decision to sacrifice his life in Wonder Woman, and that he’d be more than 80 years old in 1984, the photo featuring a still-young Steve Trevor sparked quite a bit of speculation among fans.
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) June 13, 2018
From Westeros to Themyscira
Game of Thrones actor and The Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal was cast in a key role in the Wonder Woman sequel. The character played by Pascal will be Maxwell Lord, a powerful businessman in the DC Comics universe who eventually became one of the publisher’s most diabolical villains.
Pascal is best known for playing Oberyn Martell on HBO’s Game of Thrones, as well as Javier Peña in the Netflix drama Narcos. He currently stars in the Disney+ series The Mandalorian as the titular bounty hunter, and he previously had a featured role in Kingsman: The Golden Circle and starred opposite Denzel Washington in the sequel to The Equalizer.
The Wonder Woman sequel will be a reunion of sorts for Pascal and Jenkins, as the actor previously appeared in the 2015 drama Exposed, which was directed by Jenkins.
New time, new place
Before she was officially confirmed as the sequel’s director, Jenkins discussed some of the ideas she hoped to bring to the second chapter of Wonder Woman’s solo saga.
According to a May 2017 profile of Jenkins, the second film would have a more contemporary setting than the World War I backdrop of Wonder Woman. Later reports indicated that the Cold War era would be the time period for the second film, with the action unfolding in the U.S. during the height of international tensions, rather than returning to Europe.
Whatever the story does entail, it has an impressive writing team scripting it. Geoff Johns, a veteran DC Comics writer and DC Films co-chairman, initially crafted the story for the sequel with Jenkins, and The Expendables screenwriter Dave Callaham was brought on in September 2017 to join the writing team.
Diana’s in for the long run
Gadot will return as Wonder Woman for the sequel, but her continued presence as the face of the franchise wasn’t always so certain.
The star of Wonder Woman was initially contracted for just three films in WB’s superhero universe, and after appearing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman, and Justice League, her deal was due to run out before Wonder Woman 1984. At some point after the release of Wonder Woman, however, Gadot’s future with the franchise was reportedly extended beyond those three films. How far beyond those films she’ll go remains uncertain at this point.
Breaking more than box-office records
When Jenkins made her return for Wonder Woman 1984 official, she broke yet another record in a long list of accolades associated with the superhero’s still-young film franchise.
The filmmaker’s deal to direct, co-write, and produce the sequel to Wonder Woman reportedly makes her the highest-paid female director in Hollywood history. The contract was the product of an “unusually lengthy and tough negotiation,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, with Jenkins pushing to earn as much as Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder. (Wonder Woman was both critically and commercially more successful than both of those films in U.S. theaters.)
Not only does Jenkins’ deal reportedly earn her between $7 million and $9 million for her credited work on the film, but it also gives her a relatively large percentage of the film’s back-end earnings (the money it makes after covering its production and promotional costs).
In much the same way Wonder Woman effectively set a new standard for female-led and female-directed action movies, Jenkins’ deal for Wonder Woman 1984 goes a long way toward setting a new precedent for compensating female directors, who have traditionally earned less than their male counterparts in Hollywood.
Updated September 22, 2020: Added new Japanese trailer.