After the first movie’s massive success, Warner Bros. is going full speed ahead on Wonder Woman 2. That includes, apparently, Kristen Wiig, who’s negotiating with the studio to play Wondy villain Cheetah. But who is Cheetah? And why does she hate Wonder Woman so much?
The short answer is she’s something of a dark mirror for Diana, a woman consumed by her own insecurity and inferiority complex. She started out, back in Wonder Woman’s early comic book days, as a DC socialite with a dual personality and a cheetah costume.
Over the years, she was shifted to a much more animalistic half-woman-half-cat creature, Barbara Minerva, forced into her form by an evil plant god. As of DC’s recent “Rebirth,” she was reshaped by writer Greg Rucka and artist Liam Sharp to her current role as an archaeologist who helps introduce Diana to Man’s World and works to help her find Themiscyra. Minerva finds a connection between Wondy’s home island and an ancient African culture, or so she thinks: She’s really being tricked by a set of gods with a grudge against Diana. Without Minerva’s knowledge, her rescue beacon is disabled and she’s forcibly wed to an ancient evil, believing that Diana ignored her calls for help. So, yeah, she’s a little bit bitter.
As the name implies, she does get a few things out of the deal, including super-speed, razor-sharp claws, and superhuman strength. The downside, as we mentioned, is a steady diet of innocent bystanders, although we suspect that will go onto the scrap pile along with some of the, ah, more dated bits of her past origins, like the fact she’s getting punished by a plant god for not being a virgin. Yes, that was a thing for a while. DC has kinda downplayed that one over the years. For Wiig, it’s an interesting stretch; people-munching supervillains trying to claw the heroine’s face off, literally, generally falls outside the roles she’s played, but as Bridesmaids and The Martian showed, she’s got a broad range.
One factor that may change up the villain is the setting. Much like the first one was set during World War I, Wonder Woman 2 will reportedly take place during the Cold War as Diana surreptitiously steps in to clean up a mess somewhere in the world. Considering the history of proxy wars waged by both sides, it’s easy to see Diana popping up anywhere in the world, and, of course, Barbara Minerva could have her origin switched around as well. We’ll likely find out soon; Wonder Woman 2 is on the release schedule for November 1st, 2019.