At one time it was considered sacrilegious, but it is more acceptable nowadays when movies take liberties and don’t adapt comics to the letter. This is an advantage Patty Jenkins wants to capitalize on in her upcoming Wonder Woman 1984, especially with the film’s villain.
Cheetah, according to the rumor mill, will receive a change to her origin for cinemas, not that that is anything new for her or DC. Nonetheless, the civilian known, at first, as Barbara Ann Minerva (played by Kristen Wiig) becomes a literal, and feral, cat lady through the granting of a wish meant to make her more like Wonder Woman, whom she looks up to.
Grace Randolph of Beyond The Trailer tweeted this potential spoiler along with a little poll to gauge fans’ thoughts on the matter. Not many were in love with the idea — a measly 6% — but a plurality, 64%, deemed the MacGuffin “interesting.” Almost half that called for a “comic accurate” depiction, so there are still those out there who want a literal interpretation that puts the page to screen.
I’m hearing the origin of #Cheetah in #WW1984 has been totally changed – and that now she’s more of a fan who makes a wish to be like #WonderWoman which goes horribly wrong. How would you feel about that?
— Grace Randolph (@GraceRandolph) March 19, 2019
When relaunched in the late 80s, the decade of Crisis on Infinite Earths and the time Barbara Ann Minerva was introduced, Cheetah was a British archaeologist and anthropologist who went to Africa in search of a lost city, Urzkartaga, and becomes the avatar for the residing tribe’s cheetah god, after an impromptu ritual goes wrong.
Sound familiar? It bears some similarity to the transformation of Dr. June Moone into Enchantress reproduced in Suicide Squad. One Twitter user replied to Randolph, noting this with the help of a Britney Spears GIF. Obviously, feelings are mixed even if the amateur poll’s results tend toward favorable.
Maybe they’re trying to make her origin as different as possible to Enchantresses… this is certainly… different. pic.twitter.com/CS6cL4TGg5
— WTF, Richard!? (@TheFlyingSoop) March 19, 2019
It stands to reason Patty Jenkins and Warner Bros. would try to distinguish Cheetah’s origin story from Enchantress if they are trying to distance themselves from the established Extended Universe. The new backstory has a ring of 80s nostalgia to it — apropos considering the setting for the film and the tone and inspirations of its fellow release, Shazam!
Wonder Woman 1984 is sure to have an 80s flair to it. Diana gets caught up in the Cold War before meeting her archenemy, and her origin indicates Jenkins is doubling down on the decade’s vibe in a way David Sandberg did with Shazam! Power or a transformation passed down by a wish is something lifted from movies like Vice Versa and Big — a film Sandberg cited as an influence for him.
How ironic, a time that saw the end of DC’s Multiverse, temporarily, bequeaths cues to the next wave of DC films.
Directed by Patty Jenkins from a story by her and Geoff Johns, Wonder Woman 1984 is due out June 5, 2020.