When Wonder Woman debuted this past summer, it defied and surpassed fan expectations (which are typically pretty high) and went on to become both a financial and critical success. Naturally any news or rumors surrounding its highly-anticipated follow-up will be met with scrutiny, and the latest report is no exception. The first film’s director Patty Jenkins, who will be returning to helm the sequel told Variety that the new film will feature “another great love story.” While very few details have emerged regarding the story, to be penned by Jenkins and comics guru Geoff Johns, the Internet is already buzzing about what this could mean and we’ll be throwing our hat in the ring as well.
A new love interest
While a romantic relationship in a comic book film is nothing new, too often they’re either under-developed (The Dark Knight Trilogy) or steal too much of the focus (the first two THOR movies). In the first WONDER WOMAN, however, that relationship worked very well. What could have simply been too pretty people looking fondly at each other for two hours ended up being a compelling and ultimately tragic tale of two people from different backgrounds, growing to love and respect one another. The chemistry between stars Gal Gadot and Chris Pine really shined, and made every interaction seem natural, even the awkward ones.
While fans may scream foul at the idea of Diana cozying up to someone else, in all fairness, it’s been several decades since Steve made his heroic sacrifice. If the rumors are true, the sequel will take place during the 1980’s, at the height of the Cold War. If tensions with Russia are to be a plot point, introducing Soviet hero Rocket Red as a new ally, as well as potential new beau, could be very cool indeed.
Another possibility would be exploring a same-sex relationship. While this would certainly raise some controversy, exploring different facets of Diana’s sexuality is nothing new. During DC’s “Rebirth” relaunch, writer Greg Rucka revealed her to be bi-sexual, a fact that totally makes sense, and adds something new to an already complex character. In previous stories, Diana herself has dismissed labels referring to sexuality, opting instead to love people for who they are (regardless of gender) and that she simply is who she is. Going this route would not only stay true to the ideals of the character but send an incredibly positive message that our culture desperately needs more of.
Love for all mankind
One of the strongest elements of the first film is Diana’s compassion for humanity. When she learns of the war happening abroad, she chooses to accompany Steve to help him fight. In doing so, she leaves her family and friends, her home, the world that she has known her whole life. This sacrifice says so much about her character and the values she holds dear. She longs for a world that knows peace and she takes the opportunity to stop its greatest deterrent, which she believes to be the God of War, Ares. Steve argues with her for much of the second act, berating her for being naive and foolish in her beliefs. Diana’s perspective, however, is so much more that what it seems. Her willingness to trust others isn’t foolish; she’s choosing to see the good in people because she believes in them. She wants the best for everyone, while hoping for the best from everyone. She’s the eternal optimist and this optimism comes from a place of love.
Being the change you want to see in the world
The first film ended with Diana defeating Ares and bringing an end to the war. While that may not have been how it really went down, the idea that superheroes could have impacted actual history is an idea that deserves further exploration. While the modern world we see in previous films like Man of Steel and Justice League isn’t significantly different than our own, that’s no reason to believe certain things in our past happened differently in this world. Diana’s involvement could have jump-started the second wave of feminism, a movement that began in the 1960’s that saw significant developments in gender equality, civil rights, and even how sexuality was perceived and understood.
Besides her love for family and humanity in general, Diana loves the world. She understands and respects nature and cares for the earth and everything it offers. The love story Jenkins has eluded to could be about Diana working to improve the world as best she can. The comics have at times portrayed her as a good-will ambassador, someone who takes an honest stand to right wrongs and improve the world in ways both big and small. Diana traveling the world, spreading her optimism and love seems like a natural progression of the journey she began on Themyscira and a concept that is very true to the character we all know and, well, love.
With the sequel another two years away, there is no telling what we can expect but one thing for sure: Warner Bros knows it has something special with Wonder Woman and is aware of the love that fans, both new and old, have for her. We can only hope that this love will have an equally positive impact on her next cinematic adventure.