Wonder Woman has had many villains over the years, but she's not really known for having a nemesis. While Superman has Lex Luthor and Batman has the Joker, Wonder Woman has had to make do with a shifting rogue's gallery, although villains such as Cheetah often recur in Diana's stories.
The closest Wonder Woman has to an arch-enemy is Ares — the Olympian God of War is Diana's polar opposite, relishing in conflict and drawing his power from human strife. While Diana fights for justice and truth, Ares just fights to fight, and in the New 52 the two had an incredibly complex relationship, culminating in Diana taking up Ares' mantle as the God of War.
Considering his fascinating dynamic with Diana, many fans are hoping to see Ares as the main villain for 2017's Wonder Woman, and all hints point towards this being the case.
Sowing The Seeds Of War
The Wonder Woman trailer unveiled at SDCC was awesome, setting Diana up as a hero of legend, diving straight into the bleak and wartorn No Man's Land setting, and establishing some vital changes to Diana's origin story.
Although lacking in story context, the trailer did hint at several plot details, especially the villains: The woman in the mask looks intriguingly suspicious, then of course there's the mysterious man Diana is about to go full Amazon-warrior on at a party.
With the two facing off, it could be that this man is Ares, in the guise of a German general. Of all the people at the party, he's the one to recognize Diana as a threat, as she reaches for her sword while approaching him. It would make a lot of sense for Ares to disguise himself as human, allowing him to infiltrate the ranks of the German military and push an already vicious conflict into an absolute frenzy.
Of course, nothing has yet been confirmed about Ares being the main antagonist for Wonder Woman, but there's also this hint from the CW's Dawn of the Justice League feature event: During the villain segment, in which Kevin Smith and Geoff Johns talked about comics villains entering the cinematic universe, Ares himself flashed up on the screen.
Now if that's not a clear hint that Ares will appear soon in the DCEU, I don't know what is.
Why This Would Be Perfect For The 2017 Movie
Having Ares as the main villain for Wonder Woman just makes sense in so many ways. As a figure of myth, Ares would connect Diana to this war torn "man's world", giving her a reason to leave Themiscyra — as the Olympian gods' chosen champion, Diana may feel some duty to stop Ares before he manipulates the human race into destroying itself entirely.
Then there's the setting: World War One is known for being one of the most vicious and horrific conflicts in human history. It's no wonder that Ares would be intrigued by such a war, but his potential presence in the story could go beyond a mere bid for power.
The events leading up to WWI are fascinating because it's something of a domino effect, with rising tensions in multiple countries leading to civil unrest, as governments made alliances and started facing off against each other. It all came to a head with the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, which catalyzed the ensuing conflict.
So what if Ares was always there, pulling the strings and nudging humanity closer to the edge of destruction? That would be an intriguing premise for the 2017 film, leading the audience to question the causes of war, and why humans are so ready to fight one another. Perhaps Diana is trying to prevent Ares from doing more damage, minimizing the devastation of WWI as much as she can — we could have her to thank for the eventual ceasefire, and even the Treaty of Versailles. It would be playing with fire, but Wonder Woman has the potential to rewrite history, or at least change how we see it.
Then of course there's fantastic dialogue Diana and Ares could have with one another. In the comics, Ares often advocates the benefits of war — he very much holds the view that "war is the locomotive of history" (he and Leon Trotsky agree on this point).
WWI may have been a dreadful chapter in human history, but there's no denying it had its bright side — thanks to this conflict, we made huge leaps and bounds in industrial innovation, as does tend to happen when we're spurred on by the threat of kill-or-be-killed. Then there's the Suffragette movement, the roots of which can be traced back to women joining the fight in WWI, on the home front or the front lines as nurses.
Ares could throw all these facts at Diana, trying to justify his role in perpetuating such a devastating conflict. This could make for some really interesting dialogue, as Diana is challenged intellectually, as well as on the battlefield. And if Wonder Woman draws from the New 52 version of Ares and Diana's story, it's possible that the two already have shared history, with Ares helping to train Diana in the art of war. If this is the case, then we could see Diana becoming the God of War in the DCEU as well as in the comics.
However all of this turns out, having Ares as the villain would make for a very interesting plot, as well as explaining why Diana is so jaded in Batman v Superman — perhaps Ares did get to her in the end, and the more she started listening to his rhetoric about war, the less hope she had for humanity. With all these nods towards Ares' entrance into the DCEU, this little puzzle might already have been solved.
Do you think Ares should be the main villain in Wonder Woman? Tell us in the comments!