For years, Hollywood insiders have opined that female-led superhero films can't work. Fortunately, Wonder Woman has proved them wrong. This weekend's box office results even saw the film relatively unaffected by the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming. So it's no surprise that Warner Bros. is working on a sequel, and that director Patty Jenkins is in talks to return along with Gal Gadot.
What might be more of a surprise, though, is that we're beginning to learn some key story details. According to Screen Rant and The Wrap, the Wonder Woman sequel is another period piece — this time set in a very different era. It seems as though Wonder Woman's next adventure will be set in the 1980s, during the Cold War!
Why This Is A Smart Move
Wonder Woman ended on a gloriously optimistic note, with Diana resolving to accept her role as a defender of humanity. Ares was defeated, but she'd come to realise that humanity is neither good nor evil; even without Ares's influence, humanity has the potential for greatness as well as horror. No doubt Wonder Woman's faith in human nature would be shaken over the course of the twentieth century, not least by the horrors of the Holocaust. That's a character beat that needs to happen sometime in the Wonder Woman series, if only to set up her role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
That said, we've seen Wonder Woman on the front lines of a war before, and taking us to World War II would simply feel repetitive. What's more, a lot of critics compared Wonder Woman to Captain America: The First Avenger, and another wartime setting would only encourage further comparisons.
A Cold War setting, though, would be very different. As a champion of peace, Diana would be watching with horror as humanity raced towards destruction. At times, we seemed terrifyingly close to all-out nuclear war, which would end life as we know it. That's definitely the kind of situation where a superhero is called for, especially one who stands for optimism and hope.
At the same time, the US and USSR became locked in a space race, desperate to reach the stars. It wouldn't take much creativity to weave an alien threat into the DCEU's version of the space race, making sense of Diana's words in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: "I've killed things from other worlds before."
The real challenge facing Warner Bros., though, is one of continuity. If Wonder Woman was active from the First World War through to the Cold War, why isn't her existence common knowledge in the DCEU? It's pretty clear that neither Batman nor Superman had a clue who Diana was in Dawn of Justice, so we can only presume something caused Diana to step out of the spotlight. Somehow, Wonder Woman 2 will need to balance the franchise's already-established positive tone with the need for a more downbeat conclusion. A Second World War setting would offer real potential for this kind of narrative, but so would the Cold War. Again, the terrifying question would be whether humanity would doom itself.
I doubt any #WonderWoman fans really expected the sequel to be set during the Cold War, but it does make sense. This would be another era that truly tested Diana's faith in humanity, as she watched the world head to the brink of nuclear war. Better still, through the space race, there's real potential for #DC to weave an alien menace into the story, helping build a stronger sense of continuity between Gal Gadot's solo films and the present-day #DCEU movies.
All we need now is an announcement that Patty Jenkins is on board too...