As controversial as Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice may have been, nobody can deny that it was a visual delight. Zack Snyder paid incredible attention to detail with the film's visuals and its character designs, and nowhere does that show more than in Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman.
Here's the catch, though: some of these details actually tie in very effectively to Patty Jenkins's Wonder Woman. Let's focus in on Diana's shield in #BatmanVSuperman — a design that at once supports, and contradicts, the film we've just seen.
The Eagle Symbol
Let's start by homing in on the symbol at the center of the shield: an eagle. The eagle is actually a symbol of Zeus, who used the Aetos Dios — a giant, golden eagle — as his messenger. Back when Batman v Superman first came out, fans assumed this was the insignia of the Amazons — after all, Zeus is associated with their creation. But, as we learned in Wonder Woman, Diana has a far more personal reason to carry Zeus's symbol. He is, after all, her father.
The shield, then, declares Diana's patronage: it associates her directly, and personally, with Zeus. In a beautifully subtle way, it teases at the third-act revelation that Wonder Woman is the daughter of Zeus.
Of course, there are still questions about that shield. It differs in design to the one we see in Wonder Woman — Diana picked it up somewhere in the century between the First World War and Batman v Superman. It's also clearly mystical — it can withstand the power of Doomsday. Perhaps this actually is Zeus's shield? If Diana has been working in the field of antiquities for a while, she'll have had plenty of time to collect any items that bear the last remnants of the gods' powers...
The Writing On The Shield
Of course, there's more to that shield than just an eagle. The rim has writing on it: the inscription has been translated — it's a quote from Joseph Campbell, fitting given Snyder's frequent homages to Campbell in Batman v Superman — but the text remains bewildering.
At first glance, it looks to be Ancient Greek, so Nerdist spoke to a scholar in the language, Vincent Tommaso, and for months they worked on translating it. The results were surprising — while the symbols are recognizably connected to the Ancient Greek, Tommaso postulated that they were supposed to be something far older. By this, he actually theorized that Amazonian culture would predate the Ancient Greeks. He explained:
"My strong suspicion is that Snyder and his production crew are implying through these inscriptions that their Wonder Woman is from an older culture, one of whose offshoots was the historical ancient Greece. This is similar to the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, which posited that the human civilization was the basis for human cultures on Earth (and it was implied that their gods, which were named after Greek and Roman deities, became the basis for the ancient Greek and Roman religions)."
Here's the problem with that theory: While Zack Snyder originally envisioned Wonder Woman as being a 5,000-year-old warrior, Patty Jenkins sees her as a younger, more naive figure. According to a recent interview, the Diana we meet in Wonder Woman is a 'mere' 800 years old! Given she's the child of Zeus himself, and that Zeus created Themyscira with his dying breath, then we can reasonably assume the Amazons abandoned humanity around 1,100 AD. That's too recent for those inscriptions — "the basis for human cultures on Earth" — to be Amazonian.
But if this is actually Zeus's shield, recovered by Diana as she worked in the field of antiquities, then it could in fact originate with the gods. In which case, Tommaso's theory fits perfectly. After all, Wonder Woman gives us a brief history lesson of Zeus and the gods, and blends Greek and Judeo-Christian theology seamlessly in order to do so. (Theologians will note that Zeus and Ares are presented as roughly binary figures of good and evil, and there's a repeated refrain that Zeus created things that were "good" — deliberately paying homage to Genesis 1).
It really doesn't take much effort to reconcile these mysterious inscriptions to the history we glimpsed in Wonder Woman!
So there you have it, DC fans! The #DCEU may have had something of a rocky start, but the visuals have simply been outstanding. In this case, the design of Wonder Woman's shield in Batman v Superman actually hints at the third-act twist in Wonder Woman. Diana bears Zeus's shield, not because she is a mere Amazon, but because she is his daughter!