Ever since the first trailer for Wonder Woman dropped, fans have been wondering who's the villain of the piece. While Diana will no doubt have her hands full facing down the many powers of World War I, there is a sinister force behind the curtain, manipulating humanity onto the brink of absolute destruction. Now that villain has been revealed to be Ares, the God of War himself, and this has huge implications for the plot of the movie.
#WonderWoman has had many foes 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 rogues gallery. The closest Diana has to an arch-enemy is Ares — the Olympian God of War is her 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. So what does this mean for the 2017 movie?
Ares Confirmed As Main Villain
The first Wonder Woman trailer 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. Subsequent trailers only fed our enthusiasm, teasing more of the plot, hinting at a Bruce Wayne cameo, and dropping tons of Easter Eggs in the process.
Culminating in a bombastic battle, the second trailer established the villains of the piece: 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. We initially assumed that this man — played by Danny Huston — was really Ares in the guise of a German general, allowing him to infiltrate the ranks of the German military and push an already vicious conflict into absolute frenzy.
And yet, fansite BatmanNews is reporting that Harry Potter star David Thewlis has been cast as Ares, meaning that Huston's character is either a lackey of the Olympian god or another one of his human disguises. An Ares action figure was also revealed at the 2017 toy fair, confirming the God of War's role in the film — and his design is fabulously accurate to the #comicbook.
Standing taller than all the human characters, Ares wears a horned helmet and looks suitably imposing. Which is fitting, as Ares' role in the film sets the scene for a some groundbreaking changes to history.
Taking Humanity To The Brink Of Destruction
World War I 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? This is an intriguing premise, leading the audience to question 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.
A Mentor And His Protege
But will Ares only fulfill the role of the villain? In the #DC comics, Diana and Ares had a fantastic and complicated dynamic could have with one another. Ares forces the young Amazon warrior to re-examine her principles — unlike Diana, who believes in peace, Ares advocates the benefits of war.
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, while the roots of the Suffragette movement have been traced back to women joining the fight in WWI. 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. So perhaps this is why Diana is so jaded in Batman v Superman: the more she started listening to Ares' rhetoric about war, and adopting his role as a god, the less hope she had for humanity.
What do you think about Ares being the Wonder Woman villain? Tell us in the comments!