Mystery doesn’t do us any harm. If anything, it’s the kind of trick that can catapult a story from ‘good’ to the heady heights of great. Audiences remain invested through speculation, and it’s a well-established Fact that things are cooler when you’re connecting the dots. Darth Vader lost some of his mystique after we heard him grumble about sand, for instance. However, Wonder Woman’s different.
WARNING – very mild spoilers for Wonder Woman and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice follow. Abandon ye all hope if you haven’t seen them, etc.
In spite of a painful coming-of-age and the loss of Steve Trevor, the movie ends on a fist-pumping high after Diana overcomes David Thewlis’ moustache. Inspired by what she’s learned, she resolves to protect humanity in the name of love. Then we fast-forward a few decades to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and she’s decided it’s not worth the effort after all (soz, humanity). Having gone into hiding where she can lament our failings and listen to Evanescence or something, it’s the polar-opposite of her heartfelt determination post-WWI. What the hell happened? All we know is that she lived through a ‘century of horrors’, implying that she was involved in some capacity. It’s a weighty question neither film is willing to answer.
Although it’s fun to leave some backstory to the imagination, this arc in particular is worth exploring; not only is it a complete u-turn of Diana’s outlook, it feels as if we’re missing the central chapter of a trilogy (especially if it involves character development so central to the hero’s MO). I may be overcomplicating matters, of course – perhaps Wonder Woman’s resolve was shattered by the beginning of WWII mere decades later, not to mention other recent conflicts – but it seems like we’re missing something.
Hopefully we’ll be filled in during Wonder Woman 2, a movie rumoured to be set in the 1980s, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that it goes even further back in time. Specifically, I’d love for DC to tackle the Justice Society in one form or another. The premier superhero team pre-Justice League, it was comprised of early versions of characters we’ve come to know so well; for instance, a 1940s Flash and cape-wearing Green Lantern (whose weakness was wood, amusingly) were both on the roster. They’re a fascinating group. Formed by the President of the United States to combat the Nazi threat and protect the American home front, this band of ‘Mystery Men’ was involved in at least one undercover government op during WWII. As Wonder Woman later became a member of the Justice Society, perhaps her sequel could take inspiration from this and send the team on a secret mission against the Nazis that, naturally, goes wrong. This would explain why she hangs up the sword and lasso until BvS. It’s the kind of story that writes itself.
I’m not sure how likely this is considering the rumours about Wonder Woman 2’s setting, but a man can dream. It’s a gap in the tale well worth plugging, so I hope we get to see the missing piece of her story before long.