Will Diana Prince finally meet her match?
Everyone is getting into the superhero business, including erstwhile comedy queen Kristen Wiig. According to Deadline, she is currently being courted to star as the antagonist in Wonder Woman 2. Details about Wiig’s potential role are currently sparse, but rumor has it that she could play Dr. Barbara Minerva, alias Cheetah.
In the comics, Dr. Minerva is an archaeologist who would go to any lengths to secure artifacts. The Cheetah persona only comes alive after a botched expedition to find a lost city in the African jungle; Minerva realizes that locals have a ritual that would endow a recipient with powers of a cheetah god. She demands those same powers, but unforeseen circumstances create a less desirable outcome for her: she becomes like a cheetah werewolf whose powers are only strong during the full moon.
That’s a lot to pack into a sequel. However, now that we’ve become acquainted with Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), it’s time we really met her perfect villain. Of course, the news of Minerva’s role probably means Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) is mostly out of the picture, and frustratingly so. It’s not that Poison had very much to do in Wonder Woman, but inconsequential villains are truly a curse in superhero films at this point.
Minerva’s appearance has the potential to be fascinating nonetheless. It would definitely make sense for her to cross paths with Diana, who obviously owns some one-of-a-kind relics herself. Furthermore, considering Diana’s modern-day timelines in the DCEU team-up films, it’s easy to imagine that her experiences with the tenacious Minerva would have led her to the prestigious position as a curator of artifacts in the Louvre. Diana prioritizes love and respect for all beings above all else, and a character like Minerva seems to be a diametric opposite; someone who ravages and steals without a conscience. Their conflict would be one based on personality traits and ethics, which builds on the feuds incited throughout the first Wonder Woman film.
At the heart of Wonder Woman lies Diana’s internal conflicts. One of the reasons the film works so well despite its conventional story is the depth to which Diana is allowed to explore her identity in relation to others. What’s left to consider when you’re a demi-goddess who can smash buildings apart? Thankfully, there is still a lot that she doesn’t know. Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) washes up on Themyscira’s shores and begins to challenge everything Diana has ever known about the outside world, which includes her idealism. Her worldview only continues to broaden as she interacts with humanity — the best and the worst of it — as well as battle her disgruntled brother. Hardly anyone is a match for Diana’s physical strength, but if her convictions and beliefs wear away and she stops loving, that’s when the world could really crumble.
Having more women in a Wonder Woman movie is also always a plus, especially those of varying allegiances. Wonder Woman 2 would be Wiig’s first foray into the superhero genre, and maybe there is no better time than the present to introduce more comedic talent into the DCEU, after Ezra Miller was particularly praised in Justice League.
Even though Wiig is most known for her funny roles in Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters, and as an iconic alum of Saturday Night Live, though, I’ll never forget her performance in The Skeleton Twins. The film features Wiig’s innate comedic talent yet manages to draw out incredible pathos from her in a way that felt unexpected. It was a welcomed display of her range and a huge hint that Wiig was meant for bigger things.
So how would Wiig fare as a comic book movie villain? There’s no telling whether her Cheetah will be the perfect match for Diana, but it’s a step in an intriguing direction nonetheless.