'Wonder Woman': Who Is Really Playing The Villain Ares?

One of the biggest mysteries in Wonder Woman has been who the real villain of the film could be. We know that Danny Huston is playing a rogue German general named Erich Ludendorff, and Elena Anaya is playing his right-hand woman Doctor Maru. But as we've heard recently, Ares the god of war, may be the ultimate villain in Wonder Woman. But the question is, who is playing him?

A rumor from not too long ago pegged Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban co-star David Thewlis as playing Ares, indicating that he would be brought to life with practical and digital effects and that he was in pursuit of some kind of poisonous gas to unleash upon the frontlines of the war.

Since then, we've learned that David Thewlis is playing a character named Sir Patrick Morgan, a character who is on the war council for the Allied forces, an advocate of peace. However, that doesn't necessarily debunk the rumor that he's playing Ares, and a revelation that came from the 16 minutes of footage we watched at the Warner Bros. post-production facility for Wonder Woman in London may be the key in sorting this out.

Let's talk about our theory concerning who is playing Ares in Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman - Ares

Who is Ares?

First of all, let's recap who Ares is in Wonder Woman. He's the son of Zeus, who created mankind to live in harmony with the gods. Ares becomes jealous of Zeus' bond with mankind, and he decides to manipulate them to fight each other. While this is happening, Ares starts to kill the rest of the Gods as well. In order to stop him, Zeus creates the Amazons, a race of warrior women who are given the tools they need to keep Ares in check.

Eventually, Ares convinces mankind to enslave the Amazons, leaving Ares to kill the rest of the gods, including his father Zeus. Before his death, Zeus strikes a crushing blow to Ares, leaving him to flee. And with his last breath, he creates the world of Themyscira for the Amazons to escape to, where they'll be safe from mankind, but prepared to battle Ares should he ever return.

Wonder Woman - Ares

Ares and World War I

Ares is the god of war, and after the Amazons meet Steve Trevor (who has crash landed nearby after escaping German forces with secret intelligence) and learn of the existence of World War I, they believe that Ares has finally returned and is wreaking havoc on mankind. Queen Hippolyta is not keen to help those who once enslaved them, but her daughter Diana Prince believes they need to do what they were created to do and stop Ares from creating chaos among men so that there can finally be peace in the world again.

Diana and Steve are forced to sneak off the island of Themyscira to head back to the frontlines of the war. Diana believes if she find Ares, she can end the war by killing him with the Godkiller sword, a weapon given to the Amazons as the only artifact that can destroy the god of war. As they set sail, from a distance, Hippolyta watches them leave without trying to stop them. Her sister, Antiope (Robin Wright) asks vaguely, "Should you have told her?" Hippolyta responds cryptically, "The more she knows, the sooner he'll find her." The "he" in question is presumably Ares, which implies that there's some kind of connection between Ares and Diana that the latter hasn't been made aware of yet.

In Greek mythology, Ares is the father of Hippolyta. But in Wonder Woman, Zeus created Hippolyta and the Amazons. If that makes Hippolyta the daughter of Zeus, then that would make Ares her brother, as well as Diana's uncle. We're not sure what the exact familial connection will be (if any), but it's clear that there's something between Diana and Ares that Hippolyta kept from her daughter.

wonder woman trailer

Where Is Ares?

Even though we don't know what the connection is between Diana and Ares, the Amazon warrior believes she'll find the god of war wherever the fighting is the most intense. That just might happen to be where the rogue General Erich Ludendorff is preparing to unleash a terrible weapon of mass destruction, a poison gas created by Doctor Maru that they intend to drop on the frontlines. In fact, one particular scene seems to provide evidence that Ares might be influencing the war by actually being part of it.

Since Ares was injured in his battle with Zeus, I believe that he's too weak to take on his god form, so he has taken shelter inside General Erich Ludendorff. One of the scenes shown to us during our visit to Wonder Woman's post-production facility in London featured Doctor Maru giving Ludendorff some kind of gas capsule which she said would "restore his strength." When he breaks open the capsule and inhales the gas, his face becomes slightly translucent and glows, veins visible throughout his skin. It's clear that he gets a huge rush from whatever this gas is, and it makes him so strong that he is able to crush a pistol with his bare hand.

So the plot detail about poisonous gas is actually tied to Danny Huston's character. In addition, Ludendorff needs another kind of gas to restore his strength. Taking both those details into consideration, I'm betting Ares resides inside Ludendorff, and he's too weak to exist outside of a human body. I took the time to ask Patty Jenkins if this scene was meant to tell us that Ludendorff was Ares, and this was what she had to say:

"This whole thing is interesting to me, because I don't think we set out to be to be super mysterious about who the villain is. But I think it's kinda funny that it's turned into what it's turned into. So now I don't want to comment about it. Those are definitely, yeah, good, fun characters."

That's clearly not helpful, but with all the information in front of us, I think this is a safe bet.

David Thewlis as Remus Lupin in Harry Potter

Could David Thewlis Still Be Ares?

Just because Ares has taken shelter inside the body of General Ludendorff, that doesn't mean David Thewlis' character Sir Patrick Morgan couldn't end up being Ares. After all, why take the risk of staying inside the body of a general on the frontlines of war when you could be a politician who makes key decisions about the war from a safe distance? Maybe Sir Patrick Morgan becomes the vessel that allows Ares to take on his god form again so that he can take on Wonder Woman and the Godkiller sword.

Without a definitive answer, we're left to just make an educated guess as to what will happen with Ares in Wonder Woman. Even if our theory is correct, it still doesn't give us an idea as to when or how Ares takes his full god form again, which we've seen in the form of action figures from Toy Fair last month.

When the David Thewlis rumor surfaced, it said Ares would be brought to life with a mix of practical effects and CGI. Presumably, Ares will take his more intimidating form later in the movie in order to be a force to be reckoned with. Whether he's played by David Thewlis remains to be seen. But it's clear that Ares has plenty of tricks up his sleeve, so anything is possible.