Cheetah is one of Wonder Woman’s most famous rogues, even considered by some to be the Amazonian princess’ main archnemesis. And on paper, it’s easy to see why: Cheetah is all rage and envy to Wonder Woman’s subdued nobility; matching Diana punch-for-punch in sheer physical power but not in emotional strength. Created by William Moulton Marston as an allegory for the folly of “abnormal emotions” like jealousy and to embody the “less developed women,” Cheetah (played by Kristen Wiig in the film) was conceived as the perfect emotional foil for Wonder Woman, and has maintained that reputation. For Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins, she was too juicy of a character to not use.

“There have been many physical manifestations of Cheetah, but the core has always been the same, which is someone who wishes they could be like these other superheroes and gods, ” Jenkins told /Film on the set of Wonder Woman 1984. It’s a fitting follow-up to Wonder Woman, which touched on how gods interfere in the lives of men, to then explore men (or women) who wish to be god-like in Wonder Woman 1984. So fitting that Jenkins had apparently considered planting the seeds of Wonder Woman 1984 in the first film, right down to the introduction of Cheetah.

Jenkins revealed that she had considered introducing Cheetah way back in 2017’s Wonder Woman. The director revealed that she had “pretty clear” idea of the general narrative thrust of Wonder Woman 1984 “fairly early on.” As early as the production of Wonder Woman, apparently, when Jenkins was pondering how Diana’s powers would affect the world at large:

“It’s one of those things where I found myself saying there was something about what the world wants to talk about right now, and she happens to have this lasso of truth, and truth ends up figuring in very large. And so yeah, it all started coming together then, and then the different plot things, and Cheetah, and knowing we wanted Cheetah – I think we even talked about wanting Cheetah to show up in the beginning of the last movie cause we were going to even plant her in the first one. So it was kind of forming up for a long time.”

Cheetah ended up not being planted in the first film, but will make her debut in Wonder Woman 1984, which will be “more influenced by horror,” Jenkins teased.

Wonder Woman 1984 star Gal Gadot, who produces the film alongside Jenkins, reveals that she and the director were already “riffing about the story of this one on the set of Wonder Woman.

“We were fantasizing about the next one if the first one would have succeeded, then we already started to talk about the story of this one,” Gadot said. “Of course, the big broad vision is Patty’s. But there’s a lot of liberties and we do what we believe is right for the character.”

Wonder Woman 1984 is scheduled to hit U.S. theaters on October 2, 2020.

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