Next year’s Wonder Woman 1984 is one of the most highly anticipated sequels currently on the release calendar… or maybe it’s not a sequel after all? In a testament to just how far away Warner Bros. and DC are moving from the “interconnected universe” idea, the film’s producer recently revealed that director Patty Jenkins’ whole idea for Wonder Woman 1984 was to approach the film as “the next iteration” of the titular character instead of as a traditional sequel.
Indeed, in speaking with Vulture, veteran WB/DC producer Charles Roven—who also produced the Dark Knight trilogy as well as films like Man of Steel and Suicide Squad—explained how their approach to the next Wonder Woman movie was to buck convention when it comes to sequels:
“She was just determined that this movie should be the next iteration of Wonder Woman but not a sequel. And she’s definitely delivering on that. It’s a completely different time frame and you’ll get a sense of what Diana-slash–Wonder Woman had been doing in the intervening years. But it’s a completely different story that we’re telling. Even though it’ll have a lot of the same emotional things, a lot of humor, a lot of brave action. Tugs at the heart strings as well.”
Now this quote is likely going to blow up the interwebs and be shared around as some sort of plot-confirmation that Wonder Woman 1984 is not a sequel. It most definitely is—Gal Gadot is back playing Wonder Woman, and Chris Pine is even back playing Steve Trevor (somehow). What Roven is getting at here is that the film was approached as a standalone story and not as the next “episode” in a long-running TV series. In contrast to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is highly serialized and in which most films build off of the plot foundation of what came before, it sounds like the approach to Wonder Woman 1984 was to create a new, standalone Wonder Woman story that just so happens to follow the World War I-set first film.
That’s likely a consequence of moving the setting all the way up to the 1980s, and I’m intrigued by Roven’s comment that we’ll get a sense of what Diana’s been doing in the intervening years. The 1980s are a long way off from the 1910s, and that’s decades of character development that happened offscreen, so it’ll be interesting to see how Diana has changed—or stayed the same.
Jenkins recently said she already has ideas for Wonder Woman 3—or the second “standalone” Wonder Woman movie—and that she knows how Diana’s arc “should end” in her incarnation of the character, whether she directs the third movie or not.
While these comments may raise more questions than answers, it is clear that we’re not moving towards some loop-closing story that connects perfectly with Diana’s inaugural DCEU appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Warner Bros. is clearly approaching each DC adaptation as a standalone film at this point, going so far as to recast Will Smith’s Deadshot for the upcoming Suicide Squad sequel. So while much of Wonder Woman 1984 is shrouded in mystery, I think we can all probably rule out some ham-fisted cameo of a young Bruce Wayne bumping into Diana in a mall.
Wonder Woman 1984 opens in theaters on June 5, 2010.