[Update: Jenkins has taken to Twitter to somewhat refute our interpretation of her quotes here:
Quite a few people, including this headline, seem to be completely misunderstanding or making some pretty false assumptions based on one of many vague quotes I made about something I can’t say ANYTHING about. Just wait. https://t.co/rJU3CbKTwc
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) December 1, 2017
But p.s. still enjoyed the article, and don’t blame the writer for the assumptions that follow. https://t.co/66Grx8SjXb
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) December 1, 2017
Obviously Jenkins needs to be vague at this early stage so it’s unclear exactly what she’s referring to, but we’re eager for Wonder Woman 2 regardless. Our original story follows below.]
While Justice League may have been a disappointment for Warner Bros., and next year’s Aquaman is far from a sure thing, the studio must really be looking forward to Wonder Woman 2. This summer’s Wonder Woman is the only unqualified success story for the DCEU at the moment—glowing reviews, massive box office, and a tap into the zeitgeist that other blockbusters would envy. The studio worked quickly to secure director Patty Jenkins to return, and she’s hard at work crafting the story and screenplay for the sequel with Geoff Johns and Dave Callaham (The Expendables).
While Wonder Woman 2’s November 1, 2019 release date is still two years away, production on the film will no doubt begin at some point next year, which means Jenkins and Co. likely have a strong idea of what’s in store. Jenkins is currently in the midst of an awards push for Wonder Woman, and appearing on Variety’s Playback podcast, hosted by Kristopher Tapley, the filmmaker offered a tantalizing tease of the sequel:
“It’s really still going to other values of hers, and a similar formula insofar as making a great, enjoyable fun movie but that ultimately in its third act turns some very big issues, and a very big experience that will aim to have slightly more weight and profundity than it has to have. Because that’s a formula that I really like, and I like the idea of taking somebody on a very solid, great journey but that arrives at a bigger question being answered. So it’s like that but because she is Wonder Woman and she’s here now and she’s fully developed, it’s got great fun from the start and great big superhero presence from the start, and is funny and a great love story again and a couple new unbelievable characters who I’m so excited about, who are very different than were in the last movie.”
If Jenkins is alluding to a new love interest for Diana here (and it’s not a 100% certainty that she is), Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor is going to be a really hard act to follow. But if there is a new character in that vein, there are some interesting choices from the comics when it comes to finding a new romantic partner. The most likely would seem to be Trevor Barnes, a black, long-haired United Nations employee who would be both visually and tonally very different from Steve Trevor, adding to the “newness” of the sequel. But he also offers an interesting foil to Wonder Woman herself while opening her story up to a more global point of view. The comics have also paired her off with many Justice League members in the past, but for many reasons I expect Warner Bros. will want to keep this Wonder Woman 2 fairly contained—i.e. don’t expect Ben Affleck‘s Batman to have a co-starring role. But again, it’s also possible Diana moves forward in Wonder Woman 2 without a new love interest, which would be entirely fine—the character is interesting and compelling enough on her own.
As for the thematic focus, one of the strengths of Wonder Woman—why it touched so many people in a profound way, and why Jenkins is deserving of awards recognition—is its thematic heft. It’s a fun, enjoyable blockbuster, but it also has a laser focus on the theme of love conquering over evil. It’s one that could have easily devolved into the saccharine, but which Jenkins handled brilliantly. She reflected a bit on that theme, which may offer some insight into her thinking with regards to the themes of Wonder Woman 2:
“I did very much thematically want to get to love [in Wonder Woman 1], because that’s what she stands for, and the complexity of what we’re facing. That was the thing, is like the journey of a character through our world who believes in good and evil—as we all do—facing a world ultimately that ends up showing you how unbelievably complicated it is to tackle that or conquer that in any black and white terms. And therefore how much love that requires to stay struggling to make this world a better place versus choosing hate and joining the fight that perpetuates it.”
Jenkins says she doesn’t intend to move entirely away from the first Wonder Woman, and hopes to strike the perfect balance of familiarity and freshness:
“I feel like it’s just the right amount the same world of Wonder Woman as the first movie while being a completely different story that tackles something very different but very similarly singular. One story.”