One of the biggest success stories of this summer movie season was Wonder Woman singlehandedly dominating the box office for a full month after it released to theaters. Despite the nay-sayers and controversy leading up to its big screen debut, it took the world by storm with a record-breaking opening weekend for a female director and is within spitting distance of becoming the highest-grossing DCEU movie to date.
Naturally, Warner Bros. wants to strike while the kettle is hot. With hardly taking a moment to catch their breath, they’re already spearheading bold new ideas for the inevitable sequel. And while I can’t blame them for their enthusiasm, I do wonder if they’re really taken the time to think through this one.
According to Screenrant.com, the very real premise for ‘Wonder Woman 2’ is already decided. They report that it will be a “historical adventure […] set during the 1980’s, [sending] Diana against the forces of the Soviet Union in the closing days of the Cold War.”
The weirdest thing, though? Chris Pine is confirmed to be returning in that movie as Steve Trevor, despite being blown up in a cloud of super-poisons at the end of the first movie.
It has additionally been revealed that DC figurehead Geoff Johns is already developing the script with Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins (who is still negotiating a contract to return to helm the sequel). The rest of the production team from the first movie is also on board to work on Diana’s second chronological outing in the DCEU.
Although this is admittedly extremely early stage for a sequel that hasn’t technically been announced yet, it doesn’t look good on paper. The first movie worked because it was a solid story about a group of interesting characters divorced from the heretofore terrible DC movies like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. It got away with the fact that it was basically a reskinned Captain America: The First Soldier because it was doing enough different things with the premise to avoid more acute criticisms of aping Cap’s origin story aesthetic.
Audiences aren’t likely to be as forgiving of a sequel that continues to closely chase the Captain America train. Like The Winter Soldier, it looks like it’s going to be a political espionage thriller set decades after the first movie, with her now-elderly love interest wasting away while she remains young and strong. And the Cold War setting? Yeah, don’t think for one second that the hair’s breadth that they chose to place Diana between peace and nuclear Armageddon isn’t just an excuse to bring back Aries after his apparent death in the last movie.
Understand, I loved Wonder Woman as much as the next person. I saw it opening night and it has remained one of the few highlights of an otherwise disappointing blockbuster season. I wish the movie every success it can manage, especially the director and headliner who more than anybody else brought it to the big screen despite every obstacle in their way throughout the production process.
But this is not the way to make a sequel, guided by a bunch of studio-heads still reeling from their other blockbuster non-starters, chasing after the obvious Marvel connection and looking to rush a sequel to market simply because it’s popular, rather than because it warrants that particular story to be told.
Stop. Take a deep breath. Wait for the dust to settle. Give Jenkins and her team the freedom to make the kind of story they want to make, which was why Wonder Woman worked in the first place. That’ll be enough.