Wonder Woman 1984 Trailer Shouldn't Be Hiding Cheetah

Posted 2019/12/10 270 0


Would the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer have been better if it didn’t hide Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah? After many months of anticipation, the first trailer for DC’s Wonder Woman 1984 has arrived and largely ticks all of the boxes in terms of getting fans excited for Diana Prince’s cinematic return – her first appearance since the critically derided Justice League. Pedro Pascal’s Maxwell Lord is glimpsed, the 1980s aesthetic pulses through strongly and Wonder Woman herself has picked up some more neat bullet tricks over the past 70 years or so.

More interestingly, Diana is somehow reunited with her World War I ally and deceased lover, Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor. Of course, Trevor sacrificed himself during the final moments of 2017’s original Wonder Woman, helping ensure that the war came to an end and allowing Diana to take down Ares. Exactly how and why Steve comes back remains to be seen, but it’s this topic most will be discussing coming out of the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer.

Related: Wonder Woman 1984’S Trailer May Hide The Invisible Jet

In general terms, the teaser has been afforded a strongly positive response online, with plenty of praise for Patty Jenkins’ direction, the bright neon cinematography and Wonder Woman’s new costume upgrade. However, very few people are talking about one of Wonder Woman 1984‘s most important characters, Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah, and this is because she was mostly hidden throughout the new trailer.

The most prominent version of Cheetah in DC’s canon (and the one Wiig will be portraying in Wonder Woman 1984) is Barbara Ann Minerva, an archaeologist who is given the power to transform into her character’s animal namesake by the ancient god Urzkartaga during an expedition. As one of the most popular and long-serving villains to face Wonder Woman in the printed world, Cheetah is often considered the Amazonian’s arch nemesis, similar to The Joker or Lex Luthor’s to Diana’s DC trinity colleges, and the choice of villain generated plenty of buzz around the character ahead of Wonder Woman 1984. Interest was further piqued when Kristen Wiig, predominantly known for her comedic roles, was cast as the feline hybrid.

Despite being the most talked-about addition to the Wonder Woman sequel, however, Wiig’s Cheetah has merely a peripheral presence in the first trailer. Barbara’s biggest scene shows her and Diana talking like close friends about their lives and loves over a glass of wine, with Wiig’s humor brought to the forefront. A later shot takes on a more foreboding tone, as Cheetah appears to glance menacingly over Diana’s mementos, and then Wiig’s character makes a glamorous entrance at a fancy party. But that seems to be all fans are getting for now.

Chiefly, there’s no preview of what a transformed Cheetah is going to look like in Wonder Woman 1984, but beyond that, there’s also no sign of what to expect from Kristen Wiig as a villain. In truth, someone with no prior knowledge of the comics could easily mistake Wiig as playing a “Diana’s best friend” comic relief character in the style of Etta Candy from the first movie; potentially a nice twist had the actress not been announced as Wonder Woman 1984‘s villain a year in advance.

Related: Wonder Woman 1984’S First Trailer Avoids Major Batman V Superman Retcon

It could be argued that Wonder Woman 1984 is wise in holding some key reveals back for the time being. No sense is showing your entire hand in the very first trailer, after all. However, this logic doesn’t routinely apply when it comes to building hype for superhero movies, particularly sequels to hugely successful prior releases, as is the case with Wonder Woman 1984. The purpose of any movie trailer is to make people want to see the film and to get them talking about it with others, and the latter aim has become increasingly important with the rise of social media. The Wonder Woman 1984 trailer certainly generated discussion, but that almost entirely revolved around the lead character, Steve’s return, the setting and Maxwell Lord. There’s been very little talk of Cheetah, purely because there’s very little footage to actually pick out, and what is offered is relatively innocuous.

Historically, trailers that try and hide an already-confirmed character (that many are already familiar with from the comic books anyway) dampen excitement for that particular figure, rather than create it. Specifically within the DCEU, the first Wonder Woman trailer made no mention of Ares, even though the villain was announced in advance as the arch-antagonist for Diana’s first solo movie. Ultimately, the God of War is widely considered the weakest part of an otherwise stellar movie, and this is perhaps partly due to the lack of build around his presence. Similarly, the first Justice League footage showed the heroes taking down Parademons, but had no sign of Steppenwolf. Once again, the villain’s eventual big screen arrival fell flat.

The problem is not one exclusive to DC fare. Thor: The Dark World‘s trailer featured no clear shots of Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith, effectively relegating him to a less prominent role. This was an early step on the Dark Elf’s road towards becoming the MCU’s worst villain, because if the trailer doesn’t treat a baddie like a big deal, fans likely won’t either. Specifically in the realm of transformations, the debut teaser for The Amazing Spider-Man reveals a little of Curt Connors the science guy, but gives nothing away of his Lizard form. Once again, the villain isn’t fondly remembered among Spidey’s big screen foes, maybe because he wasn’t treated as a feature attraction. Compare this to the genre’s best adversaries – Thanos, Killmonger, Heath Ledger’s Joker, Magneto – all of whom were unmistakably front and center of their respective marketing campaigns.

While Wonder Woman 1984‘s trailer may be light on Cheetah, it does maintain a strong focus, albeit on the elements fans are already familiar with. Naturally, the trailer revolves around its charismatic lead, but Steve is given plenty of screen time, since the audience is already invested in Wonder Woman‘s romantic plot, and the Amazons provide several key visual moments. The intention is likely to rekindle the fondness viewers had for the first movie, and to connect Wonder Woman 1984 to its predecessor, rather than the more recent and divisive Justice League. To this end, the trailer succeeds, revealing in no uncertain terms that everything people enjoyed about the previous film will be returning for the sequel.

Related: Who Is Maxwell Lord? Wonder Woman 1984 Villain Explained

There are several reasons why Cheetah might be absent from the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer. At this early stage, the character’s CG might not be completely finished, and it’s far better to hold back on a reveal that to publicize half-cooked visuals. In the social media age, bad CGI moments can dominate a trailer’s discussion and, as Sonic The Hedgehog recently found out, this can prove expensive to rectify. Alternatively, it’s possible that Warner Bros. are reluctant to use Cheetah as a marketing figure because she’s not a villain casual fans will be overly familiar with. This reason would be trickier to justify, since Marvel have proved time and time again that previously unknown comic book characters can quickly become fan favorites if presented in the right way.

While putting Cheetah alongside Diana in Wonder Woman 1984‘s marketing might’ve been preferable, there is at least another 2 trailers yet to release. If those packages took on a more forward-thinking slant and immediately established Kristen Wiig’s character as the thrilling major new villain to be feared, then Warner Bros. will still have plenty of time to build and promote the character, and allow non-comic readers to familiarize themselves with the feline fatale.

More: Wonder Woman 1984 Trailer: 27 Secrets & Story Details You Missed