Diana Prince (DC Extended Universe)

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Diana Prince
Wonder Woman
DC Extended Universe character
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.jpg
Promotional image of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
First appearanceBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Based on
Adapted byChris Terrio
David S. Goyer
Zack Snyder
Allan Heinberg
Jason Fuchs
Portrayed byGal Gadot (original)
Emily Carey (12 years old)
Lilly Aspell (8 years old)
In-universe information
Full nameDiana
AliasWonder Woman
SpeciesAmazonOld God hybrid
GenderFemale
TitleCrown Princess of Themyscira
Occupation
  • Museum Curator
  • Warrior
  • Vigilante
Affiliation
Family
Significant other
NationalityThemysciran
AbilitiesInvulnerability, superhuman strength, speed, sight, and hearing, swordcraft, magic

Princess Diana of Themyscira, also known by her civilian name Diana Prince or superhero title Wonder Woman, is a fictional character in the DC Extended Universe, based on the character of the same name created by William Moulton Marston and H. G. Peter. First appearing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, she is portrayed by Gal Gadot and later plays a major role in the films Wonder Woman, Justice League, and Wonder Woman 1984, becoming one of the central characters in the DCEU. Gadot's performance as Wonder Woman, the first of the character in cinema, has received critical praise.

Development and portrayal[edit]

On casting Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, director Zack Snyder mentioned that Gadot had "that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role."

Despite being one of DC Comics' flagship superhero characters, Wonder Woman had not been portrayed in live-action film until Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016. The character was the subject of the television series Wonder Woman, which ran from 1975 to 1979 with Lynda Carter portraying the title character.[1] Prior to that, a loosely-based television film with the same name was released in 1974 with Cathy Lee Crosby portraying a different version of Wonder Woman.[2] However, the character has been featured in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited shows in the DC Animated Universe and movies in DC Universe Animated Original Movies line, and also appeared in The Lego Movie with Cobie Smulders providing her voice.

Development of a live-action Wonder Woman film began as far back as 1996, with producers and screenwriters such as Ivan Reitman,[3] Jon Cohen,[4] Joel Silver, Todd Alcott,[5] Leonard Goldberg, and Joss Whedon attached to the project. Actresses such as Sandra Bullock, Mariah Carey, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Lucy Lawless were rumored or approached to take on the title role. A film focusing on Wonder Woman during World War II impressed the heads at Silver Pictures, but Silver did not want the film to be a period piece, despite purchasing the script to prevent the cinematic rights of Wonder Woman reverting.[6]

By 2013, with Warner Bros. releasing Man of Steel, the studio had opened up the idea of that film creating a shared cinematic universe to compete with one set up by Marvel Comics. In addition to proven characters such as Batman and Superman, the studio once again put Wonder Woman in consideration for adaptation, along with other characters such as Aquaman.[7] DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson said Wonder Woman "has been, since I started, one of the top three priorities for DC and for Warner Bros. We are still trying right now, but she's tricky."[8]

Israeli actress Gal Gadot was cast as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by director Zack Snyder, having turned down the role of Faora-Ul in Man of Steel due to pregnancy.[9] For the role of Wonder Woman, Gadot underwent a diet and training regimen, practiced different martial arts and gained 17 pounds of muscle.[10][11] On Gadot's casting as Wonder Woman, Snyder said "Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe. Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role."[12] In 2015, Patty Jenkins accepted an offer to direct Wonder Woman,[13] based on a screenplay by Allan Heinberg and a story co-written by Heinberg, Zack Snyder, Geoff Johns and Jason Fuchs.[14] Jenkins worked with Gadot on the Wonder Woman film, which eventually was conceived as a prequel to Wonder Woman's first appearance in Batman v Superman,[15] placing her in the 1910s and World War I (a decision which differs from her comic book origins as a supporter of the Allies during World War II).[16]

"You know Wonder Woman; she's amazing. I love everything that she represents and everything that she stands for. She's all about love and compassion and truth and justice and equality, and she's a whole lot of woman. For me, it was important that people can relate to her."[17]

Gal Gadot on her thoughts on portraying Wonder Woman

Characterization and themes[edit]

A Wonder Woman who has extraordinary superpowers—said to be the strongest hero in the world—Diana is a kind, loving, compassionate, and strong-willed person, who, while initially somewhat naive, has become all the wiser through her time in Man's World. An outspoken egalitarian, she fights for what she believes in and generally for the betterment of mankind through love and mutual understanding, as taught to her by her mother and fellow Amazons. In addition to her general willingness for empathy, however, Diana is also extremely friendly and can step back enjoy the smaller moments in life, as seen in her utter delight in experiencing ice cream for the first time in Wonder Woman and agreement with Superman (who, up until the events of Justice League, she had not spoken to much) about him not missing out on the positive results of their victory over Steppenwolf. Even alongside all of her kindness, compassion, and empathy, Diana is still also a warrior at heart, and when someone she cares about is hurt, becomes far more relentless and ruthless.

Gadot describes her character as having "many strengths and powers, but at the end of the day, she's a woman with a lot of emotional intelligence".[18] Describing Wonder Woman's compassion, Gadot stated, "It's all her heart—that's her strength. I think women are amazing for being able to show what they feel. I admire women who do." Gadot also stated "I don't want people to think she is perfect", further explaining, "She can be naughty."[19] On Diana leaving Themyscira, a mystical island inhabited only by females, and going to the world in Wonder Woman, Gadot stated "When Diana comes to the real world she's completely oblivious about gender and society rules, that women are not equal to men."[20]

Describing her role in the Batman v Superman, Gadot said, "In this movie you get a glimpse of who Wonder Woman is — she's being introduced into this DC Comics universe. But we were talking about her strengths, her façade, her attitude. Why is she acting the way she is?" On Wonder Woman's battle scene with Doomsday, Gadot stated, "I remember after we did that take, Zack came to me and he said, 'Did you just have a smirk?' I said, 'Yeah.' And he asked, 'Why? I think I like it, but why?' 'Well, if he's gonna mess with her, then she's gonna mess with him. And she knows she's gonna win.' At the end of the day, Wonder Woman is a peace seeker. But when fight arrives, she can fight. She's a warrior and she enjoys the adrenaline of the fight."[17]

Film appearances[edit]

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)[edit]

Diana Prince/Wonder Woman first appears in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice when Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) encounters her at a gala hosted by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). They are both after encrypted information in Luthor's system, with Diana snagging a decryption device that Bruce plants, but when Diana is unable to extract data from the device, she hands it over to Bruce, who later finds that the files contain information on metahumans, one of which turns out to be Diana.

Upon hearing of Superman (Henry Cavill) and Batman's fight with Doomsday in Gotham City, Diana abandons a flight back to her job as an museum curator in France and joins the two heroes in their fight against the monster, donning her armor, unwilling to see countless civilians killed in the conflict. She slices off the creature's hand and restrains it using her lasso as Batman stuns it, allowing Superman to kill the monster using a kryptonite spear at the cost of his own life. Moved by Superman's sacrifice, Diana later attends his funeral with Bruce, who invites her to help him recruit other metahumans to band together.

Wonder Woman (2017)[edit]

Some time after Superman's funeral, Bruce follows up with Diana, sending her a package containing a letter and a photographic plate from 1918 depicting her with several World War I fighters, including Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Diana reminisces on her past while looking at the package, leading to the events of film. She is revealed as the daughter of Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), who raised her on the hidden island of Themyscira, home to the Amazons, women warriors created by Zeus to protect mankind. Hippolyta explains their history to Diana, including how Ares became jealous of humanity and orchestrated its destruction. When the other gods attempted to stop him, Ares killed all but Zeus, who used the last of his power to wound Ares and force his retreat. Before dying, Zeus left the Amazons a weapon, the "Godkiller", to prepare them for Ares's return. Hippolyta reluctantly agrees to let her sister, General Antiope (Robin Wright), train Diana as a warrior.

In 1918, Diana, now a young woman, rescues Captain Steve Trevor, a pilot with the American Expeditionary Forces, after his plane crashes off the coast of Themyscira. The island is soon invaded by the landing party of a German cruiser pursuing Steve. The Amazons engage and kill all the German sailors, but Antiope dies intercepting a German bullet meant for Diana. Interrogated with the Lasso of Hestia, Steve reveals that World War I is raging in the outside world and that he is an Allied spy. He stole a notebook with valuable information from the Spanish chief chemist Isabel Maru (Elena Anaya), also known as "Doctor Poison", who is attempting to engineer a deadlier form of mustard gas under the orders of General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston). Believing Ares is responsible for the war, Diana arms herself with the "Godkiller" sword, a shield, lasso and her suit of armor and sets out on her own, in defiance of her mother, to stop Ares and end the war. She releases Steve and immediately leaves Themyscira with him to find and destroy Ares.

The two arrive in London and Diana is introduced to Etta Candy (Lucy Davis), Steve's secretary. She helps Diana acquire some contemporary clothing so she can better fit in and retain her anonymity. Steve and Diana deliver Maru's notebook to the Supreme War Council, where Sir Patrick Morgan (David Thewlis) is trying to negotiate an armistice with Germany. Diana translates Maru's notes, revealing that the Germans plan to release the deadly gas at the Western Front. Although forbidden by his commander to act, Steve, with secret funding from Morgan, recruits Moroccan spy Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui), Scottish marksman Charlie (Ewen Bremner), and Native American smuggler Chief Napi (Eugene Brave Rock) to help prevent the gas from being released. The team reaches the front in Belgium. Diana goes alone through No Man's Land and captures the enemy trench, liberating the nearby village of Veld with the aid of the Allied forces. The team briefly celebrates, taking a photograph in the village, where Diana and Steve fall in love.

The following morning, the group proceeds to the castle where Ludendorff is hosting a party to celebrate the firing of the new gas formula that Maru has concocted for him. To gain entry to the castle, Chief commandeers an automobile in which Steve and Sameer gain entry in disguises. Diana ignores Steve's advice to remain with Charlie and Chief and scout out the surrounding area. She also enters the castle after incapacitating an aristocratic German woman and stealing her gown as a disguise. Inside the castle, Steve enters the ballroom and meets Maru and probes her for information that might be useful. However, he is rebuffed and she walks away just as Diana enters the room. She meets Ludendorff, whom she assumes to be the mortal disguise of Ares and plans to kill him before Steve intervenes and prevents her from doing so, fearful that their covers would be blown and result in their deaths too.

Ludendorff then fires the new gas at the battle lines from an artillery gun to the castle houses. The gas has the desired effect, killing thousands of civilians and troops from both sides. Horrified by the result of the gas, Diana blames Steve for letting it happen as a result of letting Ludendorff live. She rides to the complex behind the castle, pursued by Steve, where a larger supply of the gas is being loaded into a bomber plane to drop the gas on London and force the Allies to surrender. Diana confronts and fights Ludendorff, who bolsters his own strength by consuming an elixir procured by Maru. She kills him, but is confused and disillusioned when his death does not stop the war.

Morgan appears and reveals himself as Ares. He tells Diana that although he has subtly given humans ideas and inspirations, it is ultimately their decision to resort to violence, as they are inherently corrupt. When Diana attempts to kill Ares with the "Godkiller" sword, he destroys it, telling Diana that, as the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta, she herself is the "Godkiller". He entreats her to help him destroy mankind in order to restore paradise on Earth, but she refuses. While the two battle, Steve's team destroys Maru's laboratory. Steve hijacks and pilots the bomber carrying the poison to a safe altitude and detonates it, blowing up the plane and himself. Ares attempts to direct Diana's rage and grief at Steve's death by convincing her to kill Maru, but the memories of her experiences with Steve cause her to realize that humans have good within them. She spares Maru and redirects Ares' lightning into him, destroying him for good. Later, the team celebrates the end of the war.

In the present day, Diana sends an email to Bruce Wayne thanking him for the photographic plate of her and Steve. She continues to fight on the world's behalf as Wonder Woman, understanding that only love can truly save the world.

Justice League[edit]

Theatrical cut (2017)[edit]

Diana is first seen in action as Wonder Woman stopping a terrorist bomb plot in London at the beginning of the film. Seeing a news report that features a signal fire burning at the Shrine of the Amazons in Greece, Diana realizes that her mother had sent a message from Themyscira to warn her of an impending invasion, particularly, that of Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds). She then meets with Bruce Wayne in Gotham City, and the two decide to follow up on their plans to recruit other metahumans. While Bruce goes after Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), also known as Aquaman, and Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), also known as the Flash, Diana tracks down the elusive Victor Stone (Ray Fisher), also known as Cyborg. Victor is initially hesitant about joining the team despite providing some intel to Diana, but later joins when Steppenwolf kidnaps his father and several other S.T.A.R. Labs employees in an attempt to retrieve the last Mother Box. She and Stone meet up with Bruce and Allen as Gotham police commissioner James Gordon (J.K. Simmons) provides the group intel. The four vigilantes battle Steppenwolf and his Parademons in an underwater facility under the bay between Gotham City and Metropolis as Diana confronts Steppenwolf, who had just fought her sisters on Themyscira and taken a Mother Box from them. The team rescues the employees and takes the last Mother Box during the skirmish before Aquaman arrives and saves them from a deluge of floodwater.

Realizing the potential of the Mother Box, Bruce decides to have the team use it to resurrect Superman, whereas Diana and Curry express skepticism. Allen and Stone exhume Clark Kent's body and the team successfully resurrects him in the facility used to create Doomsday, but Superman, having lost his memories, attacks the group after Cyborg accidentally launches a missile at him. Superman knocks Wonder Woman aside as he goes for Batman, whom he remembers, but is calmed down as Lois Lane (Amy Adams) arrives as part of Batman's "contingency plan". In the skirmish, Steppenwolf takes the last Mother Box from the group as it was left unattended. As Superman leaves with Lois to regain his memories, the five other heroes recuperate at the Batcave. Diana tends to Bruce's wounds as the two apologize for some harsh words towards each other earlier.

As the group flies to a Russian village to prevent Steppenwolf from uniting all the Mother Boxes and terraforming the Earth, Batman decides to lead a suicidal charge to distract Steppenwolf while Wonder Woman leads the others to the Mother Boxes in an attempt to get Cyborg to separate them. The plan ultimately fails, but Superman arrives, saving Cyborg from being killed by Steppenwolf and assisting Flash with evacuating the villagers. Steppenwolf is ultimately defeated as Superman freezes his axe with his frost breath while Wonder Woman shatters it. Overcome with fear, Steppenwolf is attacked by his own Parademons as they all teleport back to their homeworld of Apokolips. Following the team's victory, Diana and Bruce decide to expand the operations of the team, now named the Justice League, and Diana begins to serve more openly as Wonder Woman.

Director's cut (2021)[edit]

Wonder Woman's role will be expanded in Zack Snyder's upcoming director's cut of the film.

Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)[edit]

Gal Gadot reprised her role in the film Wonder Woman 1984, which, like its predecessor Wonder Woman, also takes place in the past. In 1984, Diana works at the Smithsonian Museum as an archaeologist while moonlighting as Wonder Woman, with her new coworker, Barbara Ann Minerva (Kristen Wiig), becoming envious of Diana. Barbara and Diana help the FBI identify some antiques stolen from a heist foiled by Wonder Woman, noticing that one item, the Dreamstone, contains a Latin inscription claiming to grant the holder one wish.

Barbara wishes to become like Diana, but acquires the same superpowers, while Diana unknowingly wishes for her deceased lover Steve Trevor to be alive, resurrecting him in another man's body; the two are reunited at a Smithsonian gala. Only Diana sees him as Steve, however. Failing businessman Maxwell Lorenzano (Pedro Pascal), also known as Max Lord, tricks Barbara and steals the Dreamstone, hoping to use its power to save his bankrupt oil company. He wishes to "become" the stone and gains its wish-granting powers, becoming a wealthy and powerful figure who creates chaos and destruction as his powers trigger worldwide instability.

Barbara, Diana, and Steve discover that the Dreamstone was created by Dolos/Mendacius, the god of lies, treachery, deception, and mischief, also known as Duke of Deception. It grants a user's wish while exacting a toll unless they renounce the wish or destroy the stone. Although Diana's power and Barbara's humanity diminish, both are unwilling to renounce their wishes. Learning from the U.S. President (Stuart Milligan) of a satellite system that broadcasts signals globally, Max, whose powers are causing his body to deteriorate, plans to globally grant wishes to steal strength and life force from the viewers and regain his health. Diana and Steve confront him at the White House, but Barbara, now aligned with Max, defeats Diana, escaping with Max on Marine One. Steve convinces Diana to renounce her wish and let him go, restoring her strength and gaining an ability to fly.

Donning the armor of the legendary Amazon warrior Asteria, Diana flies to the satellite headquarters and again battles Barbara, who has transformed into a cheetah-like creature after wishing to become an apex predator. Following a brutal match, Diana tackles Barbara into a lake and electrocutes her, then pulls her out. She confronts Max and uses her Lasso of Truth to communicate with the world through him, convincing everyone to renounce their wishes (Causing Barbara to revert to normal), then shows Max visions of his own unhappy childhood and of his son, Alistair, who is frantically searching for his father amid the chaos. Max renounces his wish and reunites with Alistair. Some time later, Diana meets the man whose body Steve possessed (Kristoffer Polaha).

Reception[edit]

Upon Wonder Woman's appearance in Batman v Superman, Jordan Hoffman of The Guardian noted in an ambivalent review of the film that Gadot's performance was the "best thing about the film".[21] Cynthia Fuchs of PopMatters added in a similar review of the film that "Wonder Woman remains Batman v Superman's most compelling story, precisely because it's untold."[22]

In Wonder Woman, Gadot's performance received a largely positive response from critics along with the film as a whole. Critics praised her chemistry with co-star Chris Pine and optimistic and lighthearted take on the character as opposed to that on other characters in the DCEU at that point.[23][24][25][26] Elise Jost of Moviepilot specifically observed that "Gadot's take on Wonder Woman is one of those unique cases of an actor merging with their story, similar to Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark. Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman, and Wonder Woman is Gal Gadot." She also praised Gadot's interpretation of Wonder Woman as the one in which Gadot "absolutely nails the character's unwaveringly positive outlook on life. She's a force of nature who believes in the greater good; her conviction that she's meant to save the world is stronger than her bullet-deflecting shield. She's genuine, she's fun, she's the warm source of energy at the heart of the movie."[27]

However, there was some backlash in some Arab countries such as Lebanon and Qatar, which banned Wonder Woman due to Gadot's Israeli citizenship.[28][29] Other countries such as Tunisia and Algeria saw the film pulled out of festivals due to Gadot's citizenship and military service.[30][31] Jordan also reportedly considered a ban, but relented as there was no legal precedent for it.[32]

In Justice League, one of the biggest criticisms of the film was the scaling back of Wonder Woman's role and her alleged objectification by the film's creators,[33] especially during the film's reshoots.[34]

In Wonder Woman 1984, Gadot once again received praise for her performance as Wonder Woman, though the film received mixed reviews.[35] Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle praised Gadot, saying, "Her performance here has dignity and earned emotion" and called her the best thing about the film and "She was the best thing in the first installment, too, but that was an excellent movie. This one isn't."[36] In addition, Diana's decision to have sex with Steve Trevor, who was actually possessing another man's body, was subject to controversy.[37][38][39]

Accolades[edit]

Gadot has received numerous nominations and awards for her portrayal of Diana Prince.

Year Film Award Category Result Ref(s)
2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Chinese American Film Festival Most Popular US Actress in China Won [40]
Critics' Choice Awards Best Actress in an Action Movie Nominated [41]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Breakout Star Nominated [42]
Choice Movie: Scene Stealer Nominated [42]
Women Film Critics Circle Awards Best Female Action Hero Nominated [43]
2017 Wonder Woman Detroit Film Critics Society Breakthrough Nominated [44]
National Board of Review Awards Spotlight Award Won [45]
North Texas Film Critics Association Best Actress Nominated [46]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Liplock (shared with Chris Pine) Nominated [47]
Choice Movie: Action Actress Won [47]
Choice Movie: Actress Summer Nominated [47]
Choice Movie: Ship (shared with Chris Pine) Nominated [47]
2018 Jupiter Award Best International Actress Won [48][circular reference]
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Fight (Wonder Woman vs German soldiers) Won [49]
Best Hero Nominated [50]
Palm Springs International Film Festival Rising Star Award - Actress Won [51]
Santa Barbara Film Festival Virtuosos Award Won [52]
Saturn Awards Best Actress Won [53]
Justice League Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Action Nominated [54]

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CC-BY-SA icon.svg The plot description and characterization were adapted from Wonder Woman, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman (film) and Justice League (film) at DC Extended Universe Wiki, which are available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.

External links[edit]