At the beginning of Wonder Woman, Diana leaves her idyllic home of Themyscira to put an end to World War I. But before she leaves, Diana's Amazonian mother Hippolyta warns that she won't be able to come back home. Wonder Woman never gives us a clear reason why, relying more on the emotions of the scene, but we actually do know why Diana can't go back to Themyscira. Here's the answer.
At the end of DC’s Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot’s Diana is still in the world of men, decades after World War I. She's working at the Louvre. In a voiceover, she says she stayed to help. While the film doesn’t need to explain why she can't return to Themyscira, it actually has an answer. Or rather, several.
The Wonder Woman comics have changed their canon several times. Most notably, Wonder Woman’s sexuality and her relationship with Steve have undergone several different incarnations.
What is Themyscira in Wonder Woman?
Themyscira is a secret, peaceful island that's populated by Amazons and shielded from men. It was called Paradise Island in the comics until 1987. It’s a utopian realm full of diversity and equality — terms like “queer” and “bisexual” are alien to this world because it adheres to a “love is love” mentality.
The name Themyscira has roots in Greek mythology, so the island’s exact location is vague in most stories. As the movie revealed, Steve’s compass is wonky there. It isn’t exactly easy to return to once you leave unless you know where it is.
In the original Greek myth, Aphrodite helped Queen Hippolyta and the Amazons defeat Hercules. The cost of her help, however, was that the Amazons must live isolated from the world of men.
So why can't Diana return home in Wonder Woman?
Another reason Diana stayed away, however, is that when enemies look to diminish her power, they turn to Themyscira. In one comic storyline, Hydra turned most of the Amazons to stone. In another, Darkseid invaded and turned Amazons to stone. That would have been a major downer for the surprisingly uplifting DC film.
In other comics, Themyscira holds a doorway to the Underworld. The population of Themyscira must guard it — which would certainly restrict its border-control policy.
Although Wonder Woman does not linger on Hippolyta’s reasons for telling Diana she couldn’t return to Themyscira, the most likely answer is a combination of lore from various comics. As Hippolyta showed in scenes with her sister Antiope, she’s eager to maintain Themyscira’s peace and isolation. Perhaps she has an inkling that Diana would make friends in the world of men, who would be curious about the island. As well-intended as Diana’s pals Sameer, Charlie, and Chief are, adding them would change the chemistry of this land that is constantly on the brink of shifting the balance of its fragile peace.
Wonder Woman is currently in theaters.