Cat's Out of the Bag

Wonder Woman 1984 photo reveals a new villain for the first time

What happens when a cheetah and an Amazon collide? A friendship is torn apart

Fans of the DC Universe know that Kristen Wiig will become the animalistic super-villain Cheetah in Wonder Woman 1984, due in theaters in August, but the movie's trailers and other previously-released images have shied away from outright confirming that Wiig will come face-to-face with the heroic Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot) in the movie. Until now.

A New Image — On May 4, Warner Bros. released two new images of Wonder Woman 1984. Both images depict the characters inside the White House in Washington D.C., a scenic location we've known will be in the movie since the first trailer was released in December.

One image shows Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord, a television huckster who possesses what could be the Chaos Shard, tied up by Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth. It's a new image, but in Wonder Woman's long comic book and television history, it's also not something we haven't seen before.

However, it's the second image that is an awful lot more revealing. It depicts Wonder Woman using her lasso on Kristen Wiig's Cheetah, who has the lasso wrapped around her forearm while dressed in a cheetah-print outfit. In the brief history of Wonder Woman 1984's marketing materials, this is the first instance of Cheetah being on opposite sides of Wonder Woman.

Pedro Pascal in 'Wonder Woman 1984,' tied up by Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth.Warner Bros. Pictures
Behold: The very first image of Wonder Woman fighting Cheetah in 'Wonder Woman 1984.'Warner Bros. Pictures

What it means — It isn't a secret that Cheetah is a villain in the DC Universe; she's been one of Wonder Woman's most prominent nemeses since her debut in comics in 1943 (though the Barbara Ann Minerva identity that Wiig portrays originated in 1987). But Wonder Woman 1984 has kept this fact a little close to the chest, with few instances of actually showing who the superhero fights against in the movie. In fact, the December 2019 trailer opened with Diana and Minerva sharing a friendly conversation over drinks.

Whenever Wonder Woman has been seen in action in Wonder Woman 1984 trailer so far, it's only been against security guards, Secret Service agents, and others who are trying to stop her from doing... whatever it is the plot of the movie will have her do. Set in the backdrop of the Cold War, Wonder Woman will fight a more existential threat than when she dropped into the trenches of World War I in her first movie. But there's sure to still be a lot of goons who need punching, and Wonder Woman will be there.

Who is Cheetah? — As we've explained before, Cheetah is the villain identity of archaeologist and heiress Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva. The gist is that, on an expedition, Minerva encountered the ancient plant god Urzkartaga who granted her powers of a cheetah deity. Minerva transforms into "Cheetah," a half-human, half-wild cat who seeks to destroy Wonder Woman.

While Cheetah traces back to Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston in the 1940s, the "Barbara Ann Minerva" version was created by DC icons George Pérez and Len Wein in 1987. For Wonder Woman 1984, we still don't know yet if Wiig will transform into a half-cheetah, but these images prove she will undergo a villainous turn.

The Inverse Analysis — Whether it's because of extensive visual effects that still need to be completed, or because Wonder Woman 1984 won't actually have Minerva transform, it's been noticeable how much the filmmakers have not revealed Cheetah's "final form." Even a Funko toy leak blacked out Cheetah in its upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 line, though it's quite obvious that Minerva's transformation will be comprehensive.

For now, Wiig in a cheetah print power suit in a physical confrontation against Wonder Woman is all you need to know about what kind of threat Minerva/Cheetah poses to Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman 1984 will be released in theaters on August 14.