It's official: Kristen Wiig will be playing Cheetah in Wonder Woman 2. The reports first surfaced last month, but director Patty Jenkins confirmed the news on Twitter Friday morning.
"So excited to confirm the most thrilling news. Yes! It’s true!" she said. "So incredibly lucky to welcome the sensationally talented Kristen Wiig to our Wonder Woman family. Can't wait to finally work with one of my favorites. And SO excited by what we have planned. #Cheetah!!!" Gal Gadot (a.k.a. Diana Prince/Wonder Woman) also echoed the excitement, tweeting "I’m SO excited welcome on board Kristen! This is going to be WONDERful!" So let's rewind a bit here—who is Cheetah anyway?
The character first appeared in the DC Comics in 1943 and is Wonder Woman's main enemy. The comics features four different versions of the villainess: Priscilla Rich, Deborah Domaine, Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva and Sebastian Ballesteros. Just like Wonder Woman, Cheetah is a total badass (but of the more evil nature). Her powers include superhuman speed, reaction time, strength and durability, making her a tough match for the heroine. The upcoming sequel will reportedly use the comic's third iteration—Barbara Ann Minerva. She is a British anthropologist who transforms into a cheetah god after accidentally entering an ancient ritual. Minerva is a "were-cheetah," which means she appears to be an ordinary woman at first glance, but can morph into the animal when she choses.
Kristen Wiig, whose career is based on comedy, will now be faced with what may be the most challenging role she's done thus far. The Saturday Night Live alum has proved she is a modern-day comedic icon, thanks to her needle-point timing with jokes and her ability to take on different personalities without breaking her character. The actress has made us laugh until we cried with movies and television shows like Bridesmaids, Despicable Me, Ghostbusters and Sausage Party, as well as Netflix's Big Mouth and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.
Wiig has also showed that her talent stretches beyond the funny genre with more dramatic roles in The Skeleton Twins, Welcome to Me, The Martian and the unsuspecting, gun-wielding publicist Mother! (sorry, spoiler alert!). But this is only the beginning—she has not yet played a villain. If she nails this role of Cheetah, the actress will be able to further expand her skills and possibly join the DCEU for future Wonder Woman projects. She can either use her comedy background to provide some depth to the villain, giving her a dark humor sensibility similar to Batman's foe, The Joker. Or she can completely own the evilness and channel her inner wicked mastermind. Whatever Wiig chooses, it will be interesting to see her in an unexpected character that will lead her to even more three-dimensional roles.
Wonder Woman broke the box office record for biggest female director opening, and went on to gross $409 million at the domestic box office and $813 million worldwide, becoming a huge success for the studio. Wonder Woman 2 is set to premiere on Nov. 1, 2019. It will be the first film to implement the Producers' Guild of America anti-sexual harassment guidelines. The new policy are asking production companies of the following: "complies with federal and state laws, offers a range of reporting procedures, and provide in-person anti-sexual harassment training for all members of the cast and crew at the start of any production, including at the start of any new season for ongoing productions."
With a movie filled with powerful female characters and directed by a strong woman, Wonder Woman 2 is the perfect choice to jumpstart Hollywood's latest initiative to protect its workers. Next, check out this Fuse interview where former Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso says Marvel is "long past" wanting "scantily clad characters":