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Warning: SPOILERS for Wonder Woman 1984 are ahead!
Although 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice introduced the masses to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, within the internal DC Extended Universe timeline, this marks her third appearance. 2017’s Wonder Woman showed Diana leaving Themyscira and coming to man’s world in 1918, and the recently-released Wonder Woman 1984 showed what Diana was up to over six decades after the end of World War I, namely her dealing with the resurrection of Steve Trevor and facing off against Maxwell Lord and Barbara Minerva, the latter of whom briefly transforms into The Cheetah.
Overall, Wonder Woman 1984, which is playing in both theaters and on HBO Max, has earned a lot of positive critical reception, and the sequel even includes Diana’s theme music from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which was composed by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL. Unfortunately, the events of Wonder Woman 1984, particularly Diana’s personal evolution, don’t line up with how the character is depicted in Batman v Superman, and it all boils down just a few lines of dialogue.
Diana’s Final Moments In Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice
For a decent chunk of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Diana Prince is an enigma, with Bruce Wayne meeting her during the course of his investigation into Lex Luthor’s criminal operations. It’s only after Bruce Wayne decrypts Luthor’s metahuman files and sees the picture of her from 1918 that he realizes that he realizes there’s more to her than meets the eye. Following their battle with Doomsday, Bruce and Diana reunite at Clark Kent’s funeral, and the latter says the following to the former when he asks for her help finding the other metahumans, i.e. Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg:
100 years ago, I walked away from mankind. From a century of horrors. Man made a world where standing together isn’t possible.
Now if one’s only watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, then Diana’s dialogue makes sense. She tried to keep a low profile for decades, and when Batman and Superman start clashing with Doomsday, it initially looks like Diana’s just going to depart to Turkey. Fortunately, she changes her mind and jumps into the battle, and the events of Batman v Superman pave the way for her to be open to protecting humanity in Justice League. It’s all pretty straightforward, right? Well, Wonder Woman 1984 complicates things.
Diana’s Journey In Wonder Woman 1984
To be sure, Diana Prince is pretty antisocial during 1984. When she’s not working at the Smithsonian, she prefers solitude, unwilling to attend parties or get close to anybody. Much of that is due to Diana still mourning Steve Trevor’s death all these years later, which is fair enough. But it wouldn’t be accurate to say that Diana has walked away from humanity when Wonder Woman 1984 rolls around.
In fact, Diana is all too eager to use her special abilities to look after humanity, as first evidenced when she stops a group of armed thieves at a mall. Yes, Diana takes out the security cameras so there’s no footage of her, but her desire for anonymity doesn’t outweigh her calling to protect the innocent. And while the photographs in her apartment chronicling major life events after World War I didn’t indicate any superhero activity, it’s hard to imagine Diana decided break out her Amazon outfit, lasso of truth and bulletproof bracelets on a whim that day the mall heist went down. Presumably she’s been fighting crime for a few years at that point, if not across the decades.
But for the sake of argument, let’s ignore Diana stopping those criminals at the beginning of Wonder Woman 1984, and only focus on her main mission in the movie, i.e. stopping Maxwell Lord and Barbara Minerva. As the story progresses, Diana learns that the wishes granted by the Dreamstone come at a cost. For her, wishing Steve Trevor back to life resulted in her power slowly diminishing. In order to be at peak strength, Diana must either revoke her wish, i.e. send Steve back to the afterlife, or destroy the Dreamstone, which, by that point, Maxwell Lord has become.
Ultimately Diana chooses the former, but before she accepts that she needs to truly to let Steve Trevor go, she tearfully tells him that she’ll never love again. In his final moments, Steve tries to convince her to open herself up to others again, and in this wide world of ours, she’s bound to find love again. At that time, she doesn’t seem to buy it, but because she has to defeat Maxwell Lord after regaining her full strength, there isn’t a lot of time for her to ponder Steve’s wise words.
By the end of Wonder Woman 1984 though, when all the wishes have been undone and the world is no longer on the brink of nuclear annihilation, Diana seems to be in a healthier headspace, as evidenced by the conversation she had with the man whose body Steve Trevor inhabited during his short return to Earth. And perhaps unsurprisingly, she vows to continue protecting humanity, which is nice since she’s also now able to fly, an ability she didn’t demonstrate during Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or Justice League… but that’s a discussion for another time.
Diana’s Comment In Batman V Superman Shouldn’t Be Taken To Heart
Clearly there’s a disconnect between what Diana Prince told Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and how her life unfolded in Wonder Woman 1984. Diana may not have been comfortable forming connections with people outside of Steve Trevor and her close circle of friends from World War I, but to say that she walked away from mankind entirely isn’t accurate. That’s not to say that the years between Wonder Woman 1984 and Batman v Superman were all pleasant for her, but with the way the sequel ends, at the very least, Diana seems like she has a more positive outlook on life.
To be fair, even before Wonder Woman 1984’s arrival, Diana’s “walked away from mankind” line was being toned down/reinterpreted. Ahead of the first Wonder Woman movie’s release, Gal Gadot said that there was “potentially a misunderstanding” regarding what that line meant, and inferred that she was saving people in the time between Wonder Woman and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, yet simultaneously realizing that humanity must learn to save itself. Then shortly before Justice League was released, Gadot said that Diana was always “very active in Man’s World” and “always acting to save and to help and to better the world.”
So the next time you watch Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, don’t hold much stock in Diana telling Bruce about how she became disillusioned with humanity, if any at all. We’ve since learned that wasn’t really the case, and while she may not have always felt closely connected to the citizens of Man’s World, she was at least looking after them. In any case, with Wonder Woman 3 set to be a contemporary story, we’ll finally get to see what Diana’s been up to after what went down in Justice League. As teased in that movie’s ending, Diana’s now a public superhero, so ideally we’ll get to see how the world at large is responding to her these days as she continues her peacekeeping mission.
Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for all the latest updates on what’s happening with Wonder Woman on film. Keep track of what else the DCEU has in store for fans with our detailed guide.