In the comics, there have been many iterations of the Cheetah character from her first appearance in Wonder Woman #6 in October 1943 up until now. The latest rumor surrounding Wonder Woman 1984 claims that Barbara Ann Minerva will receive yet another new origin apart from comic book continuity.
Created by William Moulton Marston, The Cheetah began as socialite Priscilla Rich, whose descent into villainy stemmed from jealousy and dissociative identity disorder. Other iterations involved Minerva character, who was introduced following the events of 1984’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, which pointed to a supernatural source.
In the miniseries Justice, for example, the Prince incarnation channels the powers of the cheetah by skinning two live cheetahs and sewing their hides into her costume. In the recent DC Rebirth origin, Barbara was an archaeologist who became inspired by the existence of the Amazons, which led her to investigate the legend of the African God Urzkartaga, who promised her immortality as his bride. But because Barbara wasn’t a virgin, she is instead cursed and transformed into a human-cheetah hybrid with a wrenching hunger for human flesh. Furthermore, she blames Diana for not intervening on her behalf and becomes her sworn enemy.
While it has long been public knowledge that Kristen Wiig has been cast as Barbara for the sequel to the 2016 hit film, set in the 1980s, a recent tweet by YouTuber and host of her own comic book channel, Grace Randolph, states that “she’s more of a fan who makes a wish to be like [Wonder Woman] which goes horribly wrong.”
But wish to who? Urzkartaga? or perhaps another Greek God that survived Ares’ established treachery? As to whether fans would be okay with it, the threat of envy usually affiliated with the Cheetah’s agenda sounds like it is intact. Whether it clicks with the traditionalists or not will be a question answered only on premiere night.
Wonder Woman 1984 is set to debut in theaters June 5, 2020.