Comic book movie fans may not have seen the last of Kristen Wiig’s Barbara Minerva, the lonely Smithsonian worker who transforms into the villainous Cheetah during “Wonder Woman 1984.” In an interview with Den of Geek, franchise director Patty Jenkins confirms she purposefully left the fate of Barbara/Cheetah ambiguous at the end of “Wonder Woman 1984,” thus leaving the door wide open for the character to return in the next chapter of the “Wonder Woman” story. Unlike Pedro Pascal’s Max Lord, viewers never see Barbara renounce her wish. The film ends with Barbara alive watching the sunrise while no longer in her Cheetah form, her full story arc seemingly not complete.
“I have my reasons for making it ambiguous, and I think it’s not clear what her point of view [is] on everything that just happened,” Jenkins said. “I love that we wrap up Max Lord’s point of view, and that you see the culmination of that storyline, I think is so important. But the truth is there may or may not be more to come [for Barbara].”
While Jenkins will not confirm whether or not Barbara will return in another “Wonder Woman” movie, it’s quite clear the writer-director intentionally left the door open for Wiig to come back and complete Barbara/Cheetah’s arc. Warner Bros. has already announced it is fast-tracking development on “Wonder Woman 3” following the opening of “Wonder Woman 1984,” with both Jenkins and star Gal Gadot returning for the third entry.
Wiig’s return was not mentioned in the announcement, but it wouldn’t be a surprise for Cheetah to return. Perhaps the character becomes Diana Prince’s ally in whatever fight takes place next, thus subverting the “women pitted against each other” trope that some critics found tiresome in “Wonder Woman 1984.” Reviewers also criticized the sequel for reducing Barbara’s role to that of Max Lord’s sidekick, but Jenkins might’ve only been viewing “1984” as Barbara’s introduction.
While Barbara’s return is a question mark, it appears more likely “Wonder Woman 3” will bring Diana Prince into the present or near future. The first “Wonder Woman” took place in 1918 during World War I, while “1984” took place in that eponymous year. In a 2019 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jenkins confirmed she was already developing “Wonder Woman 3” ideas and appeared certain that she “was not doing another period piece” to close out the trilogy.
“I’m not planning to put it in the past again, because where are you going to go?” Jenkins said. “You have to go forward. It’s definitely a contemporary story. That’s all I can say. Where we put it and how that gets figured out, I haven’t totally nailed down.”
“Wonder Woman 1984” also included a post-credits scene that revealed the ancient Amazonian warrior Asteria is alive and well and living amongst mankind. The original Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter appeared as Asteria in a surprise cameo. Diana mentions during “Wonder Woman 1984” that she had been looking for Asteria but had no success, only managing to find Asteria’s golden armor. It seems likely Asteria and Diana will link up in some capacity in “Wonder Woman 3.”
“Wonder Woman 1984” is now playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.