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The new Wonder Woman trailer — officially, the “origin” trailer, according to Warner Bros. — looks back at Diana’s (Gal Gadot) life before she left for what is euphemistically called “Man’s World,” and in the process, hints at the ways in which director Patty Jenkins’ upcoming movie will echo (and alter) existing comic book canon.
Only the fiercest among us even could, and that is not you, Diana
Watching Connie Nielsen’s Hippolyta tell the young Diana that she isn’t the fiercest of the Amazons is a strange moment, taken out of context — especially when combined with what immediately follows in the trailer, but we’ll get to that in a second. However, there’s definitely a reading of the scene that bypasses the idea that Hippolyta is telling her daughter that she’s not good enough. Instead, think of it as something said by an over-protective mother who doesn’t want her daughter to be a warrior.
This is in keeping with a number with comic book portrayals of the pair’s relationship; in the current Wonder Woman series, we see Hippolyta all but beg her daughter not to compete in a contest to be identified as the bravest, most capable Amazon, because that would mean she would have to leave Paradise Island and never see her mother again. Perhaps what Hippolyta is saying to her daughter, then, isn’t that she is weak; maybe she’s asking her not to even start preparing for a future that could tear them apart.
You will train her harder than any Amazon before her. Five times harder, 10 times harder — until she is better than even you
Quite why Hippolyta goes from trying to suppress Diana’s ambitions to demanding that she is trained to become the very best Amazon is something that remains to be seen — although I do wonder if the shift comes from Diana deciding to leave Paradise Island, and is fueled by her mother’s desire for her to survive the experience. But it’s worth pointing out that, traditionally in comic book lore, Diana doesn’t necessarily need to be trained to become the most capable of the Amazons; she simply is, due to either birthright (an idea advanced in last year’s Wonder Woman: Earth One graphic novel — we’ll come back to this in a second) or an intense drive to succeed despite her mother being the rule of the Amazons that saw her train harder than everyone else without direction from others, a notion hinted at in other versions of her comic book history.
She must never know the truth about what she is
This is the most interesting tease from the entire trailer because it hints at one of two different eras of the comic book character. For the majority of her comic book history, Wonder Woman was Pinocchio as superhero — a woman who started off as a literal clay figure given life by the gods, and blessed with special gifts that gave her superhuman abilities. (The “birthright” hinted at in the Wonder Woman: Earth One graphic novel, as mentioned earlier.)
Since 2011, however, her origins have been re-written to reveal that she is actual the biological daughter of Hippolyta and the deity Zeus, with her powers and gifts instead being due to genetic heritage. It’s not clear from the trailer just which version of the character’s backstory the movie will follow — the Zeus retcon was relatively unpopular among long-term fans — but a line like “she must never know the truth about what she is” certainly suggests that one of those two origins will be revealed as a secret at some point during the movie. In the first trailer, Diana tells Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), “I had no father. I was brought to life by Zeus.” But that’s kept intentionally vague. After all, as this new trailer reveals, Diana doesn’t quite know the truth about her own origins.
Wonder Woman opens June 2.
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