After three relatively underwhelming superhero movies, Warner Bros. Pictures finally struck gold with 2017’s Wonder Woman, a critical and commercial hit that broke a long list of box-office records on its way to becoming one of the most successful superhero movies of all time. The latest update on its sequel, Wonder Woman 2, brings a popular Game of Thrones actor into the fold for the heroine’s next adventure.
The Wonder Woman sequel was officially confirmed in July 2017, and director Patty Jenkins later agreed to return to direct the follow-up to her record-breaking film. With star Gal Gadot already locked in for another adventure as the iconic superheroine, Wonder Woman 2 hits theaters November 1, 2019.
From Westeros to Themyscira
Game of Thrones actor Pedro Pascal will reportedly play a key role in the Wonder Woman sequel. The identity of the character played by Pascal is not yet known, according to Variety, but the role is expected to be a pivotal one in the film.
Pascal is best known for playing Oberyn Martell on HBO’s Game of Thrones, as well as Javier Peña in the Netflix drama Narcos. He had a featured role in last year’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and will star opposite Denzel Washington in the upcoming sequel to The Equalizer.
The Wonder Woman sequel will be a reunion of sorts for Pascal and Jenkins, as the actor previously appeared in the 2015 drama Exposed, which was directed by Jenkins.
Enter the Cheetah
The Wonder Woman sequel is bringing in one of Hollywood’s most entertaining actresses to play the villain in the DC Comics heroine’s next big-screen adventure. Jenkins announced the casting of Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters actress Kristen Wiig in the role of Cheetah via a March 9 update on Twitter.
So excited to confirm the most thrilling news. Yes! It’s true! 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!!! @GalGadot pic.twitter.com/Gn0jICiIAH
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) March 9, 2018
“So excited to confirm the most thrilling news,” wrote Jenkins. “Yes! It’s true! 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!!! @GalGadot”
Deadline was the first to report the casting for the Wonder Woman sequel.
Cheetah is one of Wonder Woman’s most frequent foes in the DC Comics universe, first appearing in a 1943 issue of the Wonder Woman comic book series, and making recurring appearances over the years that followed. The character has gone through several iterations over the years, and the most recent version of the character is a former archaeologist who was transformed into a demigod with the characteristics of a cheetah — enhanced strength, speed, and senses, as well as sharp teeth and claws.
After initially assigning the Wonder Woman sequel a December 13 release date in 2019, Warner Bros. Pictures later moved the premiere a month earlier to November 1.
The move was made in the wake of Star Wars: Episode IX shifting from its initial May 2019 release date to the weekend after Wonder Woman 2 arrives in theaters, December 20. The studio wisely wants to give the sequel to Wonder Woman some time to breathe and avoid competing with the juggernaut that is the Star Wars franchise, and given how well Thor: Ragnarok has done with an early November release this year, the weekend seems like a good one for superhero fare.
New time, new place
Before she was officially confirmed as the sequel’s director, Jenkins discussed some of the ideas she hoped to bring to the second chapter of Wonder Woman’s solo saga.
According to a May 2017 profile of Jenkins, the second film will likely have a more contemporary setting than the World War I backdrop of Wonder Woman. Later reports indicated that the Cold War era could be the time period for the second film, with the action unfolding in the U.S. during the height of international tensions, rather than returning to Europe.
Whatever the story does entail, it will have an impressive writing team scripting it. Geoff Johns, a veteran DC Comics writer and DC Films co-chairman, initially crafted the story for the sequel with Jenkins, and The Expendables screenwriter Dave Callaham was brought on in September 2017 to join the writing team.
Diana’s in for the long run
Gadot will return as Wonder Woman for the sequel, but her continued presence as the face of the franchise wasn’t always so certain.
The star of Wonder Woman was initially contracted for just three films in WB’s superhero universe, and after appearing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman, and Justice League, her deal was due to run out before Wonder Woman 2. At some point after the release of Wonder Woman, however, Gadot’s future with the franchise was reportedly extended beyond those three films. How far beyond those films she’ll go remains uncertain at this point.
Breaking more than box-office records
When Jenkins made her return for Wonder Woman 2 official, she broke yet another record in a long list of accolades associated with the superhero’s still-young film franchise.
The filmmaker’s deal to direct, co-write, and produce the sequel to Wonder Woman reportedly makes her the highest-paid female director in Hollywood history. The contract was the product of an “unusually lengthy and tough negotiation,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, with Jenkins pushing to earn as much as Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder. (Wonder Woman was both critically and commercially more successful than both of those films in U.S. theaters.)
Not only does Jenkins’ deal reportedly earn her between $7 million and $9 million for her credited work on the film, it also gives her a relatively large percentage of the film’s back-end earnings (the money it makes after covering its production and promotion costs).
In much the same way Wonder Woman effectively set a new standard for female-led and female-directed action movies, Jenkins’ deal for Wonder Woman 2 goes a long way toward setting a new precedent for compensating female directors, who have traditionally earned less than their male counterparts in Hollywood.
Updated March 29 with the casting of Pedro Pascal.