This is the fourth in a series of pitches for the rebooted DC Movies.
Note: I got really excited at the prospect of using AI art to mock-up these pitches, cause real talk, a pitch with pictures is a thousand times more exciting than one with just words (I think that’s how the quote goes). And AI is largely not up to the task. But we can still have some weird fun as we roll with this punch.
Wonder Woman begins with a hunt. The Amazons are tracking a sacred deer, hunted only once a year and slaughtered in honor of Artemis. We cut back and forth, to earlier in the day, where Hippolyta wants her daughter to participate in the hunt, to really participate, to compete. Diana doesn’t want to; she doesn’t want to use the advantage of her gifts over her sisters, and she doesn’t like killing. Hippolyta offers her what she’s wanted so desperately for over a century- permission to leave to intervene in Man’s world. If she wins. Diana leaves, angry at her mother’s attempts to control her.
Many Amazons loose their arrows, but it is eventually Diana who overtakes the beast. She lunges at it, deflecting her sisters’ arrows with her bracelets. She refuses to kill it, and lets it free. The other Amazons are in awe; most of them can’t hit it with an arrow, but Diana captured it by hand. We intercut with earlier; Antiope pulls Diana to the side, and says winning doesn’t have to involve killing- in fact, in winning she can make sure there isn’t any death. The Amazons stare in amazement at Diana. One murmurs about her being a hunter to rival the goddess Artemis herself.
We pull back, and Artemis, the goddess, slaps the reflecting pool she was watching the hunt through. Hera, her adoptive mother is there, and asks what troubles her. She’s angry, at the deer not being sacrificed to her, at the Amazons daring to compare Diana to a goddess. Hera asks if mercy, and forgoing its flesh, is not itself a sacrifice. Artemis angrily tells her that a hunt does not end in mercy, and storms off.
We flash back, to show Wonder Woman has been asking to intervene in the world of man since the first World War. Every time, her mother consulted Athena, and every time, the goddess of wisdom told the Amazons to stay hidden.
We cut to day. Steve Trevor and Barbara Minerva are in a dogfight in the skies near Paradise Island. Her tail has Cheetah stripes; she’s developed a reputation as a Cheetah, ripping scores from the jaws of meaner and hungrier predators. For that reason one of her prized possessions is a cheetah-skin wrap she was given after the completion of a successful job, and she’s rarely without it. He’s pursuing her, but they’re both gifted pilots. The fight lasts long enough to justify featuring in the trailer, so we can go after that Top Gun: Maverick money.
Minerva’s jet crashes into the island’s invisible bubble, which keeps the Amazons hidden, even from satellite, an instant before Steve’s does. Normally Barbara could take him hand to hand, but his landing was slightly softer, since he had a moment more to prepare for the crash, so Steve triumphs, and pockets a canister of microfiche she had.
The Amazons find him standing over a bloodied Minerva. Being naturally distrustful of men, they believe Barbara’s story that Steve is a spy she was hunting, and they hold him captive. She gets free reign of the island, and begins stealing artifacts and sizing up the Amazons defenses.
This Barbara Minerva’s stepfather abused her and her mother; he made her feel small, inconsequential, vulnerable, so she joined the military immediately after high school. She told everyone it was to pay for her degree in anthropology… but both were means to never having to feel like a bigger predator’s prey ever again. Since graduating she has been working as a mercenary in world conflicts to gain access to sacred sites to pillage them, occasionally passing intelligence between shady groups as a side hustle (because when in Rome). That’s why Steve was after her- she has information that could be vital to stopping a terror attack. It’s not a huge detail, but it’s being orchestrated by higher powers; it isn’t a coincidence she ended up on Paradise Island. Eventually she finds a shrine to Artemis. Sensing a kindred spirit, Artemis lures a cheetah to the shrine, and it attacks Minerva, shredding her fur. She kills it with her bare hands.
Artemis blesses Barbara for her killer instinct with a boon, and turns her into her avatar on Earth- transforming her into the mystically powered Cheetah, in the hopes to use her new disciple to gain revenge for the snub during the hunt. She’s capable of transforming into a lethal cat woman and back at will- subterfuge being one of a hunter’s greatest strengths. She continues hunting for artifacts and intelligence, but also has new prey in her sights: Wonder Woman.
Diana wants desperately to leave the island. She knows with her gifts she could be doing so much good in the world, even if she’s naïve about what the world actually is. To that end, she splits her time between Barbara and Steve, trying to learn as much as she can, initially building a friendship with Barbara and a rivalry with Steve. But she personally knows the goddess of wisdom; eventually she starts to realize something isn’t right about Barbara, and that Steve maybe isn’t what her prejudices tell her.
During the day, Trevor is interrogated brutally by Amazons. At night, Diana sneaks in, to question him about world conflicts she regrets them not intervening in, and the state of the world. He sees it as a technique; she’s keeping him from sleeping, while also playing good cop. Eventually he snaps and confronts her, and her naivete convinces him that she really is genuinely concerned about the damage their inaction makes them complicit in. He tells her he’s been through SERE school- Survive, Evade, Resist and Escape- that the first principle of interrogation is that all the prisoner has to do is hold out until his intelligence is no longer valuable. The problem is he’s on the other side of that equation- the intel he needs to get out to the world to stop harm is only useful for a very short, very set period of time. Minerva was the go-between, putting teams in place for a strike. She doesn’t know what it is, only that she needed a diverse team from certain groups, to make an assault look like a coordinated attack from the Axis of Evil, potentially touching off World War 3, but at a minimum hurting a lot of innocent people and sowing conflict.
Meanwhile, Hippolyta uses her tiara (which will eventually be part of Diana’s costume) to open a portal to Olympus. She asks Athena what they should do with Trevor. Athena tells the queen he must be executed- but not just any execution, it needs to be shown to the world, so that they know Amazonian sovereignty is not to be infringed on. Hippolyta is troubled by the demand, but has learned over the years not to question the Gods, and sets about making preparations.
Diana discusses with Trevor her reservations, finally resolving to confront her mother. But on the way she’s attacked by Minerva. She’s a fierce, formidable woman, now, even beyond her mercenary skills and training, and nearly kills Diana before Steve intervenes, having picked his restraints some time ago. After helping her chase off Cheetah, he willingly walks back into his cell and puts back on his chains. Diana tells him he should flee, that they plan to execute him. He says he knows- that she’s stayed because of him, but when she leaves she might be able to pass his intel to someone who can stop the attack- that the mission is more important than one man.
Diana goes to her mother. Hippolyta doesn’t take much convincing, and agrees to take Diana to speak with Athena, believing that a goddess of wisdom must see reason. Athena gives a speech, a sweeping one, about the old Gods not being respected, and the Amazons, as their chosen daughters, similarly not being respected, that the only way to place both in the esteem they deserve is with a sacrifice. Diana squares to Athena. “I was gifted wisdom by the goddess Athena, and he is no Athena,” her hand instinctively goes to her lasso, to telegraph that her next step is forcing the truth from him.
Ares laughs, ending his charade. “I overplayed, didn’t I? Ah, well, the deed is done. You’ve delayed Trevor’s mission long enough there is no stopping what comes next, and the nations of the world will still blame you.”
They leave, and Diana asks if they finished studying Steve and Minerva’s planes- it turns out the Amazons have been reverse-engineering them since the incursion. Hippolyta says yes. Diana tells her to feed the information into their invisible dome- a gift from the gods to keep them hidden- that if she can form it into a plane it might be able to get her there in time to stop Ares’ plan. Hippolyta objects, because that will leave their island exposed for all the world to see, and Diana says, “We are rejoining man’s world, mother; that decision has been taken from us by Ares. But we can still decide who we are when we do.” Hippolyta allows her to go.
Steve flies, since the plane is largely designed after his aircraft; as it takes off we see Minerva latch on to the underside, before all three of them and the plane disappear.
Steve gives Diana the microfiche, and she’s able to form one of the panels of the ship to make it readable. She studies it on the trip.
The attack is on Brussels, and the European Union seat. Three teams, one Baltic, one Middle Eastern, and one Asian, attack the EU. The perimeter guards aren’t up to fighting off this many trained infiltrators, who start setting bombs. Wonder Woman lands on one of the teams, and proceeds to systematically take the teams apart, knowing precisely where they’ll be and prepared for the fight thanks to Steve’s intel.
There’s a final fight with Cheetah, who ambushes her at an inopportune moment- say as a bomb is about to go off near a pair of wounded guards. Minerva baits her, believing she can force Wonder Woman to sacrifice herself to save the men- which would make her worse than prey- she’s a willing sacrifice for the men around her. Diana lets herself be knocked towards the bomb; an instant later it flies into the air, where it explodes relatively harmlessly. Diana catches Cheetah in the lasso, pulling her back for one last haymaker.
An EU security team descends on Diana, guns drawn. Steve arrives, shouting that he has an Interpol contact, that she’s with them, and they aren’t with the terrorists- they stopped them. They get confirmation quickly- Steve’s handler knew the attack was imminent and was waiting for his intel to try to stop the attack.
We pull back, and see that it’s Ares rewatching Diana through the watery portal. He’s smiling. “You’re in high spirits, considering you lost,” Artemis pouts.
“Did I?” he asks.
“Didn’t we both?” she sulks.
“I sowed chaos, forced the Amazons to reveal themselves, and their nature. You taught your most ardent believers not to take you for granted. We’re Gods. We don’t lose, we just evolve the game.”
Artemis is getting tired of him. “I think you are about to lose, some teeth, maybe an eye.” He doesn’t see what she does: Wonder Woman is behind him, and throws a punch that knocks his helm off, and sends its sliding across the floor.
“Where’s Athena?” she demands. Ares believes they can strike up a compromise, but Diana isn’t hearing it. “Produce her, or I’ll be the only one doing any striking.” Artemis is now actively amused, and taunts him that Athena is going to be very cross with him, idly wondering what happens when a God and Goddess of war go to war. Then Artemis, always on the hunt, goes for the kill, and taunts him that Athena is the goddess of wisdom- intelligent combat and strategy. He’s the god of drunken bar brawls and soccer riots. You can see how much it grinds Ares, because he knows she’s right.
We cut to Athena, Hippolyta and Diana later. Athena’s apologetic over Ares impersonating her, but also restrained- she knows what would come of a war with Ares. She also knows what Ares’ plots have cost them. Hippolyta is glad to have her wisdom back to guide the Amazons, especially now. Athena is more concerned; her wisdom tells her that the consequences of Ares’ plots are not yet complete- but recognizes that her absence has allowed one particular conflict to grow, and bids Hippolyta to tell her daughter the truth. Hippolyta tells Diana that she leaned on Athena not just for her wisdom, but because… “You raise a daughter, hoping to protect her from the world, knowing you will utterly fail. I couldn’t stand the thought of failing to protect you… which became a failure of a different kind.”
Diana puts a hand on her mother’s arm. “A mother’s task is not to protect her children, it’s to ensure they have the tools, strength, and courage to defend themselves, and the wisdom to know when to show mercy.” She pulls her mother close. “You’ve protected me long enough.” She lets her go. “Now it’s time for me to protect our sisters, our home, our world.”
“Our world,” Hippolyta says breathlessly. “I dreamed of a day the Amazons’ world would not be so small… now I worry it’s grown too wide and too wild.”
“Then it’s good I have so many sisters to help me keep her safe,” Diana says, throwing an arm around her mother.
In an end-credits scene, Cheetah is being escorted away by Interpol in cuffs. They’re met by Amanda Waller, and a detachment from Task Force X to take her into custody. Minerva doesn’t look up at Waller, not until the very last word. “Dr. Minerva. You’re going to spend the rest of your natural life in prison- possibly an unnatural life- depending on what exactly Artemis did to you. There might be an alternative, though it’s not without risks. Some might even call it suicide.” Minerva fixes Waller with a glare; she’s practically feral, but we cut to black before she can snap her restraints.
END NOTE: Okay, so I feel I have to justify the image I shared this with. See, after attempts to get the AI to create a were-cheetah failed, I just had it create Wonder Woman fighting a werewolf. And for some reason, in one of them, the werewolf was wearing her costume. I don’t… know why. But it’s an amazing image. I couldn’t not use it (I don’t personally have that kind of restraint).