Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal in ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ – Warner Brothers

‘Wonder Woman’ was a huge hit at the box office, so expectations are high for the sequel, ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ which swoops into theaters this summer.  In the first film, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) battled renegade God of War, Ares.  But this time, the villainy hits closer to home.  Kristen Wiig, best known as a comedic actor, enters the film as awkward “gemologist” Barbara Minerva, but as comic book readers know, she will eventually go down the wrong path to become The Cheetah, Wonder Woman’s animalistic nemesis.

In the new EW cover story about ‘1984’, Wiig admitted:

“I did not really know so much about Cheetah.  Before I even talked to Patty [Jenkins], there was an idea that maybe it might be about being a villain for the movie, so I went online and looked at all the villains of Wonder Woman to try to figure out which one, because I was so excited.  [laughs]  And I was really, really happy to find out it was her.”

While Wiig has done non-comedic roles in drama movies, she has never really done an action movie where stunts and wirework were required.  She admits:

“I mean, I was sore for about eight months. A lot of ice baths”

But she had to flex her acting muscles as well:

“I’ve never really played someone who walks into the room and owns it — especially when she starts out so insecure and self-deprecating.  We didn’t want to see Barbara in Cheetah, and I didn’t want to see Kristen in Cheetah, either.”

Warner Brothers

Director Patty Jenkins added:

“In the lore, Cheetah is often someone who’s friends with Diana but jealous of her.  And I feel like Kristen’s playing a character who’s both ends of the spectrum — she’s your warm, funny friend who’s kind and interesting and then can transform into something completely different. Yes, she happens to be a woman, but she’s straight out of the Gene Hackman Superman school of great, funny, tremendous actors. I don’t think of her being a female villain, although she is. I feel that way about Wonder Woman, too. The female component of it is huge, but she’s also just a hero, a universal hero.”

A bit of concept art leaked over the weekend that purportedly showed what Wiig would look like in her full Cheetah form, and… hoo boy.  ‘Cats’ suddenly doesn’t look so bad.  Hopefully, by the time ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ arrives, the character will have been refined.

Speaking of that, ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ swoops into theaters on June 4, 2020.