Although Wonder Woman’s principal cast has been assembled since last November, most of the characters haven’t been identified. Until today, all we kew was that Gal Gadot is reprising Diana of Themyscira following Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, while Star Trek’s Chris Pine plays Steve Trevor. Now we can add a third player to the list, as Warner Bros. just cast Gladiator’s Connie Nielsen as Wonder Woman’s mother Hippolyta.
Just like in the comics, Nielsen’s Hippolyta will be the queen of the Amazons in Wonder Woman, according to THR. Although Nicole Kidman was briefly rumored to be up for the role, that obviously didn’t end up working out. In addition to Gadot and Pine, Nielsen joins a cast that consists of Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui, Elena Anaya, and Lucy Davis.
Like her daughter, Hippolyta made her comic book debut in 1941’s All Star Comics #8, and is based off the character from Greek mythology with the same name. Having lived for thousands of years, Hippolyta has lead the Amazons through tough times on Themyscira, a.k.a. Paradise Island, and did her best to make sure no outsiders (especially men) found their home. Since Diana began her superhero career, Hippolyta has gotten more involved with the grander DC universe, and even served as Wonder Woman when her daughter was briefly dead. In the pre-New 52 universe, just like with the other Amazons, Hippolyta fashioned Diana out of clay and breathed life into her. However, in the New 52, Hippolyta gave birth to Diana after sleeping with Zeus, an element that will remain intact for the DC Extended Universe.
Although Wonder Woman’s plot hasn’t been revealed yet, we can assume that Hippolyta’s role in the movie will be one similar to her comic book counterpart. While she loves Diana deeply, she’ll forbid her from going into the outside world. Diana will eventually ignore her mother’s wishes and venture off the island (either on her own accord or after Steve Trevor crash lands on Themyscira), subsequently finding herself in Europe during World War I. What’s uncertain is whether Hippolyta will leave Themysicra to retrieve Diana and get involved in the fight against the movie’s main antagonist (rumored to be Ares). Hippolyta is a mighty warrior, so her assistance would definitely be welcome.
Nielsen’s most notable role is playing Queen Lucilla in 2000’s Gladiator, though her resume also includes appearances on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Boss, The Following, and Nymphomaniac Vol. 1. She was most recently seen recurring as Ramona Lytton on The Good Wife. Live action-wise, Hippolyta was played by three different actresses in the 1970s Wonder Woman TV series, including Cloris Leachman. Her other media appearances include Justice League, Batman: The Brave and the Bold and the 2009 animated Wonder Woman movie.
Wonder Woman flies into theaters on June 23, 2017.