Wonder Woman 1984 Director Patty Jenkins Reveals Why Kristen Wiig Was Right For Cheetah

Kristen Wiig in Wonder Woman 1984

The DC live-action universe has been moving forward at an impressive rate, following the failure of Justice League and departure of Ben Affleck's Batman. With Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey in theaters now, there's a number of exciting projects coming down the pipeline. Chief among them is Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman 1984, which will come three years after the release of the original. The highly anticipated sequel will introduce Kristen Wiig's villainous Cheetah to the DCEU, and Jenkins recently revealed why she picked the SNL alum to play the role.

Kristen Wiig had been working steadily as an actor for years, including dramatic roles in movies like mother! and The Martian. Wiig will be diving into the world of action and blockbusters with Wonder Woman 1984, which should serve as an origin story for her character Barbara Ann Minerva / Cheetah. Patty Jenkins spoke to the decision to cast Wiig, saying:

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.

Well, that does make sense. It looks like Wonder Woman 1984 will see a major transformation from newcomer Barbara Minerva. And its the duality of the performance that makes Kristen Wiig such a great choice for the role; she's got the range to play the nervous Barbara and deadly Cheetah.

Patty Jekins' comments to EW help to show how the acclaimed director approached assembling the cast of Wonder Woman 1984. Because while Gal Gadot and Chris Pine would be back to reprise their roles, the sequel's time jump wrote out the possibility of seeing Wonder Woman's human characters again.

Cheetah is one of the most iconic Wonder Woman villains in the comics, and she's been adapted in video games and animated series a number of times before. Wonder Woman 1984 will mark her first appearance on the big screen, an idea that hardcore DC fans are thrilled about. It looks like Barbara will begin the movie as a colleague/friend of Diana Prince, before she's imbued with new abilities and a penchant for villainy. 1984's first trailer showed the quirky side of Kristen Wiig's performance, but clearly it's going to go some exciting places.

Newcomers Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal will join the DCEU in Wonder Woman 1984 alongside returning actors Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, and Connie Nielsen. Patty Jenkins has been able to take her time crafting the follow-up, and it should be fascinating to see where the cards ultimately lie.

Wonder Woman 1984 will hit theaters on June 5th. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.