How Wonder Woman’s DCEU Backstory Almost Changed Under Zack Snyder

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

While Wonder Woman didn’t get as much screen time as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s eponymous protagonists, her introduction to the DC Extended Universe came with a big revelation: she’s been around a lot longer than both of those heroes. Included in Lex Luthor’s metahuman files was a photograph of Diana of Themyscira from World War I, nearly 100 years before the events of Batman v Superman.

As it turns out though, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman could have taken entered man’s world even earlier than 1918. During his live commentary of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - The Ultimate Edition on Vero this past weekend, director Zack Snyder mentioned before settling on World War I, it was discussed having Diana participate in either the Crimean War or the American Civil War. As the filmmaker explained:

Before we inserted this into the film, I’d shot a placeholder. When we shot BvS, we hadn’t really finished the concept for Wonder Woman yet… Steve Berkman, who’d shot the image of Wonder Woman from World War I, we had shot that previous with an image from the Crimean War. Originally it had been the Crimean War because it was one of the early cons lists where photography was used, and I wanted to get the longest stretch possible. I think we originally talked about it even being the Civil War as a possibility. Just in our early conversations, we were like ‘What would really show the distance?’

Going with the Crimean War, which lasted from 1853 to 1856, would have been interesting not just for the photography angle that Zack Snyder mentioned in his commentary, but also the fact that it’s a conflict that isn’t explored much in popular culture. Diana coming to the United States as the Civil War waged between 1861 to 1865 could have also been compelling, but ultimately, Zack Snyder and his team settled on World War I, once known as the “war to end all wars,” and took the photograph that was shown in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, as seen below.

Batman v Superman Wonder Woman World War I

By choosing World War I as the setting for Diana’s photograph, that also meant this is when the Wonder Woman solo movie would take place. A little over a year after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’s release, audiences got to see Diana meeting Steve Trevor, an American pilot who crash-landed on Themyscira, and accompanying him to man’s world to kill Ares, the Olympian God of War, an act she believed would end World War I.

Regardless of which three of the three wars was chosen, Zack Snyder was insistent that Diana being shown in a black and white photograph rather than a painting to make it abundantly clear that she’s lived significantly longer than your average human. In Snyder’s words:

But the idea that Batman was looking at an early photographic image, not a painting, but a photograph, to prove that it’s the same person, and that the photograph was 100 years old to show that she hadn’t aged, that notion was in the film before we made the Wonder Woman movie. That was a way to start with the Wonder Woman film as a concept, that she had this group of guys, a team of people that she was going after Ares [with].

All told, Gal Gadot’s version of Wonder Woman is approximately 5000 years old, having been born shortly after the War of the Gods. How much longer will she live? That’s hard to say, but fans will reunite with her soon for Wonder Woman 1984, which sees Diana going up against Maxwell Lord and The Cheetah, as well as reuniting with Steve Trevor.

Originally set to come out on June 5, Wonder Woman 1984 is now dated for August 14 due to how the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the film industry. Be sure to look through our DC movies guide to learn what other DCEU projects are in the works.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.