The news that Kristen Wiig was joining the cast of Wonder Woman 2 as Cheetah was met with equal parts excitement and skepticism from fans last week. While some fans are really optimistic about what the comedy superstar can bring to a more serious and villainous role, others have found themselves less enthusiastic about her ability to believably go toe-to-toe with Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.
Wiig certainly has the range and the ability to share the screen with the DCEU’s breakout star, but Cheetah seems like a poor use of her skills when there’s a perfect Wonder Woman villain tailor made for in Veronica Cale.
Created by Greg Rucka and Drew Johnson, and debuting in 2003’s Wonder Woman #196, Veronica Cale is unique among Diana's villains. While most of them are mythological in nature, Cale is an ordinary human woman with no background in anything remotely Greek or Amazonian, and no metahuman powers besides.
Much like how Lex Luthor loathes Superman for what he sees as an alien making the rest of humanity look bad, Veronica Cale is a self-made success story who had to scratch and claw her way to the top. She succeeded to an amazing degree in a male dominated field, only to see Wonder Woman instantly accepted by the entire world and not subject to the same obstacles and institutional sexism that Veronica herself endured in her rise to power and influence.
She was reinvented by Rucka, Liam Sharp and Bilquis Evely as part of the DC Rebirth initiative, which cast her as a victim of the god’s cruel whims, forced to obtain the location of Themyscira in exchange for her daughter’s life by Ares’ sons Phobos and Deimos. In this incarnation, Veronica is the head of a group known as Godwatch, which includes many other notable Wonder Woman villains including new takes on Dr. Poison and Dr. Cyber. It’s Veronica that tempts the cured Barbara Ann Minvera back into becoming The Cheetah again as part of her quest to save her daughter, and even after Wonder Woman puts everything right and Diana saved Veronica from a vengeful Cheetah, she still sees Wonder Woman as nothing but an enemy.
Veronica Cale would be the perfect role for someone like Wiig, who already looks the spitting image of the comic book counterpart. Such a character would allow the actor to explore the subtle and more human villainy of “the female Lex Luthor” in a way the Cheetah could not. That’s not to say that Cheetah shouldn’t be in the film, but Wiig’s strengths lend herself towards Cale much more than Minerva. Plus, if the film leaned into the Godwatch storyline, it would be able to bring in characters like Dr. Cyber who may never actually get their own one-on-one shot against Diana, but would round out the cast of a movie quite nicely.
Veronica Cale as the villain of Wonder Woman 2 would also be a great contrast to the first film which leaned incredibly heavy on the mythological aspects of the character — as it should have. Diana has seen what humanity is capable of during wartime, but ultimately that film ended with a big CGI punch up like most other superhero films. Veronica Cale would allow Wonder Woman to be exposed to a different side of humanity’s darkness and one that she’s going to come across sooner-rather-than later.
This is of course all just wishful thinking as Wiig has been cast as Cheetah, and while Cale might be more obviously suited to her, there’s nothing stopping Wiig from pulling off a character defining take on the character. So far, all we know about the sequel is Wiig’s involvement, but it’s already one of the most anticipated superhero films set for release and it isn’t even in pre-production yet.
Directed by Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman 2 is slated to hit theaters on Nov. 1, 2019.