It was last month when reports began surfacing about Cheetah joining the ranks of supervillains in Wonder Woman 2. The role was allegedly offered to Emma Stone before rejection from her side forced Warner Bros. to search for another willing actress. The path eventually led to Kristen Wiig earlier this month and it was confirmed soon after that she has been officially brought in for the upcoming sequel.
Cheetah is the arch nemesis of Wonder Woman, much like how the Joker has been for Batman. The feline supervillain, in all honesty, may appear underwhelming in animated features but she has a pretty dark history in the comic books. Hence, it is time to turn the pages and delve into the source materials to know for sure what makes this character tick.
Here are a few prominent facts about Cheetah that you should know about before watching the movie, keeping in mind that there are probably a dozen more where they come from.
Wonder Woman 2, directed by Patty Jenkins, is slated for a release in theaters on November 1, 2019.
She is not the only one with spots
Unlike other prominent supervillains that have remained the same throughout the years, the Cheetah moniker has been used by no less than four different characters in the comic books.
The first was Priscilla Rich, followed by Deborah Domaine and then the most well-known Barbara Ann Minerva. There was also Sebastian Ballesteros who became the only male Cheetah for a brief period. While they all carried a similar vendetta against Wonder Woman, it were the later renditions that were bestowed with actual superpowers.
She is literally a cheetah
It is worth mentioning that the original character, the Priscilla Rich version, was simply a mentally disturbed woman in a costume. However, the later rendition, most notably the Barbara Ann Minerva version, deviated into a supernatural theme.
Instead of donning a feline costume, she was able to fully transform into the ferocious animal. The hybrid creature not only lived up to the name but also carried more prominence in the storylines. While the original version relied on agility alone, the transformed version had all the traits of a cheetah. Suffice to say, without any mask to cover her humanity, the character became even more of a threat for her adversaries.
She obtained her powers through a curse
Taking up Barbara Ann Minerva once again, since she is the most prominent incarnation of the character; the selfish archaeologist once decided to travel the world in search for immortality. The journey landed her in Africa, where she took part in an ancient blood ritual. However, the promise of eternal life did not actually work out right.
She only came to know later that the ritual was intended to be used on just virgins. The result was that Barbara transformed into the Cheetah, cursed to suffer immense pain in her human form and transform into the hybrid creature during full moons.
The silver lining was that she gained superpowers in return such as animalistic speed, strength, heightened senses, and ferocity far above any mere human. She can be even match the speed of the Flash if she wants.
She and Diana were once close friends
If it was not already obvious, Cheetah is the arch nemesis of Wonder Woman. She harbors great hate and has endlessly tried to kill the princess at numerous turns. However, things were not always this bad between the two characters.
The DC Rebirth recently shed more light on the origins, revealing that they were once close friends. When Diana first left Themyscira, she had trouble understanding (and speaking) the English language. The United States Army, trying to find a solution, finally brought Diana to Barbara, where she was taught modern languages and ways. Hence, a friendship bloomed between the two for some time before their eventual rivalry surfaced.
She dated both Zoom and Clark Kent
Barbara Ann Minerva, again, had several relationships over the course of her villainous career. The moniker of Cheetah brought many problems for the character and she needed someone to help control (and master) her newfound powers. Zoom, the Reverse-Flash, ended up becoming her teacher and then later, her lover. They even teamed up in-between against their respective adversaries.
Interestingly enough, Barbara also captured the heart of Clark Kent. However, this happened way before either of the two ever became Cheetah and Superman. They parted ways soon after, a portion of history that has been left vague by the scribes.
She is a founding member of two major supervillain teams
Cheetah has mostly walked the lonely path but at times has teamed up with other supervillains for the greater goal of causing mayhem and destruction.
She helped find the Injustice League and the Legion of Doom, both of which were created in answer to the Justice League. Her partners in crime were Lex Luthor, Black Manta, Gorilla Grodd, Sinestro, Bizarro, Scarecrow, and many others.
The point is that her power levels and abilities are on par with some of the most vicious supervillains from the comic books, despite what her appearance may suggest to certain readers. To further highlight that fact, Cheetah can match Wonder Woman on the battlefield in every regard.
She can curse others with her claws
Unlike her other animalistic traits, Cheetah can actually inflict others with her own curse. She can do this by just scratching her opponents with poison-tipped claws. While not lethal, the infection can quickly take control of even the most powerful of characters.
The New 52 run saw Cheetah scratch and infect Superman, turning him into a mindless cheetah hybrid against the Justice League. She has also managed to infect Wonder Woman and while the princess did not transform into any feline creature, she did started seeing everyone around her as Cheetah — including innocent bystanders.
“Lore Guard” is an exclusive segment that brings attention to the genuine history behind characters, storylines, events, artifacts, and such. They may differ in their adaptations for different mediums but it is important to know how they were initially penned.