WW84 and WWII: A theory

(Branching from here).

(Trigger warning: Hitler and Nazis).

The question has been raised in numerous places, how will Wonder Woman 1984 reconcile her “withdrawal from a century of horrors” with the super-horror that was World War II. I have a personal theory how that could work, although it may be a little too “alternate history” wonky for the movie to use.

First, I believe that the conditions set in the 1918 Armistice made WWII inevitable. The Allied Powers simply put far too heavy a reparations load on Germany for them to ever recover peacefully, not in a useful timeframe anyway (in politics, 10 years is forever, let alone 50 or more). (Also, note that, in the first WW movie, Ares is pushing the Armistice, because he knows what will happen because of it. That’s a very subtle point that I haven’t seen called out often.)

However, the exact nature of WWII may not be set in stone. The piece I believe that would have made it imperative for Diana to intervene was the Holocaust; absent that massive act of genocide (and the human rights abuses that preceded it), WWII just becomes another, larger version of WWI, which itself was yet another rendition of Europe blowing itself up a few times every century (see: Franco-Prussian War, Thirty Years’ War, etc.) So if, at the end of the first film, Diana accepts Ares’ contention that humanity will keep killing itself regardless of his interference, and if WWII isn’t particularly horrific (as it was in real life) maybe she is justified in staying out of it.

So, why wouldn’t WWII be as horrific on Earth One as it was in our world? How might Germany fall under an “ordinary” militarism rather than the total horror of the Nazis? Hitler didn’t rise in a vacuum; he had backers and people who created the atmosphere that led to his party getting seats in the Reichstag in the first place. One in particular comes to mind, a former general who loudly sounded the drumbeats after WWI that the German war effort had been sold out by the politicians, that the Reichstag was full of pacifists and socialists who effectively prevented the victory he fully believed was possible. I believe he even funded Hitler and the Nazi Party in the early days.

His name was General Erich Ludendorff.

We’ve heard that name before: he appears in the first Wonder Woman film, played by Danny Huston. Diana believes he is Ares. She kills him.

So, my theory is this: without Ludendorff, the Nazis never rise to power in Germany. When WWII happens, it’s still very large, but without the genocidal aspects it’s not unique, it’s just bigger, and Diana might just shake her head in disgust rather than feeling a moral obligation to intervene as she would have in the real world.

As I said, it’s kind of a complicated theory to throw into a movie as an aside, but it’s one I think could explain Diana withdrawing from “a century of horrors” without making her an uncaring monster herself. At the same time, I also think that “without this guy, none of that ever would have happened,” even though I think it’s possibly true, could also come across as particularly trite and cold in a film like this.


Wow! That’s a wonderfully thought out theory, and beautifully expressed. I also like the way in which you brought General Ludendorff into your overall view of things. But even if you take out the whole genocidal aspect of the Nazi campaign to exterminate the Jews, how does Diana close her eyes to the war in the Pacific? The Chinese “Comfort Women” enslaved by Japan for their imperial Army, should have been at least as troubling to an Amazon, having experienced their own enslavement thousand of years earlier.

And let’s not forget about that other 600 lb gorilla in the room. The Bomb, was so upsetting to Diana (in the comics) that she went to war with Superman to keep America from using it. And we all know how that turned out. I just can’t see our film Diana ignoring that particular Ares legacy to the world.

As I said, a great theory and (as you say) a little wonky. But we’ve less than a month to see how (or even if) Ms. Jenkins deals with it at all. Haven’t felt like this since I was 10 years old, waiting for Santa! Stay safe, and be well.

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Well thought out, Ms. Jenkins need not explain anything. I would have preferred she had done a WW 2 story with the wealth of comic lore available, but she had a story based in the 80s she felt compelled to tell. I truly hope people won’t go after her or the movie because she failed to address the important issues you mentioned. These movies should be enjoyed for what they are. Not every issue, regardless of importance, need be addressed in every movie. Besides it was only the snyderverse Wonder Woman that seemed to have vanished, and not seen since WW 1, not hinting at a 1984 appearance. So who knows perhaps she did take on the Axis and it just hasn’t been acknowledged.


Absolutely; I’ve just seen the “how could she in good conscience fail to act” question raised several times, mainly from people who hate Zack Snyder, when really I think the whole idea was to make the Age of Heroes start with the arrival of Superman, just as it did in the world of comics in 1938. (I don’t believe that it’s at all coincidental that Man of Steel literally begins with Kal-El’s birth.) DC themselves had to wrestle with the “who came first” question, and would have brought us 5G and made Diana come before Clark if all of that hadn’t gotten punted.

So far as making the sequel a WWII movie goes, personally I think that would have been too similar to the first film… “another war movie.”


personal theory of mine is it wasn’t WWII movie because they didn’t want it to be compared to the Captain America movie or the wonder woman TV show


Seems we’re all in agreement here. Wishing nothing but the best for WW’84. Both in viewer acceptance and box-office receipts. Clearly, making “another war movie,” was in no one’s best interest. Although studio heads rarely see past the $$$ in front of them, when it comes to green-lighting another picture, WW’s theatrical success could easily have made another war based flic, almost inevitable. Which would have no doubt, guaranteed the loss of Ms. Jenkins at the director’s seat, for creative differences. And rightfully so. Setting up an incredible online furor against such a move. And a “bring back Patty” campaign that would have made the Zack Snyder rumblings these past two years, seem like a heavenly church choir, by comparison!

No, we certainly don’t want that. I was merely stating the obvious, that others are likewise concerned about. By retro placing Diana in the 1st World War and not the 2nd, Snyder created his own, on screen reality for the character. Which then, leaves the whole Riddler sized question regarding WW2, wide open. Nobody wants to see another war movie. At least I don’t. But I think some creative writing is now required here. If only to " kick the can down the road, " until it can be addressed. Snyder gave us Diana in the modern world (BvS), ala George Prez. But, in so doing, he also set up her first appearance in “man’s world” via “that photograph.” Everything since, has been built off of that. So, here we are.

I’m going to love WW’84. Everything I’ve seen and heard so far, confirms that. As for Patty Jenkins, she’s shown herself to be far to creative, intelligent and understanding of the character in her care, to leave the WW2 history “gap” open and unaddressed. Even casual viewers (i suspect) who remember the Lynda Carter days, will be wondering (no pun intended) about that. But regardless of how, when or even if she does, I’ll be behind WW’84, all the way!

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Well, just saw WW84 again, @markhb. My second time around. And while some things (discussed and critiqued) in the on-site section on said topic are clearer now, others remain glossed over and problematic. My grade of B+, still stands. But I’m sure you have your own views on the sequel. This post was (I believe) set up to float theory on the World War 2 controversy. So, having seen it now, let me further the conversation somewhat.

Unless I missed something that came up at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, I don’t believe the subject of Nazis or Pearl Harbor ever escaped anyone’s lips. Ms. Jenkins did a fine job of telling her story without once bring up the past, (except for Steve’s). The impression I’m left with (and that’s all it is), is that Diana’s been living openly in “man’s world,” but playing the hero “in secret.” As her destruction of the Mall security cameras would indicate. Moving around the country (if not the world) to keep her youthful image from becoming to recognizable from those growing old around her. A painful burden carried by immortals, I suspect. It’s only the “wishstone” in the hands of an unstable mortal that brings Wonder Woman out into the open. But, I digress.

None of our concerns were addressed, because they simply never came up. And that’s fine. The 3rd movie may or may not go down that trail. But, if Diana has been living a “secret life” among mortals ever since World War 1, then the question still remains. Where was she during all the slaughter of another war that consumed millions of lives, and bloodied the oceans of the world.? All the while giving us the God of War’s greatest legacy, the Atom Bomb! TBC, i suspect.

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