On the question of who to make the villain in a stand-alone Wonder Woman movie:
I think Gail Simone once said that if you want to stop a meteor you get Superman, to diffuse a bomb you get Batman, but to stop a war you get Wonder Woman. That means we need to get a war brewing.
The obvious answer is Ares: That’s who they put in the 2009 animated feature, and it makes sense. He is the God of War after all. But DC probably won’t want to look like they’re copying Marvel with Thor, and if we’re doing a movie that takes place in the same universe as the other DC films with the hope of moving towards a Justice League movie, we need something to really bring her into the world.
Gail Simone’s run established a Diana that works for the government in the Department of Metahuman Affairs. I think that’s where we want her, at least by the end of her film. It keeps her tied in to what’s happening in the world, rather than sequestered away on Themyscira.
What we need is a villain who can give Diana a run for her money, who can challenge her and give her a chance to show us all of her talents. We need someone shrewd enough to outwit her, strong enough to take her in a fight, old enough to be familiar to the ancient Amazons and with access to the resources to pose a threat to the world at large.
I’m thinking Vandal Savage, the caveman-turned-immortal with 50,000 years of life experience to back up his repeated attempts to conquer the world. Lets say he looks at the empire of America and decides its time to destabilize it to pave the way for his next regime.
But Savage needs a destabilizing force, someone from outside the culture of our world with enough rage and enough military might to really fuck shit up.
Enter Artemis of Bana-Mighdall.
In the comics canon, Bana-Mighdall is an Amazonian city in Egypt that split from the Amazons of Themyscira. They are renowned for their warriors and weapons and are heavily sought after for these skills. They also tend to have a more violent reaction to the outside world than Themyscira’s Amazons. So lets say that’s who Vandal Savage conscripts for his plot. (In the comics Ra’s al Ghul does something similar but Liam Neeson is no longer canon so who cares or something).
So here’s my thought for this movie. It begins with Artemis returning to Themyscira after years of separation to beseech Hippolyta to join her in her push to take back the world from the clutches of the Patriarchy. Hippolyta refuses, because they’ve got a good thing going. Years later, as a series of vicious sneak attacks are made on points of military interest and Themyscira, Hippolyta sends her daughter, Diana, into the world to investigate and to extend an olive branch to America.
Through an uneasy alliance with the Department of Metahuman Affairs, Diana can then discover that Vandal Savage is behind it all, and that he actually doesn’t care who lives or dies so long as there is enough destruction for him to build an empire in the ruins – the dude once had a plan to wipe out two thirds of the earth’s population just so he could subjugate whoever was left.
Which means Diana has to unite the two Amazonian clans before she can go on to take Savage down. Battle, Sisterhood, and a plot to bring the world and all its people, Amazon and Mortal alike, to their knees?
Looks like a job for Wonder Woman.