It's funny. People always talk about the importance of great villains in genre films, and how certain movies fall completely flat because of their seemingly toothless antagonists. Yet, sometimes, villains are treated as an afterthought by fans and marketers in the lead-up to a film's release. When it comes to DC's Wonder Woman, so much focus has been placed on the casting of Gal Gadot, the hiring of Patty Jenkins (Monster), the period timeframe of the plot, and how it will fit into the grander landscape that leads us to Justice League...that practically no one is thinking about the film's big bad villain.
Similar to Suicide Squad, WB/DC seems to be placing the bulk of the focus on the protagonist(s) of the movie and hardly making mention of the villain. For the David Ayer flick, people didn't really know for sure who the villain(s) would be until the movie itself came out. In the case of Wonder Woman, the debut trailer offered up a tiny glimpse of who the villain might be, and now the actress playing her is opening up a little about the mysterious character.
Actress Elena Anaya was glimpsed in the Wonder Woman trailer, and her appearance led to speculation amongst fans that she would be the film's big bad. In recent comments to SensaCine, the Spanish actress reveals that she is indeed a villain.
"It’s directed by Patty Jenkins, then there’s Gal Gadot as our main lead, Chris Pine as her co-lead and I’m going to be… a big nightmare for the two of them," Anaya told the site.
What's interesting, though, is another comment she made regarding the size of the role. "Well, it was a small role in this big ensemble, but it is an important character in the story," she said.
The fact that she considers the role to be small means one of two things:
- Anaya's seemingly disfigured villainess is not the only antagonist in Wonder Woman, or...
- Similar to Suicide Squad, the villain will only appear in a few key sequences, with the bulk of the film focusing instead on the heroine's journey
There's no right or wrong way to handle villains in terms of screen time, of course. Marvel often dedicates lots of time to their villains, and they still come off as bland and inconsequential. Just look at DC's own Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, which featured an ample amount of Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor- a decision that many fans loathed because of their disdain for this new take on the iconic villain.
So Anaya's villain being small but pivotal shouldn't necessarily be a cause for concern, as long as the scenes she's in are extremely effective. That's where Suicide Squad failed. Cara Delevingne's Enchantress wasn't particularly compelling or fleshed-out enough to make her threat add any real tension to the plot; And her strengths/weaknesses were vague at best.
At least we now know that Anaya's mysteriously disfigured woman will be who Wonder Woman is up against, but we still have one major question: Who, exactly, is Anaya playing? That's still a cause for further speculation.
Might she be a gender-swapped variation of Dr. Psycho? After all, the character's origin makes mention of the fact that the villain grew up tormented due to his "disfigured facial features," amongst other things. In the comics, Dr. Psycho hates women because of the way they picked on him. In the film, perhaps a female version of the character hates men for similar reasons. In a bit of social commentary- with a dash of the kind of female empowerment that people crave these days- maybe the film's plot finds this new version of Dr. Psycho wanting to destroy men because of their controlling, misogynistic ways, and the unfair standards of beauty that they place upon women. Remember, the film takes place in the early 1900s, when the oppression of women was still at its worst even in the "land of the free."
So you can build a conflict within Wonder Woman where Psycho wants to kill all men, just as Diana Prince (Gadot) is learning to trust and appreciate them. Psycho would see them as nothing more than bringers of war and oppression- a stance that, to a degree, the amazons who raised Diana probably agree with. It would give our heroine an interesting conflict, for sure.
This is all pure speculation of course, and I would love to hear what you think.