Aside from Superman and Batman, the next biggest name in superheroes has to be Wonder Woman. Her logo is instantly recognizable and her patriotic uniform is iconic. She paved the way for many other female superheroes to follow and has been inspiring women and young girls for over 75 years now. While she’s been a fan favorite for many years, Wonder Woman has never gotten the same level of recognition as her male counterparts.
Nevertheless, with such a long and prolific history, naturally there's a lot of information on her and the details that make up her story. As the world anxiously awaits her first stand-alone film in the DC Universe, it's a great time to uncover some juicy tidbits about her past. Even if you count yourself a huge Wonder Woman fan, or a comics fan in general, there are a number of things you may not know about the Amazonian Princess.
15 2017 marks her big screen debut
Despite being around for over 75 years, Wonder Woman (premiering June 2nd) is the first full-length film to hit theaters starring the famous Amazonian. In 2009, an animated feature film was released, but it went straight to DVD. There was, of course, the well-loved 1970s TV series starring Lynda Carter, but it only lasted for three seasons and never had a movie spin-off.
Warner Brothers is doing their best to keep the plot of the film a secret, but according to official press releases, Wonder Woman will follow her rebooted New 52 origin. While Wonder Woman was said to be made from clay on the island of Themyscira, in the New 52, she actually has a father—Zeus. God of war, Ares, also plays an important part in the comics and is rumored to play a large part in the film (although who is playing him remains a mystery). Judging by the footage released in the trailers and this Wonder Woman Lego set, Ares looks to be a major bad guy like he appears in the DC Rebirth comics.
14 She was invented by a psychologist obsessed with the truth
Believe it or not, Wonder Woman was created by a psychologist, not a comic book artist. William Moulton Marston was brought in by DC Comics to create a character that strayed from the "blood-curdling masculinity" and constant violence that was prevalent in comics, and real life, during the 1940s. He had served as a psychological consultant for films in the past, along with dabbling in science and invention. In fact, he was credited for the invention of the polygraph, a machine created to detect when a person was lying.
Because of his work investigating the truth and how it affects both men and women physically, Marston incorporated an element of his research into Wonder Woman. If you’re at all familiar with her, you’ll know she carries a golden rope, which is referred to as the Lasso of Truth. Like the polygraph, whenever this rope binds someone, the truth is revealed. So, like her creator, Wonder Woman is always seeking the truth, which is extremely necessary when you’re fighting for justice and laying the smack down on criminals.
13 She was originally called Suprema
While we’ve all become accustomed to Wonder Woman’s name and what that name represents, she wasn’t always called that. William Moulton Marston originally had a different mind in name for her—Suprema. Keeping in line with his ideas that she should represent a new kind of woman who was above the violence and brutality of men, he wrote his original manuscript of the character with that name. According to Marston, she should be "tender, submissive, peace loving as good women are," and combine "all the strength of a Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman."
Unfortunately for Marston, his editor wasn’t thrilled with the name and changed it. It was a little too similar to Superman. Her full character name was actually Supreme the Wonder Woman, so he just dropped the Suprema part. While Wonder Woman actually has a lot of powers that rival Superman’s, they wanted her to stand alone and not be thought of as the female Superman.
12 She has a weakness
Wonder Woman has a number of weapons at her disposal, including her bulletproof arm cuffs. Nicknamed the Bracelets of Submission, the cuffs can block attacks and are virtually indestructible. All Amazons wear a form of them and they were created by the Greek goddess, Aphrodite, as a reminder of their time as slaves before they were given their own island away from men. As creator William Moulton Marston explained, Wonder Woman symbolized “a great movement now under way—the growth in the power of women.”
However, in the early days of Wonder Woman comics, they were also the source of her greatest weakness. The bracelets could become her kryptonite if she was ever captured. If a man bound the bracelets together with chains, she would temporarily lose her strength and power. Essentially, if she was forced to submit to a man, she couldn’t live up to her full potential and lost all of the qualities that made her a superhero. Although Marston was frequently accused of an obsession with bondage, images of women in chains have been used throughout history to show their struggle for control of their own rights and own bodies.
11 Wonder Woman became a feminist icon in the 1970s
Aside from becoming the first female superhero in mainstream comics, Wonder Woman has long been a symbol of girl power. In fact, she appeared on the first official cover for Ms., a feminist magazine founded in 1972. Ms. creator, Gloria Steinem, grew up reading Wonder Woman comics and looked up to the character as a strong female role model. She was unhappy with the revamped interpretation of Wonder Woman during that time, who was stripped of her powers and became more interested in fashion than justice.
As a result, Steinem got permission to use Wonder Woman on the cover of Ms. and restore her image to that of a superhero worth aspiring to. Steinem was so determined to build Wonder Woman’s reputation back up that she even put together and released a collection of the very first Wonder Woman comics, which she also provided an introduction for. It instantly marked Wonder Woman as a feminist icon for women who were in the midst of struggling with equality in all aspects of their lives.
10 She has her own flying fortress
Since the beginning of her introduction to the world of comics, Wonder Woman has had the ultimate superhero accessory—her own Invisible Jet. The jet has appeared in pretty much every one of the Wonder Woman storylines, including the short-lived 1970s TV show starring Lynda Carter. Early versions of the jet didn’t make the people inside invisible, which made it unintentionally funny at times. But, in the 1980s, the fourth version of the Invisible Jet was introduced as a creation of alien technology.
The Lansanarians granted her a morphing disk, which could appear not only as a jet, but pretty much anything that Wonder Woman had use for, including her own flying fortress. As superhero headquarters go, the WonderDome (as it came to be called) was pretty impressive. In addition to living quarters and a planning room for strategy sessions, it also had a number of gardens, halls, an armory, and a menagerie of magical creatures. Beat that, Superman!
9 She couldn't fly until the 1980s
Most people are at least somewhat familiar with Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet, which as we discussed has evolved over the years. It was her primary mode of transport and enabled her to fly places quickly and (somewhat) stealthily. However, beginning in the 1980s, she also gained the ability of flight, much like Superman.
While there was a previous mention of her being able to fly in the 1950s, it was more like she could ride air currents and not fly outright. In the '80s, DC comics rebooted a number of character origins during the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline, including Wonder Woman's. She was granted flight along with other superhuman abilities she had previously, like immense strength and speed.
In more recent comics, her Greek origins are expanded on and her power of flight comes directly from the gods. In one instance she’s considered a demigoddess (Zeus is her father) and in the New 52, a scratch from Hermes feathers allowed her to fly.
8 She was once mistaken for Snow White's daughter
During the early 2000s, a new Wonder Woman villain was introduced called Tsaritsa or the Queen of Fables. Essentially, she was the Evil Queen from Snow White, although somehow even more destructive. She managed to escape from the Book of Fables where she was trapped for hundreds of years and wreaked havoc on modern day Manhattan. It was there that she spotted what she thought was a magic mirror, but in fact was a TV.
Doing as she does, the Queen asked to see Snow White or the “fairest in the land,” and was instead shown Wonder Woman who was being reported on by the news. Seeing a resemblance to Snow White, the Queen sought to eliminate Wonder Woman, whom she mistook for Snow White’s daughter. Much like she did to Snow White, the queen placed her in a death-like sleep that could only be reversed by the kiss of a prince. Luckily Aquaman came along and used his royal status to save her from her deathly slumber.
7 She had a twin from another dimension
Over the years, comics have come up with some pretty crazy storylines, including alternate timelines and parallel universes. One of the first instances of an alternate universe in DC comics was during Wonder Woman #59, published in 1953. A story in that particular issue introduced the world to Wonder Woman’s invisible twin, who turned out to be her in another world.
After a number of strange things begin happening to Wonder Woman, which prevent her from doing her job, she’s transported to this alternate dimension during an electrical storm. It’s there that she meets her identical twin, Tara Terruna, who claims that her name conveniently means “Wonder Woman” in the language of her people, and whose world is being threatened by an evil villain named Duke Dazam. The two Wonder Womans team up and take down the Duke, restoring Tara’s world to her people (and freaking everyone out in the process).
6 She merged with a Marvel superhero at one point
The mid-'90s were a strange time for comics. For some reason, DC and Marvel decided it would be cool to have their characters appear together. While Superman and Spider-Man have fought each other before, this was something a little more extreme. An amalgam universe was created where the different characters actually merged together and created brand new characters. One of those characters who became merged with her Marvel counterpart was Wonder Woman. Combined with the X-Men’s Storm, they created the character, Amazon.
Amazon had a similar backstory to both Wonder Woman and Storm (she came from a tribe of women and was a princess), but her origins were closer to that of Wonder Woman. In this world, Amazon was named Ororo and was rescued by Queen Hippolyta when her parents were attacked by Poseidon. Ororo nearly drowned but was taken to the island of Themyscira (where the original Wonder Woman is from) and raised alongside Princess Diana. Eventually, she became the Wonder Woman of that universe (but could also control the weather, like Storm) and was the leader of the Justice League X-Men.
5 She can wield Thor's hammer
Wonder Woman and Storm met yet again during the DC vs. Marvel comics, but under very different circumstances. In Issue #2, Thor loses Mjölnir in a battle with Captain Marvel. Somehow, Wonder Woman comes across it and finds that she can wield the powerful Norse god’s hammer—which isn’t exactly commonplace, even among superheroes. As she picks up Mjölnir, she instantly gains Thor’s powers and even some pretty nifty armor. However, she’s also confronted by Storm, who shows up just as Wonder Woman is transformed.
While Wonder Woman could have easily beat Storm as the god of lightning and thunder, her humility got the best of her. Not believing it was a fair fight, she gives up Mjölnir to fight Storm as herself, without the power of Thor behind her. While she does have superhuman strength, speed and flight, Storm can control the weather—specifically lightning—and was easily able to beat her. Looks like Mjölnir could have come in handy after all.
4 She was romantically involved with Superman
DC comics fans have been shipping Superman and Wonder Woman for a long time, but they finally got their wish a few years ago when the two got their own dual series. Superman/Wonder Woman began in 2013 and focused on the blossoming relationship between two of the world's most popular superheroes. They fought side by side together, saved each other multiple times and even defended each other’s honor. Superman even loses his powers at one point, making Wonder Woman the more powerful of the two for a short time.
Aside from battling some of the most powerful villains in the DC Universe together, they also had to deal with complications that began to arise when the news of their relationship went public (a steamy kiss was published on a well-known blog). In short, even though there’s some obvious romantic encounters going on behind the scenes, it doesn’t take away from Wonder Woman’s strength as a badass, independent woman who can still function with or without a man.
3 She has a daughter named Fury
Seeing how comic books love rebooting characters and messing with continuity, it might not come as a surprise that there existed an alternate world called Earth 2. Created in the 1960s to explain how newer characters could appear alongside classic characters, Wonder Woman was given a different slightly different storyline in this parallel universe. In it, she had married Steve Trevor, her longtime romantic interest (which we’ll get to see the origin of in the new film), and the two started a family together.
Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor’s daughter was named Hippolyta (after Wonder Woman’s mother) and had all the same powers as her mother. She eventually adopted her own superhero name, Fury, and became a founding member of Infinity Inc., which was a group of superheroes made up of the sons and daughters of famous superheroes. In the New 52 version, her father is actually the super villain, Steppenwolf, who was responsible for murdering Wonder Woman along with Superman and Batman. Talk about an identity crisis.
2 She used to be an honorary UN ambassador
To celebrate her 75th anniversary last year, Wonder Woman was named an honorary UN Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls. She was designated a spokesperson for gender equality, which was one of the key goals set by the UN in 2015. Wonder Woman's image was used to promote the UN's cause while simultaneously bringing about increased worldwide recognition of the character and her brands. According to DC's Entertainment's president Diane Nelson, "the UN understands that stories–even comic book stories and their characters–can inspire, teach and reveal injustices.”
Not surprisingly, some people found issue with the choice of having a fictional character serve as a role model for women. Despite her association as a feminist icon, Wonder Woman doesn't exactly look like the average woman, or have the kinds of problems that most women around the world struggle with on a day to day basis. As a result, a petition was introduced that gained approximately 45,000 signatures and she was removed from the honorary position. People take offense to everything these days.
1 Gal Gadot served in the Israeli Army
In real life, the actress who plays Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, is just as fierce as her onscreen counterpart. Apparently, she’s as strong as she is beautiful. Aside from being named Miss Israel in 2004, Gal also served for two years in the Israeli Defense Force, which is mandatory for men and women between the ages of 18-26. In fact, she excelled so much in the army that she was even made a combat trainer after completing a rigorous boot camp.
Before starring as Wonder Woman, Gal also appeared in the Fast & Furious franchise as the Israeli spy, Gisele, even doing some of her own stunts. “The army wasn’t that difficult for me. The military gave me good training for Hollywood,” she told Fashion Magazine in 2016. She has also remarked that Fast & Furious director, Justin Lin, liked that she was in the military because she already had a firm knowledge about weapons. While she wasn’t exactly using a sword and shield in the army, her military background will surely shine through in Wonder Woman as well.