Meet Cheetah: The Villain From ‘Wonder Woman 1984’

Kristen Wiig as Cheetah

It’s finally December which means a few things: Christmas, the start of summer and the chance to wave a good old “see ya never!” to 2020. 

It also means that the excruciating wait for Wonder Woman 1984 is all but over with the DCEU superhero flick dropping on December 26.  

The reviews for the film are already glowing, with Nerdist editor Amy Ratcliffe, for one, tweeting, “just what I needed. What we all need. It’s uplifting, hopeful, and so utterly Wonder Woman”. Hoai-Tran Bui of Slashfilm echoed this sentiment writing that the sequel is “a magical, sorely needed beacon of hope in this year”.

 As if that wasn’t exciting enough, the follow up to 2017’s smash hit will introduce Diana Prince’s nemesis Cheetah, who will make her live-action debut thanks to former SNL star Kristen Wiig.

The formidable feline has proven herself to be a powerful adversary to Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot) so this is sure to be one epic showdown. 

Here are five things you need to know about Cheetah including a fun fact about her taste in men. 

She Also Goes by Babs (sort of)

Cheetah’s real name is Barbara Ann Minerva. Babs was an archaeologist whose passion was collecting ancient artefacts with Wonder Woman’s golden lasso being number one on her wishlist. Believing that she needed to possess divine power in order to wield the powerful accessory, Minerva underwent a mystical procedure which turned her into a cheetah/human hybrid, endowed with superspeed, claws, and fangs. 

The Girl Can Run

Cheetah would apparently make a worthy addition to an Olympic track team as the villain is known for being staggeringly speedy. In fact, Cheetah is currently the sixth fastest living thing in the DC Extended Universe and among the fastest women in existence. She is quicker than Shazam, Godspeed, and several versions of the Flash. It is this propensity for velocity that makes Cheetah such an intriguing antagonist to Wonder Woman with the Amazonian princess struggling to keep up at times. 

She Used to Be Friends With Wonder Woman…

Cheetah and Wonder Woman weren’t always sworn enemies. In fact, the two used to be gal pals who had each other’s backs. Dr Barbara Minerva was pivotal in helping Wonder Woman assimilate on earth by interpreting her Amazonian dialect. Because she was the first human to speak to her in her own language, she saw herself as Wonder Woman’s anchor to the Earth and her first true friend. Sadly, this connection was destroyed when she transmogrified into the Cheetah as she is unable to control her wild instincts and will attack anyone who stands in her way.

Sigh, if only I had a dollar for every time I lost a friend because they turned into a cat. 

… But She’s Not the Greatest Mate

Before Barbara Minerva became the official Cheetah, it was actually an heiress named Priscilla Rich who was imbued by a Cheetah spirit and possessed poison-tipped claws. In a separate DC universe explored in the 12-part series Justice, Rich infects Wonder Woman with a slow-acting toxin during battle with the warrior eventually dying from her wounds. That’s right, she went all Yolanda on Diana and killed her! Thankfully, she was brought back to life by the gods who were moved by the love Diana’s mother, Hippolyta, showed for her deceased daughter. 

She Got It On With Superman

Here’s a saucy one — Cheetah and Superman once had a romantic tryst. After meeting on a luxury yacht (you know, casual) where Clark Kent is mistaken for Bruce Wayne, Minerva encourages Clark to indulge in a little harmless identity theft for the evening so he can enjoy the onboard party. The two get intimate and Clark, like a gentleman, asks Minerva to go with him when the boat docks. However, Minerva is an independent woman who says she needs to forge her own path so she refuses his request.

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