I Would Have Done It Differently: Wonder Woman: Apex Predator

I’m going to show everyone here what I would have done if I had been given total control over the Wonder Woman: 1984 script. Geoff Johns and Patty Jenkins sign off on everything that they need, Warner Brothers nod, hand me a wheelbarrow full of packs of hundred-dollar bills and tell me not to give away home world.

Okay – this will be broken up into three acts. What’s below is Act 1, where we’re setting up the conflict and the stakes. Now, I am not going to add characters, but the ones I will take away will have an explanation to why they’re not there. Next week will be Act 2, where we stir everything up and turn it to eleven and Act three will follow the week after that to see the final battle and aftermath. If you check out my previous entry, you’ll see the inspiration as to why I’m doing this. Questions? No. Excellent…

Welcome to Wonder Woman: Apex Predator

First off – that Hunger Games lite opening scene? Gone. Has nothing to do with this movie. Instead, we get a look at an Amazonian school as a microcosm of their culture and society. While they may say that they are equals, we can tell with some children’s clothing that’s a little threadbare and less shiny than the others, this is not the case. Themyscrya is a meritocracy at best. While there is no class – even the queen got her throne by working her ass off – there are people who have worked harder than others. Equality may exist in the law of the land; it is a far different set of rules in the streets.

We see a small pack of girls, dressed to look a little better than the others, picking on a girl a little more shabbily dressed. The abuse is harsh, even by our standards, and the girls are without mercy; but it never gets to being physical. The girls know that the punishment for such a thing is severe, so they know how close they can get before it gets too far.

One girl reaches out to spin the girl around so she can get her jibes in, but before anything happens a hand clamps hard down on her wrist. It’s a girl’s hand, a little small than the wrist she holds. We see its Young Diana’s hand. She has a look of anger in her eyes. The tormented girl takes this chance to scurry away.

Young Diana lays into them with a fury. Sure, every Amazon a warrior just like every Marine a rifleman, but none of these Amazons can claim to be trained in the arts by the Gods of Olympus. It’s over almost before it starts, with the girls crying and/or crumpled on the ground. Before she can gloat or reprimand, a larger adult hand reaches down and drags Young Diana away to…

…Her mother, Queen Hippolyta looks down at her young daughter from her lofty throne. The teacher states her case, saying that she saw Diana strike down the girls. Were the girls bullies? Yes. The teacher was going to intervene, but Diana came in and went to work. Diana starts to object, but she is coldly shut down by the Queen. The parents of the girls are called forward and answer the Queen honestly – yes, their girls are a little on the aggressive side, but this is Amazonia. They must be always ready to defend their island against the world of Man, and if a girl can’t take a little ribbing, what will war do to her?

“And if one of your girls can’t take a shot to the nose, what would war to do her?” The Queen retorts. She hands down punishment – everyone gets a month at the agoge. They’re going to get a civil sense of order P.T.’ed back into them…including Diana. Diana begins to object again. Why should she be punished with the others? She did nothing wrong.

“You broke our laws, Diana. No one is above the laws and customs of our people.” The woman who leads the agoge steps up, carrying staff of her office. “Time for you to remember that.”

The Queen stands up, dismissing everyone but Diana. Everyone leaves the pair. The Queen removes her crown and mantle, now just Hippolyta – concerned mother to a confused child.

“Why should I be punished? It’s not fair! It’s not my fault!” Diana says.

“I know. If it were me, I would commend you for your actions up to a certain point.” The Queen looks down at her daughter. “You were right in defending the girl, but you have to learn that there are other ways to do that. You have to learn diplomacy.”

Smash cut to…

The mall – we see the “Virginia is for Lovers” sign as a couple of men – the suspicious looking sort – walk in front of it. They’re not heading to a jewelry store, but to a knickknacks shop. One of them makes their way to the counter. The woman there looks up in time to see the other turn off the neon open light and lower the gate. The man at the counter flashes the butt of his pistol and says to her that if she doesn’t make a fuss, she can walk out alive. He demands that she take them to the back. Nervously, she heads to the back through a door, telling the man to follow her. The other guy stands guard at the gate. The man and woman head to the back, past shelves of knock-off Egyptian and other foreign looking artifacts. Past the final shelf, they come to a work bench where the real-deal stuff is. The man takes out a piece of paper and refers to it. On it is a drawing of a rather starling looking bird. The man looks from the page to the table.

He picks up a piece that looks like what’s on the drawing. As he holds it up, we hear sounds of combat – gunshots, grunts, and a thud. The guy grabs the woman and walks out with her has a shield.

We now see Wonder Woman, standing over the second gunman, who is clearly unconscious. She regards the man with contempt. “Guns and shields,” she says. “Not the makings of a warrior.”

The guy fires a few shots at her. With a bored expression, she blocks the bullets. One of them shatters a window close by. The man shoves the woman at Wonder Woman and rushes for the opening. Wonder Woman catches the woman but still moves fast enough to strike the man with her body and shove him into a wall hard enough to render him unconscious. In the distance, we hear the approaching footsteps of the cops out in the hall. Wonder Woman asks if there is another way out. The woman – numb over what’s just transpired – points to the back. Wonder Woman thanks her and heads out the back door. As she walks through the back, we hear a cop remark on how this woman took out the two guys. Wonder Woman grins and heads through the door…

…and walks into the Smithsonian as Diana, our humble antiquities and Classical historian and paleolingusitic expert. She heads to the back, greeting a lot of people in a friendly manner – a far cry from her cool, warrior demeanor. One of her friends guides her to a table where we see a clutch of artifacts…the ones from the back room of the shop. Standing next to the table are men in suits – one of them greets Diana warmly. He’s the head of the archaeology and antiquities department and the other seems a little aloof. Mr. Aloof is from the FBI. Apparently, these were taken from several tombs and they need to be identified, catalogued, and eventually returned to their country of origin. However, they’re waiting on someone who’s on loan from Harvard’s Mesoamerica Studies department…

In walks Barbara Minerva – looking timid and absolutely scared at her new surroundings. Diana comes in, taking her by the shoulder and asking her if she if alright. No – Barbara says sharply – she was accosted by some homeless person. She also looks a little disheveled. Diana expresses sympathy, but the FBI guy cuts it all short and tells Dr. Minerva that they need to know what these artifacts are and soon. As he’s talking, Minerva is attracted to the artifact the guy had picked up. As she picks it up and turns it over, we start hearing some native chants in the background. Minerva’s gaze becomes blank and the chanting increases until Diana’s hand comes on her shoulder. FBI guy mutters something about women and excuses himself. Diana invites her back to her office to get something to drink and calm down.

Back in Diana’s office – orderly and Spartan – she gets Barbara a bottle of water and she opens up at her first time in D.C. where people were begging for money…some a little forcefully than others. Barbara asks her what she did. Diana simply said she asserted herself and people then left her alone. Barbara nods and listens intently, voicing that she wished she could do that. Diana says she can do it, she just needs a little confidence. Barbara nods, takes a drink, and comments that she’s glad Diana didn’t give her anything harder than this water. She chuckles nervously – Barbara is clearly trying to fit into the scene and doing a poor job of it.

Diana looks at the artifact in her hand and points out that there’s some writing on it. Barbara looks at it, squinting despite her glasses. She can make out a single word – purge. It was the same word we heard when Barbara first picked it up. She offered to further examine it, and Diana agrees, admitting that Mesoamerica is a long way away from Hellenistic Greece. Barbara figuratively jumps up, either seeking to please Diana or solve a mystery, we don’t know, but she’s out the door before Diana can remind her to take her water with her.

Heading back to the lab, she’s subjected to the stares and the occasional catcall. Each look and whistle is building up in her, getting her closer and closer to just popping. We see it in her face, and we see it in how she’s holding herself – hunched over and muttering to herself that she wished she had to power to do away with those types. “Just to wash them away…just to…sweep…”

The gems in the figurine flash.

Back at the bench, she takes out her laptop and starts investigating the figurine itself. It’s a figurine of Itztlacoliuhqui-Ixquimilli – the Aztec god of frost, punishment, and misery. Barbara turns the figurine over in her hands. “I could use you. Punish some of these assholes out here.”

The word booms through her, driving her out of her chair and sending her tumbling to her knees: Done. Name your desire. How will you punish? How will you cleanse?

Baffled, she looks around and hanging on the wall is a poster for Honduran tourism, featuring a cheetah looking back at the camera. It hits her. “I want to be a predator…no…I want to be the predator. I want to be the apex predator of this city.”

Done.

She undergoes the transformation, and it looks painful. She writhes on the floor in silent agony for several minutes, until she’s done and drenched in sweat. Panting, she pulls herself up into her chair. She looks like she either ran a marathon or had a three-hour sexual experience. Barbara gets up on shaky legs and heads out.

Making it out of the Smithsonian, she passes by someone who eyes her with less than wholesome intent. Coming up to her, he reaches for her…

…and meek and mild Barbara Minerva is replaced by a whirling dervish of claws, fists, and feet. This guy is broken by the time Minerva’s done – he’s practically dead when he hits the sidewalk. She looks down at her blood hands at the claws retract into her regular fingernails.

She smiles.

Punish. Cleanse.

That’s it for the first act of Wonder Woman: Apex Predator. Wow – I think this is the longest I’ve written for my blog. I hope you enjoy it, and I would love to hear some feedback.

As always – stay safe, buy me coffee, or buy my books! Have a great day!

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