Although this weekend’s Wonder Woman is the first-ever live-action solo film about the Amazonian princess, it’s also the fourth film in Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe.
So what’s a moviegoer to do if they’re not caught up on Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad? Can Wonder Woman stand on its own, or are the other films required viewing ahead of time?
Well, the good news here is yes, you can absolutely watch Wonder Woman without having seen the rest of the DCEU. It works perfectly fine by itself. The even better news is that what few bits of context the other films do provide, we’re here to offer. In other words, don’t worry if you’ve never seen so much as a single frame of Batman v Superman. We’ve got you covered.
Can you watch Wonder Woman without seeing the other DCEU films?
Yes. Wonder Woman doesn’t actually have that much to do with the other DCEU movies on a narrative level. For one thing, it takes place circa World War I, decades before Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne would even be a twinkle in a Martha’s eye.
Nor does it assume you know anything about the character to begin with. Wonder Woman is an origin story, and as such it runs down everything you need to know about Diana – where she’s from, how she was raised, what her purpose in life is, and how she came to be the fearless heroine we know and love.
All that said, Wonder Woman does wink at her appearance last year in Batman v Superman. You won’t be lost if you don’t get the reference, so if you don’t care, you can just skip the rest of this post. But if you’d like the full explanation, read on.
What does Batman v Superman have to do with Wonder Woman?
Though most of Wonder Woman is set in the 1910s, it opens and closes with scenes of Diana in present-day Paris, where she works as an antiquities dealer. In the very first scene of the movie, she opens a package to find the photograph above.
Enclosed with the picture is a note signed by Bruce Wayne. It’s a small detail that doesn’t really impact anything on a narrative level, but it makes a little more sense if you understand it as a callback to their interactions in Batman v Superman.
Okay, so what did Wonder Woman do in Batman v Superman?
Although Wonder Woman made her DCEU debut to much fanfare in Batman v Superman, her actual role was pretty small. Diana spends a good chunk of the film trying to track down the photo above, a digital copy of which exists in an encrypted file owned by Lex Luthor.
Her search puts her in the path of one Bruce Wayne, who’s after the same encrypted file. Later in the film, he’s able to decrypt the file and emails the photo to her – along with a bunch of video clips he has of her and other known metahumans. (Essentially, this part is just an excuse for Diana to watch a series of Justice League teasers featuring Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg.)
Diana crosses paths with Bruce again during the third-act climax, when she dons her Wonder Woman armor for the first time in the movie and joys Batman and Superman’s battle against Doomsday. They’re successful in defeating the monster, but Superman dies in the fight.
At Clark Kent’s funeral in Smallville, Bruce reveals to Diana his plans to round up metahumans so they can stand and fight together – and as we’ve seen in the Justice League trailers, she ultimately agrees to help.
What about the other DCEU movies?
While it’s certainly possible we missed some Easter eggs here and there, Wonder Woman does not have any significant narrative connection to Man of Steel or Suicide Squad, and vice versa. Wonder Woman does kinda, sorta help set up this fall’s Justice League, in that it establishes that Diana and Bruce are still in friendly contact after the events of Batman v Superman.
But really, that’s it. As we said, Wonder Woman largely stands alone. So go forth and enjoy the film with your mind at ease, even if you’ve never seen another DCEU movie in your life and never plan to.