What Is Wonder Woman's New Movie Armor Based On?

Earlier today, Wonder Woman 1984 filmmaker Patty Jenkins released the first poster for the film, which featured star Gal Gadot with an entirely new look: gold armor with big shoulder pads and (maybe) a cape. Fans were excited to see the look, and the poster in general has been a hit, but a good number of the social media comments so far have been some variation on "is that from the comics?" That's a fair question, especially since the answer appears to be that, no, there is not a 1:1 version of this costume from the DC Comics source material. There are, however, a few close versions.

Given the fact that Wonder Woman was based on material from Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang's run on Wonder Woman, which launched DC's 2011 "New 52" reboot, some fans have pointed to the design created by artist David Finch, who (along with his wife Meredith) took over Wonder Woman toward the end of the New 52 era. While that armor was not gold, it had a similar shape, complete with the shoulder pads, and is one of the few canonical Wonder Woman costumes in which her arms and legs were fully covered for any length of time in the main publishing line.

The costume drew comparisons to plenty of other famous costumes on social media, from X-Men to anime to Marvel's Valkyrie and back again. In reality, though, the intent is probably to adapt the "gold armor" Wonder Woman occasionally uses for large-scale battles, first seen in the 1997 Elseworlds tale Kingdom Come. In that story, a generation after Superman and Wonder Woman retired from the public eye, a new generation of superheroes and supervillains become reckless and irresponsible with their powers, leading to a global calamity. The Justice League comes out of retirement to show them what's what, but after a group of villains and politicians led by Lex Luthor and Captain Marvel (Shazam) break a bunch of villains out of prison, it ends up an all-out war between the old and new generations of superhumans. Wonder Woman suited up in a gold, eagle-themed costume, which you can see below.

kingdom-come-wonder-woman-armor
(Photo: DC Entertainment)

The look, like so much of Kingdom Come, became popular with readers and was eventually ported over to the mainstream comics, and while it only occasionally appears, it seems to have inspired a lookalike for the big screen. The bird-like headpiece is an optional add-on that is worn during combat, but not inherently part of the costume, as some scenes earlier in the comic show Diana without it. Way back in 2014, there was a rumor that the previous Wonder Woman movie might feature an armored costume, which brought Kingdom Come to mind even then.

If true, Kingdom Come's influence on a generation of readers and creatives will really be driven home. During a set visit last year, Shazam! star Zachary Levi told reporters that the comic was his favorite Shazam story of all time.

"I did quite like Kingdom Come," he said. "Even though that's a completely different situation, it shows Captain Marvel's innocence. He's an adult, and he still has that heart. And I thought, 'Oh that's such a cool thing to be able to take that in.' And it's ultimately a sacrificial move at the end and all of that I just found that was more inspiration for me than even The New 52 in a lot of ways."

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Elseworlds (non-canon, stand-alone) tales have already informed elements of the DC movies: Wonder Woman's previous costume likely owes a lot to DC: The New Frontier, in which Darwyn Cooke popularized the idea of giving Wonder Woman a leather gladiator-style skirt. By the time the movie came out, the idea had made its way into the design for the character in DC's main line, but the idea of using that design element likely came from Cooke's work.

Shazam is now playing out its final days in theaters. Joker hits theaters on October 4th, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, and The Batman on June 25, 2021.

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