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NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Cheetah from the DC Extended Universe. The mainstream version can be found here: Cheetah (DC).
|“||You've always had everything, while people like me have had nothing! Well, now it's my turn. Get used to it.||„|
|~ Barbara Minerva to Wonder Woman|
|“||I don't want to be like anyone anymore. I want to be number one. An apex predator, like nothing there's ever been before.||„|
|~ Barbara Minerva's famous quote.|
Barbara Minerva, also known as Cheetah, is the secondary antagonist of the 2020 DC Extended Universe film, Wonder Woman 1984. She is an American gemologist and friend of Diana Prince who obtained supernatural powers through a magical artifact called the Dreamstone. The Dreamstone granted her wish of becoming "like Diana", a wish that inadvertently gave her the powers of Wonder Woman and later the Cheetah.
Wonder Woman 1984
She at first encounters Diana at their work, both women are scientists at The Smithsonian in Washington DC. Barbara easily befriends Diana due to their shared loneliness and shared admiration for one another.
Barbara is assigned to identify a group of artifacts for the FBI. Unbeknownst to her or Diana, one of those artifacts would be the Dreamstone, an artifact with the ability to grant any one wish but takes something equally important in return. Diana asked for Steve to come back to life, while Barbara askes to be "like Diana. Strong, sexy, cool, special". Unknown to Barbara, Diana is the demi-goddess Wonder Woman, meaning her wish would have the added bonus of giving her superpowers in exchange for her humanity.
Barbara would eventually meet the C.E.O. of Black Gold Cooperative, Maxwell Lord. Max desired the Dreamstone so that he may wish to become the embodiment of the Dreamstone and rise to power. He later tricks Barbara into giving it to him at the members only Gala held at the Smithsonian. As Maxwell begins granting wishes and sowing chaos around the world, Diana enlists the help of Barbara to find a way to undo the wishes.
Barbara, Diana and Steve discover that the only way to stop the Dreamstone is to either destroy it or renounces your wish, therefor reversing the wish and returning what the stone took from you. Barbara, not wanting to loose her powers and newfound popularity that came with them, betrays Wonder Woman and joins Maxwell. Barbara is able to overpower Wonder Woman due to Wonder Woman's own wish costing her her powers.
Barbara and Maxwell make their way to a secret military satellite with the ability of casting a signal to every TV around the world. Max wants to use this satellite to grant the desired wishes of millions of people at once, thereby taking their health from them to reverse the toll becoming the Dreamstone is taking on him. He tells Barbara he can power her up as well, and asks what she desires. She reveals she no longer wants to be like anyone else, "I want to be number one. An apex predator, like nothing, there's ever been before."
As Maxwell makes his broadcast, he takes humanities, health and strength for himself and gifts humanities rage and prowess to Barbara. This would cause her body to transform, turning her into the Cheetah, an animalistic demi-goddess with claws sharp enough to cut through almost anything.
Wonder Woman eventually has a rough battle with the Cheetah with Diana asking by saying "Barbara... what did you do?". Cheetah grins, and her assault begins while she fights Wonder Woman. Cheetah's attacks become relentless towards Asteria's armored wings, the wings that held back the tide of man, quickly fail beneath Cheetah's blows as Wonder Woman manages to push Cheetah back momentarily, and sheds the wings since they are too damaged to be useful. The force of the push makes Cheetah realize Wonder Woman renounced her wish and is back at her full power. Wonder Woman tells her that she had to renounce her wish, and tells Barbara that she needs to do the same, This only causes to anger Cheetah more as she resumes her attack on Diana.
The two eventually fall into a reservoir, where Wonder Woman kicks Cheetah deeper into the water and makes her way to the surface. The result of their battle had damaged several power lines, something Wonder Woman takes notice of. Cheetah breaches the surface of the reservoir and Wonder Woman holds her in place. She begs Barbara to find herself within Cheetah and renounce her wish, but Cheetah refuses. Diana then proclaims "Then I'm so sorry," as she holds Cheetah under the water as the Powerline falls into the reservoir. Cheetah is then stunned from the electrical surge and is carried out of the water by Wonder Woman, who goes on to fight Max.
Wonder Woman chooses not to kill Max, but instead uses the Lasso of Truth to connect with the people of the world and convince them to renounce their wish. As Wonder Woman begins her speech, Cheetah covers her ears so she cannot be persuaded. And as the people of the world renounce their wish, Barbara is seen alone and in human form looking over a cliffside at the rising sun. It is unknown what happened to her afterwards.
Barbara starts out as a kind but partially awkward person showing signs of major insecurities in her life. Barbara's desire for love and reignition ultimately led to her wish of become like Diana, a wish that would gift her superpowers but at the cost of her humanity. The stronger Barbara gets the more of her humanity slips away, ultimately becoming cold, distant and merciless - the polar opposite of her former self.
When Maxwell presents her with the chance to become even stronger, Barbara takes it and loses whatever was left of her humanity in the process, becoming the apex predator Cheetah. As Cheetah, Barbara is animalistic, savage and quick to anger. She bares no resemblance to the woman she once was and prefers it that way.
Powers and abilities
- Transformation: By wishing to be like Diana on the Dreamstone, Barbara inadvertently gained the powers of the demi-goddess Wonder Woman. After teaming up with Maxwell Lord, he enhanced her powers further by taking the rage from humanity's masses in exchange for granting their own wishes. The rage of humanity was the final push that transformed Barbara into Cheetah.
- Superhuman strength: Barbara is strong enough to toss fully grown men around with ease and even fight and overpower Diana. Her strength extends to her legs as she is able to leap incredible distances.
- Superhuman durability: Barbara is able to brush of blows dealt by Wonder Woman.
- Superhuman speed: Barbara can run fast enough to dodge bullets.
- Superhuman reflexes: Barbara's reflexes are enhanced enough to allow her to dodge bullets and keep up with Diana in battle.
- Sharp Claws: As Cheetah, Barbara has superpowered claws able to tear through magical armor.
- Superhuman stamina: Barbara is able to run at full speed for hours without exhaustion.
- Expert Combatant: Cheetah is very adapt at hand-to-hand combat, being able to go one-on-one with Wonder Woman repeatedly.
- Whitney Coleman and Fizz Hood were stunt doubles for Kristen Wiig in the role of Cheetah.
- Emma Stone was offered the role of Cheetah, but declined.
- Despite Wiig portraying the character as American, Barbara Minerva is British in the original comics.
- Minerva's initial beginnings and motivations bear similarities to other supervillains depicted in film, such as the Riddler in Batman Forever, Syndrome in The Incredibles, Joker in The Dark Knight, Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3, and Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
- All of them, not unlike Minerva, started out as insecure and antisocial, and were either lied to or rejected by heroes they had idolized. As a result of this, they all grew embittered and envious of their idols, and took revenge against them.
- Although Barbara and Diana are enemies, Kristen Wiig and Gal Gadot are friends in real life.
- This was Kristen Wiig's second villainous role.
- She is implied to have a possible crush on Diana.
- Despite becoming a villain, Barbara makes a valid point when Wonder Woman tries to reason with her by asking what her wish was costing her and she responds with "What's your wish costing you?". Diana can only respond with silence, since she refused to renounce her own wish (thus losing Steve Trevor again) in order to restore her powers, which was making it more difficult for her to perform her usual heroism.
- It is unknown why Barbara refused to renounce her wish, but its probably a combination of being drunk with power living the life she always dreamed of and the Dream Stone's cost, which is implied to be Barbara's empathy, making her incapable of being anything but cruel and selfish.
- Barbara is a part-time cryptozoologist, which is a pseudoscience aimed to prove the existence of creatures from folklore.
- After Barbara makes her wish, her hair begins to grow rapidly over the course of the film. Her hair, which is barely past her shoulders at the start of the film, extends down to the middle of her back by the time she fights Diana at the White House and her roots are exposed by several inches.
- Her hair also goes from a darker to a lighter blonde, but this could easily be explained as Barbara dying her hair since the color of her roots are brown. Barbara's hair does not truly become blonde until her Cheetah transformation.
- Barbara mentions that she suffered a hip injury in high school and is a terrible dancer as a result. This could also explain why she has trouble walking in heels.
- This could also be a reference to the comics in which Barbara is often depicted with a lame leg and needs a cane to walk.