The latest Wonder Woman is (finally) out, and we can’t stop talking about it! Why was it set in the banner year of 1984? Does 1984 have other symbolic meanings?
We know the first Wonder Woman movie was set during World War I, and the second one opens right in the middle of the Cold War. Does that mean something? Is director Patty Jenkins Orwellian? (JK! I’m an asymptomatic radical, I swear)
According to Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, there was a specific reason for choosing the “wild year” 1984. She wanted the excessive and extreme atmosphere of the 1980s as the film’s central character, just as World War I was to the first film.
As fans would know, Wonder Woman solo movies have always sought to reveal the character’s long history as a hero from the days of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. If the Wonder Woman trilogy creators chose to push the story up by 70 years, they must’ve had a good reason!
Sure enough, the year 1984 has a wild history to it. America re-elected Conservative Ronald Reagan at the peak of the Cold War. The crack epidemic first reared its ugly head in California. Apple arrived on the scene with the sale of its first Macintosh computer. Music legend Marvin Gaye was killed by his father when he tried to intervene in a domestic dispute.
The movie could also be a tribute to the classic work of literature by George Orwell, 1984. Published in 1949, the book spoke of a Big Brother who was always looking. The movie features its villain hacking into every TV set on earth to spread his message of greed.
But whatever the reason, one thing that’s for sure is people are bound to start talking about the 1980s again, especially the year 1984. (Read on to find why 1984 is such a famous year in history!) Who knows, maybe George Orwell’s 1984 might also see a surge in sales on Amazon for a third time!
1. Did Dir. Jenkins Choose 1984 For Any Specific Reason?
The second Wonder Woman movie has come to us after crossing a series of hurdles.
If post-production delays were not enough, the film survived a plague year by managing to premiere in its last days. Talking about years, the film has a year in its name – Wonder Woman 1984 – and we have reason to believe it is so for a very specific reason.
On many occasions, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins has confirmed that the movie was deliberately set in 1984. Less than a month after the Wonder Woman sequel began filming, Jenkins was first asked why the year was in the film’s name.
“One of my favorite things about making the original was that it took place during World War I in 1917, an era full of metaphors like modernity and the mechanized world.”Patty Jenkins
“I grew up in the ’80s…The reason I am excited is it showed mankind at its best and worst. It was grand and wonderful, there was great music and there were elegant and beautiful things. But other things about the decade revealed the worst of us,”Patty Jenkins
On a separate occasion, Jenkins further explained the importance of the year 1984 itself when speaking to Deadline’s Crew Call podcast. “1984 itself is definitely very evocative to what’s important in that movie and resonates with right now.”
“It (1984) was the pinnacle of success in the 80s. There’s something about the excess of that period of time, which is so linked up to where we are in the world right now, that it’s set there for a reason.”Patty Jenkins
2. Is WW84 a Tribute yo The Original Wonder Woman?
The world was first introduced to the character of Wonder Woman in the late 1970s. Remember Lynda Carter’s iconic TV? (She even did a mid-credits cameo in WW84. Or did you leave the theatre or hit the pause button tad early and miss it entirely?)
However, Wonder Woman remained a part of the pop culture lexicon for most of the 1980s. So there is an apparent connection between Wonder Woman’s character and the ’80s.
“Why 1984? We wanted to bring Diana into the modern world. But the ’80s is a period that Wonder Woman is quite synonymous with. So it was great to see her there,”Patty Jenkins, Director of WW84
Setting the Wonder Woman sequel in 1984 opened up all the possibilities for nostalgia. The sequel sure absorbed it in all its glory. The bold ’80s look, with both Gal Gadot and Kristin Wiig looking chic in their period costumes.
The rise of shopping malls, public art, the ubiquity of big, brash pop music, and hip hop! The ’80s mall featured in the blockbuster is, in fact, the same set as Stranger Things’ third season.
3. Is WW84 Inspired By Orwell’s 1984?
With the year 1984 in its title itself, the Wonder Woman sequel barely leaves any room for doubt that the movie is more than what it lets on – a superhero fantasy. It is not only rooted in the real world history of the year 1984; it is also a tribute to George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984.
It was on June 8, 1949, that George Orwell’s 1984 first hit shelves. Ever since, the plot has been adapted into plays, ballets, operas, TV shows, and films. It also left its mark on our language, introducing words and phrases as “Orwellian,” “thoughtcrime,” “Newspeak,” and “memory hole.”
“Why 1984? We wanted to bring Diana into the modern world…But most importantly, it’s sort of the height of Western civilization and the success of the world that we all live in in the aftermath of now. So, I was curious to collide our Wonder Woman into the height of our current modern belief system and what kind of villains come out of that and see what happens. So, it all came quite naturally,” saidPatty Jenkins at Brazil’s CCXP in December 2019.
4. Why is 1984 So Popular? Why Was it Called the “Wild Year”?
The year 1984 itself is known as a banner year in modern history. With its unique share of both very good and very bad moments, 1984 was nothing short of a rollercoaster year to both live in and in retrospect.
Apple aired the Macintosh commercial in 1984. Seat belts became mandatory only in 1984. Candy bars still cost 25 cents in 1984. The Gameboy had only five pre-installed games in 1984.
You could buy a comfortable house for less than $100k in 1984. (You couldn’t pay for two years of college today with that much money) “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” sparked awareness about childhood hunger in Ethiopia. The deadliest mass shooting in the US happened in 1984.
Even as Michael Jackson’s signature moonwalk was going ‘viral’, astronauts made the first untethered spacewalk in 1984. It was also the year when Tetris was born. Artificial Intelligence researcher Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov was the mastermind behind the block-building puzzle game.
The US wasn’t alone in facing the greed of humanity in 1984. U.K. miners went on strike for a year against Margaret Thatcher’s order to shut down 20,000 coal mines. Simultaneously, Weird Al could turn down a $5 million beer commercial in the 1980s. What can I say – it was a crazy time!
The era was also the beginning of misinformation. At the Republican National Convention 1984, the then-president Ronald Reagan misquoted John Adams, saying “Facts are stupid things” rather than the real quote: “Facts are stubborn things.”
5. About Wonder Woman 1984
Wonder Woman 1984 or WW84 is the second part of the Wonder Woman trilogy, which hit the world’s theatres on December 25, 2020. After a series of delays that pushed the film’s release by over a year, WW84 broke all kinds of records on its first day. It has, however, received mixed reviews from all quarters.
Amazonian warrior Diana Prince lives a quiet life among mortals in the vibrant, sleek 1980s. It is an era of excess driven by the pursuit of wishes and having it all. But she’s come into her full powers and still maintains a low profile by curating ancient artifacts. Her heroic performances are more or less incognito and always to defend rather than attack.
But soon, Diana will have to muster all of her strength, wisdom, and courage against the Oil Baron Maxwell Lord and the Cheetah, a villainess who possesses superhuman strength and agility.