Characters from Wonder Woman with more meaning than you realize

In June 2017, Wonder Woman hit theaters and restored DC movies to their Richard Donner-era glory with the swagger of an Amazonian princess. Director Patty Jenkins' World War I-era blockbuster shattered box office records. The streamlined narrative rarely shifts its focus from Gal Gadot's swashbuckling superheroine, but that doesn't mean she's the only character worthy of your attention. We've wrangled some important minor characters who mean more than you might realize.

Antiope

In the film, Antiope secretly trains Diana for combat. "For Antiope," Patty Jenkins told The Hollywood News in 2017, "I needed someone who seems under control and is not overly aggressive, but who is truly a badass." According to Jenkins as well as film critics and DC fans, "Robin [Wright] conveys all of that."

Antiope doesn't get much screentime in the film but she is a major character in the Wonder Woman comics. Spawned from the Well of Souls with the help of five Goddesses of Olympus, sister-queens Antiope and Hippolyta founded Themyscira. In the comics as in the film, Antiope and Hippolyta's relationship can be difficult. In the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Antiope pushed to have Queen Hippolyta dethroned by the Amazonian Senate.

Antiope and Diana's bond goes much deeper in the comics–even transcending death itself. In the "Paradise Found" story arc, Antiope's ghost appears Yoda-style before Diana in the Temple of Hippolyta on the isle of remembrance.

Venelia

Who is Venelia? There are actually two Amazons in the New Earth universe on whom this character might be based. Created in 1988 by George Perez, Venilia is a New Earth Amazon of Themyscira. In the same universe, Venelia is a Amazon of Bana-Mighdall, created in 1994 by William Messner-Loebs and Mike Deodato, Jr. In the comics, Venelia's claim to fame is being turned to stone by Medusa during the Second Contest.

You might not know that the cinematic Venelia is played by Doutzen Kroes, a Victoria's Secret supermodel, who explained the difficulty of cavalry warfare to Entertainment Weekly. "I had to ride with one hand and have the sword in the other hand and kill a person at the same time." Whoever this Venelia is, she's ruthless.

Dr. Maru (Dr. Poison)

You might not know that choosing to move the setting from World War II to World War I was a daring decision on the filmmakers' part, when you consider how integral World War II is to Dr. Poison's original backstory. Dr. Poison (Elena Anaya's Dr. Maru in the film) is the monstrous Nazi chemist behind reverso, a mind-control drug that spelled instant Opposite Day for Allied soldiers, inspiring them to disobey orders in the worst ways imaginable. She also collaborates with imperial Japan–just in case the American readers didn't get the point that she's as evil as they come. In keeping with the World War I setting, the filmmakers chose to change her go-to toxic agent to an ultra-lethal form of mustard gas.

We've already pointed out the telltale goggles on her head, a throwback to her roots in the comics. In the comics, Dr. Poison wore a mask and cut a boxy, ambiguous figure. In the movie, her womanhood is never in doubt, but in the comics there was a Samus Aran-like reveal in which Dr. Poison identifies herself as Princess Maru. The only thing more shocking to the 1940s readership than a doctor using her training to do only harm was a lady doctor doing so.

Etta Candy

In the Golden Age, Etta Candy was a buxom woman who worked as Diana's secretary and sometimes even joined the fray as Wonder Woman's fun-loving sidekick. Etta premiered in the second issue of Sensation Comics and quickly built a fanbase of her own. Created by William Moulton Marston as a down-to-earth visual counterpoint to the Princess of the Amazons, Etta is sassy, silly, confident, and unapologetic about her love of chocolate and other sugary delights. When Wonder Woman ran for president in 3,004 A.D., Etta was her VP pick.

According to Lucy Davis, who plays Etta in 2017's Wonder Woman, "Etta is extremely not 'body conscious.' It wouldn't even enter her head that there was a 'right or wrong' way for your body to be." Davis's take on the superhero craze sounds like something Golden Age Etta Candy herself might say. "All the superhero stuff, somewhere deep down I think it nudges us into remembering that really we're all fabulous if you let go of fear."

Menalippe

In the movie's beachhead battle at Themyscira, Menalippe (Lisa Loven Kongsil) turns her shield into a springboard for Antiope, foreshadowing a tower-smashing, sniper-obliterating, human cannonball scene that will be etched in viewers' memories for a long time. While it is little more than implied in the film, Menalippe is actually an oracle and a priestess who does a lot more dying in the comics. In a particularly memorable scene from the comics, New Earth's Menalippe dies protecting Hippolyta from Circe during the War of the Gods. In the New 52, she foresees the Darkseid War, just before Myrina, the mother of Darkseid's demonseed Grail, kills her. Being an Amazonian oracle isn't as glamorous as it might seem sometimes.

Philippus

In the comics, Philippus drew inspiration from the sacrifice of her mentor Egeria who died barring the rift between Hades and Themyscira known as Doom's Doorway. If the Wonder Woman movies follow the same timeline, then perhaps we'll see an onscreen version in a sequel, as Egeria is alive and well in this movie. Portrayed by Ann Ogbomo in the film, Philippus serves as Captain of the Guard under Queen Hippolyta, later becoming Chancellor, beginning in the "Paradise Found" story arc. Like other Amazons on this list, Philippus premiered in Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #1.

Epione

After Diana is injured, Epione is perplexed by her rapid healing. Judging by the battle on the beach alone, though, you might not realize that being a healer is Epione's primary role. Unlike the army medics Steve Trevor is probably familiar with, Epione (played by Eleanor Matsuura) joins the fray. It probably wouldn't even enter an Amazon's mind that a healer should tend to the wounded when there are battles to be fought.

Fausta Grables

When Diana borrows the blue dress for the exclusive party with the German high brass, the woman she borrows it from is credited as Fausta Grables. A Swiss operative who appears in just one issue of the Golden Age comics (Comic Cavalcade #2 in March 1943), Fausta–as her name suggests–has figuratively sold her soul to the Nazis. Yet, as we learn from the TV series, she isn't beyond redemption. As for the movie's version, we don't see whether Fausta, played by Rachel Pickup, willingly surrenders the dress or whether Diana takes it by force.

Timandra

With breathtaking cliffside overlooks and architecture reminiscent of Ancient Greece, Themyscira is truly a Paradise Island. "Themyscira was like an idyllic Mediterranean island," said Patty Jenkins. "So what is the most incredible version of that? The Amalfi Coast! Having that authentic landscape and architecture around us was pretty amazing, because we were able to follow that lead in building Themyscira." The architect behind Themyscira is actually Senator Timandra. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.