×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why the Amazons from Wonder Woman 1984 look so familiar

We've all been anxiously awaiting the oft-delayed Wonder Woman 1984 for what seems like an eternity now, and the full-length trailer we got in August 2020 has us even more excited. The spot's opening teased the big-budget tentpole version of an event that is a vital part of the title character's lore: The Amazon Games, in which Diana is seen competing as a young girl (portrayed by Lilly Aspell).

What are the Amazon Games, exactly? Think of them as a kind of super-powered Olympics, a competition of traditional athletic skills in which the participants are anything but traditional athletes. The film's director Patty Jenkins expressed her excitement about the sequence during Wonder Woman 1984's panel at the recent DC FanDome virtual event. "It was so great to see the Amazons at play and competing against each other in a very good-spirited but serious way, to see where people are on archery and horseback riding and all these incredible things," Jenkins remarked. "So it was just a blast to see what their games would be like" (via SYFY WIRE). One of the flick's producers, Anna Obropta, described the sequence with a bit more flair in a conversation with Collider: "It's just this amazing sort of opening sequence of these Amazons performing these events that are like Cirque du Soleil meets American Ninja Warrior, meets extreme sports, but yet like none of that, like nothing you've ever seen before," Obropta gushed. "They're graceful and they're fierce and it all culminates in this all-star competition."

Among the powerful warriors lined up at the spot's beginning, you may have noticed a familiar face or two — faces at which we'll get an even better look when Wonder Woman 1984, which stars Gal Gadot as the iconic hero, drops this December. Here's why the movie's Amazons look so familiar.

Jessie Graff is very familiar to fans of American Ninja Warrior

Jessie Graff is a veteran stunt performer with a list of credits a mile long and strong ties to the superhero genre. She's done stunt work on films like The Dark Knight, Iron Man 2and X-Men: First Class, and on television series such as Heroes, Supergirl, and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., to name just a few, and she's made plenty of appearances in bit parts on series like Castle and Hawaii Five-O. If her name rings a bell, however, it's almost certainly because you are a fan of NBC's hit sports competition American Ninja Warrior. Graff wasn't the first female participant to attack that sport's fearsome obstacle courses with a level of skill and athleticism equal to that of the elite male competitors, but she is perhaps the most well-known, because while she's all sunshine and smiles while cheering on her fellow ninjas, once she hits the course, she is an absolute beast.

Graff's lists of firsts on American Ninja Warrior is positively bonkers. She is the first woman to advance to a City Final, and the first to advance to the National Finals. In 2016, she became the first woman to finish Stage 1 at the National Finals, and the next year, she became the first to finish Stage 2. In 2018, she looked poised to make it even further, but she had to skip the National Finals due to her commitment to Wonder Woman 1984, on which she did stunt work as well as appearing as an Amazon. The latest season of Ninja Warrior was, of course, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but don't be surprised to see Graff back at it next year, leaving male and female competitors alike in the dust.

Briony Scarlett stars on a hit Hulu TV series

Briony Scarlett certainly looks the part of Amazon warrior, but if she looks familiar, it may be because you've seen her in elaborate garb of a different sort — one of the two entries on her IMDb page is the uncredited role of "Balcony Girl" in Disney 2019's remake of Aladdin. Her lone credited appearance, though, was a bit more high-profile: She starred as Rani Balakrishnan, a friend and employee of brothel owner Harriet Lennox (Pippa Bennett-Warner), in the third and final season of the Hulu original series Harlots.

Scarlett announced her involvement in Wonder Woman 1984 with an excellent action shot posted to Twitter earlier this month, and she also took part in the DC FanDome panel along with Jenkins and a slew of fellow Amazons. Scarlett described for fans the intense difficulty of training for the flick, and also revealed that the Amazons had a very interesting way of psyching themselves up when it all got too exhausting (via SYFY WIRE): Impromptu Amazon dance parties. "We were training for months, and as amazing as that was, you're gonna have those days when you're exhausted or just feeling like, 'Oh, I don't know if I can do this workout,'" she said. "So, music was our best therapy. We would stick on an amazing track, turn up the volume, literally have this dance session going crazy in the gym ... it would give us that energy boost, and we'd be like, 'Okay, sisters all together grooving, now we can start the workout.'"

Gwendolyn Osborne-Smith had a regular gig on daytime TV

If you associate the face of Gwendolyn Osborne-Smith with the smiling, crew-cut mug of Drew Carey, well, there's a reason for that. Between 2005 and 2017, Osborne-Smith was a model on The Price is Right, the iconic game show on which contestants "come on down" to guess the prices of various consumer products for the chance to win fabulous prizes (perhaps even ... a new car!). Osborne-Smith's run on the show was the longest for a model of color, according to Black America Web; for that matter, that run even predates Carey's tenure on the show. The funnyman and former sitcom star took over for the previous host, the legendary Bob Barker, in 2007.

Osborne-Smith told PureWow that the circumstances of her casting in Wonder Woman 1984 were a bit odd: She was attending a friend's funeral, which was also being attended by Jenkins. "I actually was tapped on the shoulder by the director, Patty Jenkins, to be in it," Osborne said. "She asked me to be one of her Amazons ... I am not allowed to say too much, but I am a highly featured Amazon. I'm extremely athletic. I'm a badass, and I'm fearless."

Jenny Pacey put the rest of the Amazons through their paces

Jenny Pacey is a "celebrity personal trainer" who, along with her husband Wayne Gordon, eats, breathes, and sleeps fitness. The pair have appeared on the covers of about a billion different fitness magazines, and Pacey was a no-brainer pick when Jenkins was casting her Amazons for the first Wonder Woman flick. This time around, though, she's not just one of the gang — she was tasked with training all of Wonder Woman 1984's Amazons, and it was a job she took very, very seriously.

During the FanDome panel, Pacey called working on the film, "The most incredible and challenging job of [her] entire life," and gave a bit of insight into what exactly the flick's cast had to go through in order to become fierce Amazon warriors. "We worked in four-week training blocks, ready to reach peak for filming," Pacey explained. "The first week of training, I called 'Hell Week,' because it was literally five of the most difficult workouts I've ever given anybody. And just before we started filming, I repeated 'Hell Week' so that everybody could feel how far they'd come, and how much they'd improved in terms of their strength, their conditioning, their flexibility, and just the way they approached workouts as well" (via SYFY WIRE).

We'll be able to get a look at the fruits of Pacey's labor — and see what games of strength and skill look like on the island of Themyscira — when Wonder Woman 1984 finally hits the big screen. The film is currently slated for release on December 25, 2020.