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Wonder Woman's Golden Eagle Armor Explained

On December 25, 2020, Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman 1984 swung into a small pool of cinemas and the HBO Max streaming service to much fanfare, and for good reason. This distant sequel to 2017's World War I period piece, Wonder Woman, takes the titular DC heroine — once again brought to life by Gal Gadot — over 60 years into the future for her next adventure. There's action, comedy, romance, and a fair bit of drama wrapped up in some delightfully dated eighties goodness. 

Case in point, the wardrobe choices are a sight to behold.

Even though she's had trouble socially integrating into the world of man, Diana has come a long way in understanding how their society works. That includes keeping up with the modern fashion trends, from blazers with the sleeves rolled up to high-waisted slacks, which she's more than happy to teach her reincarnated love Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) all about. Nevertheless, she doesn't fully give up on her Amazonian roots, especially when she emerges from the shadows as her crime-fighting Wonder Woman alter ego: This time, though, instead of just relying on her typical blue and red outfit alone, she instead chooses to try out a gold, eagle-emblazoned armor, complete with massive wings. 

As it turns out, both in the film and in the comics, this getup has quite a history behind it.

The armor once belonged to the Amazonian legend, Asteria

Diana's gold armor was very prevalent in the advertising for Wonder Woman 1984, however, it doesn't appear in the film for very long. It first shows up as nothing more than a relic she keeps in storage to safeguard it, given its significance to her Amazonian culture. This leads her to explain to Steve Trevor why it's such a meaningful artifact, who it originally belonged to, and the sentimental value it holds, dating back to when the Amazons were enslaved by mankind thousands of years earlier.

According to Diana, the armor was donned by a famous Amazon warrior known as Asteria (who is portrayed by former Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter) and was forged from the combined armor pieces of every Amazon alive at the time. She donned it in a fierce battle against man's forces, taking the brunt of their attack so that her companions could seek refuge on Themyscira, making her and the outfit the stuff of legend. Therefore, when Diana wears it to confront Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) and Max Lord (Pedro Pascal), she does it to honor one of her biggest idols.

Shades of the Kingdom Come comics

To the average consumer of comic book-based media, Diana's golden eagle armor may come as a bit of a surprise at first, and surely cause some confusion. It's unlike anything we've seen on the big screen before, and surely has to be some strange, made-up piece of Amazonian history created for the film, right? 

Not quite. As it turns out, this look for Wonder Woman is over 25 years old, and finds its roots in a legendary DC comics story.

Back in 1996, comic book creator Alex Ross collaborated with Mark Waid on a four-issue miniseries titled Kingdom Come, which took a few of the publisher's most recognizable heroes in a bold new direction. In this futuristic "Elseworlds" story, an aged Justice League has crumbled, and certainly proves rather "out of touch" with the modern world. Among the heroes featured is Diana of Themyscira, who is clad in an invulnerable gold-winged armor that she reserved for especially intense battles against powerful foes.

Even though Diana's WW84 armor and the version depicted in Kingdom Come are not exact duplicates, it's evident that the latter inspired the former. It's nice to see that those behind the big screen sequel found a way to pay tribute to this fan-favorite attire, while also redefining it for this generation.