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What You Don't Know About Wonder Woman's Iconic Invisible Plane

Warning: Wonder Woman 1984 spoilers ahead!

Every classic superhero has their share of silly tropes that — on a surface level — seem laughable. Wonder Woman is no exception. While many contemporary depictions of Diana Prince give her the power of flight (or gliding on air currents), the character has famously been known for piloting a so-called Invisible Plane (or Invisible Jet), often depicted as white outlines in the sky with a not-so-invisible Wonder Woman in the pilot seat. Definitely too campy for cinema, right?

Think again. In Wonder Woman 1984, director Patty Jenkins takes the bold step of bringing the Invisible Plane to life for what is, surprisingly, one of the movie's most romantic moments between Diana (Gal Gadot) and her resurrected boyfriend Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). 

Jenkins, for the record, has been trying to figure out how to believably get this bit of comic lore onto the screen for some time. As she told Cinema Blend, "Ever since I joined Wonder Woman I was like, 'Hmm. Hmm.' Because of course the Invisible Jet and her sitting with her knees and you can't see the plane, people would say like, 'That's so dorky,' and I'm like, 'Yeah, but everything's dorky. Everything about all these superheroes is dorky until you make them cool.'"

In WW84, rather than the plane possessing inherent invisibility properties, it's explained as an extension of Diana's demigoddess abilities — powers inherited from her father, Zeus. When Steve and Diana run away in a regular airplane, she taps into the same cloaking abilities that Zeus once used to hide Themyscira from the outside world. A little godly magic later, and presto, the regular plane becomes an Invisible Plane, undetectable by radar, thereby paying tribute to decades of comics ... while also, perhaps, setting the stage for Wonder Woman 3.

The Invisible Jet has a long comic book history

These days, the Invisible Plane is often reserved for in-jokes and Easter eggs, with the occasional serious twist devised by writers with Silver Age nostalgia. However, given the fact that this strange aircraft appeared in countless comics, as well as cartoons such as Super-Friends and Justice League Unlimited, and even the Lynda Carter series, it's not super surprising that Patty Jenkins wanted to pay tribute to it.

Still, why does Wonder Woman need an invisible plane, in the first place? And who came up with this idea?

Believe it or not, this quirky trope is almost as old as Wonder Woman herself, having first appeared in 1942's Sensation Comics #1. Back in the early days when creator William Moulton Marston was putting together Wonder Woman's origins, he depicted Themyscira as a place of highly advanced technology, so the notion of a plane that was invisible from radar (and the naked eye) wasn't such a stretch as it would be in later depictions of the island, which go for a more ancient, magical vibe. DC Comics is known for its history of reboots, so the backstory of the Invisible Plane has varied quite a bit — sometimes it's depicted as a creation of Diana herself, sometimes a gift from her mother, and sometimes even as an extraterrestrial "morphing crystal" — but arguably, the more interesting point is why Marston inserted this plane into his stories in the first place. It is often theorized that the plane's invisibility was a form of social commentary regarding how women entered the previously male-dominated workforce during WWII, working just as hard and effectively as their male counterparts while not receiving the same degree of credit and appreciation (I.E., being invisible). This does seem like a parallel that Marston would have intended, since his feminist and politically-charged intentions for Wonder Woman's origin are deeply rooted in every aspect of the character.

History aside, though, it's entirely possible that the Invisible Plane might be hinting toward some surprising twists awaiting Diana's future in the now-confirmed Wonder Woman 3.

Wonder Woman's power exploration could be setting up for Zeus' arrival in a third film

The Invisible Plane's appearance in Wonder Woman 1984 is, on its surface, just a fun moment that allows for a touching scene between Diana and Steve. However, if you look a little deeper, Diana's ability to cloak the plane — by exploring her demigoddess powers — implies a lot about the future path that Wonder Woman 3 might take. 

That's because both Wonder Woman movies have now shown the character increasingly harnessing the powers of Zeus, her long-lost father. Thus far, the cinematic version of Diana has only brushed the surface of Greek mythology, but if we listen to the storytelling law of Chekhov's gun, then it must be presumed that all these hints are laying the groundwork for something bigger. That could, quite feasibly, be the introduction of Zeus himself. In the DCEU, he's currently supposed to be dead, or so the stories go — but given that Diana previously wasn't truthfully informed about her parentage until she became an adult, Zeus' supposed demise should, perhaps, be stamped with a question mark. After all, why set up the fact that he's Diana's father (a relatively new twist, in comic book canon), if the films aren't going to show them meet — whether as allies, or as enemies? 

Alternatively, Diana's growing demigoddess powers might just be a way of further empowering her so that she'll be able to stand up to whatever villainous force appears in the third movie, which should, by all rights, be bigger, more epic, and more Greek mythology-influenced than anything she has faced in the past. However Jenkins and the writers choose to approach this, it seems clear that they have some twists in mind. The cloaked plane is, in essence, a cloaked hint regarding what lies ahead.

Wonder Woman is currently in select theaters, and can be streamed on HBO Max.