‘Wonder Woman 1984’: How Cirque du Soleil Helped Them Pull off That Cheetah/Wonder Woman Fight

Trailers for Wonder Woman 1984 previewed Kristen Wiig as the film’s supervillain, Cheetah. The film climaxes with Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) facing off against Cheetah in her golden armor. Now that fans have seen the confrontation, the stars and filmmakers shared how they pulled off that thrilling sequence. 

Cheetah: Kristen Wiig
Kristen Wiig | Clay Enos/DC Comics

Gadot, Wiig and director Patty Jenkins spoke at the Wonder Woman 1984 press conference. They ended up describing the Cheetah fight in great detail. Wonder Woman 1984 is now in theaters and on HBO Max.

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ had to build an arena for her to fight Cheetah

In the film, Wonder Woman battles Cheetah on a cliffside. In real life there was no cliffside, and there was no existing stage that could contain this battle. 

Wonder Woman 1984 finale
Gal Gadot | Clay Enos/DC Comics

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“There were quite a few scenes that were unbelievably complex,” Jenkins said. “This was one of them because we had to build that entire space. We designed what we wanted something to feel like and look like and what the moves were. There was no stage big enough in the world so we had to build a stage and then we had to build all those things.”

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ called in the Cirque du Soleil experts

There’s no human cheetah in real life, so Jenkins called in the next best thing. Cirque du Soleil acrobats are the closest thing to real superheroes she could find. 

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Then we had Cirque du Soleil performers practicing them and showing us what things were going to look like and then these guys have to end up doing it. So it was incredible but it was fun to really aspire. I think Gal and I talked about this from the very start were saying however they would fight, it would be completely different. Also it’s not about punching in the face. They’re both trying to literally get the other one under control. I think Cheetah has got worse intentions than that so narratively it was fascinating.

Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman 1984 press conference, 12/7/2020

Cirque du Soleil taught Kristen Wiig and Gal Gadot a thing or 2

The Cirque du Soleil performers guided the actors in their choreography. 

“Everything was very planned out, too,” Wiig said. “With the set, there were certain, like a rock or whatever, oh, this is where this happens and this is here because someone’s going up there. It was all completely intentional and everything was so beautifully choreographed.”

Wonder Woman 1984: Kristen Wiig
Kristen Wiig | Clay Enos/DC Comics

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Gadot had had a lot of fight training by that time, but Cirque du Soleil could still open new doors. 

Patty really made a point about wanting to have a minimum amount of CGI in our movie so most of the stuff that you’re going to see is real people doing the real thing, whether it’s us or the stunt people. You have to prep and rehearse much longer. The wire work that we’ve done at the mall and for the fight with Cheetah, people don’t do these type of wire rigs anymore and they just do CGI. But when you see it in the movie, you can just tell that it’s the real deal, you can see by the face expressions that it’s real. You can see the weight and the movement and the speed.

Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman 1984 press conference, 12/7/2020