- "I don't want to be like anyone anymore. I want to be number one. An apex predator, like nothing there's ever been before."
- ―Barbara Minerva[src]
Doctor Barbara Minerva, also known as Cheetah, is an American geologist, gemologist, lithologist, and cryptozoologist who managed to briefly obtain superhuman cheetah-based powers through Max Lord's ability to take what he wants from those whose wishes he grants, eventually being gifted her desire to become "an apex predator" - a Cheetah-like creature.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personality
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Equipment
- 5 Relationships
- 6 Trivia
- 7 Behind the scenes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Barbara Minerva lived her life as a social outcast, cursed with social awkwardness and an inability to be noticed by others. However, due to her lack of friends, Minerva managed to put all of her time into her work and eventually being accepted into college to study geology, gemology, lithology and cryptozoology, eventually earning a doctorate.
By 1984, Minerva eventually managed to become an employee of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. On her first day, while Minerva was being shown around her workplace by Dr. Carol Thomas, the Museum was attacked by a group of men trying to steal the Noble Diamond. In the ensuing chaos, she and Dr. Thomas were briefly taken hostage by the men. Shortly afterwards, she and Dr. Thomas were freed thanks to the efforts of a group of teens who had commandeered the historical weapons on display within the museum. Later that night, Dr. Thomas was given a box of items that the FBI had previously contacted her about. The box was notably labelled with a sign containing Barbara's name.
Meeting Diana Prince
During her second week working at the museum, Barbara accidentally opened her briefcase while walking, causing all of her paperwork to sprawl over the floor. Whilst picking it all up, she attempted to get help from nearby co-workers only to be completely ignored by all of them until fellow colleague, Diana Prince, walked by and offered to help her. Being so enlightened that someone had noticed her, Barbara asked if Diana wanted to get dinner with her later only to be politely rejected. As she is about to leave, Barbara was asked by her boss, Carol Thomas, to investigate an arrangement of gems and stones discovered by the FBI in the recent shootout at a local mall, Barbara excitingly agreeing before bidding goodbye to Diana.
Later, Barbara sat down at her desk to analyze a mysterious stone located by the FBI at the mall crime scene before Diana approached her once again to examine it as well. Barbara's analysis determined its origins to come up disappointed as it contained citrine, a material commonly found in fakes. After Diana attempted to read the Latin inscription, the pair's co-worker, Roger, grabbed onto the stone and jokingly wished for a coffee, only to quickly receive one from another colleague, however, the two simply brushed it off as a coincidence. As Diana was about to leave, she noticed how touched Barbara was that suddenly someone seemed to enjoy talking to her and decided to invite her out to an early dinner, with Barbara excitedly agreeing.
When the pair sat down for dinner, they discussed their respective lives and Barbara admitted to Diana that others usually think of her as weird and that they would talk behind her back. Diana then assured there that she had her own struggles and that her life probably isn't what Barbara believed it to be. After discussing lost loves, the pair toasted to both of them having better luck in the future.
Later that night, Barbara intended to return to her office to continue work on the stone. On the way there, she ran into Leon, a homeless man that she had befriended, and brought him dinner, wishing him a warm night. As she walked, she accidentally stumbled on her heel, which caught the attention of a nearby drunk man. He quickly approached and continually harassed her before grabbing her and attempting to get her to stop with him. However, he was quickly stopped by Diana who sped in and threw him against a trash can, catching Barbara in the process. Shocked from what had happened, Barbara questioned Diana's ability only for her to insist that it is simply a self-defense technique. She instructed Barbara to quickly get home before bidding her friend goodbye.
Barbara headed back to work instead to continue studying the stone. Alone in her office, she decided to test the stone's self-proclaimed abilities and make the wish "To be like Diana. Strong, sexy, cool. Special." Unbeknownst to Barbara, this wish came with the added effects of becoming like an Amazon.
That night, Barbara fell asleep in her office. She awoke the next day to find her coworkers suddenly noticing and complimenting her. Her boss introduced her to potential Museum partner, Maxwell "Max" Lord, who quickly accepted Barbara calling him "the oil guy". Barbara took Max on a private tour of the Smithsonian and the two became fast friends. When Diana arrived to find the pair fooling around, Barbara introduced Max to Diana and informed her that he agreed to give his entire donation to their department, which he planned to announce at the Members' Gala that night. Max asked Barbara if she would attend, to which she replies "yes".
That afternoon, in preparation for the Gala, Barbara purchased a new pair of high heeled shoes and a dress. At the party, Max and Barbara found each other and began flirting. Soon, the two retreated to Barbara's office to kiss, per Max's request, who knew full well the Dreamstone was in there. After some kissing and cuddling with her, Max convinced Barbara to let him have the Dreamstone, promising he could help her identify it.
The day after the Gala, Barbara's popularity continued to increase at work. She quickly discovered her new super strength and speed and her erased need to wear glasses. Barbara was confronted by Diana about the Dreamstone's whereabouts, to which she reluctantly admitted she let Max take it. Diana was rather annoyed by this, but still asked for Barbara's help in locating where the stone originated from.
Descent into darkness
Barbara's research takes her to the local FBI archives building. Finding what she needs, she begins to run back home and comes face-to-face with the man who assaulted her. The man continues to pursue her despite her warnings, and she effortlessly throws him agents the side of a truck. Taking enjoyment in this, Barbara continues to beat the man until he is barely conscious and only when her friend Leon asks what she's doing does she stop. Barbara tells him to mind his own business and runs off into the night.
Diana calls Barbara to discover if she has made any progress in her research. Barbara confirms that the stone has been found all across the world and is present at the collapse of every major civilization, the most recent civilization being the Mayans. Barbara tells Diana she has one last lead in the form of a man named Babajide, who is a descendant of the Mayas. He has a book on the stone itself, and that it was created by the Duke of Deception, the God of lies. The stone works like a Monkey's Paw, granting your hearts desire but taking something equally as important in return. He reveals the only way to stop the stone is to destroy it or renounce your wish, but the former was impossible and the latter was something everyone refused to do.
Diana realizes Max's wish has turned him into the stone, meaning they might have to kill him in order to undo everyone's wish. This greatly upsets Barbara, who does not want her wish revoked. While Diana and Steve argue on how best to approach this situation, Barbara sneaks away.
Wonder Woman tracks Maxwell to the White House, who has already made a wish with the President. Max's deal was that in exchange for giving America more nukes, Max would have the power of the Presidency at his disposal. Max commands the White House security staff to attack Wonder Woman, but she is able to best them.
Just as Wonder Woman is about to stop Maxwell, Barbara arrives to defend him. Everyone is surprised by Barbara's appearance, look and attitude. As Wonder Woman and Barbara come to blows, Wonder Woman questions how Barbara has become so strong. Barbara reveals that "wishing to be like you came with some surprises." The pair's fight is momentarily cut short by the arrival of more White House security asking the two women to surrender. Barbara instead attacks the security, and Wonder Woman does her best to prevent the staff from getting hurt.
With the security staff defeated, Barbara again turns her sights on Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is unable to subdue Barbara and is thrown through a pillar. Too injured to continue the fight, Wonder Woman confronts Barbara on what she has lost in exchange for her wish. Her warmth, her joy, her humanity. Barbara quickly deflects the question at Wonder Woman, asking what she has lost in exchange for her wish. The answer being her powers. Barbara lets Wonder Woman off with a warning that should she ever try to hurt Max, she will destroy her. Barbara escapes into a helicopter with Max, and the two head for a secret military base that has a satellite able to broadcast to the entire world.
Maxwell confides in Barbara that he found a sort-of loophole to the "one wish" rule. He can grant wishes and in return takes whatever he wants from that person, which is how he plans to revive his heath that granting wishes is costing him. He tells Barbara he's feeling generous and makes her an offer she can't refuse, he asks her what she really wants. "I don't want to be like anyone anymore." Barbara replies. "I want to be number one. An apex predator, like nothing there's ever been before."
Max and Barbara head into the satellite station and Max begins his broadcast to the world. As people start making wishes, Max starts taking their health and strength from them to keep himself alive. And just as he promised Barbara, he takes people's rage and prowess to fuel her. Her body begins to transform as a result, shedding whatever was left of her humanity and adopting a unique and terrifying form resembling the apex predator she desires to be, the Cheetah.
Wonder Woman, who has donned Asteria's armor, flies to the base to stop Maxwell's broadcast. She quickly subdues the guards at the station, but is greeted by an almost unrecognizable figure. "Barbara...what did you do?" Wonder Woman asks. Cheetah smiles, and her assault begins.
Cheetah's attacks are relentless. Asteria's armored wings, the wings that held back the tide of man, quickly fail beneath Cheetah's blows. Wonder Woman manages to push Cheetah back momentarily, and sheds the wings since they are too damaged to be useful. The force of the push makes Cheetah realize Wonder Woman renounced her wish and is back at her full power. Wonder Woman said she had to renounce her wish, and tells Cheetah she needs to do the same. This only angers Cheetah more and she continues her attack.
The two women eventually fall into a reservoir, where Wonder Woman kicks Cheetah deeper into the water and makes her way to the surface. The result of their battle had damaged serval powerlines, something Wonder Woman takes notice of. Cheetah breaches the surface of the reservoir and Wonder Woman holds her in place. She begs Barbara to find herself within Cheetah and renounce her wish. Cheetah refuses. "Then I'm so sorry," Wonder Woman proclaims and holds Cheetah under the water as the powerline falls into the reservoir. Cheetah is stunned from the electrical surge and is carried out of the water by Wonder Woman, who goes on to fight Max.
Wonder Woman chooses not to kill Max, but instead use the Lasso of Truth to connect with the people of the world and convince them to renounce their wish. As Wonder Woman begins her speech, Cheetah covers her ears so she cannot be persuaded. And as the people of the world renounce their wish, Barbara is seen alone and in human form looking over a cliffside at the rising sun.
- "You've always had everything, while people like me have had nothing! Well, now it's my turn. Get used to it."
- ―Barbara Minerva to Wonder Woman[src]
Initially, Barbara is sweet and kind, somewhat awkward, but endearing, falling into relationships too fast and always failing them. These constant failures and being pushed down by others take their toll on Barbara, as she becomes increasingly frustrated that things are not going her way. By the time she meets Diana and becomes her friend, she is on the brink of collapse, still kind and thoughtful, but much closer to breaking away from this demeanor. When Max Lord promises her anything her heart desires and Diana gets her lost love back from the dead thanks to the power of the Dreamstone, Barbara finally breaks under the pressure of her numerous insecurities. She becomes jealous and greedy, wanting power and love for herself and losing her moral compass entirely. Her transformation into the Cheetah shows just how far she has fallen.
Powers and abilities
- Dreamstone empowerment: By wishing to be like Diana on the Dreamstone, Barbara inadvertently gained the powers of the Amazons. After teaming up with Max Lord, he enhanced her powers further by taking the rage from humanity's masses in exchange for granting their own wishes. The rage of humanity was the final push that transformed Barbara into Cheetah. This second powerup was temporary, however, as Maxwell and the rest of the world renounced their wishes, all of the wishes exchanges were reversed, causing Cheetah to transform back into Barbara.
- Superhuman strength: Barbara is strong enough to toss fully grown men around with ease and even fight and overpower Diana. Her strength extends to her legs as she is able to leap incredible distances.
- Superhuman speed: Barbara gains incredible speed, able to run fast enough to dodge bullets.
- Superhuman reflexes: Barbara's reflexes are enhanced enough to allow her to dodge bullets and keep up with Diana in battle.
- Superhuman agility: Barbara's agility and coordination are enhanced beyond human limitations.
- Superhuman stamina: Barbara is able to run for hours at a time without tiring.
- Superhuman durability: Barbara is shown shrugging off several of Wonder Woman's hits and survive electrocution from a high voltage power line with no burns.
- Sharp claws: Barbara's claws are sharp enough to rip through Asteria's armor with ease.
- Regenerative healing factor: Barbara is able to recover quickly from injuries, such as being electrocuted, with no signs of long term damage. This also extends to healing any conditions she had prior and improving her vision, allowing her to no longer need eyeglasses.
- Expert Combatant: Despite her lack of any formal training, Cheetah is very adept at hand-to-hand combat, being able to hold her own with Wonder Woman on multiple occasions.
- Dreamstone: Barbara was hired to investigate the Dreamstone, which she used to ask for a wish and then left in her office, until Max Lord took it.
- Barbara was the only character in Wonder Woman 1984 not shown to renounce her wish, leaving it ambiguous as to whether she still has her powers or not.
- Her Cheetah form was a byproduct of Max taking wishers' rage and gifting it to Barbara. However, her Cheetah form is lost when Max and humanity revoke their wishes.
- Barbara is a part-time cryptozoologist, which is a pseudoscience aimed to prove the existence of creatures from folklore.
- After Barbara makes her wish, her hair begins to grow rapidly over the course of the film. Her hair, which is barely past her shoulders at the start of the film, extends down to the middle of her back by the time she fights Diana at the White House and her roots are exposed by several inches.
- Her hair also goes from a darker to a lighter blonde, but this could easily be explained as Barbara dying her hair since the color of her roots are brown. Barbara's hair does not truly become blonde until her Cheetah transformation.
- Barbara mentions that she suffered a hip injury in high school and is a terrible dancer as a result. This could also explain why she has trouble walking in heels.
- This could also be a reference to the comics in which Barbara is often depicted with a lame leg and needs a cane to walk.
Behind the scenes
- Whitney Coleman and Fizz Hood were stunt doubles for Kristen Wiig in the role of Cheetah.
- Emma Stone was offered the role of Cheetah, but declined.
- Despite Wiig portraying the character as American, Barbara Minerva is British in the original comics.