Etta Candy

ettacandyfilmAlso a new trailer for Wonder Woman has been released, and there’s a couple of new characters to speak about. The first one will most likely be the movie’s comic relief, as the quick exchange of lines between her and Princess Diana hints: she’s Etta Candy, portrayed by Lucy Davis, the overweight secretary of Steve Trevor who’ll become one of the Amazon‘s best friends. The character already appeared in the 1970s tv series, portrayed by Beatrice Colen: they changed her appearance, believing it wasn’t nice to make fun of a woman’s weight… so they made her the usual dumb secretary, this time working for General Phil Blankenship, as apparently mocking somebody for her stupidity is more acceptable than doing the same for her bulk. She returned in the unlucky 2011 pilot, this time in a more modern version, an African-American woman working directly for Diana, portrayed by Tracie Thoms, but she didn’t get her chance to shine. Now, since the character finally made it to the big screen, let’s take a look at the original Etta (multiple realities ahead).

The first Etta Candy was the young daughter of Hard Candy and his wife, Sugar Candy, the owners of the Bar-L Ranch in Brazos CountyTexas. She grew up with her brother, Mint Candy, and as the family name imply, she was very fond of candies since her childhood. She first met Wonder Woman during a period of depression, during which she had become a scrawny, skinny girl, cured in a hospital. The two became fast friends, and Etta found in the Amazon a reason for putting herself back together. She resumed her original, plump appearance, and she joined the Holiday College, becoming the most popular girl and the de facto leader of the Beta Lambda sorority; she even led her sisters, called the Holiday Girls, to war, aiding her friend Wonder Woman against the Nazis (she even raided a concentration camp on her own, freeing a number of children). She also found a boyfriend, Oscar Sweetgulper, who was from time to time involved in her crazy adventures. The Earth-2 version had a similar ettacandycomics1background, but she was pretty invisible during the college years; after graduation, she entered U.S. Army as the secretary of General Phil Darnell. She was even promoted Lieutenant, and she welcomed the new Major, Diana Prince, who also became her new roommate. Etta didn’t know it, but Diana Prince was the secret identity of her old super-friend, Wonder Woman, and once again she found herself involved in many incredible adventures (she even visited Hell, only to be saved by Wonder Woman and Etrigan the Demon). Always a candy lover, this time she had a different boyfriend, a nerdish and clumsy boy named Howard Huckaby, whom she loved very much. Along with Diana and her boyfriend Steve Trevor, the four became the closest of friends, and between the Army and Wonder Woman’s mystical background they shared a number of adventures. Then, Crisis on Infinite Earths arrived, and both Earth-1 and Earth-2 Etta Candy were wiped away.

In New Earth, Etta Candy had lost much of her family background and her college years, and even her physique was totally different, being now more athletic. Etta joined the Air Force as a career officer, and was a valued member of General John Hillary‘s staff. She worked in Hanscom Air Force Base along with Captain Steve Trevor. In a plot from the Greek god Ares, Steve Trevor was framed in the attempt of causing a third (and definitive) world war involving Themyscira. Etta was the only one among her colleagues who believed in Steve’s innocence, to the point that she decided to break him out of prison: luckily enough, there was somebody else aware of Ares’ machinations, his nemesis Wonder Woman, and the Amazon helped Etta free Steve. The three of them, now ettacandycomics2fugitives, went on the run, trying to expose Ares as well as avoiding the Army, still on their trails. During this adventure, Etta and Steve realized they actually loved each other, and they started a relationship. The alliance with Wonder Woman paid out, and Steve Trevor was eventually cleaned from all charges. Back to a regular life, she had time to develop her relation with Steve, and the two of them eventually got engaged… and this was when Etta’s weight problems resurfaced. Although she was not as fat as her previous incarnations were, she still had some pounds on her, and she was quite sensitive about it. Wanting to lose weight for her incoming marriage, she started a “diet” (more similar to a “fasting”, actually), and she managed to lost about 20 pounds… but at a dire cost for her health. Albeit she hid her problems from her friends, things eventually came out while she was out with Diana/Wonder Woman for buying her wedding dress: while trying a gown on, she simply fainted, consumed by her forced fasting. Diana had a long talk with her, and managed to convince her to come back to a proper diet, and Etta regained her original weight… but she also had gained a brand new self-confidence, and she could go to the altar with her beloved Steve Trevor without regrets. After the marriage, Trevor retired, and Etta took his place as a Captain in Hillary’s office. A whole new life was waiting for her, and she was finally ready for it.

Etta Candy, in each and every version, is a lively and strong-willed woman, who hides a deep insecurity deriving from her excessive weight. Being a military officer (ranked Lt. Colonel) and an A.R.G.U.S. operative, she’s a trained marksman and hand-to-hand combatant, but it’s quite rare for her to use violence, as she usually prefers working for the intelligence. Fiercely loyal to her friends, and to her beloved husband, Etta is a formidable ally and an unexpectedly fearsome adversary, a surely funny and sympathetic young woman, but with an iron-hard determination and an unbreakable bravery.