Perhaps the return of Barbara Minerva will allow audiences to learn more about her backstory and motivations, and see her as a more complete character — particularly since some critics have argued that Barbara is underdeveloped in Wonder Woman 1984. Vox‘s Alex Abad-Santos, in an article arguing regarding how the film “failed Cheetah,” writes that, “We never learn much about who Barbara is, anyway, beyond that she’s nerdy, lonely, and would trade everything in the world to be stylish, popular, and admired. But this surface-level adaptation is a waste of a character who, in the comic books, is Wonder Woman’s complicated, fascinating arch-enemy.”
Perhaps Wonder Woman 3 will let Cheetah become Wonder Woman’s true foil, rather than a secondary threat. Or perhaps Barbara will realize that they’re stronger together, and the foes will become allies.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that Cheetah will return for Wonder Woman 3. Jenkins did say that there “may or may not be more to come” — especially since the third installment will have to address Wonder Woman 1984‘s post-credits scene, which hints that Diana’s forebear Asteria (Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman on the 1970s TV show) will presumably play an important part in the third movie. Based on that, it’s possible that there may not be room for Cheetah. But since it seems unlikely that Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) would return for the third movie — he needs to stay dead for his second death to have any impact — it’s also true that his absence could free up some room for more Cheetah.
In any case, if the third movie is as long as the second, there will be plenty of screen time to go around.