Wonder Woman has a lot of enemies to conquer in her first solo film, Wonder Woman. In the movie, the superhero comes face to face with three major villains, including Dr. Poison, a seriously unnerving chemist working with the Germans in WWI. Park of what makes Dr. Poison so menacing is her face, half covered by a mask on the left side. What happened to Dr. Poison's face to cause her to have this mask is unknown, but it hints at a tortured backstory that could help explain her motivations in Wonder Woman, as well as drop hints about what might happen to her in the future.
Audiences might not know the reason behind Dr. Poison's mask, but history has helped provide some context. The villain's mask appears to be made out of some kind of ceramic and is painted to look as if it were a part of her actual face. Such masks were common in the early 20th Century, specifically during WWI when Wonder Woman takes place. The masks, also referred to as facial prosthetics, were commonly used on soldiers who had been disfigured in the war. It stands to reason that Dr. Poison suffered a severe injury in her past that left her slightly disfigured, though no such incident is ever described in the actual film.
In Wonder Woman, Dr. Poison (real name Dr. Maru) is obsessed with creating a chemical weapon that could penetrate gas masks and win the war for the Germans. She is enchanted by destruction and is rarely seen outside of her lab. As we know, chemical weapons and gas warfare contributed greatly to the casualties of WWI, and Dr. Poison's love of gas fits perfectly with the time period. Given her obsession with developing chemical weapons, it's possible that she hurt herself while testing one of her chemicals. Perhaps she made a mistake in the lab, and a chemical burned her face or severely disfigured her, forcing her to wear this mask.
Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins described Dr. Poison as someone "who has had all kinds of damage in her life" in an interview with ScreenRant. It's also possible that what happened to her face relates to a greater backstory. Maybe she suffered disfigurement at the hands of Americans or other Allies, which motivated her to defeat them using her chemical weapons in the war. We might never know what really happened to Dr. Poison, but — spoiler alert — we might get to find out. Dr. Poison survived the end of Wonder Woman, which leaves the door open for her return should we get a sequel. Maybe we'll get to learn more about the chilling villain in future installments. Otherwise, fans will just have to be content with Dr. Poison's mysterious past.