Wonder Woman 1984: Could Maxwell Lord and Cheetah Return?

Movie fans are still processing a lot of things surrounding Wonder Woman 1984, after the DC epic premiered in theaters and on HBO Max over the weekend. Although the film has been met with a pretty wide-ranging response, it clearly has struck a chord with audiences, as Warner Bros. officially greenlit a third Wonder Woman movie on Sunday. Other than the fact that star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins will be returning to the project, there's still a lot surrounding the film that remains a mystery. But given the circumstances that Wonder Woman 1984 ended on, one question has popped up -- could we potentially see Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and Barbara Minerva/Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) return in some capacity? Spoilers for Wonder Woman 1984 below! Only look if you want to know!

As those who have seen the film know, much of it centers around a hunt for the Dreamstone, a magical artifact that manages to get into the hands of much of the film's main ensemble. While Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) unintentionally uses it to bring Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) back from the dead, both Barbara and Max use it in wildly different contexts. Barbara uses it to become more like Diana, and later to become a unique apex predator. Meanwhile, Max uses it to literally become the Dreamstone himself, granting him power and influence throughout the world.

This all culminates in a fight at a secret military broadcast base, which Max hopes to use to influence the entire world at once. Diana arrives and ultimately gets the upper hand on both Barbara - now in her Cheetah form - and on Max, convincing them both to renounce their wish. In the film's final moments, we see Max renouncing his wish so he can be with his young son, Alistair. Meanwhile, we don't actually see Barbara renounce her wish, but she is shown no longer in her final Cheetah form, looking out at the horizon.

Both of these endings are left ambiguous enough to set up a return -- but there's the question of exactly how that could happen, especially given the gap of time between Wonder Woman 1984 and the main present-day DCEU. If we're going off of the real-life ages of Pascal and Wiig, both Max and Barbara would be in their forties during the events of WW84, which would make them in their 70s or 80s in the present day. Of course, Wonder Woman 3 could hypothetically lampshade that problem, and argue that Max or Barbara also age slower thanks to their brief stints with superpowers. And there certainly are contexts that both characters could narratively return in, whether with Max helping finance the Justice League or work with ARGUS as he does in the comics, or with Barbara getting a Cheetah-themed rematch against Diana.

With Jenkins hinting that Cheetah's story might continue in Wonder Woman 3, there definitely could be a plan to bring either - or both - of WW84's villains back for more. Fans will just have to wait and see exactly what that would entail.

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Wonder Woman 1984 is currently available both in theaters and on HBO Max.