After a handful of major release date delays, Wonder Woman 1984 is finally here–and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home to watch it. It’s streaming on HBO Max for the price of a subscription.
Chances are, if you’ve already made time to watch, you’ve got a few questions about the ending and what it all might mean for the DCEU moving forward. Or, maybe you’re just a spoiler-hound looking for all the answers before you even sit down to see the movie through. We’re not here to judge you if that’s the case, but we will get into the ending here so, naturally, massive spoilers for WW84 from here on out. Consider yourself warned.
WW84 is all about that classic ’80s materialism gone horribly, magically awry with the aid of an artifact called the “dreamstone,” a magical crystal created by beings Diana calls gods–or, more specifically, a being called the “Duke of Deception,” who made the stone to–surprise!–deceive people. The stone caused the downfall of many civilizations with wishes gone sour and now it’s threatening to do the same to the entire world thanks to Max Lord, who wished to become the dreamstone himself.
Poor Max quickly gets in over his head as the physical need to grant more and more ill-fated wishes takes over his life, pivoting his relatively simple scheme to position his dead-in-the-water company, Black Gold Collective, as an oil superpower, into a full-blown global catastrophe. With mutually assured total destruction knocking at the doorstep of the planet, and Max needing more and more wishes to sustain himself, he turns to a top secret government satellite system that allows him to beam himself onto every TV on the planet, simultaneously. He pulls this off and begins his final push, demanding that every human who hasn’t already made a wish, wish for something–all while Diana, naturally, tries to stop him.
With her own wish, the resurrection of Steve Trevor, rescinded, she’s got the powers to fight–which is good, because Max has a bit of an ace up his sleeve. Diana’s former coworker Barbara Minerva made a wish to be just like Diana–powers and all–at the price of her own humanity. This cost became literal after Barbara teamed up with Max himself and she physically transformed into the “apex predator” she wanted to be–Cheetah. Barbara’s story took her from a mild mannered dweeb to a full on villain, even after Diana tried to reason with her about revoking her wish for the good of humanity, and that’s where we find her at the end. Fully transformed, Barbara is willing to go toe-to-toe with Diana to protect Max on his mission to grant the entire world’s wishes, even if it means destroying everything in the process.
Unfortunately for both of them, Barbara never acquiesces and is beaten into unconsciousness by Diana–she doesn’t the, of course, but she is left extremely worse for wear as Diana continues on to face Lord directly.
Now, fighting Lord is a tricky thing–he’s not actually that much of a physical threat himself, but with the power of the dreamstone and the world’s endless cascade of wishes being broadcast to him, he’s almost untouchable, meaning Diana has to take an alternative approach. Rather than simply knocking Lord out, she is sneakily able to hijack his broadcast and make an impassioned plea to the world: Everyone must recant their wishes in order for the consequences to stop compounding on one another.
It may seem like a very simple solution on paper–all anyone needs to do is to say that they revoke their wish out loud and the wish will be broken–but it proves to be much harder in practice. After all, even with their wishes hurting everyone around them, so many people have been given what they so desperately want, and they have to grapple with how much they’re willing to pay.
Thankfully, the looming threat of complete nuclear annihilation coupled with Diana’s speech is enough to make a strong case, and together, the planet–and Lord himself, finally seeing the error of his short-cut to power–turn their backs on their wishes, allowing things to return to (relative) normalcy. Nuclear warheads disappear, wars started by sudden land-grabs made by rulers end, everything that the dreamstone created to plunge the world further and further into chaos winds up vanishing or reverting back to the way it was.
Lord, too, revokes his own wish, which frees him from the dreamstone’s power and gives him a chance to actually reconnect with his son, who he had nearly abandoned in his crazed, wish-fueled state. Interestingly, we don’t see Lord actually face any real consequences for his actions and it’s not totally clear if any of his victims actually remember what he did or how–but, like Cheetah, he’s definitely still alive and potentially able to make a return for Wonder Woman 3.
And speaking of a potential Wonder Woman 3–we should talk about that stinger, which featured the reveal of none other than Asteria–the legendary Amazon that Diana explained as the original owner of the golden armor. Not only is Asteria alive, and in the world of men, she’s also played by original Wonder Woman actor, Lynda Carter.
Now, this could obviously just be a cute meta-comment about the Wonder Woman legacy, but it does pose some interesting questions and possibilities for the future. What has Asteria been doing this whole time? How has she remained hidden? Does anyone know she’s alive, and will Diana ever learn? We may never find out–but it’s certainly interesting to theorize.
While we’re on the subject of theories, we should also spend some time thinking about what any of this might mean for the future of the DCEU at large–though it will come as no surprise to hear that it’s hard to say for sure. Interestingly, in DC Comics lore, the dreamstone has connections to another, significantly more esoteric branch of the multiverse: Dream of the Endless, otherwise known as the Sandman. It seems somewhat unlikely, given the backstory invented for the movie about a “god” and another extremely minor character in the DC pantheon–the Duke of Deception–that the on-screen dreamstone is meant to play a role in slowly seeding the introduction to The Endless or the Sandman mythology into the DCEU, but it’s not something we should totally discount.
After all, there’s a live-action Sandman TV show headed to Netflix in the near future meaning characters like Dream, AKA Morpheus, are about to have their moment in the spotlight, and, given the fluid nature of continuity between DC’s many movies and TV shows with multiple incarnations of characters existing simultaneously, it doesn’t seem entirely off the table.
For the uninitiated, Dream and the Endless are esoteric, god-like beings who govern over human emotions and concepts like desire, death, and delirium. They haven’t always existed in the same corner of the DC multiverse as say, the Justice League, but they do intersect from time to time. The Endless are typically heroic allies, or at the very least true neutral forces in whatever cosmic goings-on are afoot, so if they are brought into the DCEU, it would make sense for them to be slowly built up in the background of movies with more pressing and obvious conflicts at first.
Another interesting possibility is the reference to the Duke of Deception–a name very offhandedly dropped during Diana’s explanation of the dreamstone–being a potential hint to more of Diana’s gods coming into play in the future. In the comics, the Duke is a favorite minion of Ares, who Diana already defeated back in the first Wonder Woman, but he’s also been known to work with Circe, another god Diana has tangled with on more than one occasion. If there is a third Wonder Woman movie in the works, Circe might be a good bet for the big bad.