If you've experienced the neon delights of Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters or on HBO Max, you might be wondering about that ending and midcredits scene. Let's dive into the ninth movie in the DC Extended Universe and hopefully answer your burning questions.
For those who've yet to watch director Patty Jenkins' movie, beware of SPOILERS ahead.
Read more: Watch Wonder Woman 1984 today with HBO Max -- and don't skip the end credits
The monkey's paw
Excellent suit-wearing baddy Max Lord (Pedro Pascal) has absorbed the power of the Dreamstone, giving him the ability to grant people's wishes and fulfill his own desires in return. However, the Dreamstone is a monkey's paw -- it's creating chaos as Lord gives people what they want.
Lord's body also starts to fail due to the stone's power, but he drains people's lifeforce to keep himself healthy. So it's clearly a bad situation that's only going to escalate, but he's too self-absorbed and power-mad to see it.
Read more: Wonder Woman 1984 review: Gal Gadot's return is a wild, neon-injected thrill ride
Since they're the good guys, Diana and the resurrected Steve Trevor (Gal Gadot and Chris Pine) figure out that the stone was created by the God of Treachery and Mischief (who sounds a lot like Marvel's Loki), and it takes people's most treasured possession as it grants their wishes. Steve was restored -- his soul inhabiting some guy's body -- by the stone after Diana wished to have him back, but it's draining her demigod powers in exchange.
However, Diana's buddy Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) also made a wish, to become powerful and stylish like her friend. So she's got a sweet '80s wardrobe, newfound balance and superhuman strength: the most dangerous combo of all.
Giving it all up, or not
Diana and Steve realize that the only way to undo the stone's chaos is to renounce their wishes, and he convinces her to let him go so her power will be restored. At least they could go on a big '80s adventure together, and Diana could move on emotionally.
But Barbara isn't about to give up her strength or dress sense to get her empathy back, and she allies herself with Lord. Neither of them realize he's leading the world to apocalypse, because it's a superhero movie and the stakes have to be this high.
Read more: Wonder Woman 3 in the works after WW84 makes its HBO Max debut
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Escalation in the '80s
Meeting with the US president, Lord finds out he can communicate with everyone on the planet using a super secret satellite broadcast system, so he can grant all their wishes and gain absolute power in return. (Presumably he'd have just done a YouTube livestream or Facebook Live if he'd hatched this scheme in 2020.)
Since this is the era of the Cold War, the unintended consequence of Lord's wish-fest is bringing the US and Russia to nuclear war.
Diana dons the bling golden armor of legendary Amazonian warrior Asteria, then uses her newfound ability to fly to reach the broadcast system. She fights Barbara, who wished to become an "apex predator" and transformed into a cheetah person. I don't think people become cheetahs if they get really strong, but that's what happened to her character in the comics and we must pay homage to the source material.
It turns out that Diana is still the apex predator anyway, and she takes Barbara down hard.
The world is falling apart as the globally broadcasting Lord grants everyone's wishes, so Diana uses her Lasso of Truth to communicate with everyone through him. She convinces everyone to accept reality and renounce their wishes, averting nuclear disaster and basically making everyone chill out.
Lord also sees his son wandering alone in the chaos and realizes he's been a bad dad, so he renounces his own wishes and nopes right out of there to reunite with the young lad. Barbara also renounces her wish, and turns back to normal.
In the aftermath, we jump to Diana wandering around a festive market -- setting this movie up as a future holiday favorite -- and running to the guy whose body Steve took over.
In a busy city market, a mysterious woman effortlessly saves a child from a falling post. The kid's grateful mom asks the woman her name, to which she replies "Asteria" -- portrayed by Lynda Carter, who played Diana the '70s Wonder Woman show.
"I've been doing this for a long time," she tells the mom, before winking and walking away.
What does it mean?
Earlier in the movie, we learned that, in the distant past, Asteria stayed behind to distract the attacking men so her fellow Amazonians could reach Themyscira. Diana searched for her prior to this movie's events, but could only find her golden armor -- it seems she's been quietly superhero-ing all this time.
It might just be a fun cameo for the OG live action Wonder Woman, or it might be setting Carter up for a bigger role in the third Wonder Woman movie. It'd certainly be cool to see Gadot and Carter come face to face, and learn more about what Asteria has been up to all this time.
- Did Lord face any consequences for his actions? It seems like the magical nature of the wishes made the whole situation fade from people's minds like a dream, so the US and Russia may have forgotten how close they came to destroying each other.
- Who remembers what? It seems likely Diana and Lord remember everything that happened since they were right at the center of the events caused by the Dreamstone and kept their agency, but everyone else seemed they were under the stone's influence and in a trance-like state.
- What happened to Barbara? Did she go back to her job at the museum after her furry form faded? Has her memory of style, balance and super-strength faded?
- Was the Dreamstone destroyed? It turns to dust when Lord absorbs its power, but we don't see it re-forming after he rejects its power.
- When did Diana get her golden armor? This was likely edited out to save time, but one minute she's discovering her flying power and the next she's armored up and arriving at the broadcast station. It feels odd that she'd go back to her Washington DC apartment in between, even though she looks super cool in fancy gear.
Since magic plays a huge role in all of this, it's easy to use that to explain everything away. It's magic, don't worry about it.