WW84 is now available on HBO Max, but did you catch every little detail as you streamed?
Wonder Woman 1984 has finally arrived and, as anyone may have guessed, brought with it plenty of Easter Eggs and references both to DC Comics history and the real-life history of the 1980s. And while the wait may have been agonizing for Wonder Woman fans, the timing couldn’t be better.
In our we singled out the much-needed feel good message of the film. “Wonder Woman 1984 features some cheesy-looking CGI effects and some even cheesier messages. But it’s also an improvement on the original in some key ways–where the first movie concluded with Wonder Woman literally punching the anthropomorphized concept of War in the face, WW84’s climactic showdown is much more nuanced. The message–that every individual person on the planet has a shared responsibility for the common good–gets slightly muddled in the end, but it’s also the exact one we need right now. And Wonder Woman 1984 is the exact film you’ll want to sit down and watch with family, friends, and loved ones this holiday–even if you’re doing so over Zoom.”
So whether you’re settling in for a holiday viewing party with some long distance family and friends, or you’re spending the day solo and looking for some good old fashioned escapism, here are all the little details in WW84 you may have missed. Naturally, plenty of spoilers to follow so proceed with caution.
Diana’s history has been framed with old black-and-white photos from her debut in Batman v Superman, and we get plenty of callbacks here, including plenty of old war photos.
Diana’s best friend, Etta, naturally passed away at some point between World War I and 1984, but Diana still memorializes her with a photo of Etta as an old woman. It’s definitely very sad but at least we know Etta had a long life.
Steve may not have survived WWI but his legacy lives on in a photo of Diana at “Trevor Ranch,” which we can assume was owned by his family. The ranch is an invention of the DCEU and never existed in the comics.
Diana still has Steve’s watch, her one physical reminder of him after his death that we saw back in the first movie.
Diana’s Smithsonian job
Believe it or not, Diana really did work at the Smisthonian in the comics–sort of. The name “Smithsonian” was never formally used, but Diana held a position at the Gateway City Museum in the mid ’90s using her Diana Prince civilian alter-ego.
Max’s son Alister doesn’t exist in DC Comics but he does create an interesting parallel to Max Lord’s comic book origins. As a child, Max was raised by his father who had an obsession with setting a good and righteous example for his child, but ultimately couldn’t stand up under the weight of his own expectations and standards when he learned his company was manufacturing a lethal chemical that was costing people their lives. Max’s father eventually committed suicide, leaving Max all but orphaned–a fate that Alister thankfully escapes.
Max’s investor Simon Stagg is a character from DC history, and the CEO of Stagg Enterprises. In the comics, Simon is typically seen as a villain against some lesser known heroes like Metamorpho, but has been known to crop up whenever shady business dealings are a necessity.
Max Lord’s story and identity have been largely reinvented for the movie but there are still thematic nods to his comic book past. Originally introduced as part of the late ’80s reboot of the Justice League, Justice League International, Max Lord was at first just a kind-hearted and philanthropic financier for the League. It was later revealed that he was in fact a ruthless puppet being controlled by one of the New Gods (or, later, a psychotic computer program thanks to a retcon) in a bid for world domination.
This doesn’t actually pan out in the movie, but Max’s duplicitous nature and secret motives are definitely a major part of his story regardless.
The dreamstone is a real thing that has existed in DC Comics since the ’60s. It’s typically linked to either Dream of the Endless or a supervillain known as Doctor Destiny.
Diana uses a spell to cloak the jet she and Steve steal with invisibility, giving us a fun new version of her iconic invisible jet.
The imaginary country of Bialya was invented for the same Justice League reboot that gave us Maxwell Lord in the late ’80s. It has since become a go-to location for DC characters similar to any of the invented cities in America.
Duke of Deception
The name “Duke of Deception” gets tossed out rather casually during Diana’s explanation of the dreamstone’s origins, but it actually points to a character who exists in DC Comics history. The Duke is a relatively minor villain who has historically worked with evil gods like Ares and Circe against Diana and her teammates. He has nothing to do with Max Lord in the books, but we’ll give them the reference anyway.
Alright, you’ll need to bear with us on this one. In the comics, one of Max Lord’s biggest storylines involves him hijacking a satellite-based supercomputer (turned sentient and evil) called Brother Eye. Brother Eye was actually originally created by Batman–think a similar situation to Ultron and Hank Pym (or Tony and Bruce in the MCU).
Now, Lord was eventually caught by Diana who, with use of her lasso, learned that the only way to stop Lord’s insane scheme was to kill him. She wound up snapping his neck–which was just as brutal as it sounded–but this turned out to be part of a greater and more hidden scheme where the sentient Brother Eye was able to tape and broadcast Diana murdering Lord (in what, to outsiders, looked like cold blood) to everyone on the planet, effectively turning the world on Diana in an instant.
Obviously that’s not what happens here in WW84, but the bones of the story are still the same–Diana and Lord have a final showdown in what amounts to a Brother Eye-style broadcast room connected to every person on Earth where, instead of beaming out an image of Diana ruthlessly beating Lord to a pulp, she’s able to connect with everyone and ask them to recant their wishes.
The legendary Amazon Asteria doesn’t exist in DC Comics but in the movie, she’s a very meta reference to Wonder Woman history. In the post-credits stinger, we see that Asteria is not only alive in the world of men, but she’s actually Lynda Carter who famously played Diana in the live action Wonder Woman TV show.
Adagio in D Minor
The song playing while Diana heads toward her final confrontation with Lord might sound familiar–it’s the Adagio in D Minor, first heard in the movie Sunshine but since used in movies, TV shows, and even commercials.
In the movie the golden armor was an Amazonian heirloom, but it actually comes directly from the comics, where it was tailor made for Diana by fellow Amazon Pallas. It was first seen in the Elseworlds story Kingdom Come in the ’90s but eventually crossed over to main DC continuity as well.
Barbara’s transformation into Cheetah has had a lot of versions in the comics, and the movie borrows loosely from several of them. Her massive inferiority complex belongs to the first incarnation of the villain, Priscilla Rich, but her job and archeological leanings come directly from Barbara’s own comic book origins. However, in the comics becoming a cat person had nothing to do with the dreamstone or Max Lord and instead involved a curse (by an ancient plant god–no, really) that not only made her a were-cat, but also gave her an insatiable craving for human flesh. Just trust us on this one, it was a whole situation–the version you get on screen is much more streamlined.