Ending Explained is a recurring series in which we explore the finales, secrets, and themes of interesting movies and shows, both new and old. This time, we head back into the DC Extended Universe to discuss the Wonder Woman 1984 ending and post-credits sequence.
Set sixty-six years after the previous movie, Wonder Woman 1984 follows the Amazonian superhero Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) as she traverses the neon streets of the 1980s. She is still very much pining for Steve Trevor, (Chris Pine), who died in the previous film in a gallant attempt to save the world, so when her Smithsonian co-worker Barbara (Kristen Wiig) brings the mysterious Dreamstone to the museum, and it seems to grant wishes, Diana cannot help but think of having her late lover back.
From there, things become inevitably bleak. The Dreamstone, which does indeed grant wishes, albeit with a catch, falls into the wrong hands – those of the power-hungry oilman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), who becomes one with the object and focuses it on his own fortune. Events spiral out of control when he allows the world’s most powerful leaders to compete against one another, and a Cold War conflict between the US and the USSR ultimately leads to the whole planet being on the brink of nuclear annihilation. Only Max has the choice to stop it.
Meanwhile, Diana has her lover back. But, because she used the evil Dreamstone to resurrect him, the side effect is that her powers become weaker and weaker as long as Steve is still in her life. She is tasked with the ultimate dilemma: keep Steve around (even if he’s now possessing some other guy’s body), or save the world from total wreckage. Of course, she chooses the latter – but it isn’t easy. She has already said goodbye to Steve once, and a second time is expectedly even harder.
Wonder Woman 1984’s final showdown manifests as an unholy trinity of Diana, Barbara, and Max. Barbara, who was introduced in the film as nerdy and invisible but wished to be more like Diana while holding the Dreamstone, thereby gaining superhuman strength, becomes power-hungry. When Diana tells her that she needs to renounce her wish — as does everyone else, in order to save the world — Barbara is not happy. She has only just learned what it’s like to not be a nobody. Why would she give it up now?
But, surprisingly, it isn’t Barbara who saves the day with a change of conscience. Diana dons a suit of golden armor and heads to the spot where Max is broadcasting his evils from a powerful satellite. After attempting, and almost succeeding, to kick his ass, Diana stands before him and tells him to renounce his wish – it’s the right thing to do, she explains. If he doesn’t, an unfathomable amount of people will die. He asks her why he would follow her suggestion when he has all that he could ever wish for.
Then, he hears the voice of his son, Alistair, wishing for him to come home. Max realizes that he does have some human feelings after all, and calls the whole thing off to save his kid. Once he does this, everyone else renounces their wishes – including Barbara, who has evolved into a half-woman, half-animal Cheetah-like creature who proves to be a near physical match for Diana. Along with Diana, she learns the tough lesson that sometimes you have to sacrifice what’s important to you for the greater good. The film ultimately ends on a note that we all need in 2020: love trumps hate, and people will ultimately decide to do the right thing.
Wait, did you think that was the end? If so, you’ve never seen a comic book movie before.
Hardcore fans – I’m talking about the old school Wonder Woman buffs – are sure to be excited to see the return of Lynda Carter, who portrayed the character in the 1970s TV series. In the Wonder Woman 1984 mid-credits sequence, Carter introduces herself as Asteria, the Amazonian character whose golden suit Diana had worn during the movie’s climax. Earlier in the film, we learned a little bit about Asteria. She was an ancient Amazonian warrior who helped her people escape from imprisonment – all while wearing that epic gold suit, which was created from a bunch of different Amazon suits.
Asteria appears to be integrating herself into the modern world, just like Diana. Does this mean she could be a prominent part of the next sequel? Maybe? Please? It could be that DC is setting up another Wonder Woman film where Diana and Asteria kick some major ass together. Or, maybe we’ll just get to see Diana in another, more modern, but, of course, equally crazy and high-stakes situation. Either way, it doesn’t look like the Wonder Woman franchise is ending anytime soon. And we’re perfectly fine with that.