'Wonder Woman 1984' Cast & Characters Explained: A Handy Guide to Who's Who in the DC Sequel
From the heroes to the villains, here are the key players in 'WW84'.
Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 hits theaters and HBO Max today, and so far, the reviews are buzzy. It appears to be the hopeful, uplifting story we need right now. Seriously, inject that into our veins immediately. The hopeful message doesn’t mean there aren’t some brand-new baddies, however. Let’s break down the key characters in Diana’s ‘80s-drenched sequel.
Diana/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)
No Wonder Woman movie breakdown would be right if it didn’t start with the warrior princess herself. Our gal wonder has been out there saving the day since 1941 and our Gal wonder since 2016. Most people are familiar with the beats of her origin story by now: Diana is born the daughter of Greek gods Zeus and Hippolyta and raised by her aunts on Themyscira, a magical, hidden island of Amazon women. Bestowed with incredible godlike gifts like super strength, flight, near-invulnerability, superhuman speed, semi-immortality, and a mastery of combat and military tactics, Diana takes it upon herself to become a protector of Earth. She also has some bitchin’ awesome equipment, including her Golden Lasso of Truth, bullet-deflecting gauntlets, her sword, God Killer, and an invisible jet.
For decades, Lynda Carter was the definitive live-action Wonder Woman, but for an entirely new generation, that crown now goes to Gal Gadot. The beautiful thing about Jenkins’ handling of the character and Gadot’s portrayal is that they’ve played up Diana’s deeply compassionate nature. In a sea of superhero movies that focus mostly on the fights and emotional burden of it all, Wonder Woman is a breath of fresh air with her joy and her empathy for others. Yes. This. More of this, please.
Steve Trevor (Chris Pine)
“Wait,” you’re probably asking, “didn’t that guy, uh, die in the first Wonder Woman?” You are absolutely correct: Indeed, he did! But he’s back for the sequel. Don’t ask me how, because I'm not spoiling one of the movie's biggest surprises. For now, let's call it comic book logic! Just roll with it. He’s back and we get to see him in a fanny pack. That’s all we need to know.
Steven Rockwell Trevor has been the longtime friend, ally, and love interest of Diana, making his first appearance in the same comic as her in 1941. As with many comic book characters, his origin has been retconned once or twice, but the first movie (mostly) stuck with his current story: He’s an American spy working for British intelligence who crashes and gets stranded on Themyscira during WWI (in the comics it’s WWII). He and Diana form a connection in which the gender roles are often reversed, with her saving him instead of the other way around. Chris Pine played this to perfection in the first movie, as well as injecting some needed humor to balance everything out. I’m looking forward to seeing this unproblematic king on screen again; I don’t care how he gets there.
Barbara Minerva/Cheetah (Kristen Wiig)
Okay, now we get to the baddies. First is Cheetah, who has been the archenemy of Wonder Woman since 1943. As one of Diana’s most iconic enemies, the Cheetah title has been held by a few characters over the years, but I’m sticking with the current comic book Cheetah, Barbara Minerva, just like the movie.
In the comics, Minerva is a wealthy archaeologist and you’d think that’d be enough to thrive, but no. Instead, she’s deeply neurotic and insecure, and in the comics, the kind of woman who hates other, more confident women for sport. She gets bestowed with the powers of an ancient cheetah goddess and can actively take the form of a cheetah-human hybrid. In her Cheetah form, she has strength, speed, and agility beyond even the most powerful big cats, as well as the superhuman hearing, night vision, and stealth of a hunting cat. And, oh yeah, giant claws and fangs. Still, her most dangerous weapon is her rage-fueled jealousy. I can’t say I don’t have some concerns about the Cats-level of questionable CGI happening with the character but Kristen Wiig will knock the performance out of the park.
Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal)
In every fictional superhero universe, there has to be at least a few billionaire businessmen who are power-hungry and evil. Comic books – they’re just like real life! Enter Maxwell Lord, who was born with zero powers other than being a rich trust-fund kid. Interestingly, when he took over the company after his father’s death, Lord originally intended to do good with it. At one time in the comic lore, he even reestablished the Justice League…but it was revealed he really just wanted to control them in order to establish world dominance, as comic book villains do.
Later, he was retconned to have the powerful metahuman ability of telepathy since birth. Lord can plant suggestions and influence people to act on their own subconscious desires, though at one point he was strong enough to Winter Soldier a person completely and fully take over their mind. It appears as though Pedro Pascal’s version in Wonder Woman 1984 will be closer to the first version of his powers with Lord able to strongly influence, but not outright take over a person.
Antiope (Robin Wright)
Antiope is Diana’s aunt and known as General Antiope, the battle-hardened warrior and head of the Amazon army. If you want to know who to thank for training Wonder Woman into the formidable and near-unbeatable fighter she is today, it’s Antiope. This is slightly different than her depiction in the comics, but that’s okay. While Diana’s mother, Hippolyta, is hesitant to allow Diana to train like the other Amazons, it’s Antiope who talks sense into Hippolyta and convinces her to let Diana train. Antiope pushes her niece harder, faster, and longer than the other Amazons, knowing one day she’d have to face the God of War, Ares, who is, as you may have guessed, a bit of a dick.
In the first movie, Antiope died while leaping in front of a bullet meant for Diana – in fact, it’s her tiara that Diana wears as Wonder Woman. Robin Wright is back for the sequel, however, but no spoilers, so you'll have to watch the movie to learn if she’s for real real back and alive again or if her scenes are flashback scenes. Whatever the case, more scenes of a fierce Antiope slinging around her excellent archery skills is never a bad thing.
Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen)
Hippolyta – that’s Queen Hippolyta, to you – is Diana’s mother and ruler of the Amazons. The exact details of the movie differ from the comics, but the beats of her story are the same. While Antiope is the one who trains Diana in the ways of war, Hippolyta is the one who trains Diana in the ways of wisdom, handing down the knowledge of the gods and their history to her daughter and instilling in her a sense of compassion. Like all mothers, she just wants to protect her daughter but eventually relents and allows Diana to train, knowing it’s the right thing to do.
Hippolyta survives the battle in the first movie and is there when Diana chooses to leave Themyscira for the world of men in order to hunt down Ares. Though it breaks Hippolyta’s heart and she disagrees with Diana’s decision, she still tells her daughter that Diana is her greatest love before gifting her with Antiope’s tiara. Still, she kept the fact that is Diana herself, not the sword, who was the real God Killer, leaving Diana stunned when Ares drops that particular truth bomb on her in Act III. So we can probably expect there’s some unfinished business there. Parents lying to their kids about their real identities their entire lives always tends to go so well in movies, after all.
With Wonder Woman 1984 being set in 1984 and embracing all things ‘80s, it’s a fun world to play in. It will be really interesting to see how Patty Jenkins adapts the new characters from the comic book pages to the decade of neon, shoulder pads and hair bands. We’ll find out when it hits theaters and HBO Max on Christmas Day.