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The Wonder Woman 1984 Trailer Explained

Slip on those Gauntlets of Submission and get ready to tussle — the first trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 is finally here. 

Hype was high at CCXP, Brazil's preeminent comic con, on Sunday, November 8 in anticipation for the trailer's worldwide premiere there. Attendees received light-up bracelets that synced to the event, and Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot and Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins took the stage to instruct them to summon the trailer footage by crossing their arms like Wonder Woman and shouting "maravilhosa" (marvelous in Portuguese) to make their bracelets turn gold. Their collective powers worked, and the trailer they manifested had a whole lot to give.

As anyone would expect of a superhero film, there's tons of action in the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer: flipping Jeeps, helicopters shooting missiles, Gadot's Diana Prince flying through the air using the Lasso of Truth to swing between lightning strikes. However, the heart of the trailer is love, wants, and wishes — and how desperate we can be to achieve them. One character, Maxwell Lord, welcomes us to "the future" in the year 1984, but it's not so much a hopeful statement as it is a temptation. "Life is good, but it can be better, and why shouldn't it be?" he says. "All you need is to want it." That wanting will put Diana in a difficult — perhaps even impossible — position in Wonder Woman 1984; sometimes, getting the thing you want most has terrible consequences. 

With that in mind, let's take a look at what this feast of a trailer gave us after so many months of so much build-up and so few answers. 

A new time period and setting in Wonder Woman 1984

In the modern-era scenes of 2017's Wonder Woman, the Amazonian goddess Diana of Themyscira gives an extended monologue about her place in the world and what she's choosing to do to protect it going forward — all while working for The Louvre museum in Paris as a curator of antiquities under her alternate identity, Diana Prince, and having her Wonder Woman costume at the ready when her super-skills are needed. The original Wonder Woman saw the emergence of Diana as Wonder Woman, while Justice League, the second movie in which Gal Gadot played the character, saw her joining forces with other superheroes to save the world from impending doom. 

Wonder Woman 1984 is set at an interesting time in Diana Prince's on-screen history: 33 years before Justice League, which was set in the then-present day of 2017, and 66 years after the original Wonder Woman, which took place across various European countries in the year 1918. As the title tells us, the sequel takes Diana's story to 1984, when she's living in America. 

In the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer, framed pictures on Diana's mantle imply that she's moved overseas to connect with members of Steve Trevor's (Chris Pine) family — hoping to, in what small ways she can, remember the man she loved who seemingly died at the end of the first Wonder Woman film. There's a photograph of Diana dressed in a flannel shirt, standing in front of a sign that says "Trevor Ranch," and another frame with a newspaper clipping about Steve being a local hero who's been honored for sacrificing his life during World War I. Was Diana's presumed contact with Steve's family overt or covert? Did she keep in touch with her other friends like Etta (Lucy Davis), or Charlie (Ewen Bremner), or Chief Napi (Eugene Brave Rock)? By the '80s, all these people would likely be long dead. But Steve Trevor — well, he's a different story.

What's going on with Chris Pine's Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman 1984?

Yes, Chris Pine really is back as Steve Trevor. He's not dead, and, to quote director Patty Jenkins, he's "not a gimmick" – he's here to really hang out in a future he couldn't possibly imagine, decked out in windbreakers and fanny packs. The trailer dances around exactly how Steve comes back from the presumed dead, but the footage does give a lot of credence to the Wonder Woman 1984 rumors reported over the last few months that there exists a supernaturally powered artifact that brings Steve to the current timeline. 

Though Pine has previously admitted he doesn't get a whole lot of action sequences in Wonder Woman 1984, he seems to be a huge part of the narrative overall considering he spends a ton of time with Diana in the trailer. They're shown embracing in a heartfelt reunion, going to an outdoor art gallery in a park, taking a romantic fighter jet flight through a fireworks display, and going to other countries together. It's sweet and fulfilling to see Diana and Steve realize the romance they didn't quite get to in Wonder Woman, but all of it is inherently tinged with a sense of doom because we know Steve didn't appear in Justice League and Diana was mocked by that film's antagonist over his death. Whatever happens, let's hope Diana gets the longer goodbye she deserves if Steve must disappear into the ether of time once more.

Who is Kristen Wiig's character in Wonder Woman 1984?

As the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer shows, Diana seems to still be working within the world of art and antiquities, and she becomes acquainted with an archaeologist named Barbara Ann Minerva. Kristen Wiig portrays Barbara, who, over the course of the film, will take on the superpowered mantle of Cheetah

The Wonder Woman 1984 trailer didn't provide any shots of Barbara post-Cheetah transformation, and instead focused on presenting her as a new friend to Diana. At the start of the footage, the two women are seen chatting at a table, talking about whether they've been in love. Barbara, who says she's in love "all the time," has a magnificent, punkish '80s energy to her — she wears studded animal print leather jackets, has big frizzy hair, and rocks round nerdy glasses. As an archeologist, she and Diana have a very natural path to meeting through a shared career industry, and are seen attending what appears to be the same slick parties with dignitaries in what we assume to be Washington D.C., where most major antiquities for the United States are kept in the Smithsonian.

Their early conversation implies that Diana is in a confessing mood (she admits to Barbara that she was in love a "long, long time ago"), and hints that Barbara is more than comfortable getting close to Diana. In the DC comics, Barbara actually knows about Diana's superheroic identity, so that may well end up playing out in Wonder Woman 1984

In the DC comics, Cheetah is a major antagonist against Diana, so the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer presenting them as new friends sets the stage for a tragedy. Gal Gadot also might've let something slip at CCXP when she mentioned in passing that Diana wants to save some of the antagonists she confronts in the film. Rumors have been floating around for a while that Barbara will become Cheetah as a result of slick businessman Maxwell Lord (more on him in a bit) granting her wish (by unknown means) to be like Wonder Woman, whom she admires more than anyone else. According to the rumors, Barbara's new powers will frighten Maxwell, who reaches out to Diana (as Wonder Woman, presumably) for protection from Cheetah. Speculation also has it that Maxwell's bargain for these services is using a mystical artifact in his possession to bring Steve Trevor back to Diana — the greatest wish to grant of all. If this is true, Cheetah and Wonder Woman are headed for a collision of circumstance, and it would indeed be in Diana's nature to pity the afflicted and want to help her.

Who is Pedro Pascal's character in Wonder Woman 1984?

Circling back to Maxwell Lord, he's the central villain of Wonder Woman 1984, and The Mandalorian actor Pedro Pascal portrays him

Maxwell Lord in the DC Comics canon is a CEO of some scientific mega-corporation a lá Lex Luthor, but Maxwell Lord in Wonder Woman 1984 is "the king of infomercials," presented as a continued nod to the particular gods we served during that decade. His ultimate desire and the plan to achieve it isn't explicitly stated in the trailer (though it includes an intriguing cut of Pascal with his arms raised in rapture in the middle of some kind of... spinning portal?). Still, one of his many ominous lines in the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer is "think about finally having everything you always wanted," which is no doubt a reflection of his own ulterior motive. Like every evil salesman, Maxwell is a manipulator par excellence, and will utilize this skill to get exactly what he wants at any cost. 

The trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 also features him alone in his palatial office, covetously holding what appears to be an ancient crystal. With Diana and Barbara both in the business of antiquities, the thread connecting them to Maxwell seems clear, but the context is still very fuzzy.

A sick new set of armor for Diana in Wonder Woman 1984

One of the best treats in the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer was saved for last: a brand-new, flashy suit of golden armor with wings. 

After watching Diana go toe-to-toe with an actual, capital-g God in 2017's Wonder Woman without needing heavy armor, we can only wonder just what she's getting up to in Wonder Woman 1984 to need something so resplendent. Comics refer to the shiny get-up as her Golden Eagle armor, but they don't provide a whole lot of clues or a special enemy it was used for. Historically speaking, Diana simply needs it for conflicts in which she needs to be a soldier (and look badass), as opposed to the champion of love she prefers to be. 

That considered, there's a possibility that the armor could be used in Wonder Woman 1984 in a remix of a comic plot from 2016 entitled Wonder Woman: Rebirth. In it, Wonder Woman has a final confrontation with Cheetah, but rather than showing up to kill her, Wonder Womna takes a brutal onslaught from her former friend. Ultimately, she embraces Cheetah with love and peace for two reasons: Cheetah is a villain created by the abuses of others and isn't inherently evil; and Diana always wants to rehabilitate rather than kill. A suit of armor would fit the bill for that excellently, and make for a nice reversal of the trope that heroes only need armor for ruthless fights to the death. 

Patty Jenkins' conceptual vision for Wonder Woman 1984

Just before releasing the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer at CCXP, director Patty Jenkins took some general fan-submitted questions during the intro panel. While answering, Jenkins went into some detail about the vision she had for Wonder Woman 1984 – most specifically about the 1984 part. It made the most sense to her to set the film in that specific year to introduce Diana into the modern era, because it's "sort of the height of Western civilization and the success of the world that we all live in the aftermath of now." Evidently, Wonder Woman 1984 isn't to be soaked in the '80s as the kind of nostalgia-fest we all watch Stranger Things for, but perhaps something much darker: classic greed-is-good themes, the implacable demands of consumerism, and possibly even its wars — if those desertous landscapes featured in several action sequences in the trailer turn out to be Afghanistan, which suffered a major Cold-War era proxy war between Soviet Russia and the United States throughout the '80s. 

Jenkins is interested in this time period as a historical tipping point of the world, featuring a villain who looks an awful lot like a particular icon of the 1980s we know today as a major political figure. (No metaphors at all there, nope.) However, at CCXP, Jenkins also referred to Wonder Woman as a hero of the future, and that she believes in her and the values she represents. There may be cultural condemnation on deck, but not without its benevolent saviors to keep the movie from being too grim. 

Fans can find out how well Jenkins struck that balance — and have their undoubtedly many questions answered — when Wonder Woman 1984 opens in theaters on June 5, 2020.