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The Movie Characters Who Inspired Wonder Woman 1984's Maxwell Lord

It's hard to watch any movie made or set in the 1980s without coming across a villainous self-serving yuppie character. This archetype is basically the '80s personified, and with the recent release of Wonder Woman 1984, audiences are introduced to another wheeler-dealer type, one who was inspired by notable movie characters with egos just as large as his.

Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), who first debuted in 1987's Justice League #1, was written as a manipulative businessman who developed a mistrust of superheroes and used his talents for deception for his own personal advantage. In Wonder Woman 1984, Lord similarly cons the public and a down-on-her-luck Barbara Ann Minerva (Kristen Wiig) into thinking he's a big shot. In reality, Lord's company, Black Gold Cooperative, is collapsing, revealing its proprietor for the charismatic fraud that he is.

So who actually inspired the film version of Maxwell Lord? Despite rumors of Lord being inspired by the smoke-and-mirrors personality of Donald Trump, the film's star Gal Gadot confirmed the writers had fictional characters in mind.

Gordon Gekko embodied wealth and greed in the 1980s

In an interview with Variety, Gadot confirmed that the film's writers, Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, and Dave Callaham, were not trying to mimic Trump, but instead were aiming for the fictional ruthless investor Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) from the 1987 film Wall Street.

Gekko, though fictitious, was the perfect illustration of 1980s indulgence and wealth. From his slicked-back hair, to his power suits, to him uttering one of the most iconic lines promoting gluttony in film, "Greed is good," Gekko embodied wealth and self-interest in every way, ultimately leading to his downfall.

Though Jenkins did not intend for Lord to match Trump's personality, she told Glamour in a recent interview that there was definitely "Trump, Madoff, and Gordon Gekko" in the character. What separates Lord is that he isn't truly that kind of guy at his core. "If Lord was Trump, the story would have ended a lot differently. I couldn't have told the story about Trump," Jenkins said.

Gene Hackman's portrayal of Lex Luthor in Superman helped inspire Maxwell Lord

Jenkins also admitted in a tweet that both Richard Donner's 1978 Superman film and Sam Raimi's 2002 Spiderman film inspired her in making Wonder Woman 1984. She said, according to Luiz Fernando of Total Film, that Gene Hackman's portrayal of Lex Luthor in the original Superman film influenced her writing of Lord.

Hackman famously did not don the more fearsome Lex Luthor skinhead look, and instead played a more humorous, sleazy version of the villain — one who tried to conceal his trademark baldness under various wigs. In an interview with Entertainment WeeklyPascal said one of his main inspirations for the role was Hackman's version of Luthor. "My North star of actors is Gene Hackman and his Lex Luthor," Pascal said. "I wouldn't even dare put him into the same sentence with myself."   

Jenkins added that both Gekko and Luthor are characters who have the "potential to be dangerous & scary," but are not inherently frightening on the surface, much like Lord who can easily charm, but whose greed and arrogance nearly destroy the world.