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Why Fans Are Still Puzzled About The Wishes In Wonder Woman 1984

Contains spoilers for Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984 is finally out, and whether you saw it in theaters or on HBO Max, chances are good that you had plenty of questions after the credits rolled. It's only natural for some confusion to arise considering the film takes place several decades after the events of the original Wonder Woman movie. Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is still grieving loss of her beloved Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), and while working at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., she discovers a mystical artifact known as the Dreamstone, which features an inscription that suggests it grants wishes. Though she doesn't really believe it can do such a thing, Diana holds the Dreamstone and asks to reunite with Steve. As it turns out, the Dreamstone actually does have powers, and Steve comes back to life, albeit in another man's body

Other characters make wishes with the Dreamstone; Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) wishes to be just as confident and powerful as Diana, while Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) asks to become the Dreamstone itself. Once Max gains the ability to grant other people's wishes, the world descends into chaos as things naturally get out of hand when people have their basest desires fulfilled — and at a hefty cost, no less. 

Normally, when magic factors into a movie's plot, there are clear rules established so that both the characters in the film and viewers at home know what is and isn't possible. Based on a recent Reddit discussion concerning the superhero sequel, it appears as though many people thought WW84 didn't do a good enough job of defining the specifics of the Dreamstone's wish-granting capability. 

Why is Diana's wish granted in such a superficial way?

The majority of fans in the Reddit thread agree that the way in which the Dreamstone decides to grant wishes doesn't quite add up. The fact that Steve Trevor's soul had to inhabit the body of someone else in order for him to come back to life really seemed to ruffle the feathers of Redditor u/Robtimus_prime89, who commented, "They can magic up new nukes and a whole wall, but we have to use someone else to replace Steve — it seems [Diana's] wish was superficial, but everyone else got real things as a result."

It's established in the movie that the Dreamstone delivers unintended consequences to anyone who makes a wish — Diana loses some of her powers, Barbara loses her humanity, and Max loses his health. However, the latter two still end up with exactly what they wished for without that part being compromised at all. Diana suffers twice the consequences by becoming weaker and having Steve not really returned to her. It's never explained why Steve could only come back in someone else's body, and it's just one of the many puzzling details from the film that bothers DC fans. 

How does Maxwell Lord prioritize wishes when he's granting the world's desires?

After Maxwell Lord becomes the Dreamstone, he grants wishes to Emir Said Bin Abydos (Amr Waked) and the President of the United States (Stuart Milligan), but it's still not enough. He wants to grant as many wishes as possible, and learns of a satellite system that allows him to touch everyone in the world via particles. Once Max goes on TV, it's likely that millions of people make wishes simultaneously. Reddit user u/Robtimus_prime89 brings up another good point: Which wishes does the Dreamstone grant first when so many are being made at the exact same time? "When the whole world is wishing, what is the priority? Some would be wishing for more nukes, some would be wishing them away, or for normality," they wrote. "Lord doesn't seem [too] fussed about the [wishes'] content (other than his sons), but appears to mainly focus on the bad ones which would just result in everyone's death."

This comment touches on another issue Max would have with this wish-granting ability. If you have some people wishing for more nukes, then you'd also probably have others who'd wish for there to be no nuclear weapons on the planet. How would those two wishes co-exist? Is it merely a matter of whichever wish came most recently, and that's the one the Dreamstone grants first — and thus the world abides by? Wonder Woman 1984 leaves this matter unclear. 

Why doesn't Cheetah truly end up with all of Diana's powers?

When Barbara gets ahold of the Dreamstone, she wishes to be just like Diana; at the time, she doesn't realize she inadvertently wished to become like Wonder Woman. Over time, Barbara discovers she has super-strength and agility, and she ends up going toe-to-toe with Diana because she doesn't want to lose these newfound abilities. Max ends up giving her more powers, turning her into the villainous Cheetah

During their last fight, Wonder Woman ends up emerging victorious by connecting an electrical line to the water the two are in. The fact that Cheetah was electrocuted but Diana wasn't has confused some fans, but Redditor u/MandolinMagi offered a suitable explanation: "She's Zeus's daughter, electricity doesn't hurt her." However, that still doesn't explain everything. As u/Alright_Hamilton pointed out, "Since Cheetah wished to be just like [Diana], shouldn't she also be unaffected? Unless her second wish undid her first?"

Barbara having her second wish — to become an apex predator — cancel out the first would make sense to an extent. Since no one else in the movie gets a second wish, there's nothing else to really compare it to. It's possible Wonder Woman 3 could shine a light on some of these murkier details by diving more into the lore of these artifacts made by the gods, but for now, plenty of fans are still left bewildered.