Pedro Pascal's Maxwell Lord: 5 Things You Need To Know About The Wonder Woman Villain

Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord in a poster for Wonder Woman 1984

When it comes to wealthy, megalomaniacal comic book supervillains, it is perfectly natural to first think of Superman’s arch nemesis Lex Luthor, especially if you have have never heard of Maxwell Lord before. The nefarious businessman will soon make the transition from the pages of DC Comics onto the big screen for the first time, portrayed by Pedro Pascal, when he faces off against Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman in her upcoming sequel, Wonder Woman 1984.

While the villain, born Maxwell Lord IV, has made appearances in other forms of media before (including the animated series Justice League Unlimited, Season 9 of Smallville, and on Supergirl), he will be making his official feature debut in Wonder Woman 1984. The character was originally born three years after the setting of the movie, precisely in 1987, when the creation of Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMateis, and Kevin Maguire first appeared in the comics as a good-hearted yuppie whose mentoring by metahumans following his father’s tragic suicide inspired him to expand the Justice League to international quarters. That was until his more sinister intentions were revealed... but more on that soon.

Indeed, I intend to elaborate on that alarming piece of information and even more essential facts about just who this tyrannical tycoon is before you see Pedro Pascal bring him to life (hopefully) on October 2. Here are the five most intriguing bits of trivia about Wonder Woman 1984 villain Maxwell Lord.

Maxwell Lord with Justice League International

Maxwell Lord Manipulated Heroes Into Forming Justice League International

As we had previously mentioned in the introduction, Maxwell Lord was instrumental in reforming the then-broken post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Justice League into a stronger team able to ensure global protection. However, this actually turned out to be part of a world domination plot conceived by a computer called Metron (which was later revealed to have been possessed by Kilg%re, an A.I. enemy of The Flash) using Lord as its mortal pawn.

Of course, after the Infinite Crisis arc (which will be mentioned again soon), the story would be altered again to suggest that Maxwell Lord had originally planned to take over the Justice League out of his own prejudices toward superpowered heroes. Regardless of all the retconning, thought, the point is that the guy was never worth trusting in the first place, even after he became a metahuman himself.

Maxwell Lord telepathically hacking Brainiac with Task Force XI

An Alien Gene Bomb Explosion Gave Maxwell Lord Telepathic Powers

Control has always been a top priority in Maxwell Lord’s personal goals, and all it took was the detonation of an extraterrestrial Gene Bomb during the Invasion! storyline in 1989 for him to gain the ultimate means of assuming it. The explosion unlocked dormant superpowers within a small amount of Earthlings, including Lord, who became a modest telepath.

Sometime after that, however, the evil sorcerer Dreamslayer took over Maxwell Lord’s comatose body, enhancing his powers to control thousands of minds at once – eventually erasing almost the entire world’s memory of him in the Justice League: Generation Lost series. This plot point also eventually fell prey to comic book retconning when Maxwell Lord was reimagined as being born with telepathic abilities in the DC Rebirth timeline (a.k.a. the most recent canon).

The true cybernetic identity of Maxwell Lord

Maxwell Lord Was Saved From Death By Being Turned Into A Cyborg

Not long after it was discovered that he has brain tumor, Maxwell Lord eventually succumbed to his disease... or so it seemed. It was later revealed that in his final days alive, Kilg%re had actually been patiently waiting for just the right time to activate a cybernetic organism with a copy of the wealthy man’s consciousness downloaded into it.

As eventually revealed in the 80-page prequel Countdown to Infinite Crisis, Maxwell Lord was later able to emerge from his robot body and back into human form, but ob;y after he secretly acquired information on all the Justice League members’ greatest weaknesses. This led into writer Geoff Johns’ continuation of Crisis on Infinite Earths, an event that was told through seven main issues between 2005 and 2006, that also saw what is, arguably, the most important and, especially, shocking encounter between Lord and Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman snaps Maxwell Lord's neck

Wonder Woman Was Driven To Kill Maxwell Lord

One of the most devastating moves administered by Maxwell Lord during the events of Infinite Crisis storyline is when he takes control of Superman’s mind. This coerces him into attacking two of his most trusted allies and friends: Batman (believing that he is the cybernetic alien enemy Brainiac) and Wonder Woman (whom he thought was Doomsday, the Kryptonian beast that had already sealed his doom once before).

Having just barely escaped the wrath of the brainwashed Man of Steel, Wonder Woman captures Maxwell Lord with her Lasso of Truth, demanding he tell her how to free Kal-El from his telepathic command, to which he reveals that killing him is the only way. The Amazonian princess concedes by snapping his neck, which turns out be exactly what Lord had hoped she we do. The murder is filmed and broadcast globally, tarnishing Wonder Woman’s reputation as a superhero and her friendship with Superman and Batman, proving that his manipulative efforts can remain intact beyond the grave.

Wonder Woman fights a reanimated Maxwell Lord

Maxwell Lord’s Corpse Was Reanimated As A Black Lantern

Speaking of beyond the grave, and in keeping with comic book tradition, Maxwell Lord’s demise would prove to be only temporary. In Blackest Night, a later 2000s crossover event led by the Green Lantern Hal Jordan, surviving DC heroes face off against an army of corpses reanimated by something called the Black Light Entity. Among these zombified beings is Lord, one of 12 individuals brought back to life as wielders of the Black Lantern rings.

Fortunately, Maxwell Lord’s resurrection proved to be only temporary and undone in a most epic way by someone who could not have deserved the honor more: Wonder Woman. Having been recently deputized as a Star Sapphire, Diana manages to trap Lord inside a violet colored crystal right before smashing to shards. However, that death (technically Lord’s third by that point) would not last long either as the following Brightest Day arc saw the White Light Entity bring Lord back before brainwashing original Green Lantern Guy Gardner into letting him roam free.

What do you think? Does all this newfound (or even refreshed) information on Maxwell Lord have you even more excited to see how Pedro Pascal pulls him off in Wonder Woman 1984? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check back for additional information and updates on the anticipated DC blockbuster sequel, as well as even more in-depths looks at the origins of your favorite comic book characters, here on CinemaBlend.

Jason Wiese
Content Writer

Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.