The Wonder Woman Villain 1984 Considered Using Instead Of Pedro Pascal's Maxwell Lord

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During the events of Wonder Woman 1984, Diana Prince’s trouble stems from one object: the Dreamstone, an artifact that grants any wish made in its presence, but at a cost. Without the Dreamstone, Maxwell Lord doesn’t wreak havoc on the world and Barbara Minerva doesn’t turn into The Cheetah. But early into the Wonder Woman sequel’s development, there was talk about featuring the Dreamstone’s creator, the Duke of Deception, as the main antagonist.

The Duke of Deception has been part of the Wonder Woman mythos since 1942, and he mainly causes trouble in the DC universe by casting realistic illusions. However, in the Wonder Woman 1984 home media featurette The Making of Wonder Woman 1984: Expanding The Wonder, co-writer Geoff Johns noted that they decided not to include the Duke in the sequel because of his ties to a more famous Wonder Woman villain. In his words:

We had toyed around early on about using the Duke of Deception, but it felt like we had already done a god in the first one with the God of War. And we didn’t want to be repetitive with another god.

In his earliest comic book appearances, the Duke of Deception was primarily affiliated with Ares (a.k.a. Mars), the Olympian God of War, although by the time the Silver Age of Comics unfolded, he operated more as a solo threat. Still, with Gal Gadot’s Diana having faced off against David Thewlis’ Ares in the first Wonder Woman movie, it was decided that having the Duke of Deception be Wonder Woman 1984’s villain would have been covering too much familiar territory. Besides, at this point, characters like Cheetah and Maxwell Lord are more famous members of Wonder Woman’s rogues gallery, so it makes sense to bring them in for a sequel rather than some more obscure.

Instead, the Duke of Deception was simply named as the god who created the Dreamstone in the DC Extended Universe, with his other names including Dolos, Mendacius and Dechalafrea Ero. According to Diana, the Duke was a deity who delighted in manipulating humanity with its greed, so much so that he destroyed several civilizations over the ages. It’s unclear if the Duke was still alive during Wonder Woman 1984, but it didn’t matter because his Dreamstone was enough of a problem, especially once Maxwell Lord wished to absorb its power.

Luckily, just like in 1918, Diana emerged victorious over this threat, and while it involved her having to say goodbye to Steve Trevor again, she seemed to be in a better mental place than at the start of Wonder Woman 1984. The next time we see Gal Gadot’s character will be in the present day, following the events of Justice League. Wonder Woman 3 was officially greenlit towards the end of December 2020, with Gal Gadot obviously reprising the lead role and Patty Jenkins directing again. There’s also an Amazons spinoff in the works that will be linked to events between Wonder Woman 1984 and Wonder Woman 3.

While we wait for more news about the next Wonder Woman movie, you can read CinemaBlend’s review of Wonder Woman 1984 or purchase the sequel for yourself on Blu-ray, DVD or Digital HD. Our upcoming DC movies guide is also available for you to catch up one what other corners of the DCEU hold in store.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.