Originally written by Nicholas Raymond for Screen Rant
Pedro Pascal will bring Justice League villain Maxwell Lord to the big screen for the first time ever in Wonder Woman 1984, but who is he, exactly? As a human businessman with no obvious ties to Wonder Woman's world of gods, goddesses, and Amazons, fans may be curious to know how the character fits into the upcoming sequel.
In Wonder Woman, Diana (Gal Gadot) faced off against her biggest villain from the comics, Ares (David Thewlis). Wonder Woman defeated the God of War, but their victory came at a cost. The man she loved, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) was killed, but somehow the character will be back in the sequel, which will move the setting from World War I to the 1980s.
Officially titled Wonder Woman 1984, the film will see Wonder Woman go up against another prominent member of Diana's rogues' gallery, Cheetah. In the movie, Cheetah will be played by Kristin Wiig. Cheetah is expected to be the main antagonist, but she won't be alone. She'll be joined by Pedro Pascal's Maxwell Lord.
MAXWELL LORD'S ORIGIN IN DC COMICS
Maxwell Lord IV made his DC Comics debut in the pages of Justice League #1 in 1987. Lord was the son of a wealthy, benevolent businessman whose death Lord blamed on his father's business associates. This caused Lord to develop a cynical attitude and a belief that power is the most important thing in the world. Lord believes that people need to be controlled, and to Lord, this philosophy applies to superheroes more than anyone else. Lord has always felt that heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman, with all their abilities, can pose a great threat to the world if gone unchecked.
In his earliest stories, Maxwell Lord used his money and clout to bring the Justice League together. He wanted them to become his pawns so that he could use them to take over the world, but Lord wasn't actually in complete control of his faculties at the time. While Lord was manipulating the Justice League, Lord himself was being manipulated by an advanced alien computer called Kilg%re. Eventually, Lord broke free of its control and destroyed it.
Lord later came back as a full-fledged villain, since now he was able to act of his own free will. No longer a slave to Kilg%re, Lord continued to be an enemy of the Justice League, using his resources, power, and metahuman abilities to turn the superheroes of the world against each other. Lord had Superman under his telepathic control, until Lord was killed by Wonder Woman with the whole world watching on television. Lord's actions devastated the superhero community and drove a wedge between Wonder Woman and the other heroes. Lord has since returned, and his manipulative nature has continued to make him a major villain of the Justice League.
MAXWELL LORD'S POWERS IN DC COMICS
Originally, Maxwell Lord had no powers. Similar to non-powered villains like Lex Luthor, his political influence, ingenuity, and money were his biggest assets when it came to opposing the Justice League, but this changed when the Invasion crossover turned Lord into a metahuman. Along with many other humans, Lord gained powers when a bomb activated by aliens triggered their latent metahuman genes. Maxwell Lord's new power was telepathic mind control. Usually, it works in the form of a subconscious suggestion that he places in the mind of his intended target, but if Lord puts enough effort into it, he can assume direct control of his victim. However, going this far takes a significant toll on Lord's health. Sometimes nosebleeds are side-effects of the strain his mind control ability puts on his mind.
The potency of this ability is demonstrated by the wide of range of people that Lord can manipulate. Lord's ability extends beyond humans to include alien beings much more powerful than him, like Superman. In the DC Comics relaunch, DC Rebirth, Lord's ability was dialed back by a retcon. Now, Lord can only mentally manipulate people by getting them to act on their own subconscious desires.
PEDRO PASCAL PLAYS MAXWELL LORD IN WONDER WOMAN 2
It was reported back in March 2018 that Pedro Pascal had been cast in a key role in the Wonder Woman sequel. Pascal played the role of Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones and was a series regular in Narcos. Pascal also portrayed the main villain of The Equalizer 2, opposite Denzel Washington. For a while, fans had been speculating that Pascal would play Maxwell Lord in Wonder Woman 1984, and this theory was confirmed when director Patty Jenkins made the announcement on Twitter by tagging Pedro Pascal with a picture of Maxwell Lord.
While this is Maxwell Lord's first time on the big screen, it's his third live-action appearance. In season 9 of Smallville, Lord (Gil Bellows) was a villainous metahuman who could telepathically read the memories of others. Maxwell Lord also appeared in Supergirl as a recurring character in season 1. For most of the season, Lord acted as an antagonist, but eventually grew into the role of an ally.
MAXWELL LORD'S ROLE IN WONDER WOMAN 2
A photo of a sharp-dressed Pedro Pascal in character as Maxwell Lord was released at the end of July in 2018. This photo alone confirms that Wonder Woman 1984 will be embracing Maxwell Lord's background as a rich businessman. How he fits into the story isn't clear, but it's been rumored that Maxwell Lord will resurrect Steve Trevor as a part of a deal he makes with Wonder Woman. According to the rumor, Lord is a god in disguise, rather than a metahuman.
Regardless of how Wonder Woman 1984 works in his origin, Maxwell Lord certainly feels like the kind of character who could be the movie's real main villain. Wonder Woman is expected to clash with Cheetah in the film, but a twist could reveal that Lord is the one pulling the strings, which matches up well with what is known of Lord in the comics. Lord, like his comic book counterpart, could push Wonder Woman to the edge and serve as a test to her values.