'Wonder Woman 1984' Spoilers: Ending, Mid-Credits Scene Explained

American DC Cinematic Universe film fans got a Christmas present on Friday in the form of the HBO Max streaming debut of Wonder Woman 1984, the sequel to 2017's Wonder Woman.

Key moments in the new film provide callbacks to the history of the series, while the unlikely return of a character from the previous film happens thanks to a plot device that dominates the story. A short sequence playing during the film's end credits provides a nostalgic moment for fans of the franchise's more distant past.

The plot of Wonder Woman 1984 centers on a magical artifact known as the Dreamstone, which is able to grant the wishes of those who touch it while causing something undesirable to happen in return. After the stone is brought to her attention by a new co-worker, Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince, unwittingly uses the artifact to bring back Chris Pine's character Steve Trevor, who died in the first film. The resurrection, achieved by Trevor possessing another man's body, causes Prince's superpowers to weaken and Trevor eventually convinces her to restore order by renouncing her wish.

The movie's main antagonist, Pedro Pascal's power-hungry businessman Maxwell Lord, uses the stone to essentially take on all of its powers, before quickly going on to dominate the world with numerous negative consequences. Prince's coworker Barbara, played by Kristen Wiig, uses the stone to become more powerful and transforms into the beastly Cheetah by the end of the film.

Wonder Woman 1984 Spoilers
A "Wonder Woman" backdrop is seen at the Comic Con Experience convention, or CCXP, in Sao Paulo, Brazil on December 6, 2019. Alexandre Schneider/Getty

The climatic ending sequence features Wonder Woman facing off against Cheetah and defeating her, before moving onto Lord, who has plunged the world into chaos while using new type of satellite system to grant further wishes throughout the world. The protagonist uses her Lasso of Truth to convince many around the world to renounce their wishes, while a vision of Lord's son in peril amid the disarray finally convinces him to renounce his wish and pull the planet back from the brink of destruction.

With order restored, the last few minutes of the movie see Prince strolling outside during winter, along a busy street filled with people and Christmas decorations. She then has what seems like a chance meeting with the man whose body Trevor had possessed. The final moments show Wonder Woman flying through the clouds before the credits roll.

Although the first Wonder Woman film did not have a bonus scene in the credits, the sequel features one that harkens back to the past of the Wonder Woman franchise with a notable cameo. A dark-haired woman is seen walking through an outdoor market when a large wooden pole suddenly begins to fall.

The woman blocks the pole from hitting a child, whose mother then tries to thank her for the good deed. The mysterious woman turns around and is revealed to be Lynda Carter, who starred as Diana Prince in the 1970s Wonder Woman television series.

Carter introduces herself as "Asteria." She tells the mother "I've been doing this a long time" and then winks to the camera before walking away. Prince mentioned Asteria earlier in the film, explaining that she was a legendary Amazon warrior thought to be dead. Towards the end of the movie, when Prince faces off against Cheetah, she is wearing Asteria's golden winged armor. It is not clear whether Carter will appear as Asteria in a further sequel, but the cameo seems to raise the possibility.

In mid-November, Warner Bros. announced that Wonder Woman 1984 would debut on HBO Max on Christmas, the same day as a limited theatrical release due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Weeks later the studio announced that their entire roster of films for 2021, including hotly anticipated titles like Dune and The Matrix 4, would follow the same pattern by debuting on the streaming service on the same day as in theaters and remaining available to stream for one month.