- "Welcome to the future. Life is good, but it can be better. And why shouldn't it be? Everything we've ever dreamed about is right at our fingertips. But are you reaping the rewards? Do you... have it all?"
- ―Max Lord[src]
Maxwell "Max" Lord, real name Maxwell Lorenzano, was an opportunistic television personality, oil tycoon, and former enemy of Diana Prince. He was the controller of the Dreamstone and planned to use it as a means to his own ends.
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Maxwell Lorenzano grew up in a poor household with a violent father. Induced by his father's aggressive behavior he developed as an anxious child and was prone to bed-wetting. At school, Max was frequently the subject of taunts and bullying for his comparative poverty to the other students who made fun of his tatty clothes, worn-out shoes, and small amount of food for lunch. Despite this, Max applied himself and eventually graduated high school.
Due to the death of his parents and being poor, Max was forced to enter the workforce immediately after his high school graduation. He could not afford to enroll in the university, although he certainly was qualified. These experiences imbued Max with a deep motivation to achieve financial success in life.
He started his own business, Black Gold Cooperative, initially as a one-man operation and changed his name to Maxwell Lord. Gradually, Max convinced financiers, most prominently Simon Stagg from Stagg Industries to invest in his company which tasked itself with oil exploration in areas that other companies had ignored.
Max did get married at one point in his life, and the marriage produced a son named Alistair. The marriage did not take root, however, and the couple separated. The separation was done on somewhat amicable terms. Max and his ex-wife share custody of their only son.
Rising to power
- "Life is good, but it can be better."
- ―Max Lord[src]
Throughout the 1980s, Max used his media commercials and infomercials to achieve popularity, crediting himself as the person who can make the greatest wishes of every person on Earth come true. Max eventually developed an acute persuasiveness and became known for maintaining a steady influence over people, thus increasing his commercials and his media.
Search of the Dreamstone
Black Gold Cooperative continued to portray an outward appearance of success, but it had actually started becoming financially unviable due to a lack of any oil discoveries. Eventually, his chief investor Simon Stagg became aware of the facts. In a confrontation with Max, Stagg labeled his company a Ponzi scheme. Running out of legitimate options to salvage the company, Max continued his search for the legendary Dreamstone, an artifact that contained the potential power to rectify his situation.
Meeting Barbara Minerva
He became a patron of several charitable causes including a donor to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Within the museum's Hall of Geology, there was at least one exhibit featuring a crystal from Lord's own collection, a fact that was advertised on the exhibit.
As a result of his donations in 1984, he was invited for a tour of the museum and to observe its activities. The facilitator of his tour was Doctor Barbara Minerva. Max and Minerva bond over his tour, during the course of which, he notices the Dreamstone artifact, an item which he had been searching for some time. During the same tour, Max also encountered the Amazon known as Diana Prince.
Max feigned interest in Minerva to gain control of the Dreamstone by tricking her into giving it to him under the guise that he could "help her in her research.” Max then wishes to become the embodiment of the stone itself, granting him its wish-granting powers but at the price of draining his lifeforce with every wish he grants. Lord utilizes the power to trick people into wishing for something so he can take what he desires in return to amass wealth, fame and fortune but also leaves chaos in his path and was unable to spend as much time with his son.
Lord's health rapidly deteriorates with every wish he grants, but despite this, Lord utilizes its power to gain access to the President who he tricks into making a wish, in exchange for his respect, influence and power so that he can gain access to a global broadcasting network project that the US has secretly been developing so he may grant wishes to the entire world. Lord rehabilitates his health by absorbing his wishers lifeforce but as a result of his global broadcast, people's wishes begin to cause instability across the globe.
Barbara, who has joined forces with Lord, is transformed into Cheetah when Maxwell gifts her the rage and prowess he took from people making wishes. Diana eventually defeats Cheetah and confronts Lord who has now become too powerful to stop.
Using her Lasso of Truth, Diana communicates to the world via Lord and convinces them to renounce their wishes while she shows him a vision of his son wandering the streets as chaos ensues from his fulfillment of everyone's desires. Lord, seeing the chaos and destruction he's caused and unwilling to sacrifice his son whom he neglected for years, renounces his wish and returns to reunite with his son.
- "I've never been much for rules, the answer has always been more."
- ―Max Lord[src]
Max Lord is famous for being an extremely charming, charismatic, and powerful individual as well as a powerful motivational-esque speaker with addition to being highly manipulative and cunning in order to obtain what he seeks, using his vast manipulations and his influence over people to influence them into believing him and his words.
Using his wealth and his media influence, Max has become and remained highly influential and manipulative over Diana Prince and Barbara Ann Minnerva. Having obtained the Dreamstone, he has shown his power towards Barbara and Prince as one. He has gained himself a powerful position and influential reputation across the wide public, even over Diana as an Amazonian.
Despite his many claims over his "benefits" for humanity and calling himself The King of Infomercials, Max is secretly an extremely greedy, ambitious, and selfish individual. He has earned a reputation for philanthropy, as seen by the special treatment the Smithsonian gave to him in honor of his past support, but it seems that is not so much of a desire to give back to the community or help the less fortunate as it is more a way to buy respect from the public at large. Beneath his good, caring, and influential facáde is a insecure and egotistical man obsessed with gaining success, power, and recognition.
His use of the Dreamstone exaggerated these traits into ruthlessness and insanity until Diana managed to get through to him by showing the extent of the damage he caused and the danger he put his son in. After this revelation, Max came to terms with his innermost fears of being seen as a failure and realized his son was more important than his own desires.
Powers and abilities
- "Your wish is granted."
- ―Max Lord[src]
- Dreamstone empowerment: When Max wished to become the embodiment of the Dreamstone he gained its powers to grant wishes but this came at the price of draining his lifeforce from every wish he granted. Max possessed the power to grant the wish made by any person and in exchange could take anything he wanted from them but with every wish he granted his health began to rapidly deteriorate. Max used his ability to take what he wanted from the wisher by draining their lifeforce to restore his health. However, Maxwell cannot take what a wisher does not have, like how he couldn't take the Emir's oil because he had already sold it.
- Wish granting: After Max wished to become the embodiment of the Dreamstone, it gave him the power to grant wishes and take whatever he desired in return. Max utilised this power to amass wealth, influence, power and fortune by deceiving people into wishing for something so he could take whatever he chose from them in return but as a result of granting a wish, Max's lifeforce was drained from him. With every wish Max granted, this left chaos and destruction as a result of what the user had wished for (due to the Dreamstone following the Monkey's Paw rule) and caused instability across the globe.
- Vitality absorption: As a side effect of his wish granting abilities, Max began to physically deteriorate. Max then balanced this by draining the some of the lifeforce of his wishers to regenerate his physical damages.
- Vitality gifting: Not only could Max take what he wanted from people by granting their wishes, he could gift what he took to others. This is how he triggered Barbara's transformation into Cheetah, by taking the wisher's rage and fighting prowess, gifting it all to Barbara.
- Expert tactician: Max was a very capable tactician and carefully planned his rise to power by tricking Barbara into giving him the Dreamstone. Max was able to plan his rise to fame and fortune by tricking powerful and influential figures into wishing for something so he could take whatever he wanted from them in return to amass his own power and influence.
- Master manipulator: Max was a skilled manipulator and capable of tricking Barbara into giving him the Dreamstone, Max was also able to deceive people into wishing for something so he could take what he wanted from them even being able to secure power and influence across the globe.
- Businessman: Max was a persuasive businessman and was able to convince prominent investors including Simon Stagg to invest in his company. Max used his status to donate to certain charities including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in order to gain control over the Dreamstone artifact which he had been searching for for some time.
- Multilingual: Max is able to speak multiple different languages, such as English and his native Spanish.
- Dreamstone: After taking the powers of the Dreamstone into himself, any wish made by a person he touches (one wish per person) will be granted. Max can use this to his own advantage, manipulating those around him into wishing for his own benefit.
- In DC Comics, Maxwell Lord IV is a wealthy businessman and entrepreneur who was responsible for putting together Justice League International. While Max started as a well-meaning heroic character, he eventually became a villain in later stories and later a supervillain who developed the power to control minds. He eventually betrayed Justice League International and killed Ted Kord and attempted to kill all metahumans. During his time as a supervillain, Max had decidedly used the aliases, Black King and Lord Havok. Max was eventually killed by Wonder Woman.
- In the comics, Maxwell Lord has the power of telepathy, and he was given an entirely new power in the DCEU.
- Max Lord's phone number is (202) 023-5671.
- While it seems likely, it is unknown if Max was held accountable for his crimes.
- Maxwell Lord was planned to be the main villain in the cancelled George Miller film Justice League: Mortal.
Behind the scenes
- Director Patty Jenkins has described Max Lord as a charismatic businessman and the "King of Infomercials" with the potential to be dangerous and scary.
- Pedro Pascal's portrayal was inspired by Gene Hackman's portrayal of Lex Luthor in 1978's Superman starring the late Christopher Reeve.
- Dacio Caballero was a stunt double for Pedro Pascal in the role of Maxwell Lord.
- Johns, Geoff, Callaham, Dave (writers) & Jenkins, Patty (writer and director) (December 25, 2020). Wonder Woman 1984.
- Obropta, Anna and Simonson, Louise. Wonder Woman 1984 #1. "Museum Madness," DC Comics, 2020.
- "Breaking down the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer: Cheetah, Steve Trevor, and mall madness" - Entertainment Weekly