How Can 'Wonder Woman 1984' Bring Back Steve Trevor?

Chris Pine's character is back after his fate in the first movie, and there's plenty of comic book history to back up that development.
@PattyJenks/Twitter
Chris Pine as Steve Trevor in 'Wonder Woman 1984'

Director Patty Jenkins on Wednesday morning announced through her Twitter account that Chris Pine would be returning as Steve Trevor for her Wonder Woman sequel, which is set for release in November 2019. Along with this news came Jenkins’ confirmation that the sequel is indeed titled Wonder Woman 1984. The first official stills from the film’s production, which began Wednesday, were also released by Jenkins and Gal Gadot on their respective Twitter accounts.

The news of Trevor’s return immediately sent fans into the realm of speculation — tinged with both excitement and trepidation, as is the natural course of all things concerning comic book movies. Trevor, Wonder Woman’s love interest, died at the climax of 2017's Wonder Woman after aiding Diana Prince in saving the world. His death has served as a major emotional and narrative point for Wonder Woman in the DC Extended Universe thus far, but it would appear that audiences only know part of that story.

The emotional threads of Diana’s loss of her first love were explored in both Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017), serving as the central reason why she hid herself away from the world and feared being "a beacon" in the same way Superman was. But Wonder Woman 1984 seems to be backtracking on Wonder Woman’s confession to Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) at the end of Batman v. Superman that she walked away from man’s world for a hundred years. The previous implication was that she was absent from her role as Amazonian protector and warrior from the end of World War I to her present-day reappearance during Batman and Superman’s battle against Doomsday. But Wonder Woman 1984, which will see her face off against the Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) during the Cold War, may expose a few secrets that Diana has kept hidden from Batman and prove that even the World’s Greatest Detective doesn’t know everything.

A high point in Wonder Woman was the chemistry between Gadot and Pine. While Trevor never stood in the way of Wonder Woman’s agency and heroism, he was given enough of an arc to not only make him a plausible love interest but a memorable character in his own right. His death highlighted the cost of mankind’s war and the seriousness of the film’s approach to life and death. The possible regression on these points has left some fans concerned about his seeming resurrection. While Trevor could be a spectral vision, his '80s clothing suggests that he will in fact be corporeal and forced to adjust to a world that has moved on without him. While his return may seem like a strange and unexpected move, the resurrection of Trevor actually has its roots in the comics that offer far stranger and more unexpected explanations.

Given the shifting nature of DC comics’ continuity, timeline, and multiverses, there have been several Steve Trevors over the years. The first time he died was at the hands of Doctor Cyber in Wonder Woman No. 180 (1969). His death occurred immediately after Diana had decided to give up her powers and marry him — which led to her unpopular mod years. It would be years until Trevor returned, and when he did, in Wonder Woman No. 233 (1977), it was with brown hair and a new name — Steve Howard. Seemingly resurrected, the character’s new life was brief, as he was killed in Wonder Woman No. 248 (1978) and revealed to have never been the resurrected Steve Trevor at all. Instead, Howard was revealed to be the god Eros. If these developments weren’t already confusing enough, not to mention the toll it placed on Wonder Woman’s emotions, the story of Trevor only got stranger from there. A Steve Trevor from another world crashed on Paradise Island in Wonder Woman No. 270 (1980). Ultimately, the goddess of love Aphrodite wiped his mind and implanted his body with the memories of the original Trevor housed within her son Eros in Wonder Woman No. 322 (1984). As creepy as this sounds, this was meant to be a gesture of love. The year of publication of that issue, 1984, may hint at a similar, though much less convoluted, reason behind Trevor’s return in Wonder Woman 1984.

While it would be nice to see Diana rekindle her romance with Trevor, her state in the DCEU films later along in the timeline and his notable absence suggest that happily-ever-after may not be in their future. It’s possible that the Steve Trevor appearing in Wonder Woman 1984 is not the original, but a disguise for a darker presence. A similar twist took place in Wonder Woman No. 289 (1982), when Wonder Woman’s frequent nemesis, Doctor Psycho, created a powerful body out of ectoplasm that looked like Trevor and fought Diana as Captain Wonder. With Pedro Pascal’s role in the sequel yet to be revealed, could it be that he will be tormenting Diana alongside the Cheetah as Doctor Pyscho, fake Steve Trevor in tow?

While it's unlikely we'll get any answers about Steve Trevor’s return until Wonder Woman 1984 is in theaters, it is good to know that Pine still has a role in the franchise going forward. Whether he is used as evidence of the DCEU's multiverse, a trick played by the gods, the work of one of Wonder Woman’s rouges or simply the ace WWI pilot in his natural state, Trevor’s return is sure to open up new possibilities for the DCEU. Jenkins has proven herself a smart filmmaker who knows what is best for the emotional arcs of her characters. While there are those already doubting the film's emotional follow-through, Wonder Woman 1984 has a wealth of inspiration to draw from and a filmmaker at the helm whose vision we should know simply to trust in.

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