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Chris Pine is in talks to play Steve Trevor in Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman, news that likely warms the cockles of the hearts of longterm Wonder Woman fans and those who wish Pine would settle down with another successful franchise so he can be onscreen in between Star Trek movies. But, for everyone else, there’s one question that’s probably on their lips: Who is Steve Trevor?
Historically Wonder Woman’s main squeeze, Trevor first appeared in 1941’s All-Star Comics No. 8 as one of the motivating factors in the creation of Wonder Woman; a U.S. Army officer whose plane was forced to crash-land on Paradise Island, home of the Amazons, he was nursed back to health by Diana, who fell in love with him and followed him back to civilization when he returned to America. It was there that she decided to use the skills that she learned as an Amazon to fight crime as Wonder Woman, while simultaneously pursuing Trevor both as Wonder Woman and in her secret identity as Diana Prince, office secretary. No, really.
Trevor’s position in early Wonder Woman stories was an odd one; in many respects, he fulfilled the role of female love interests in male heroes’ strips in that he’d find himself in peril and require the titular hero of the strip to save the day while also being amazingly oblivious about the hero’s secret identity. At the same time, as a man, he was given an unusual amount of agency over Wonder Woman’s love life that, say, Lois Lane or any of Batman’s love interests never enjoyed. Wonder Woman pined after Trevor arguably more than he cared for her, and he was the one with the final say over whether or not they’d get married, employing an impressive number of tricks to get out of promises to wed when necessary.
Despite this — or, perhaps, because of it — Trevor became increasingly peripheral to the Wonder Woman series as time went on. He even died twice (in 1968 and 1978, respectively), before a continuity reboot in 1986 rewrote Wonder Woman’s origin to remove Trevor’s involvement altogether, undoing his visit to Paradise Island and instead giving that role to a previously nonexistent wife, Diana Trevor, who would serve as the inspiration for Wonder Woman’s name. Instead of being a love interest, this second incarnation of Trevor would act as a father figure when the character visited the U.S.
When DC Entertainment rewrote its superhero history again with 2011’s The New 52 relaunch, Trevor’s original position in Wonder Woman mythology was restored — with a twist. It was once again Trevor’s plane crash-landing that led Wonder Woman to leave Paradise Island, but Trevor was no longer the hero’s love interest; instead, they were exes, having had a relationship at some time in the past that ended… well, apparently awkwardly, in that Wonder Woman had moved on, but Trevor was having trouble doing the same.
He had plenty to distract him from romantic woes, however; in the newly revised DC mythology, Trevor is part of a paramilitary organization called A.R.G.U.S. (which stands for Advanced Research Group for Uniting Super-Humans; a version of this organization has shown up in The CW’s Arrow series) and as such has not only fought supervillains on his own but also led an alternate, government-sponsored, version of the Justice League in the short-lived 2012 Justice League of America series. This Trevor, as lovelorn as he may be on occasion, has been built up to be an action hero in his own right — something that might make him more appealing a character to an actor like Pine, potentially.
Outside of comic books, versions of Trevor have appeared in the 1970s Lynda Carter Wonder Woman television series, with Lyle Waggoner playing both Steve Trevor Sr. and Jr., thanks to the series jumping time periods between its first and second seasons. Animated incarnations have shown up in cameos during Super Friends, Cartoon Network’s Justice League and the direct-to-DVD Wonder Woman (where he was voiced by Nathan Fillion), Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Justice League: War and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. Wonder Woman, scheduled for a June 23, 2017, release, will be the character’s first big-screen appearance.
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