Wonder Woman 1984 has only just entered production, and already fans are speculating about the plot of this sequel. That’s because director Patty Jenkins tweeted a set photo showing Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor alive and well in 1984, despite the fact that he sacrificed his life during World War I.
How can Steve be alive? We’re not sure, but we have some theories. Read on to see some possible solutions and find out how other versions of the Wonder Woman mythos have handled the Steve Trevor issue.
The Comics & TV
In general, the Wonder Woman timeline hasn’t been a major issue when it comes to exploring the ongoing relationship between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor. In the comics, Diana first encountered Steve and entered man’s world during WWII, not WWI, and Steve didn’t die during their first mission together. Instead, he remained a major love interest for Diana and served as an ambassador between humanity and the Amazons.
Nor have the Wonder Woman comics had to deal with the same timeline problems as the DCEU. DC’s comic book universe operates on a sliding timeline, with origin stories constantly being updated in order to keep characters rooted in the present day. Diana may have originally debuted during WWII, but her origin has changed to show that she appeared in the DCU in the modern day alongside heroes like Superman and Batman. When DC’s New 52 relaunch began in 2011, it was established that Diana has been active in man’s world for roughly five years.
The movie looks to be more in the vein of the 1977 TV series in this regard. That series ran for three seasons, with the first taking place during WWII and the latter two jumping ahead to the 1970s. Actor Lyle Waggoner played a version of Steve Trevor for all three seasons, but in Seasons 2 and 3 he played Steve’s son, Steve Jr. The series was never very specific as to what happened to the elder Steve, only revealing that he died at some point in between Seasons 1 and 2 after being promoted to Major General.
Steve Trevor III
The Wonder Woman TV series offers one clue as to how the new movie might handle Steve’s return. It may be that this version of Steve is descended from the one we know. Given the 70-year time gap, we’re assuming this would be Steve’s grandson. Or possibly grandnephew, as the first movie gave no indication that Steve had a child waiting for him back home. Whatever the case, Diana may wind up bumping into a man who looks exactly like the Steve she knew but hails from a different time period entirely.
If this is the case, the DCEU could be drawing inspiration from the character Rick Flag (who was played by Joel Kinnaman in 2016’s Suicide Squad). In the comics, Rick Flag, Sr. led the original version of the Suicide Squad, with both his son and grandson eventually following in his footsteps.
A Man Out of Time
Another option is that Steve never actually died in the climax of the first movie. It seems hard to imagine the prospect of him surviving getting blown up in a plane full of Doctor Poison’s concoction, but stranger things have happened in superhero movies. Perhaps the exposure to the poison somehow preserved his body and left him in a coma for 70 years? Or maybe one of the gods intervened, granting him a second chance at life as a reward for his selfless sacrifice.
Whatever the case, the goal could be to portray Steve as a man out of time much in the same way Captain America is in the MCU. Where Steve was Diana’s guide through a strange and unfamiliar civilization in the first movie, Diana could serve the same role for him in the sequel.
This theory is seemingly supported by the fact that Steve looks so confused and bewildered in the photo released by Jenkins. He appears caught off guard by being inside a shopping mall and bombarded with ’80s fashion. That’s to be expected for someone who just woke up 70 years in the future.
Another possibility is that Pine isn’t playing the same version of Steve Trevor at all, but some sort of impostor or clone. Again, you can never be sure when it comes to superhero movies. This new version of Steve could be connected to Cheetah or another major Wonder Woman villain. (Learn all about the Cheetah here.)
As it is, Cheetah is an unusual candidate to serve as the main villain of the movie, as she simply isn’t on the same power level as characters like Ares. We assume this means the film will either introduce other villains alongside her or significantly alter her back-story, powers and motivations. Could this new version of Steve somehow be tied to the same process that transforms the Kristen Wiig character (likely the Barbara Ann Minerva version of the villain) into a humanoid cheetah, whether that involves cloning or supernatural resurrection or some other process entirely?
This new Steve could also be the work of villains like Doctor Psycho (a sadistic telepath) or Circe (a powerful witch with a penchant for supernatural trickery). Either one of these villains could be using the image of Steve Trevor to torment Diana. Doctor Psycho seems like an especially likely candidate for two reasons. One, an older comic book storyline involved Psycho taking on the form of Steve Trevor and the powers of Wonder Woman and calling himself Captain Wonder. Two, we know that actor Pedro Pascal has been cast in a major role in the film, and he seems like a good fit to bring this villain to life.
Whatever the case, let’s not forget that Wonder Woman mourned for Steve Trevor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, so it seems likely that the 1984 Steve isn’t gonna make it to the modern day in once piece either.