He looks pretty good for 100 years old… and dead.
This week, DC officially revealed the title of the Wonder Woman sequel we’ve been waiting for, and it’s better than what the franchise’s fans could have ever hoped for. As the title would suggest, Wonder Woman 1984 will be set in the 1980s, in the midst of the Cold War. With the title release came two very exciting photos, one of them providing us with the gift of Gal Gadot as Diana/Wonder Woman highlighted by vibrant ’80s aesthetics. Director Patty Jenkins also released a more shocking promo image featuring none other than pilot and love interest Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), somehow unharmed and altogether un-aged.
Decked out in an ’80s tracksuit and old school sneakers, Steve’s costume is almost as thrilling as the character’s apparent return from the dead. While his inclusion is great news for Wonder Woman as well as for potential plot elements in WW84, it begs the question: how exactly did he survive his heroic sacrifice at the end of 2017’s Wonder Woman? After all, both audiences and Wonder Woman herself saw Steve blown to bits on that bomber plane. As to exactly how he pulled it off, here are six theories, from the super plausible to the (probably) outlandish:
He’s a Vision
The DC Extended Universe loves flashbacks and cryptic cutaway visions — Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice taught us that much. For one to pop up in WW84 wouldn’t be too far off the mark. According to Syfy Wire, the promo image suggests that Diana may in fact be experiencing such an illusion. Perhaps he’s just returning to her in a dream sequence to reveal important information, like a prophetic ghost of dead boyfriends’ past.
He’s a Doppelganger
For those that believe in reincarnation, the identical likeness of Steve Trevor could have been born sometime in the late ’50s or early ’60s. This kind of phenomenon would not be out of place in the fantastic reality Wonder Woman lives in. This sudden appearance of Steve’s double may be explained by WW84, or we might simply be given this new version of him in the ’80s to take as we will. Fate may be bringing Diana and Steve’s doppelganger together for the big fight against the Soviet Union, but who’s to say he shares Steve’s charm or good intentions? This could be the evil twin scenario no one asked for, but maybe the one we needed.
It’s Steve Trevor the Third
If Wonder Woman 1984 is set in 1984, then it could be that the man we see here is not actually Steve Trevor but his grandson. He appears too young to be Steve’s son, obviously. At least this is what Nerdist thinks could be an explanation for his mysterious appearance. It’s definitely a fascinating one, as it implies Steve Trevor had a child we didn’t know existed. Trevor himself might not have even known he had a kid, perhaps he had a fling before leaving for the war back in Wonder Woman and fathered a child who grew up knowing their dad died a WWI hero.
His son or daughter then later had a son of their own, and this kid grew up to look exactly like his grandfather. This would be a cool surprise for WW84, with Diana believing she is seeing Steve come back to life only to have the person not recognize her. Let’s hope, should this theory prove true, that DC steers away from any potential creepy-factor and doesn’t have Steve’s grandson fall for Diana.
He Has Powers
Perhaps DC has gone completely gung-ho with Steve’s character and given him fantastic abilities, possibly including flight or cellular regeneration. Very, very slow cellular regeneration. Like 67 years slow. When the plane blew up, he simply landed somewhere safe, hid himself away while healing his wounds, and before he knew it he was fully recovered and in the ’80s. Unfortunately for him, this also meant entering the Reagan era. Fortunately, it was right when Diana was preparing for the next big fight of her new life on “Man’s World.”
He’s a Villain in Disguise
One of the more horrifying possibilities for Steve’s appearance comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which theorizes that a villain, such as the comics’ Doctor Psycho, could have created a phantom Trevor. This being, looking identical in every way to Diana’s deceased love, would then be used to fight her and possibly distract her from more pressing dangers related to the war.
Although this is a remarkably dark theory it does bring up an exciting possibility, touched on by THR as well: If Doctor Psycho is indeed making his DCEU debut, then perhaps this is the undisclosed role Pedro Pascal is signed on for in WW84. That would make sense, as he has top billing and would make for a powerful yet charismatic movie villain.
Cheetah is Responsible
Kristen Wiig is playing the primary villain in WW84, DC Comics’ Cheetah. Obviously the character has abilities similar to her namesake, with advanced speed and agility, but there is another more fascinating aspect to her powers: her bites can transfer certain amounts of her power to victims, making them hybrid beings under her control.
Clearly Steve does not appear to be sporting any whiskers or fangs, but this doesn’t rule the theory out entirely. The DCEU, like most franchises adapting comic book characters for modern films and audiences, has toned down some of the more cartoonish elements. So we could still see this ability of Cheetah’s play out in a more zombie-like, mind control way. She could potentially have found Trevor’s body (assuming he made it out of the explosion somehow in one piece and landed further away) and bit him. Her powers would have extended his life, and her influence over him could have resulted in him being brainwashed.
Diana is Being Influenced by Circe
It wouldn’t be too far off the mark to anticipate DC bringing in a secret villain, specifically Circe, who is an iconic adversary of Diana’s in the comics. Screen Crush believes this theory is highly likely as there are already many magical elements present in Wonder Woman’s story in the DCEU. As to where Steve comes in, it’s pretty much a staple of Circe’s powers to perform enchantments.
This means she could be magically influencing Diana to think she sees Steve or has even put her in another reality where Steve Trevor is still alive. Or perhaps she has even enchanted his body (gross) or the body of another to appear to Diana and distract her. As to why she would do this, or who would be playing the sorceress, only time would tell. However, this theory holds a lot of merit as magic and mythology seem to permeate the Wonder Woman legacy.
Let’s say Steve was ejected from the exploding plane and was then launched through space and time until he lands, quite miraculously, in Themyscira. He is alive, but dying. In a moment of soft heartedness Queen Hippolyta or another one of the Amazons uses her persuasion with the gods to preserve him, or possibly make him an immortal to save his life.
He’s kept under wraps, so to speak, until Diana needs him most again. This moment of need could have been brought on by the Cold War and Diana’s upcoming conflict with the Soviets. It could explain Steve’s concerned expression — he’s been re-awoken in an entirely different era and everyone he knows is likely dead, all except Diana. Hopefully the dazed Steve will be ready to trade in his flight gear for crop tops, or apparently in this case a very cozy tracksuit.
Old School Resurrection (aka Godly Intervention Pt. II)
This one is much less George Romero than it sounds, with Steve in fact dying as we saw in Wonder Woman but being resurrected years later by divine power. Being brought back to life by a goddess, possibly as a reward to Diana for defeating Ares, could be an interesting route to go. If DC was willing to lean on the mythological route, things could play out much more like in the comics. For example, after Steve was killed off back Queen Hippolyta had Aphrodite bring him back to life in Wonder Woman Vol.1 223. He appears as the brunette Steve Howard– his new secret identity.
Hippolyta’s reasons for the resurrection are the most interesting, however. She did it to actually test Diana’s strength through a series of trials, and only allowed Steve 2.0 to continue living once Diana has passed all of her tests. The fact that Connie Nielsen, who plays the commanding presence of Queen Hippolyta on the big screen, is not yet listed in the WW84 cast basically makes this theory wishful thinking. However, seeing Diana win back Steve Trevor by proving herself would be a truly poetic way for him to return.
It Was That Anti-Aging Bath
Remember that bath Steve took after landing in Themyscira? Well a “fan on Twitter” does, and his theory is that the waters had magical properties that actually prevent Steve from aging. As for why he’s been missing for so long, he suggests the explosion may have given him amnesia. The Steve we see in the new promo image certainly looks a little out of his element, possibly unaware of why he hasn’t been aging for the past few decades. Were this to play out in WW84, Diana would most likely have to help him remember his past and what they mean to one another.