One of the biggest mysteries surrounding Wonder Woman 1984 has been the return of Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor, a character who heroically sacrificed his life back in the first Wonder Woman film, set during World War I. In the trailers, however, we’ve been able to clearly see that Steve is back and seemingly completely fine here in the ’80s, with Diana showing him around and cracking all sorts of jokes about everything that’s changed for him.
In our we singled out the much-needed feel good message of the film–which of course, includes Steve’s arc in the movie. “Wonder Woman 1984 features some cheesy-looking CGI effects and some even cheesier messages. But it’s also an improvement on the original in some key ways–where the first movie concluded with Wonder Woman literally punching the anthropomorphized concept of War in the face, WW84’s climactic showdown is much more nuanced. The message–that every individual person on the planet has a shared responsibility for the common good–gets slightly muddled in the end, but it’s also the exact one we need right now. And Wonder Woman 1984 is the exact film you’ll want to sit down and watch with family, friends, and loved ones this holiday–even if you’re doing so over Zoom.”
Now, comic book stories are no stranger to resurrection plots and death defying schemes, so Steve’s return isn’t completely out of left field given the source material–but the question remained: How, exactly, did he do it? And, more importantly, why did it happen?
The good news is we now have those answers. Wonder Woman 1984 has hit select theaters and HBO Max. So let’s break down exactly what happened to return Steve Trevor from beyond the grave–major WW84 spoilers ahead, obviously.
As it turns out, Steve’s resurrection came from the movie’s big McGuffin–the Dream Stone–which, like the name suggests, grants people’s wishes if they touch it, for a price. The Dream Stone causes all sorts of chaos once it’s absorbed by Max Lord, but before that happens, Diana gets her chance with it and–somewhat accidentally–wishes for Steve back.
This actually happens, of course–but Steve doesn’t literally materialize from beyond the grave. He possesses the body of a living man, meaning that when he finds Diana, she doesn’t actually recognize him at first. This problem is quickly solved when he proves it’s him and she (and we, the viewers) begin to see him for who he actually is. But this is just a trick of the eye, or the camera as it were, because everyone else surrounding Diana still sees this random stranger.
Resurrected Steve even has access to the stranger’s apartment–he “woke up” there, despite knowing he was “somewhere else” for a while before Diana’s wish, which could potentially allude to one of DC’s many versions of heaven or an afterlife existing in the DCEU. The implications here are a little dark–the man Steve’s spirit is inhabiting clearly had a whole life all his own that Steve basically hijacked, but that’s not the most pressing issue at hand. Diana’s wish cost her her Amazonian abilities, meaning she spends every day with Steve progressively getting weaker and more human, which is a real problem considering the threat that people like Max Lord begin to pose.
Ultimately, Steve’s resurrection proves to be too selfish for either of them and he winds up begging Diana to rescind her wish, undoing his miraculous revival and returning her powers–it’s the same sort of tragic final moments we had back in the first movie all over again, with the two of them having just enough time to really say goodbye before coming to the mutual understanding that this just isn’t going to work out for anyone.
But at least the man Steve took over gets to go back to his own life–it doesn’t make the situation any less sad, but at least it is a little bit of a silver lining.
Wonder Woman 1984 is currently streaming on HBO Max.