Wonder Woman 1984 and the Exploration of Steve Trevor and Diana Prince
**Heavy spoilers for Wonder Woman 1984 lie within.**
In the world of Diana Prince, there are many loves that litter the pages of her comics, but my favorite is her love for Steve Trevor. The man who introduced her to the world and brought her into the world of man, his onscreen debut in Wonder Woman (2017) left fans heartbroken. Flash-forward to 2020 as we get ready for Wonder Woman 1984, and we were reminded yet again that Steve Trevor is designed to come in and out of Diana’s story but never stay for too long.
In the comics and even in the television series with Lynda Carter, Steve Trevor would die, or be reincarnated, or Diana would end up with his grandson, or some sort of story that kept Steve Trevor in her life at various points in time. For so long, I figured that the Steve we saw in WW84 was going to be a gift to her from the gods, but sadly, it was just Diana’s own wish when she happened to touch the dream stone brought to life.
Max Lord is determined to get his hands on the dream stone, and while Diana and Barbara Minerva are working to figure out what all these artifacts are, they both come in contact with the stone in some way or another. Diana’s isn’t as obvious as when Max and Barbara touch the stone, but still, her wish to bring Steve back into her life happens as she’s looking at the man she fell in love with (with some tweaks because he is technically in someone else’s body).
But what I love about Wonder Woman 1984‘s portrayal of their relationship is that it shows Diana’s determination to do what is right for the world despite whatever seemingly selfish desires she has. When everything is on the line and she knows that loving Steve Trevor quite literally makes her weaker, she separates herself from him and retracts the wish the stone has given her to run and stop Max Lord and his determination to give the world what they all want (which isn’t necessarily a great thing).
Now, saying that Diana is “weak” for loving Steve isn’t meant as a dig at women falling in love. It’s a commentary, I think, on the fact that these heroes (particularly our male heroes) either die trying to save their love or sacrifice everything to live their lives with the women they care about. (Thinking about you, Clark Kent in Superman 2, when you gave up your power just to sleep with Lois.)
With 1984, the commentary is that Diana will, no matter what, do the right thing—which is such a contrast to the way that Zack Synder depicted her in Batman v Superman, and I love that Patty Jenkins is showing us just how far Diana is willing to go to protect the world, this beautiful place, as she puts it.
Steve Trevor is there as a reminder to Diana that she’s not alone, that she can rely on those around her even if she has that fear of losing them like she lost Steve, but that she will always be the hero the world needs.
There is a moment in Wonder Woman 1984 that is heartbreaking and would be regardless of the worldwide implications for what Diana is doing. Steve and Diana both know that she has to retract her wish. She has to let Steve fade back into a memory she had from when she first came to the world of men because as much as the dream stone gives, it also takes away. The longer she’s happy with Steve, the more her powers fade, and she can’t stop Max Lord and those tearing the world apart.
So, they share how much they love each other, and Diana does what she always has and always will do: She turns away from what she wants to do what she needs to do. There’s a selflessness in Diana that I think isn’t often talked about because it is easy to look at the gift of the gods or look at stories where she goes back to Themyscira. But what I love about both Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984 is that they show her sacrifice and what she’s willing to do for the greater good.
I will always love Steve Trevor and Diana Prince. I think they’re an incredible couple and one of the few OTPs that I still have. But what Wonder Woman 1984 set in motion was the idea that even when Diana has the chance to be selfish and keep Steve with her, she knows that she has to save the world, and that’s why Wonder Woman will always be my hero.
I don’t want Steve to come back. There’s plenty of other characters Diana loves, and the films should explore her canon bisexuality in the future. But I love that this film gave us a love note to WonderTrev and sent them off in a beautifully poignant way.
(image: Warner Bros.)
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