2016 was a strange year for the #DCEU, with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad both performing well at the box office — but getting a drubbing from film critics. All eyes are turning to next year's Wonder Woman and Justice League, two blockbuster hits that already carry the weight of a world of fan expectations upon their broad shoulders.
Two trailers in, Wonder Woman is looking like a surefire hit. The trailers are vibrant and atmospheric, and are avoiding giving away too much of the plot. While the action looks to be beautifully choreographed — the scene of Wonder Woman going over the top of the trenches is simply thrilling — the trailers also hint at a certain depth of characterization. I couldn't be much more excited.
There's just one thing, though. Steve Trevor, Wonder Woman's greatest love, is played by Chris Pine — and his presence in the film seems rather odd...
Who Is Steve Trevor?
In the comics, Steve Trevor is a U.S. military intelligence officer who winds up stranded on Themyscira, the island of the Amazons. He's been an integral part of Wonder Woman's stories since her creation in 1941, and initially often played an inversion of the 'love interest' trope — in a wonderfully counter-cultural narrative, it was usually the man who needed to be rescued by Wonder Woman! In typical comic book fashion, the character's actually been killed off twice (in 1968 and, a decade later, in 1978).
DC Comics have a history of reboots, and frankly Steve Trevor's story has been rebooted more times than I can count. Significantly, though, his story has become tied to an organization called A.R.G.U.S. — the Advanced Research Group Uniting Superhumans. A.R.G.U.S. has worked with the Justice League for a time, but is best known for being run by Amanda Waller. Yes, this is the organization that runs Task Force X!
What's in Store for Steve Trevor?
We can already tell that Wonder Woman is using Steve Trevor in a traditional way, setting him up as a U.S. military intelligence officer whose investigations plunge him into a world of crazy. Along the way, he gains an ally in the beautiful and powerful Wonder Woman, and soon winds up going head-to-head with deadly supernatural beings.
Here's the catch, though; as we all know, Wonder Woman is a prequel film. But Chris Pine is on a multi-picture deal, meaning that the character simply has to return. We know that Wonder Woman will end with Diana distancing herself from the world of men, to return in Batman v Superman, so we won't be seeing further prequels that explore Steve Trevor's heroics alongside Wonder Woman. So why has Chris Pine got a multi-picture deal?
Is A.R.G.U.S. the Answer?
Suicide Squad already made a nod to A.R.G.U.S., with Amanda Waller reporting in to them. It's possible that — just as Captain America: The First Avenger showed S.H.I.E.L.D. before it really took form — Wonder Woman is setup for A.R.G.U.S.. My suspicion is that, in the aftermath of Wonder Woman, Steve Trevor becomes founder of the Advanced Research Group Uniting Superhumans.
I can only really see two ways for Chris Pine's Steve Trevor to return for sequels (or more). The first possibility is that he dies, but is resurrected (remember, the character has a history of death-and-rebirth). The second, more intriguing, possibility is that he somehow becomes immortal in the events of Wonder Woman. Early Wonder Woman comics toyed with the idea of the Amazons being immortal, and the fact Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman hasn't aged a day since the First World War suggests DC Film is tapping into this idea. One early comic revealed this immortality was due to the mythical "fountain of youth", situated on Themyscira itself.
So it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that Steve Trevor will gain eternal youth. In fact, given we know the Amazons will treat and care for him, it's quite possible that they could unwittingly give him their water to drink, with immortality being an unexpected side-effect! If this is the case, it's also possible that Steve Trevor is still running A.R.G.U.S. in the present day.
How Steve Trevor — and A.R.G.U.S. — Could Tie the DCEU Together
If this theory is correct, then Steve Trevor and A.R.G.U.S. could become the connective tissue of the DCEU. I'd suggest that Lex Luthor's mysterious footage of other superhumans in Batman v Superman was in fact stolen from A.R.G.U.S.; Batman traced it back to its source, and then blackmailed Amanda Waller to give him the original A.R.G.U.S. files (as seen in Suicide Squad).
I'd then be expecting to see A.R.G.U.S. take on a major role in Justice League, allying with the superheroes against Steppenwolf and the armies of Darkseid. A.R.G.U.S. could easily become the supporters of the Justice League, giving them technology and equipment to support their operations. (In a more realistic cinematic universe, there's no way Bruce Wayne could fund the Justice League's Watchtower).
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This explanation fits well with everything we've already seen, and would tie the DCEU's history together in a smart and effective way. It's true that it would be open to criticism — fans would easily compare the character to Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury over in the #MCU — but, if handled carefully and creatively, those comparisons could easily fall flat. For now, it's only a fan-theory, but in my view it's one that fits the facts.
Do you think Steve Trevor will become immortal in Wonder Woman?
Poll Image: DC Film