Consider this article an exercise in creative thought and wishful thinking...
A couple days ago the cast of Wonder Woman was announced along with release by film photographer Clay Enos of a gorgeous and enigmatic photo of the film's heroine (see here).
In addition to Gal Godot as Wonder Woman/Diana Price, the cast includes Chris Pine as Captain Steve Trevor, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui, Elena Anaya, and Lucy Davis.
According to Den of Geek, Wonder Woman will be set in multiple time periods: Themyscira (the ancient and secret Greek 'Island of Amazons' of myth) around two centuries ago, WWI (1916), and the present day. This information "from a well-placed source (who will remain anonymous)." Wonder woman will reportedly be at least 200 years old. The rumor of multiple time periods should of course be taken with a grain of salt, but...
About 2 weeks ago actor Saïd Taghmaoui (Three Kings, The Kite Runner, La Haine, American Hustle) posted an Instagram picture of himself and Chris Pine from the set of Wonder Woman, which recently began filming and is scheduled for release in 2017.
The Instagram picture was soon removed. However this photo clearly looks circa WWI. And last week Heroic Hollywood reported a rumor that Chris Pine will be playing both Steve Trevor's grandfather during World War I and Steve Trevor. So if this is true, it does seem that at least part of the film will be set during the WWI era.
Also, in an October 2015 issue interview with the French magazine Ultra, Saïd shared the following information about his role in the film:
I’ll be playing a superhero, but details are still under wraps, so I can’t tell you much.
Saïd went on to elaborate that the role will require physically workout training:
I was among hundreds of potential candidates, and I slowly became the favorite. It wasn’t easy. It took me three months... I’ll have to go through extensive physical training. Shooting is scheduled to begin in November and it will take about 6 months, in 4 different countries... Being a super hero was a dream for me as a child. I would have love to travel in time and suppress all the bad things that happened before. I would have also like to have a super strength in order to fight injustice and protect those who are in need and to suppress all mankind sorrows.
Some French speakers in comments to articles about the Ultra interview have noted that the term translated as "superhero" could be taken to simply mean "good guy" (versus a villain). Or that the term Saïd may have used was something that actually translates to "a 'nice' (good guy) comic book character." But the magazine is a French publication and Saïd was raised in France--and the term "super hero" (in the context of a modern superhero film!) is consistently used in the interview's native French. Also, Saïd holds dual French-American citizenship and speaks perfect English. Would he not have simply used the term "comic book character" if that's what he meant versus "superhero"? Finally, the further comments that Saïd makes of requiring a rigorous physical training regimen, and his discussion of what such a character means to him personally, can easily be taken to suggest that he could be playing a superhero, i.e., a role that is more than a standard supporting character with no powers of any kind.
A noteworthy bit of personal history about Saïd is that he has boxed professionally and was ranked second in his weight class in France.
The speculation that I have been reading (e.g., here and here) is that Saïd may be playing none other than Dr. Fate. Dr. Fate is an archaeologist who discovers the ancient mystical Egyptian artifact the Helmet of Fate, which belongs to Nabu, the Egyptian god of Wisdom. The helmet grants Dr. Fate mystical powers.
If Saïd is to play Dr. Fate in Wonder Woman, then it seems a fair bet that the character would be an adaptation of the Khalid Ben-Hassin version from the comic books. Saïd's is French-American, having grown up in France, and his parents are Moroccan immigrants of Berber descent. The character Khalid Ben-Hassin is of Egyptian descent. It's just an intuitive guess, but Khalid Ben-Hassin seems to be the best match among the various comic book iterations of Dr. Fate.
Says the DC Comics Wikia of the character,
Khalid is a powerful magician, whom even before his powers were bestowed upon him by Nabu, was one of the most knowledgeable people in the world in the field. Possessing enough skill and talent that the ancient sorcerer eventually took notice. The nature of Khalid's magic consists primarily of invocations meant to summon the powers of Egyptian Deities to his command. Although he can cast spells normally by drawing upon more obscure sources his craft is empowered when he reaffirms his spells with evoked power.
What's rather cool about this to me is that Dr. Fate is a member of the Justice Society of America, which is the forerunner of the Justice League.
Now, if the JSA is actually hinted at in this film, it will have to be an adaptation from the Golden Age of comics. But if some version of it is alluded to in the film there is a great vintage feel to all of this being set in the WWI era. And of course Wonder Woman as an immortal is in on the ground floor. It's great foundation material in relation to the rest of the DCEU.
Here are Dr. Fate's powers and abilities, as described on Wikipedia:
Doctor Fate possesses various magical powers such as spellcasting, flight, super-strength, invulnerability, telekinesis, telepathy, fire manipulation and lightning manipulation. However, Fate is unable to counteract spells that have already been cast and [are] in effect. Fate's magic manifests in the shape of Egyptian hieroglyphs such as an ankh.
This is all just speculation at this point, of course. But if Saïd Taghmaoui is in fact going to play Dr. Fate, I have to say, that has me pretty psyched!
A Justice Society of America Tie-in Opens Some Intriguing Possibilities
The JSA is set during the Second World War (1940s), and features the following superhero roster seen in All-American Comics and All-Star Comics, which is as follows: Doctor Fate (here it would be Khalid Ben-Hassin versus Kent Nelson), Hour-Man (Rex Tyler), Spectre (Jim Corrigan), Sandman (Wes Dodds), Atom (Al Pratt), Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), and Hawkman (Carter Hall).
The original Green Lantern that appears in the JSA is Alan Scott. He has a Green Lantern ring which has the same basic powers (more or less) as when the character was updated in 1959 as Hal Jordan, intergalactic space-cop. Best I can see from my research on this (and readers, please correct if this is wrong!), in the Alan Scott version the Green Lantern Corps is as yet undeveloped. Alan simply has the ring, and the ring has powers. (Again, the is no connection at all between the ring and the Green Lantern Corps because DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz hadn't invented the GL Corps yet).
Sooo... and yes, this is a stretch... and a long-shot... but remember last summer when there were reports that Chris Pine was originally being considered for Green Lantern?
What if... during the WWI era Steve Trevor's grandfather is adapted to be none other than Alan Scott?
Steve Trevor's Grandfather Adapted as Alan Scott, the First Green Lantern?
Yes, this would be a revision from the comic books, i.e., an adaptation for the DCEU.
In order for Steve Trevor to be Scott's grandson, presumably his daughter would have marry a man with the surname of Trevor--or at least to have a child with him. Perhaps, following in her father's' footsteps (the mother suicides when they are babies), she herself places the child for adoption, then to be raised by parents with the last name of Trevor. Anyway, something along those lines that would be an adaptation to all characters involved for the film.
In comic book canon Alan Scott does have a daughter who becomes a superhero in her own right, the first earthling female Green Lantern, Jade aka Jennie-Lynn Hayden. Both Jennie and her twin brother Todd inherit meta-human powers from Alan's Scott's exposure to his Green Lantern ring, and (at least in Jennie's case) also from their superhero mother Rose and Thorn. The twins are separated shortly after their birth when they are placed for adoption, with Jennie being raised by loving adoptive couple in Milwaukee. To reiterate, in an adaptation such as this Jennie-Lynn would give birth to Steve Trevor.
Alan Scott is actually the first human to come across a GL ring. In this adaptation Dr. Fate is perhaps involved in that origin story for Alan Scott, i.e., how he gets the ring.
Warner Brother's statement on casting is that Pine's character is "Captain Steve Trevor." But here he would be playing both Steve Trevor (so the release statement would not be inaccurate) and his grandfather who here would be adapted as Alan Scott.
Here is a very crucial point for this concept, and regarding how Steve Trevor will be appear in the film in general: If Steve Trevor has been rewritten as a WWI era character then he presumably cannot be featured in the modern era that MoS and BvS are set in. He'd be born in the 1890s. Unless he time travels to the future from 1916, that would mean that Trevor's role and identity in the modern era as Wonder Woman's liaison to Washington, DC, the United Nations liaison for the Justice League, and head of A.R.G.U.S. is no more. Of course, maybe he will time travel. But why go to the trouble of placing him first in WWI to begin with?
Pine has reportedly been signed to a multi-picture deal. If Steve Trevor is rewritten as a WWI character (versus the speculation explored here that his grandfather is featured instead for that act of the film), and he is an ordinary mortal non-metahuman, he'll die before the present day and won't be around for the Wonder Woman and Justice League films moving forward. Placing Steve Trevor in WWI poses some challenges for using him in future films. (Unless he times travels or somehow acquires unusual longevity.) Perhaps Pine's future performances of Trevor would be flashbacks set within his lifetime from the 1890's to probably no later than WWII and perhaps into the Cold War? Maybe the plan is to basically 'one-shot' Pine with this film and keep the options open for flashbacks in later films.
If this admittedly far-flung speculation is correct it would have two members of the JSA meeting one another a generation before WWII as the All-Star comic books had it. So it would make a significant adaptation from Golden Age comic book canon in that aspect as well. With around 99% of the ticket-buying public having never read a comic book (and never will), most viewers will neither know or care about such a revision from canon. From the studio's perspective the only thing that matters is will the audience like the overall story, and the film in general.
Now, all this said, the only way such a thing can work, I think, is if it is basically teased in the film. Otherwise such a subplot risks overshadowing Wonder Woman's story. An argument against the speculation is that it would appear to be trying to pack too much in one film. But then again, if the film is set in three acts/time periods, then this theory essentially proposes that its middle act is about Wonder Woman's involvement with a nascent JSA, or at least a few of its core member becoming acquainted.
I should think that inter-dimensional/extraterrestrial threats to earth is the menace that is exposed in such a scenario. Wonder Woman's role as the Amazonian guardian and protector of earth from such threats would be underscored here.
This approach to Wonder Woman strongly emphasizes her immortality, which gives her a long view of history and personal involvement with it that none of the other JL members possess.
Anyway, some further possibilities that are opened up by this are 1) the JSA offers a whole new layer for the DCEU by spawning a series of JSA films, and 2) perhaps eventually the very same GL ring may make its way to his grandson Steve Trevor, who could join the Green Lantern Corps himself. Granted, it doesn't seem likely that WB would do both. But it might do one or the other.
So, again, to be clear this is all basically just a fantasy that I'm thinking through out-loud. I'm not even predicting it. Please do not describe this as a "rumor" because it is not that--it is simply one fan's creative speculation. But at least for me, I could see something very cool taking shape for the DCEU from a JSA tie-in that begins around a century ago.
More Likely, Pine Will Simply Play Steve Trevor in the WWI Period... Period
To bring all of this down to earth again, the conservative and more likely explanation of Pine's reported multi-picture deal is that the studio has decided to essentially write Steve Trevor out of the continuing DCEU after this film, except possibly for some flashback scenes in future films. Maybe in such a case a one-shot deal works out well for Pine. Then perhaps the reason for him signing an option for sequels is to be able to participate in some scenes between Diana and him set in the past, perhaps extending into WWII (then with Pine CGI-aged to appear in his late 40s/early 50s), but not requiring an extensive commitment for Pine overall.
It would also make more sense to tell a simpler story that establishes Wonder Woman's origin alone rather than to try to introduce the JSA.
The most reasonable expectation is that we will see a Steve Trevor that is simply set in WWI rather than WWII--and it will be as simple as that. He is simply there for the Wonder Woman origin, and he has agreed to make himself available for some flashback scenes in the future. As excited as I am about the idea of seeing a WWI era JSA brought to life, Pine cast simply as Trevor in WWI should make for a great story!