The day had barely started on Wednesday, June 13, when Patty Jenkins sent the world into a tailspin. The Wonder Woman director posted the first photo from the Wonder Woman sequel that has fans asking — how is Steve Trevor alive in Wonder Woman 2? Not that anyone's complaining, of course, but didn't he sort of kill himself off at the end of the last film? That's certainly the impression that audiences were left with, so seeing actor Chris Pine crop up in the first image from the Wonder Woman 1984 set was surprising to say the least.
In the snap, the American pilot looks none the worse for wear given his fiery end in the first Wonder Woman movie. He wears sneakers and a dark green zip-up with matching pants, in a lightweight fabric that make it look like a flight suit. He has a skeptical, almost suspicious look on his face, possibly because his protector, Wonder Woman is nowhere in sight, and appears to be in some sort of indoor mall setting. (There's a sign for an ice cream shop right next to him and a bunch of people with shopping bags in the background.)
What's missing from the image is any sort of explanation as to how Steve emerged unscathed from detonating a bomber filled with poison gas at an altitude miles above the Earth, not to mention how he's still the same age almost 60 years after his supposed death. Or how Diana Prince could've been so wildly off-base when she was mourning her love interest's self-sacrificing death, let alone using it to fuel her own compassion for humans at the first film's end. Because while everyone wants to see more of the chemistry between Pine and the franchise's star, Gal Gadot, the pilot's death was kind of a huge plot point in Wonder Woman. Not just for the audience, but for Wonder Woman herself, propelling her into the fight to save the world in Justice League. So it can't be glossed over, no matter how excited anyone is to see more flipping of the "damsel in distress" script.
A few theories have already been floated about Steve's survival, of course. Over at Screen Rant, there's speculation that Pine could be playing an entirely new Steve, potentially a descendant of his original character. After all, as they point out, around 70 years have passed between the two films, and Pine believes that the pilot had a family before he lost everything in the war. Cinema Blend agrees with the theory, but suspects that the actor will also be playing the grandfather of the modern-day Steve, via flashbacks back to around 1918.
And there's also the Prime Earth comic book lore of the character, which finds Steve and Diana separated, with their memories altered, opening up a whole 'nother can of worms. Because if you can't trust memories, then what can you trust?
They're all big questions, but if you're looking for answers or even hints that point concretely to one particular theory over another, you aren't going to find them in Jenkins' close-lipped caption. "Welcome to WONDER WOMAN 1984, Steve Trevor!" she wrote, simply, capping her tweet off with the hashtag #WW84. And while it's hardly surprising that the director didn't let any more details slip over a year out from the film's scheduled Nov. 1, 2019 release date, it's still frustrating. The revelation of Steve's survival brings up more questions than answers, and leaves fans with an indeterminate amount of time to wait and wonder. (No pun intended.)
But there are some positives: the tweet does officially confirm the title of theWonder Woman sequel, which is nice. And the film's previously-revealed Cold War timeframe, as well as the outfits and hairstyles of the people in the background of the Steve Trevor shot rule out any possibility of a flashback. So it seems clear that, however it's being written, and improbable as it may seem, Steve is alive and well in 1984; not a ghost, and not flitting around on the edges of the storyline in flashbacks. This was the first photo that Jenkins posted, so you have to assume that the love interest is right at the center of the plot again, trying and failing to keep up with the heroine. Meanwhile, Gal Gadot shared another image from the highly anticipated sequel, this one of Diana herself.
This other new photo doesn't reveal anything else, at least not when it comes to Steve, so assumptions and speculation are all that fans are left with, which was probably exactly the conversation Jenkins wanted to get started with her tweet. She knows exactly what she's doing, and it makes Wonder Woman 1984's distant release all the more exciting.