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The Untold Truth Of DC's Steve Trevor

DC's slate of heroes is iconic, but it's also pretty male. Of the female heroes on their roster, Wonder Woman is by far the most well known. Wonder Woman, or Diana, was first introduced to the world of comics in the 1940s, and she's been an icon of female empowerment ever since. Even the most powerful heroes need love interests, though, and that's where Steve Trevor usually comes in. 

In most versions of Diana's origin story, Steve is the one who discovers the secret island of Themyscira and ultimately convinces Diana to return with him to the world of humanity. Unlike Diana, though, Steve is a normal guy without any powers to speak of. All he has is his wit. In spite of the fact that he's obviously less powerful than Diana, Steve has rarely seemed threatened by the power of his long-running collaborator. His characterization has varied over the years, but one of the most revolutionary things about Steve Trevor is that he's confident enough in himself to allow the woman he's in love with to become the alpha in their relationship. Even as Steve has taken on more symbolic importance, there's still plenty most fans don't know about the iconic character. 

He was killed off for being "dull"

Steve Trevor was designed as a reversal of the common stereotypes about male superheroes and their female partners. For decades, that's exactly how he functioned, and while he occasionally showcased his own skills as a spy, it was always clear that he was less powerful and less capable than Diana. By the end of the 1960s, though, there were some who thought that the character had largely outlived his usefulness. 

That's why, in 1969, he was killed off by artist Mike Sekowsky, who apparently wasn't too fond of him as a character. "Steve Trevor was dull and boring and I didn't like him much, so I disposed of him," Sekowsky explained in a subsequent issue. Steve's death was largely unceremonious, as he was killed off at the hands of Dr. Cyber's henchman. Of course, Steve was later revived by a different creative team. Clearly, not every artist working on Wonder Woman comics found him to be a bore. 

He's served as a member of the Justice League

When most people think of the Justice League, they think of an organization of superhumans who work together to save the universe from various evils. Steve Trevor is just a regular guy who happens to be a competent soldier, so it's strange that, in 2013, he was named an official member of the Justice League. Before that, Trevor was working as a liaison to the Justice League for the United States government, a role he was given because of his close relationship with Wonder Woman. 

Eventually, though, DC's team determined that Steve was qualified enough as a skilled agent to be a member of the Justice League himself. Marvel has often done something similar, both in the comics and in its cinematic universe, including characters like Black Widow without any actual powers in their superhero lineup. After all, Batman is just a normal guy with lots of special gadgets. How different is he from Steve Trevor, really? 

He complements Wonder Woman's traits

Although Steve Trevor has had various personality traits over his history as a character, he was originally designed as a perfect complement to everything that Diana represented. 2017's Wonder Woman does well with this dynamic, as we meet Diana as a powerful, optimistic, naive person who believes in the simplicity of struggles between good and evil. Steve, on the other hand, is cynical, jaded, and pragmatic, because he has seen how terrible human beings are capable of being to one another. 

They make a perfect pair whether they're friends or something more. Steve was always designed to be her perfect companion, a character who would work well with Wonder Woman whenever they were together. He's got shades of patriotic do-gooders like Captain America, but he's more world-weary than that. Diana is the one who spouts optimism and faith in humankind. Steve is there to remind her that optimism isn't always warranted, especially when she's dealing with people.

He's the first foreigner to set foot on Themyscira

DC's comics can provide plenty of interesting tidbits about the life of Steve Trevor, but this is an aspect of his story that was perfectly captured in Wonder Woman. As is the case in that movie, the original comics have Steve Trevor crashing onto Themyscira and discovering an entire society of Amazons that has been hidden from humanity for thousands of years. Steve is the first person to set foot on the island, and he's also the first man that Diana has ever seen. 

Those details aren't necessarily foregrounded in Wonder Woman, but Steve is very much an outsider on the island. He's also what gets the plot going, both in the comics and in the movie. Even so, there's something about Steve's purity of heart that makes it feel significant that he's the first man to find Themyscira. Perhaps the average man would be too proud to recognize when he's been outmatched by a group of woman. For Steve, though, the goal of goodness is more important than his own ego. 

He's one of the only men with honorary citizenship on the island

In addition to being the first man to ever set foot on Themyscira, Steve is also one of the only men who has been granted honorary citizenship to the island. Batman and Superman are the other men with honorary citizenship, which puts Steve in pretty sacred company. Batman and Superman are DC's two most famous heroes, so it makes sense that they would be granted citizenship to the island. Steve is not nearly as important to DC's overall canon, but he is a crucial component of many of Wonder Woman's stories, which is how he ended up with the citizenship. 

It also speaks to Steve's qualities of heroism. He may not have the same level of name recognition as his fellow male citizens, but he has the same heroic spirit that drives characters like Batman and Superman. He's just a regular guy who fell in with a group of superheroes, but he's done all that he can to make the world a better place. That's what ultimately earned him his citizenship on the island. 

He won't stop proposing

In addition to being a totally capable spy, Steve Trevor also happens to be a lovesick puppy dog. Over the course of his time adventuring through the comics with Diana, he has proposed on countless occasions, and she has almost always rebuffed him, saying that saving the world was more important than marriage. Although there's definitely a romantic element to their relationship in Wonder Woman, Steve doesn't get the chance to propose before he sacrifices himself. 

Ultimately, though, the movie version of Diana may be likely to reject Steve's proposals for the same reasons as her comic book counterpart. As much as she seems to have genuine affection for Steve, Diana's number one goal is always the safety of the world that she's sworn to serve. Because Chris Pine's Steve is a pretty respectful guy, he'll likely understand Diana's reason, and continue loving her from afar, even if he can never lock their relationship down through marriage. 

He was made blond for a very specific reason

Although some esthetic choices in comics are made for pretty superficial reasons, others have more significance than they may initially seem to. The decision to make Steve a blond, for example, was actually a specific choice on the part of Wonder Woman's creator William Moulton Marston. As it turns out, Marston believed that the ideal romantic pairing was between a blue-eyed brunette female and a blond male. The reason for this was because blond males are more submissive to brunette females, at least according to Marston. 

The decision to make Steve a blond was important, as it ultimately signaled something about his character and the way Marston saw him in comparison to Wonder Woman, his female counterpart. Marston wrote Steve so that he would always be playing second fiddle to Diana. That isn't to say that Marston believed Steve shouldn't have character traits of his own, but Marston's original idea was for him to be very willing to submit to Diana's superior power and moral goodness. Of course, there's also some kinky stuff in Marston's history that may have had a role in how he conceived of the characters.

Steve was threatened by Diana's powers for a time

In his original conception, Steve Trevor was meant to be a supportive figure to Diana. Although he was a man, he was not threatened by her power, and William Marston created that dynamic intentionally, in part because it subverted the gender dynamics of so many of the comics that already existed. After Marston stopped writing the characters, though, some more traditionally masculine perspectives started to infect Steve Trevor. 

For extended periods in the '50s and '60s, Steve was threatened by Diana's powers and abilities. He seemed to resent the fact that, if she chose to, she could beat him to a pulp. Diana, on the other hand, seemed like she always had to apologize for simply existing as a powerful woman in the world. Needless to say, the men writing Wonder Woman at this time seemed to be missing the point behind the dynamic between Steve and Diana that Marston had established. Steve isn't threatened by Diana. He's in total and complete awe of what she can do. 

He was known as Steven Howard for a while

After he was killed off in 1969 for being "dull," Steve was reborn, like so many comic book characters before him. Diana actually gave up her powers in 1968 in order to stay close to Steve. After he was killed off, she managed to regain her powers and restore her connections to Themyscira. Then, Aphrodite decided to bring Steve back to life and give him a new identity. He was now Steve Howard, and his blonde hair was now brown. 

Ultimately, that version of Steve Trevor didn't last either, and was killed off again in 1978. Then, the multiverse got involved, bringing a Steve from a different timeline into Diana's timeline to replace the deceased version of the character. Although the multiverse version of Steve wasn't exactly the same as the Steve he had replaced, his introduction allowed the comic to reestablish a more normal dynamic between Steve and Diana. Of course, that normal dynamic didn't last forever, but it did restore some normalcy to the Wonder Woman universe. 

His first live-action theatrical appearance was in 2017's Wonder Woman

Although Wonder Woman has been a popular superhero for decades, her representation on screen has been severely lacking. Batman and Superman have received countless adaptations over the years, while Wonder Woman has remained in the comics with the exception of a single TV show in the 1970s. As a result, although Steve Trevor is a fairly iconic character, Chris Pine was actually the first actor to portray him in a movie when he took on the role in 2017's Wonder Woman

That means that some casual fans of Wonder Woman may have been unaware of his existence. Steve is an essential part of Wonder Woman's stories, but he's not at the center of a show like the animated version of Justice League. Chris Pine takes on a pretty traditional version of the Steve character. He definitely has his own thoughts and opinions, but he isn't threatened by the fact that Diana is independent and never really comes close to needing saving. He was the perfect actor to bring this character to the screen for the very first time. 

He was once in love with Lois Lane

For Wonder Woman fans, Steve Trevor's love for Diana is unquestioned. She may not always accept his proposals, but in every iteration of the character where the two of them are roughly the same age, he's going to keep on trying to win her hand in marriage. In the key DC story arc Flashpoint, however, The Flash accidentally visits a parallel universe where many of the normal dynamics between DC's characters are thrown for a loop. 

In that story, Steve is in love with Lois Lane instead of Diana. Given that Lois Lane is usually involved in romantic pairings with Superman, this dynamic only exists because the entire universe is so far off-kilter. It's one of many examples of that kind of subversion that exist in the Flashpoint story, even if it's a somewhat disturbing reality for die-hard fans of Diana and Steve to consider. 

He was made considerably older than Diana in the 1980s

After the famous Crisis on Infinite Earths story in the 1980s, many of the DC comics were revamped in some shape or form. For Wonder Woman, that meant making Steve Trevor into a character who was significantly older than Diana. In this new dynamic, the two of them were never in a romantic relationship. Instead, Steve's mother Diana crashes on the island of Themyscira, and finds the Amazons battling a monster. Steve's mother turns the tide of the battle through the use of her gun, and ultimately loses her life in the process. 

In this version of the story, Diana is named after Steve's mother, and when Steve eventually comes to Themyscira, it's in an act of war. Steve is convinced by Ares to bomb the island, and only has a change of heart once he realizes that he's about to bomb civilians. When his co-pilot, who is working for Ares, attempts to kill him, Diana is the one who saves his life and brings him to the island. That's how she starts her life of superheroism, but in this version of the story, Steve has a much more colored past than he does in the original conception of the character.