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Why Chris Pine Found His Wonder Woman 1984 Role So Challenging

Wonder Woman may not have the water-based powers of her Justice League teammate Aquaman, but her first feature film was still largely a fish-out-of-water story. In the original Wonder Woman, Israeli army veteran Gal Godot's Diana Prince headed to the world of men after crossing paths with Chris Pine's Steve Trevor, who had to teach her how modern life worked in 1918 England. In the process, the titular superheroine learned a lot about humanity — and taught Steve a thing or two along the way.

"He's the guy that's experiencing this Wonder Woman who can fly with a lasso and do all sorts of crazy stuff, who's stunning and loving," Pine explained during a digital press conference devoted to Wonder Woman's sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, which Looper attended. "This man has been so jaded and hurt and scarred by the trauma that can be the modern world that he's closed himself off. [...] And he begins to believe, just like we all, as audience members, begin to remember what it's like to be compassionate and loving."

But in Wonder Woman 1984, the roles are flipped. This time, it's Steve Trevor who's out of his element, and it's up to Diana to school him in the ways of the '80s. 

"I thought that was, for me at least, the most interesting thing to explore," Pine said. Not only does Wonder Woman 1984 change up the formula's gender dynamics — as Pine noted, in these types of stories, it's usually the woman who's out of place — but it's also a nice nod to the original movie, too. "We played with those tropes in the first film, and to come back and play with them in the second was a load of fun," said Pine.

For the actor, it was also a huge undertaking. "It was a bit harder than I expected it to be," he said. "It's like the greatest actor challenge of all time — to pretend to be a baby, a child in the world, seeing everything."

Thankfully, Pine had the rest of Wonder Woman 1984's cast and crew backing him up, as well as some truly spectacular '80s outfits. Not all of Pine's favorite pieces appear on screen, however. "I was madly in love with a denim fanny pack that didn't make it in," Pine said wistfully.

The new relationship between Diana and Steve isn't the only way that Wonder Woman 1984 sets itself apart

Reversing the dynamic between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor isn't the only big change that director Patty Jenkins made for Wonder Woman 1984. While Jenkins is proud of Wonder Woman and loved working with Pine, Gal Godot, and the rest of the cast, she felt like there was some unfinished business left to attend to.

See, Wonder Woman is an origin story, which means that Diana doesn't really become the hero fans know and love until the very end. "She's only Wonder Woman in the last scene of the [first] movie," Jenkins noted, "so I found myself really craving doing a movie about Wonder Woman — now, full-blown Wonder Woman."

The rest of the story came from there. "I started reflecting on what I felt was going on in our world and what Wonder Woman would want to say to the world," Jenkins said. "The last one was her discovery of humanity. Now, how does she live within humanity?"

Focusing on Diana's heroism doesn't mean that the character is perfect, of course. Diana might be a goddess, but she still has flaws. As Jenkins shared, "She has her own struggles and journey to do the right thing, which is so universal to all of us. Being a hero is not an easy thing. It's actually a super difficult thing. So, that I was really interested in too. What does it feel like?"

We'll find out on Christmas Day, when Wonder Woman 1984 arrives in select theaters and on HBO Max (although, if you're really curious, you can watch the opening scene now).