Entertainment

'Wonder Woman': The Film's Ending Vs. the Comics

There are many ways this have gone before — and some are happy, others are not.

[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Wonder Woman.]

Does Wonder Woman get a happily ever after?

After watching Wonder Woman, it would take a particularly hard heart not to dream of some kind of happy ending for Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). 

In the film, Steve sacrifices himself, telling Diana that while he can save the day, she “can save the world,” — which is why he must be the one to detonate fly off with deadly gas and destroy it — killing himself in the process. There does not appear to be any reunion (ala Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter in Captain America: Winter Soldier). Steve really is gone.

It’s a stark contrast from comic book history, in which the couple had a lot more time together.

There have been multiple versions of the comic book Steve Trevor throughout the years, thanks to DC Entertainment’s irregular relaunches and reboots of its core comic book continuity — to say nothing about the intentionally “alternate” versions of the character in special projects like the Wonder Woman: Earth One graphic novel or the Legend of Wonder Woman mini-series — and, surprisingly and unusually, he tends to get the happy ending so many comic book heroes accidentally lack. Kind of.

In fact, of the four “core” Steve Trevors in comic book mythology, two of them end up married to Wonder Woman and living happily ever after… even if, for the purposes of comic storytelling, there was no real “ever after” because the story started over almost immediately. In 1983’s Wonder Woman No. 300, the Steve Trevor of Earth-Two — which is to say, the original Steve Trevor; the DC characters created during the “Golden Age” of comics in the the 1930s and 40s were moved to “Earth-Two” as of 1961’s The Flash No. 123 and 1963’s Justice League of America No. 21 — reappeared for the first time in years to reveal that he was spending his retirement in married bliss.

“I know I once said I’d never marry him, until all evil was vanquished from the world — but not even an Amazon can wait that long!” explained Earth-Two’s Wonder Woman. (The two had been married for twenty years, Trevor said, which would accompany the Earth-Two mythology that Wonder Woman had gone into temporary retirement around the late 1950s and early ’60s.)

Earth-One’s Trevor would follow suit just three years later. Wonder Woman No. 329, the 1986 final issue of the original series, was created with the knowledge that a reboot was right around the corner — giving writer Gerry Conway and artist Don Heck license to offer up the happiest of endings to Wonder Woman as possible: not only does she get to unite the Amazons and defeat literal deities (Mars and Hades, two nefarious gods with mischief on their to-do lists), she also got to marry Steve Trevor in Olympus, with Zeus acting as officiant. There aren’t many couples that get that privilege.

Of course, in this particular case, the couple’s happiness was exceptionally short-lived; the very next month’s Crisis on Infinite Earths No. 12 would see this version of Wonder Woman killed in combat, being devolved into the magic clay that brought her to life in the first place in preparation for the upcoming reboot. Sorry, Steve.

From that point onwards, it was all downhill for Steve Trevor in comic books. The 1980s reboot of the Wonder Woman mythology moved him out of the love interest position by aging him up significantly; he was officially born a week after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and would eventually retire from the U.S. Air Force to run a private aviation business. Although he didn’t get the chance to romance Wonder Woman, he wasn’t too upset about that. Instead, he ended up marrying the similarly rebooted Etta Candy (Lucy Davis in the new movie), now an Air Force officer in her own right.

When DC’s comic book history was rebooted once again in 2011, Steve Trevor was restored to prominence, if not quite love interest status. Indeed, Trevor’s role until 2016 was one of the spurned lover. Something (never quite explained or properly revealed) had happened between he and Wonder Woman, but she had moved on (to Superman, of all people), and he couldn’t quite get over it.

For five years, Trevor was portrayed as a highly capable action hero — an agent of ARGUS, the DC equivalent of Marvel’s SHIELD, and leader of the brief Justice League of America that lasted from 2012 through 2013 — but one with a chip on his shoulder, to say the least. That finally changed as part of DC’s Rebirth makeover, with writer Greg Rucka and artist Liam Sharp not only reuniting the pair romantically, but also giving Steve an attitude adjustment so that he seemed worthy of Diana’s love. It might not be a happy ending — their story, after all, continues for the foreseeable future — but it’s a far better place than he’s been for more than three decades. Consider it a happy midpoint, at least.


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