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In the original version of Wonder Woman's origin story, Steve Trevor was an intelligence officer in the United States Army during World War II whose plane crashed in the isolated homeland of the Amazons. He was nursed back to health by the Amazon princess Diana, who fell in love with him and followed him when he returned to the outside world, where she became Wonder Woman (and also his coworker, Diana Prince.)
Steve Trevor was portrayed as an American military hero who often fought battles both alone and alongside Wonder Woman. At the same time, he was also a traditional superhero's love interest: repeatedly becoming kidnapped and needing to be rescued by Wonder Woman, as well as pining after the superheroine in the red-and-blue outfit while failing to notice her resemblance to his meek, bespectacled co-worker Diana Prince.
Yet even at Trevor's closest resemblance to Lois Lane, the genders of his (and his superhero's) archetype are reversed from the traditional model, and the significance of this cannot be underestimated. Creator William Moulton Marston was very deliberate about such "role reversals"--indeed they were central to his concept. Steve Trevor's attraction to Wonder Woman, a woman who was infinitely more powerful than he, was and still is a radical concept, and in the feature's heyday this element was played to the hilt. Marston was selling his liberated female archetype largely (perhaps primarily) to male comic book readers, and it was essential to the concept that the central male character set the example for them--and in the process validate some of the readers' secret fantasies.
After Marston's death, much of the original supporting cast was pushed to the background or altogether forgotten. Wonder Woman, Queen Hippolyte, and Steve Trevor were essentially the only survivors of the cast purge. Under writer-editor Robert Kanigher, both his and Diana's personalities were compromised considerably, with Steve beginning to seem threatened by his heroine's power, and with Diana almost beginning to seem apologetic about it. As with Superman stories of the same period, the question of marriage was never far from the couple's minds. There was also considerable attention given to the threat of the Amazon's secret identity being revealed.
In 1968, Diana chose to give up her powers and cut ties with her native Paradise Island to stay close to Steve. In a cruel twist of plot, Trevor was killed off the very next issue. He was thus absent for the next few years of the comic. In the mid-1970's, following the return of the heroine's powers, Trevor was brought back to life by Aphrodite, and given a new identity as the brunette Steve Howard. In 1978, he was killed off again. He would be replaced in 1980 by a double from another, undisclosed dimension of the Multiverse. For the next few years the classic relationship of Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor would be essentially restored, and explored with some detail. In 1985 with issue # 322, writer Dan Mishkin dealt with Trevor's three separate "lives," and after much explanation merged the "new" Steve with the old.
During this same period in early 1980s issues of Wonder Woman, the villainous Doctor Psycho fused Steve's image with Wonder Woman's abilities and became "Captain Wonder," sporting a costume similar to Wonder Woman's. In the final issue of the original Wonder Woman series, Steve and Diana married.
Post-Crisis and Beyond
The 1985 comic book storyline Crisis on Infinite Earths erased all previous history in the DC Universe. At the end of the series, the Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor of Earth-2 traveled to Mount Olympus to live with the Greek gods and goddesses, as many of the other Earth-2 heroes died or merged into a new streamlined continuity. The Wonder Woman of Earth-1 was returned to the clay from which she was formed, thus allowing her and her supporting characters to be re-introduced with new origins. Steve Trevor was revamped to be considerably older than Diana. In addition, the two of them never had a romantic relationship.
Trevor also had a later revealed link to the Amazons in that, prior to his own crash landing on Themyscira, his lost mother, Diana Rockwell Trevor, had also crashlanded on the island to find the Amazons battling a large monster. Seeing they were close to defeat Diana Trevor used her pistol on the beast giving the Amazons an advantage in the battle. Unfortunately she died as a result. After her death the Amazons considered the outworlder to be an honored hero for her sacrifice. It is from her that Queen Hippolyta named her daughter Diana and also from her that the Amazons came into possession of a gun originating from Man's World. It's this familial link that led to the god Ares to manipulate Steve into bombing Themyscira to eliminate the Amazons with an ironic touch. However while in flight and guided to the island, Trevor realized he was about to needlessly bomb civilians and attempted to abort the mission. However, his co-pilot, a minion of the war god, became a monster and attempted to force him to attack. While the pilots struggled, Diana managed to stop the plane's attack and rescued Trevor.
Bringing the unconscious Trevor to the island, Diana recognized his American flag ensignia on his uniform mirrored her own armor's color motif and took this as a sign of where she had to go to begin her fight against Ares. Thus inspired, Diana took Trevor to Man's World in the city of Boston and began her calling. Since then, Trevor and Diana have been close friends ever since despite him being old enough to be her father. This version of Steve Trevor went on to marry Etta Candy and became the Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Following the recent Infinite Crisis, Wonder Woman's origin has yet again been revamped, as by extent her supporting cast. Diana is no longer a recent arrival to man's world, but instead has been around for a considerable time, having been involved in the creation of the Justice League of America. Although Steve still remains close friends with Diana and married to Etta, his history with Diana has not fully been developed.
- Steve Trevor makes an appearance in Alex Ross's Justice. He is among the sidekicks and loved ones attacked by the Legion of Doom, and can be seen embracing Wonder Woman.
Appearances in other media
- Steve (Trevor) was mentioned in the unaired 1967 presentation: Wonder Woman.
- Steve Trevor first appeared in the Wonder Woman 1974 telefilm, played by actor Kaz Garas.
- In the Wonder Woman television series, Trevor was played by Lyle Waggoner.
- In the Super Friends, he is mentioned in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show in the episode Darkseid's Golden Trap, Part 2 when Wonder Woman announces: "I have a date with Steve Trevor tonight...which dress should I wear?" He is also seen in the episode "Mr. Mxyzptlk and the Magic Lamp," although only a brief cameo, he has no dialogue. He later appears in an episode of The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, where he is revealed to be an astronaut. That episode was called "The Darkseid Deception."
- A similar character named Howard Shelton appears in the Squadron Supreme series as the aged husband of Power Princess (taking the post-Crisis age difference even further). Though they met decades earlier, only he aged and Power Princess took care of him even as an old man. He was later quietly killed by a counterpart of Hyperion who almost immediately took up a relationship with Power Princess.
- In Justice League, Trevor appears in the three part story, "The Savage Time" (voiced by Patrick Duffy), in which the Justice League travel back in time to prevent Vandal Savage from altering the course of World War II. Here, Trevor is a secret agent for The Allies whom Wonder Woman rescues from a plane crash; the two have a brief, flirtatious relationship that remains as a friendship in the present day where Trevor is now decades the superheroine's senior. Trevor calls Wonder Woman by the nickname "Angel". This is similar to the Golden Age version of the character, who often referred to Diana as the "angel" who rescued him from the plane crash.
- Steve Trevor appears in the animated Wonder Woman film, voiced by Nathan Fillion. His full name is Steven Rockwell Trevor. He calls Diana "angel" similar to his DCAU counterpart.
- The character is to be part of a live-action film, as stated by executive producer Joel Silver. However, the project has been in development hell for several years.