Hey, gang! We just wanted to let everyone know that we’re going on a long break for Labor Day Weekend—but don’t worry, we’ll be back on the 10th! Before we go on break, though, let’s talk about Steve Trevor.
Every time another superhero movie is released in theaters, we at Lady Geek Girl and Friends start to worry a little bit. Often the only female characters involved in superhero movies are the love interest to the hero, and while today those characters are usually given more to do, they still end up falling into the role of damsel in distress or are just portrayed as a simple love interest with not much else going on for them. Heck, even female superheroes are not safe from this treatment, considering what the last Avengers movie did to Black Widow. But now DC Comics is attempting to step up to the plate and really build their own universe to rival Marvel’s. Understanding how that’s gone in the past, many people are skeptical. But some upcoming movies look like they have a lot of potential, especially when it comes to female characters. Other than maybe Suicide Squad, the one DC movie I am most looking forward to is Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is the female superhero. Yeah, you may personally like other female superheroes better, but there is no denying Wonder Woman’s cultural impact, both in the world of comics and feminism.
For the upcoming movie, there has been some speculation to how Wonder Woman’s romantic life will play out on the big screen. Because, you know, she is a woman, and so she has to have some sort of romantic entanglement. I suppose to be fair, if a Superman movie came out and didn’t feature Lois Lane, people would think it was weird. So, Wonder Woman has had several lovers over the years. In the current run of DC Comics, Wonder Woman and Superman are dating. In previous versions, Wonder Woman and Batman have hooked up, and then of course, there is her original love interest, Steve Trevor. Well, the news is finally out; Chris Pine has been cast to play none other than Steve Trevor. But I have noticed that when the script is flipped and we have a female superhero and a normal male love interest, then The Powers That Be tend to talk about things very differently.
It seems like The Powers That Be behind the Wonder Woman movie are going out of their way to tell people that Steve Trevor will not just be a love interest, and that’s great. I’m sure the movie would be very boring if he was simply a love interest, but the fact that TPTB are making such a point to say this is what I find odd. With most superhero movies I just have to keep my fingers crossed that the ladies will be given more to do than make moon eyes at the hero and scream a lot when kidnapped by the bad guy. Yet with Steve Trevor we get confirmation that he will be so much more than that. Scott Mendelson from Forbes explains:
But when Jeff Sneider states that Pine will be “no mere love interest” and that “there will be plenty of action to keep him busy,” he is probably speaking with some understanding of the situation. Among the many reasons that Michelle MacLaren was allegedly forced out of Wonder Woman was her insistence on indeed turning Steve Trevor into something of a classical “damsel in distress.” The studio, however, was allegedly worried about emasculating him or being concerned that audiences wouldn’t buy that Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) would be interested in a guy who needed rescuing.
Great pains are being taken not to “emasculate” Steve Trevor and to give him “a lot of action to keep him busy”. It seems despite being Wonder Woman’s love interest, Steve Trevor will have his own well-developed character and maybe even a story arc outside of his female love interest. Female lover interests, however, especially those in superhero movies, rarely get the opportunity to have character development, much less a chance at their own story arc.
Again, I do want Steve Trevor to be a well-developed character who is more than a love interest. What I find almost amusing, and sad, is the great pains that are being taken to remind people that Steve Trevor is not just there for the romance and to show that he is still a powerful male figure. Female characters very rarely get this treatment, and even in the case of someone like Jane Foster (who is given more of a role in the movies) the advertising still portrays them as the adoring accessory to the male hero. It’s frustrating to see these efforts taken to make Steve Trevor a well-rounded character, but to constantly hear excuses about why female characters in other movies (TV shows, etc.) can’t be given more development.
Furthermore, while I do hope that Steve Trevor is given a lot to do, I also hope that he is saved by Wonder Woman more than once. Wonder Woman is physically stronger than Steve, with a whole host of powers, and she has certainly saved Steve more than once in the comics. So while Steve shouldn’t be a damsel in distress, I do think that Wonder Woman, like her male counterparts, should get the opportunity to heroically rescue her love interest. I also would like Steve’s character to be very nuanced. In the comics, Steve has the burden of introducing Wonder Woman to man’s world (our world) and answering her questions. At the same time, however, Wonder Woman should not be like a newborn baby learning about the world from the man she adores. Wonder Woman is smart and has her own strong opinions about things. She often questions and dislikes many of the things in man’s world. Occasionally, that even includes Steve. While Steve is an overall good guy, due to his privilege he still ends up saying, doing, and upholding sexist worldviews that Wonder Woman critiques him on.
I am excited to see Steve Trevor in the Wonder Woman movie and hope he is portrayed accurately. More than that, though, I hope that TPTB over at DC Comics put the same effort into developing their female characters in all their upcoming movies as they are putting into developing Steve Trevor.