Wonder Woman is finally returning to the big screen—and so is Steve Trevor. The first trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 dropped Sunday and revealed that Wonder Woman’s love interest, who died in the original film, has somehow been resurrected. He returns to her in 1984, when people still shopped at malls and the greatest superhero in the world wore oversized blazers with her sleeves pushed up.
The sequel to the 2017 hit Wonder Woman is set to arrive next summer, and it looks like a fun, nostalgic romp through the 1980s, though one loaded with warnings about the consumerism and greed that dominated the era. The two main villains are Cheetah, a friend of Wonder Woman’s who covets her power and turns evil, and Max Lord, a businessman who promises consumers to grant their every wish—but at a cost. And when Wonder Woman’s long-lost love shows up out of nowhere, rocking a track suit, audiences are left wondering, “What’s the catch?”
Here’s everything that we know about Wonder Woman 1984 so far.
When is Wonder Woman 1984 scheduled to hit theaters?
The Wonder Woman sequel is scheduled to hit theaters on June 5, 2020. Though parts of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) are getting rebooted—Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill have left their roles as Batman and Superman, respectively—Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman had a massive debut in 2017 and is sicking around (as is Jason Momoa’s Aquaman.) Wonder Woman 1984 will be the second DC superhero movie to drop next year, following Birds of Prey: The Emancipation of Haley Quinn, a spinoff of Suicide Squad.
Why is the movie called Wonder Woman 1984?
Wonder Woman 1984 is, indeed, set in 1984. That’s a huge leap from original film to sequel: The first Wonder Woman movie took place during World War I. And Wonder Woman hasn’t aged at all.
We found out at the end of the first film that Diana is the daughter of the god Zeus, which means she’s immortal—or something close to it, at least. Though we see her age from little girl to young woman in that movie, she appears not to have aged between the 1910s and the events of Batman v. Superman, which took place in 2016. So now we find ourselves in the 1980s, with a Diana that looks exactly the same as she did in the 1910 and will in the 2010s.
Who is starring in the film?
Gal Gadot is returning as Diana, a.k.a. Wonder Woman. She faces off against two potential villains. One, Max Lord, is played by Pedro Pascal (the ill-fated Oberyn Martell in Game of Thrones and Baby Yoda’s keeper on The Mandalorian). But the main villain is Barbara Minerva, a.k.a. Cheetah, played by Kristin Wiig. She doesn’t appear much in the trailer, but when she does, she seems to be flexing her comedic muscles (think: Bridesmaids) rather than channeling traditional supervillain evilness during her exchange with Diana.
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In the comics, Max Lord is a wealthy businessman who craves power. In the trailer for Wonder Woman 1984, he seems to represent capitalism itself, offering customers in a mall “everything they ever wanted.” Of course, everything has a price. (More on a tradeoff that Wonder Woman may face in the trailer breakdown section of this post.)
Barbara Miverva is an archeologist and, in some versions of the comic, best friends with Diana, who we learned in the first Wonder Woman works as a museum curator by day. Barbara becomes obsessed with the divine—including, later, Wonder Woman’s own origins—and makes a Faustian bargain in order to become a demigod herself, the Cheetah.
Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen will return as Amazon warriors in flashbacks to Diana’s childhood. And Chris Pine is returning as Steve Trevor, Wonder Woman’s love interest.
Wait, didn’t Steve Trevor die?
As far as we know, yes. Steve Trevor sacrificed himself in the first film in order to save the world. We never actually see Steve’s body, but Wonder Woman mourns his death. And anyway, by 1984 he would be an old man. And yet the Steve Trevor we see return in the Wonder Woman trailer is young.
So what’s going on? Chris Pine has, naturally, remained tightlipped about how his character miraculously returns from the past. But time seems to be a major theme in the first trailer: We see shots of Steve’s watch on Wonder Woman’s mantle over and over again. Eventually, when they reunite, he hands a different digital watch to her. Does his resurrection have to do with time travel?
The trailer implies that Steve’s return may be some trick on the part of Max Lord, Cheetah or both. Maybe Steve flew into some ageless realm when he tried to sacrifice himself and has lived in suspension. Maybe he’s a mirage. Or, most likely, Max somehow brought him back from the dead, fulfilling his promise that he can give shoppers—including Wonder Woman—anything they wish for. But the trailer also hits heavily on the themes of excess and its consequences: Wonder Woman will have to pay some sort of terrible price in return for being reunited with Steve.
Is Patty Jenkins directing?
Yes, Patty Jenkins, who directed the first Wonder Woman movie, is returning for the sequel. Jenkins was the first woman to direct a major American superhero film. And when the movie premiered, it far exceeded expectations: Taking in $800 million at the worldwide box office, Wonder Woman became the highest-grossing live-action film ever directed by a woman when it premiered in 2017.
How does Wonder Woman 1984 fit into the DCEU?
The DCEU is changing quite a bit. Previously, Warner Brothers was following the Marvel Studios model, where the events of one solo superhero movie would impact the events of other solo superhero movies and the eventual team-up movies: All the plots shared a logical timeline and consistency, with Wonder Woman appearing in Batman v Superman and Batman, in turn, showing up in Suicide Squad. But all those films seemed to be building up toward Justice League, which was a box-office letdown.
Now, the DCEU is starting to fragment. The Joker is completely different, tonally speaking, from the other recent DC movies, and just because the Joker rose in 1970s Gotham in Joker doesn’t mean that also happened in the universe where Wonder Woman 1984 exists—or the universe where the forthcoming Batman movie starring Robert Pattinson exists. No one movie will necessarily impact another.
Plus, a Wonder Woman 1984 producer emphasized in an interview with Vulture that the new movie is not a sequel but simply the next iteration in a story, like Indiana Jones or James Bond, movies which only sometimes care about the events of the past films. It’s difficult to reconcile this framing of Wonder Woman 1984 with Steve Trevor’s return, which seems to be the emotional arc of the second film. But in all likelihood, that pitch is simply Warner Bros.’ effort to get fans to stop thinking about the DC films as a linked universe and more like a playground where different directors can visit and pitch various ideas, without consequence to the entire franchise.
What have we learned from the Wonder Woman 1984 trailer?
Here’s everything we can glean so far.
Time is going to play a big role in this movie
We keeps seeing clocks and watches over and over again in the trailer. Specifically, this shot of what is presumably Steve’s watch next to a picture of Wonder Woman at Trevor Ranch. Likely, Diana went back and visited all the places significant to Steve after she lost him. Her life has been defined by grief.
When Steve returns, he hands her an ’80s-style digital watch. The watches and clocks also hint that time might play some role in how the villains try to trick Wonder Woman or how she defeats them. Perhaps it involves time travel or just turning back the clock—in a metaphorical sense—when she reunites with Steve.
We don’t know how Barbara Minerva becomes Cheetah yet
Kristin Wiig’s Barbara and Diana seem to be friends at the beginning of the movie. But this conversation suggests that Barbara has nefarious intentions. She asks, innocently, “Have you ever been in love?” Wonder Woman replies, “A long, long time ago.” Is Cheetah bonding over past romantic entanglements, or is she gathering intel to use against Wonder Woman later? The sudden appearance of Steve suggests it’s perhaps the latter.
Capitalism and greed are going to play a big role in this movie
Pedro Pascal’s Max Lord is giving off some serious “greed is good” vibes in the trailer. (Dare we even call him Trumpian in manner?) “Welcome to the future,” he intones over shots of a glitzy mall that looks eerily similar to the one in Stranger Things. “Life is good. But it can be better. And why shouldn’t it be? All you need is to want it. Think about finally having everything you always wanted.”
This advertising pitch, appearing on gilded televisions sets, comes shortly after Diana has said that her life has not been what we would expect. “Everyone has their struggles.” It’s almost as if Max Lord is offering this pitch directly to Diana, whose life is mostly good, save the absence of Steve.
He’s also offering the promise to Barbara, who we see in a lab. This is perhaps the moment that Barbara finds out who Wonder Woman really is and decides she wants what Wonder Woman has. Fans have speculated that Barbara will try to emulate Wonder Woman and then later try to replace her.
Of course, we know that consumerism has its downsides: There are prices to pay to gaining the things you want most.
The movie may also borrow themes from George Orwell’s 1984
The Wonder Woman sequel could have been set during any time. So why 1984, specifically? That name obviously draws parallels between the film and George Orwell’s masterful dystopian novel in which the mysterious “Big Brother” presides over a surveillance state in which they can monitor everyone’s actions.
One shot in the trailer suggests that Wonder Woman 1984 may touch on similar themes. During a fight in the mall, Wonder Woman uses her tiara to break a security camera. That implies that she doesn’t want anyone—or specifically Max Lord—watching her.
In fact, one of Max Lord’s most famous storylines in the comics is borrowed directly from 1984: In it, Max reprograms a monitoring system created by Batman (called “Brother Eye”) and installs it in every computer in the world. It’s possible he’s up to something similar in the film, given that later on we see him controlling a massive satellite.
This real Steve Trevor does, indeed, seem to return
How Steve Trevor reappears will likely remain a mystery until Wonder Woman 1984 drops. But when Steve brings his watch to Diana at what seems to be a museum event, it does seem that he recognizes her, and she him. This is not the grandson of Steve Trevor, as some theorized, or some sort of muted illusion. He does at least appear to the be war pilot that Diana fell in love with decades ago.
When Patty Jenkins introduced the trailer for the first time during CCXP in Brazil, she was emphatic that Steve’s return was the propelling idea for Wonder Woman 1984, not just some silly plot line to get Steve Trevor back in the movies.
“I can’t tell you [how he’s back], but here’s what I will say: We didn’t put Steve Trevor in this movie because we just wanted to put Steve Trevor in this movie,” she said, according to Collider. “When we thought of the story for this film while we were making the first film, a eureka moment came and it couldn’t have been told without Chris Pine playing Steve Trevor. So I promise you it’s not a gimmick, it’s integral to the story.”
Max Lord possesses something valuable
Steve’s return is not purely joyful. In the trailer, after Diana hugs Steve, we hear Max Lord say, “Now, I take what I want in return.” It seems that he is responsible for reuniting the lovers and wants Wonder Woman to pay up for the favor.
During that speech, he happens to be holding some sort of artifact. Some fans are theorizing it’s a crystal that exists in the DC universe called the “Chaos Shard,” which can grant wishes. The shard could be a literal aspect of Max’s consumerist promise: He can actually grant them their most impossible wishes. However, the Chaos Shard can only be used by gods, which means that Max Lord is either secretly a god hiding on Earth (a la the last Wonder Woman villain, Ares) or something is going to go awry with his wishes—including perhaps the resurrection of Steve Trevor.
The White House is involved
Is Maxwell Lord manipulating the president? Is the president conspiring with him? Is the president under attack and Wonder Woman is trying to save him, but the Secret Service mistakes her as a threat? Whatever the explanation, Steve and Diana have quite the battle inside the White House.
It’s unclear at this point in time how much the U.S. government knows about Wonder Woman. By 2016, the world had forgotten about Wonder Woman: Batman was surprised when she appeared in Batman v. Superman and in the first Wonder Woman movie and spent a good deal of time trying to figure out who she was and where she came from. That means that in the 1980s, the U.S. government has somehow totally forgotten about her or presumed her dead. Otherwise, they would be deploying her on missions.
We are finally getting the invisible jet
The invisible jet was tragically missing from the first Wonder Woman movie, but we’ll finally get it in the sequel. Piloting a jet—even a super-powered invisible one—into a bunch of fireworks seems ill-advised, but Wonder Woman is a demigod, so it will probably be fine.
The action leaves Washington D.C.
This shot is definitely not of Washington D.C., where the rest of the trailer seems to take place. It’ unclear what this wall is or why it’s breaking. Perhaps this is the place where Cheetah gains her powers. Or maybe it’s a hideout for Max Lord. Likely, it’s the same place where Wonder Woman and Steve later take on a military convoy.
We haven’t left Themyscira for good
In the first movie, Diana made the decision to leave her idyllic all-female homeland of Themyscira to save the world from Ares during World War I. That choice was a permanent one: Diana was told that if she left Themyscira’s shores to join the world of men, she could not return.
And while that may still be true, it seems as if the Wonder Woman 1984 audience will be treated to many flashbacks to Diana’s childhood on the island. We see her running as a little girl in one shot. In another, we see Amazons training in some sort of arena for what looks to be the most fearsome version fo the Olympics ever.
Wonder Woman can swing from lightning now
This is quite the new skill: In one shot, Wonder Woman appears to hook her lasso to a lightning bolt and use it to launch herself across the sky. She doesn’t possess this skill in the comics, though it makes some sense: She is, after all, the daughter of Zeus, who controls lightning.
Wonder Woman dons her Golden Eagle armor
In the comics, Wonder Woman’s mother Hippolyta forges her “Golden Eagle” armor for her. Wonder Woman puts it on when she’s ready to wage war. That means she must be confronting a mighty strong villain if she is switching up her uniform.
It’s also a big relief that Wonder Woman is finally wearing pants—or at least leggings. It honestly must be extremely difficult to fight evil in a miniskirt.
Steve Trevor is all of us looking at modern art
Diana shows Steve (wearing a fanny pack!) around a courtyard outside a museum, telling him, “it’s all art.” He stops to thoughtfully gaze at a trash can before Diana politely corrects him, “That’s just a trash can.” Steve tries to smoothly cover up his mistake.
From the music to casting Kristin Wiig as the baddie to Steve’s understandably confused reaction to the very weird decade that was the ’80s, Wonder Woman 1984 certainly looks like a fun ride.
Write to Eliana Dockterman at [email protected].