Warning: There are massive spoilers ahead for "Wonder Woman 1984."
Chris Pine reprises his role as Steve Trevor in the "Wonder Woman" sequel.
Since trailers for the film dropped, fans have been wondering how the character could return since he was apparently killed in the first installment.
Still, the sequel uses a clever device to bring Trevor back to help Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) receive closure and move forward.
When "Wonder Woman 1984" trailers teased the return of Diana Prince's first love Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), fans were massively confused.
How is this possible when Steve sacrificed himself at the end of the first movie, set during World War I? And how can Steve still look exactly the same even though 66 years have transpired since the first film?
Now that "WW84" is in theaters and available to stream on HBO Max domestically, fans have both of those questions answered.
Director Patty Jenkins told fans at 2019's Comic Con Experience in Brazil that Trevor's return wouldn't be a gimmick and it seems she's kept her word.
Steve Trevor returns in 'WW84' after Diana Prince wishes him into reality using a magic stone
Wait, really? Yup. That's the big secret.
Early in the film, a mysterious, but seemingly harmless artifact gets dropped off at the Smithsonian Institute to be inspected by Dr. Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig).
Diana Prince also happens to work at the Smithsonian as an expert in cultural anthropology and archaeology. The two women look over the mystery three-pronged gemstone that's held in a circular base. Minerva quickly deduces that it's made of citrine, a variety of quartz that's used in fakes throughout history.
While Minerva initially dismisses its importance - saying it's probably worth nothing more than $75 - Diana notices a Latin inscription on it that tells its beholder they can grant one wish.
Overhearing the two, a coworker jokingly touches the stone, wishes for coffee, and the stone glows. When he coincidentally gets one almost immediately, Barbara and Diana joke over what they would use their one wish on. Diana says she knows exactly what she would wish for.
Without knowing that the stone actually grants anyone who touches it a wish, Diana silently wishes for the return of her former love, Steve Trevor. It's clear from the film's start that while Diana has adjusted well to life after Steve's death, at the end of the day, she still misses her first love.
Steve reappears into the film about 45 minutes into the sequel, except it's not exactly Steve as we remember him.
Steve is brought back in some random man's body
While at a party, a man calls out to Diana. While she tries to brush him off, the man recites some of the last things Steve ever said to her moments before he flew to his death in 2017's "Wonder Woman."
Diana then realizes this is Steve. Although he doesn't look like Steve - the audience can initially see he's clearly another man - he has the consciousness and memories of her former flame.
Diana tells "Steve" that all she sees is the love of her life and we, the audience, also see the random man as Steve for the duration of the film. Everyone else, however, is likely seeing the man as his actual self.
Wait. So what's the deal with this magic gemstone? It's a twist on the monkey paw.
Pedro Pascal's character, Max Lord, refers to the stone as "the Dreamstone," which seems like an apt name since it grants wishes.
Later in the film, Barbara is trying to learn more about the stone. If you pause the film at the right moment, a description on screen tells you the Latin inscription on the stone reads, "Anulo imposito magnum desideri es um invoca." The direct translation is, "On this ring held, cast but one great wish."
We then learn the stone was brought into existence by someone Diana conveniently refers to as the "God of Lies."
The Dreamstone is a twist on "The Monkey's Paw," the cautionary short story of receiving three wishes, but receiving consequences for each one as a result.
The sequel handled Steve's return pretty perfectly. It had the opportunity to trick the viewer and, instead, was upfront with fans from the start
If you were following the film's production closely, some of the major plot points for the sequel leaked over a year ago from test screenings, including the idea of Steve reappearing in the film because of a granted wish.
My fear heading into "Wonder Woman 1984" was that Diana would see Steve return, but she would have no idea that he wasn't real. In turn, I feared that the audience would also believe Steve was really back only to have him ripped away at the film's end all over again and feel tricked.
Instead, I was shocked the sequel was respectful enough of its audience to let the viewer in on what they were doing with Steve right away. Both "Steve" and Diana had a conversation about how it was possible for him to be back and spent time trying to figure out how and why he was in another man's body. And because viewers were clued in pretty early that Steve wasn't going to be sticking around forever, it gave fans realistic expectations for the film's end.
Anyone who has ever grieved the loss of a loved one could imagine how difficult it would be to possibly learn that that individual was alive again only to later discover they never existed. It would be inextricably painful to mourn that loss all over again.
When the 2017 film was released, I wrote about how "Wonder Woman" had the guts to do something no Marvel movie did in killing its protagonist's love interest.
At the time, I wasn't convinced the studio would allow Steve to be killed from the series because of the effortless chemistry Gadot and Pine shared on screen and because Steve is a pretty large character in the comics.
Also, superheroes are usually (at least partially) defined by their romantic interests. Where would Superman be without Lois Lane or Spidey without Mary Jane Watson?
But instead of using Pine as a crutch, "WW84" used him to help bring Diana some proper closure from his loss. Instead of trying to keep Steve around for a third "Wonder Woman" entry, "Steve" acknowledged it wasn't the right thing to do and that even Diana knew their time together was limited.
His reappearance in the sequel allowed her to find peace, continue to expand her powers (She can fly now? And turn things invisible? Sure!), and move forward without feeling like an outright gimmick.
Read the original article on Insider