WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Wonder Woman

If there’s one thing fans want in Wonder Woman 2, it’s the return of Chris Pine – but now that it sounds like Steve Trevor will return in the sequel, the big question is: how? The death of Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman‘s final act is the kind of heartbreak that filmmakers can’t simply “take back.” And yet, recent evidence suggests Wonder Woman 2 will be set in the 1980s, with both Chris Pine and Gal Gadot reprising their roles. For the immortal demigod Diana, it’s a simple enough leap. For Steve Trevor… well, the first reactions among the fans are less than confident, assuming that the tragedy which shaped Diana’s entire life is going to be subverted and erased.

But is that really what’s being planned for Wonder Woman 2? Yes, it seems director Patty Jenkins and DC’s plan – or, at this point in development, one of their plans – is to bring Chris Pine’s hero, someway, somehow, into the Cold War of the 1980s. Yet we can’t help but think fans are missing the real answer here, and just how clever and obvious a solution writers Jenkins and Geoff Johns have come up with.

RELATED: Wonder Woman 2 Will Be Set in America

Will Steve’s death be undone: an act of heresy in the face of the raw, genuine emotion of Wonder Woman? Will Steve’s return mean Diana’s chance to be her own hero will be lost for the sake of a leading man? Or will Pine be playing a… different Steve?

The answer to bringing Steve Trevor back for Wonder Woman 2 is simple… and could result in a better movie, too.

No, The Sequel Shouldn’t (& Won’t) Undo Steve’s Death

Wonder Woman Steve and Diana Dancing Wonder Woman 2: How Chris Pine Can Return

When most fans hear the suggestion that Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor will return in Wonder Woman 2, the first reaction may be something close to disappointment. Not in the idea that Pine will return, since his and Gadot’s chemistry was widely praised. And not because Diana should stand on her own, since that was never a problem the first time around. No, most apprehension will come from the assumption that to resurrect Steve Trevor is a fake-out, or a cheap undercutting of all the emotional weight of his death. A death that, as we know from Batman V Superman, left a lasting mark on Diana’s entire character. Which is precisely why that’s almost certainly NOT the path that will be taken.

Fans may weave some complicated theories on ancient gods or goddesses who could return Steve from beyond the grave, tied into the complicated expansions of mythology coming with Justice League. But as we’ve pointed out before, the idea of each and every individual film tying into some larger mythology is Marvel’s strategy, not DC Films’. And when Jenkins was recently explaining her hesitation in telling another Wonder Woman story, she described the “epiphany” that fans should keep in mind:

“I was like, ‘Wait a minute. You have the greatest character of all time that you love dearly, with a cast that you love sitting at the palm of your hand at this day and age — you can do whatever you want with them — are you crazy?’ And then I suddenly realized, it’s not more, it’s another movie. It’s its own movie. And it’s got to be great.”

It may be a foreign, outlandish idea for those adhering to set “rules” of modern shared universes: that superhero movies should stand on their own. Yet DC Films entrusted Jenkins to tell, largely, the same Wonder Woman origin story she always wanted to, regardless of the broader Justice League universe plan. The result was one of the DCEU’s biggest hits to date, so it seems obvious that replicating that unrestricted environment, and making “another movie… its own movie” with “a cast that she loves” is the top priority.

patty jenkins talks about thor 2 Wonder Woman 2: How Chris Pine Can Return

Again, it’s difficult for fans to shrug off the rules, restrictions, and addiction to speculation and theory-spinning (which can be entertaining in moderation). But strip away all the conjecture, and the solution seems simple enough. A Wonder Woman movie set against 1918 World War I proved a grand idea, and Chris Pine was the perfect compliment to Gal Gadot. Shift the setting to a Cold War adventure in the 1980s, and you’re out that leading man even if he hadn’t died stopping World War I.

So how would Wonder Woman 2 by Jenkins and Johns possibly find a way to keep that core cast intact?

NEXT: Steve Trevor's Children Are The Answer (Trust Us)

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