Steve Trevor + Backstory
As a follow-up to my musings about Steve’s childhood (to recap: Indiana boy born in 1882 to a military father and suffragette mother who grew up with a bunch of older sisters), here’s some more conjecture about Steve’s backstory.
The evidence base I’m using for these imaginings come from:
1. Steve is a male feminist fantasy, so no fuckboi traits allowed
2. Steve is good at soldiering; “sir” comes very naturally to him
3. You can do something or you can do nothing, and Steve’s already tried nothing
4. Pine’s description of the character: “rogue-ish,” “cynical,” “realist,” “worldly,” “charming”
5. History and stuff
Education (1900-1905): Steve is a smart cookie, so I can see him doing well in school and taking classes at Butler University, at his mother’s insistence that he learn a few things about the world before the army fills his head with nonsense. At around 19, Steve would enroll in West Point, the United States Military Academy. It’ll be the first time he’s lived outside the Midwest — and the first time he’s seen the ocean. His, “Why wouldn’t I know how to sail?” comment makes me think he got teased at some point in his life for not knowing his way around the water. He probably played football and got really into the Army-Navy rivalry. Hazing was a big issue at this time, with the older classmen wanting to teach the “plebes” a lesson. Integrating southern and black cadets was also an issue.
Abridged Military Career (1905-1910): After graduation, Steve would begin phase one of his military career. At this point in history, the US is caught between isolationism and imperialism, sending soldiers to the Philippines, Nicaragua, Mexico, etc. The last conflicts of the Indian Wars were also continuing. No glory, no honor. Steve grows disillusioned with the military. His father, though privately upset by imperialism, is nonetheless deeply disappointed when Steve takes a honorable discharge and announces his intention of seeing the world without a gun in his hand.
Rogue Explorer (1910-1915): Let’s say it’s around 1910 when Steve sets off to see the world. He uses his natural charm, his smarts, and his military understanding of supply and trade routes to become a smuggler — but only to fund his travels and fun. Steve is a ladies man because he genuinely loves women. He falls for them on a regular basis and knows his mercurial nature well enough that he only pursues women who know what they’re about and can teach him a thing or twenty. He isn’t a heartbreaker; he’s spot of fun to be remembered fondly.
Steve meets Chief first and the two from a strong bond (one that acknowledges the heavy cultural baggage they left the US with). Steve meets Sameer next, probably because Sameer needs that face of Steve’s to pull off a con. The two begin to work together and bring Chief into their group. They meet up, go off on their own, meet back up — they see the world alone and together. Charlie they meet just as WWI is kicking off. He’s a soldier in the British military, and their contact for sneaking in their smuggled goods. At first, the war is good for business. It’s the “do nothing” approach. Steve tells himself that smuggling goods is helping the boys on the front lines, he’s doing a service. Besides, the US is neutral. Why shouldn’t he be? Charlie re-joins the war effort first. Then Sameer offers his services to British Intelligence. Chief stays neutral, and they all understand. Steve, who can’t stand the horrors anymore, returns to the US.
Soldier-Pilot-Spy (1915-1918): Piloting was just in its infancy when Steve begins his soldiering life again, but he takes to it like a duck to water. The US won’t officially join the war until 1917, but years before they’re offering pilot training and recruiting all the officers they can find in anticipation. That picture of Steve was probably taken in early 1917. After proving himself a competent pilot and a capable officer, British Intelligence would come knocking at his door on Sameer’s recommendation. As a white man and an officer, Steve would get an office in London, a personal secretary, and a place at the table with the brass. His father might indirectly find out his son is now a spy not a soldier and have some thoughts about that ignoble line of work.
But Steve is good at it. He speaks enough languages (at least French and German) to be useful, and his natural charm makes him a valuable operative. He proves more than effective as a honeytrap. (see: scene with Dr. Poison). Spying is an ideal blend of his rogue-soldier dichotomy. While he’s proud of his success and emphatically does not want to suffer, he harbors a deep guilt that other men — better men — are bleeding and starving and dying in the trenches. He grows cynical and numb executing his duty. The armistice and the notebook recall him to life, giving him a mission that he can believe in. Diana, of course, awakens his idealism even further.