Comic-Con: Superman still ‘jewel in the DC crown’

July 15, 2012 | 9:05 a.m.
man of steel Comic Con: Superman still jewel in the DC crown

A striking image from Warner Bros. featured on a “Man of Steel” poster at Comic-Con International (Warner Bros.)

Is “Man of Steel” laying the groundwork for a Justice League movie? Director Zack Snyder may have been hinting at that during the Warner Bros. panel at Comic-Con International on Saturday.

“Superman is the jewel in the DC crown,” Snyder told the Hall H audience of about 6,500. “And really what we’re trying to do is get his house in order, and then who knows what’s possible.”

red son1 Comic Con: Superman still jewel in the DC crown

Red Son (DC Comics)

Snyder and actor Henry Cavill answered audience questions after screening footage from the film, slated for a June 2013 release.

The footage began with glimpses of Clark Kent’s hometown and his childhood while a voice narrated, “What if a child dreamed of being something other than what society intended? What if a child aspired to something greater?”

The clip continued to explore the theme of Kent trying to find his place in a world unready to accept him; early on, his apparent rescue of children in a submerged school bus is seemingly met with suspicion. Later, Superman was shown in handcuffs, flanked by military.

The Clark Kent in the footage seems a far cry from Christopher Reeve‘s earnest, guileless and goofy character in Richard Donner’s 1978 film. Snyder said he wanted to make Superman more accessible.

“Superman’s always this kind of big, blue Boy Scout up on a throne, that nobody can really touch him,” Snyder said.

Cavill said he aimed to change that.

“You guys who know everything about him,” Cavill told the audience. “You’re there through thick and thin. It’s for everyone else out there as well who hasn’t quite experienced what Superman can be, hasn’t gone through comics books, hasn’t felt that world and seen how it changed. And with this, hopefully it can bring a modern version which everyone can associate with.”

deathofsuperman Comic Con: Superman still jewel in the DC crown

“The Death of Superman.” (DC Comics)

Cavill said he woke up an hour early and went to bed an hour late to exercise and prepare physically for the role. He also pored over comics — basically anything I could get my hands on,” he said, citing “The Death of Superman” and “The Return of Superman” as his favorites.

“I felt like they really clarified sort of what Superman is and what lengths he was willing to go to,” he said.

Snyder said “Man of Steel” isn’t based on a particular comic.

“When we started to work on the movie, I think the thing that we decided was we knew that the comic books existed, but the movies are their own thing,” he said. “We have great respect for the canon and great respect for the mythology of ‘Superman.’… I would say it is a mashing of stories and ideas.”

Snyder said it was a fitting project to follow “Watchmen,” his 2009 adaptation of Alan Mooore and Dave Gibbons‘ iconic comics epic.

“I just felt like that having done that, and having taken the masks so far off superheroes of what they’re all about … then to do something like this for me, and it’s all about being awesome and making him work and making him cool,” Snyder said.

An audience member asked Snyder who would win in a fight between his Superman and Christopher Nolan’s Batman. For Snyder, the answer was clear.

“I love Batman, right? He’s awesome,” Snyder said. “Literally awesome. But, like … really?”

portrait Comic Con: Superman still jewel in the DC crown

Henry Cavill., star of “Man of Steel” (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Cavill said he felt the pressure of taking on the Last Son of Krypton’s mantle.

“It is pretty intense. I’m not going to lie. I’ve just been looking at that throughout this thing while you’ve been asking questions,” Cavill said, gesturing to a projection of the Superman logo on one of the Hall H screens. “I get to wear that on my chest. I just really, really hope that I’ve done everything that I need to do to please you guys.”

– Noelene Clark

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