Comic Con 2012: Man of Steel panel with Zack Snyder and Henry Cavill

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

With Batman looming over the House of Geekdom, the talk of Comic-Con on Saturday was of Superman. Legendary Pictures brought the world’s first preview of MAN OF STEEL to Hall H, along with director Zack Snyder and Superman himself, Henry Cavill. As someone who doesn’t consider himself a comic book geek, I must admit that I was beyond curious to see what Snyder’s vision of Superman would be. The fact that Christopher Nolan is a producer and all around godfather of the project doesn’t hurt…

– The trailer that was shown is a longer version of a teaser that will be attached to THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. It’s a moody piece, set to Hans Zimmer’s THE THIN RED LINE score, accentuating drama and conflict. This definitely does not make being Superman look fun; at one point we even see him wandering a lonely highway, Bruce Banner-style. Other times he’s bearded, working on a dock of some kind, slumming it. Supes appears to be having difficulty with his identity, and there’s no question that there’s a Chris Nolan feel to the whole thing. Indeed, if it brings to mind any other movie, it’s BATMAN BEGINS; it couldn’t be further away from SUPERMAN RETURNS. (And for many of us, that’s a very good thing indeed.)

– The money shot is Superman bending down, putting his fist on the ground, then zooming upward majestically. Looks wonderful. Another moment of note is of an unbelievable explosion, cars and buildings and everything else flying upward in the air. Not sure what the context of the destruction was, but it was pretty jaw-dropping.

– There are several shots of Superman either being escorted somewhere by the military – and not in a “good” way (you get a quick peek at Christopher Meloni’s general character) – or surrendering to them. There is undoubtedly a theme of “the U.S. versus Superman” in this movie. That Superman is not necessarily seen as a hero by the government is really obvious. Like I said before, MAN OF STEEL doesn’t make it look like a grand old time being Supes.

– We have a few quick shots of Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Michael Shannon as the villain – who Snyder will still not confirm is the character he’s playing. (But his coyness pretty much gives it up.) A fantastic shot shows Cavill’s Superman and Shannon’s “villain” flying toward each other vertically along a skyscraper.

– Russell Crowe has a few quotes at the front of the trailer; playing Jor-El, we see Crowe wearing a black “S” on his chest at one point, and we hear him say: “What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society intended… What if a child aspired to something greater?”

– We see a bus crash into a lake, and a young Superman (as Clark Kent) saves a child’s life.

– Kevin Costner as Pa Kent is also revealed; in one shot he shows Clark what appears to be the spaceship from Krypton in a barn. “It’s not from this world, Clark,” Kent says. “Neither are you.”

– Pa Kent also says, “People are afraid of what they don’t understand.” That sure brings BATMAN BEGINS back to mind… He also says, “You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be, Clark. Whether that man has good character or bad, he’s going to change the world.”

– Towards the end of the teaser, you get a very brief shot of Superman putting on those famed glasses and walking in the Daily Planet lobby. I don’t know why, but I kind of like that this side of Clark is only hinted at in the preview.

On the panel were Zack Snyder and Henry Cavill, who received one of the loudest ovations of the day.

– Zack Snyder called bringing a new Superman movie to life “a big responsibility,” and stated that he thought it was a great opportunity to introduce the character to a new generation and to do “something awesome.”

– Snyder wants to tell the story of “how would you feel if you were Superman?”

– One person asked Snyder who would win in a fight, Nolan’s Batman or Snyder’s Superman? Snyder deadpanned, “I love Batman, he’s really awesome. But… really…?” He then shrugged with a smile on his face.

– Cavill said he wants to bring a modern Superman to the world. This movie is not just for the Superman fans, but for people who haven’t had as much experience with him as well. He later appeared to be very proud to wear that “S” on his chest. He used “Death of Superman” and “Red Son” as inspirations.

– As I mentioned before, Snyder will not say whether or not Michael Shannon is playing General Zod. However, he assured us that “whoever” the villain is, he’ll be very relate-able.

– This film won’t be using the iconic John Williams Superman theme. They had to act as if no other Superman movie had been made. Hans Zimmer is currently at work on the score.

– A fan asked what the chances are of a Batman/Superman team-up in the future, or a Justice League film. Snyder responded, “Superman is the jewel of the DC crown, and we want to get his house in order. And then, who knows what’s possible.”

The last treat for Hall H was the first look at a new MAN OF STEEL teaser poster; you’ve most likely seen this beauty already, but here it is again, just in case…


About the Author

Eric Walkuski is a longtime writer, critic, and reporter for He's been a contributor for over 15 years, having written dozens of reviews and hundreds of news articles for the site. In addition, he's conducted almost 100 interviews as JoBlo's New York correspondent.