The dust has finally settled on Comic-Con 2015, and we're left with quite a few awesome souvenirs. One of the best being the brand-new, full-length trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which helped cap off a memorable panel for Warner Bros. that also included The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Pan and a surprise appearance from David Ayer and his Suicide Squad cast. As huge as that collective is, the Batman v Superman trailer brought down the house, giving us MUCH more than the underwhelming first trailer from April.
The trailer offered our first look at Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) in action, Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) doing his best Kurt Cobain impression and an explanation of exactly why Batman (Ben Affleck) has beef with Superman (Henry Cavill). But the trailer was just the tip of the iceberg, with Zack Snyder and the entire cast shedding some much-needed light on this iconic story. Moderator Aisha Tyler and director Zack Snyder were joined by Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Holly Hunter, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons in Hall H, where they offered plenty of new details, which we plan to break down over the course of this article.
This year's Hall H panel marks the third year in a row that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has had some sort of presence at SDCC. Back in 2013, just a few months after Man of Steel hit theaters, director Zack Snyder brought Harry Lennix out to read a passage from Frank Miller's iconic graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, before showing off the /batman-v-superman-photo-desert-fatigues/Batman v Superman logo for the first time, causing 7,000 fans to lose their collective minds. Last year, Zack Snyder made a surprise appearance for the Hall H crowd along with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot, revealing a brief scene where Superman is seen hovering over Batman's bat-signal, and revealing the first photo of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
Zack Snyder went bigger than ever this year, trotting out the entire main cast and giving us a phenomenal trailer that makes the long wait until March 25, 2016 so much more excruciating than it already is. While the panel will surely be looked back at as one of the highlights of this year's con, there were still several questions about this superhero adventure, and the cinematic universe it sets up, that went unanswered. We still have no clue who Scoot McNairy is playing, and you may recall photos of him on the set where he was seen wearing green stockings over the bottom half of his legs. Many speculated that he would be playing The Flash, but that was before Ezra Miller was cast as Barry Allen. Others were hoping that the studio would announce who is starring in Green Lantern Corps., since rumors have swirled that Chris Pine is set to play Hal Jordan and Tyrese Gibson is portraying John Stewart.
Regardless of what wasn't revealed, there was plenty to enjoy with this fascinating panel. This three minute and 39 second trailer is the one we've been waiting two years for, ever since Comic-Con 2013. We have delved through the panel and the trailer with an exhaustive recap of both the trailer and the panel Q&A session that shows you everything that we now know about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The New Trailer
To be perfectly frank, I wasn't terribly impressed with the first Batman v Superman trailer that debuted in April, which featured way too much rhetoric about who Superman is, why he's here, if he's dangerous, yada yada yada, with a handful of scenes thrown in. With that being said, I was incredibly impressed with the new trailer revealed at SDCC, because it not only expands on those tiny snippets of footage from the first trailer, but gives us our first look at several characters in action for the first time, such as Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman fighting in costume, the quirky ways of Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor, his assistant Mercy Graves, played by Tao Okamoto and Holly Hunter as a Senator who wants to know why Superman has come to Earth. In the first trailer, we saw Superman holding what appeared to be part of a space shuttle, bringing it gently back to Earth, but in this new trailer, we see this space shuttle literally exploding on impact, just after the launch, with Superman saving the day. The first footage also featured Lex Luthor in voice over talking about devil's coming from the sky, and this trailer shows that he's saying this to Holly Hunter's character. We also get confirmation of Batman's "aging" nature, with Ben Affleck stating that he's been fighting crime in Gotham for 20 years and there are no good guys left. Thankfully, we also finally get some incredible footage of Batman and Superman's epic fight, which shows that Bruce can certainly hold his own against the Man of Steel... for now, that is.
Frank Miller Influence Isn't Too Strong
Since director Zack Snyder used a passage from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns to essentially announce Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice two years ago, most assumed, at first, that the superhero sequel would be a direct adaptation of the iconic graphic novel. As more pieces started to come into place, though, the connection between Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and The Dark Knight Returns seemed to wane. During Saturday's SDCC panel, Zack Snyder said that this is a brand new story, but there are plenty of homages to the Dark Knight Returns throughout the movie. Here's what the filmmaker had to say during the panel.
"It's definitely based on ideas we had, in a room, talking about what would be cool to see. Now, the idea of Batman fighting Superman, it's a thing that happens all the time in the comic books, but, for me, there's been a lot of talk about my love for a particular comic book, which is The Dark Knight Returns. It's a comic book that I love, and I definitely homage a lot in the movie, as a way of saying to Frank Miller, 'You're a genius, and I think that book is genius.' But the story itself is not that story. The story itself is a story we came up with on our own."
Gotham and Metropolis Are Neighboring Cities
In the DC Comics, there has never been a concrete, geographical explanation regarding how far Superman's Metropolis is from Batman's Gotham City. In some instances, Metropolis and Gotham City are hundreds of miles apart from each other in the comics, while, in other books, the cities are said to be within driving distance of one another. Director Zack Snyder confirmed at the panel that Gotham and Metropolis are essentially "twin cities," comparing them to the proximity between the Bay Area cities San Francisco and Oakland.
"The big rule that we broke is we put Gotham and Metropolis right next to each other. I don't know if it's appeared that way, ever, maybe somewhere. If you dig deep enough, you can find a justification for just about anything. But it made sense for us and worked for our story that they were kind of sister cities, across a big bay, like Oakland and San Francisco."
Later on in the panel, Ben Affleck elaborated that, not only are these cities right next to each other, but they each represent much different segments of the socio-economic landscape, with Metropolis representing the wealthy elite, and Gotham housing the poor.
"There's this interesting idea of Metropolopis being a big successful, wealthy city and Gotham being a place where more downtrodden people live. Gotham people take the ferry to Metropolis, and there's this idea of wealth and power, and the way power engenders fear, which made it feel real and and smart, and I was even more proud to be a part of it."
The idea of Gotham and Metropolis being "twin cities" is certainly intriguing, and it makes sense when we go into this next item, where we see a few details in the trailer that connects this movie to 2013's Man of Steel.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's Connection to Man of Steel
The trailer confirmed a juicy rumor that had been around for quite some time, which revealed that the corpse of General Zod (Michael Shannon) plays into the story, with one brief shot showing a body bag being unzipped, with Zod's corpse resting inside. While we don't know for sure how his corpse ties into the story, it's been rumored that Lex Luthor obtains Kryptonian technology leftover from the Battle of Metropolis, to create his green warsuit which was briefly shown in the trailer, and it's possible that Zod's corpse plays into these plans. However, there is a more subtle but, also, more direct connection to Man of Steel that explains why The Dark Knight has beef with Superman.
During the panel, director Zack Snyder teased that there are some aspects of Man of Steel that tie into this movie specifically, stating, "We had done stuff in Man of Steel that actually allowed us to create a conflict that makes sense with what this movie is about." In making Metropolis and Gotham neighboring cities, it allowed the filmmaker to use the wide-sweeping Battle of Metropolis in Man of Steel to carry over into Gotham City as well. One of the first shots in the trailer features Bruce Wayne watching his Wayne Financial building come crumbling to the ground, as he looks on, visibly distraught, before running into the cloud of dust caused from this destruction. A new video has surfaced that shows how Zack Snyder meticulously matched a seemingly random shot from Man of Steel, where Zod's heat vision destroys a number of random buildings, one of which turns out to be the Wayne Financial building. The scene in the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer where you see a mysterious orange beam cutting through the building is actually Zod's heat vision, matched up perfectly from the 2013 movie, and this scene literally takes place during that battle, but we see it from Bruce Wayne's perspective. Since Superman is ultimately responsible for this damage, the seeds of battle are planted, and Bats and Supes prepare to throw down. Check out the video below that shows both scenes in sync with one another.
MAN OF STEEL matched with BATMAN V SUPERMAN trailer. Fanfuckingtastic. pic.twitter.com/7LJd5VSvkU— Peter S. Hall (@PeterSHall) July 13, 2015
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's Connection to the Joker and Suicide Squad
This connection was never officially addressed in the panel, but there are a few key clues dropped in the trailer. After the destruction of the Wayne Financial building, Bruce Wayne picks up a newspaper where the headline reads "Wayne Tower Devastated," which featured the hand-written remarks "You let your family die," presumably written by the Joker (Jared Leto). There is also another shot in the trailer where Bruce walks by the suit worn by his former sidekick Robin, which has the quote, "HaHaHa, Joke's On You Batman" spray-painted on the suit. This basically confirms a long-held rumor that The Joker killed Robin years ago, and while it isn't known if Jared Leto will actually appear as Joker in the movie, we know from Suicide Squad set photos and videos that Ben Affleck does make an appearance as Batman, seen hanging from the top of Joker's sports car, a scene which was even featured in the Suicide Squad trailer shown at Comic-Con. And, as it turns out, sneaky Zack Snyder even teased this scene from the trailer back in April, when Suicide Squad director David Ayer revealed the first official photo of Jared Leto as The Joker.
The Mech Suit
The Comic-Con 2014 footage gave us our first look at Batman's mech suit, and we saw much more of it in the trailer released on Saturday. It was assumed by many that this bulky suit enhances Batman's strength in some ways, perhaps evening out the playing field, so to speak, in his battle with the super-human powers that the Man of Steel has. Director Zack Snyder clarified at the panel that the mech suit is more defensive than offensive. Here's what he had to say during the panel.
"It's not really enhancing his strength more than protecting him or buying him time. And he's just gonna get pummeled like a piñata. It's slightly complicated."
Jeremy Irons as Alfred
During the panel, each of the actors was asked how their version of the character compares to the previous iterations that we've seen in comics and on the big screen. Jeremy Irons revealed that he has "big shoes to sit in," following Michael Caine's iconic performance as Alfred Pennyworth, but he teased that his version is "a little different."
"Well, Michael Caine was pretty amazing as Alfred, so I have big shoes to sit in. He's a little different, my Alfred, so I think there are surprises in store, but I carried along myself, with the explosions around me, and followed the boss, and tried to make him safe, and tried to make him happy and tried to make him grow up a little bit."
We don't see much of Alfred in the trailer, but it becomes clear in one scenes that he doesn't think Superman is Batman's enemy, and that he's opposed to this war that is brewing quickly between both of these heroes. Obviously, we know that, in the end, Batman and Superman will eventually come together to form the Justice League, so perhaps it's Alfred who helps convince Batman to align himself with the Man of Steel.
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
Jesse Eisenberg addressed the campy nature of Lex Luthor in the past, but also said that this version of the villain is more grounded than he has been in the past, thanks to screenwriter Chris Terrio.
"There is always a campy element to the character, but there is a real emotional grounded-ness to this version, who I attribute to the writer, Chris Terrio, who, as Zack Snyder said, is a phenomenal writer, and gives every character in this movie a real emotional core, even though the situations are so heightened and theatrical."
We see plenty of the long-haired Luthor in the trailer, but the official photo of the villain sent out by Zack Snyder in March showed him sporting the iconic bald look. How his luscious locks disappear in this movie remain to be seen, and hopefully the next trailer expands on his green super suit, and just what purpose General Zod's corpse has, since it's presence is rumored to be connected to Luthor in some way.
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
"For me, with Wonder Woman, I feel like I have been given a huge opportunity to show the strong, beautiful side of women, finally. Wonder Woman has all of the strength of a superhero, but at the same time, she's very sophisticated, loving and has a lot of emotional intelligence. I feel very, very privileged to be the one to bring her back to life."
Amy Adams revealed at the panel she wanted to play Lois since she was five years old, added that she also loves playing a strong woman with emotional intelligence, but also vulnerability and strength. Will Lois Lane and Diana Prince meet? We'll have to wait and see.
Holly Hunter as...An Original, Unnamed Character
Holly Hunter's character one of just a handful of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice roles that were never fully confirmed, but this new trailer opens on her, revealing that she is a Senator, who is trying to figure what exactly Superman wants, what he represents, and if he poses a danger to the world as we know it, in the aftermath of the Metropolis battle that leveled the entire city. Director Zack Snyder confirmed at the panel that the actress is playing an original character, and an important one at that.
"Holly has an original part in the film. I have been such a giant fan of Holly's forever. When we were writing the script, we said, 'We need to write a part for Holly Hunter to play in this movie. I don't care what the eff it is, but, as it turns out, it's a super-important part, but she's amazing."
Even though we know she's a Senator, it isn't known if she hails from Metropolis or Gotham, but there are scenes in the trailer where she's seen with Lex Luthor, who appears to be very interested in her crusade to find out the truth about the Man of Steel. How this relationship will play out is unclear, but it's certainly something to keep an eye on.
Ben Affleck as Batman
Finally, we'll wrap up this extensive look at Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by exploring what we learned about Ben Affleck. The actor said that if he thought too hard about the actors who played Batman before him, he probably couldn't have taken the job. He asked Snyder if he was sure about casting him in the role, and the director said it was perfect for Affleck, because Bruce Wayne is at the end of his rope, an older burnout, which got a big laugh out of the Hall H crowd. But in all seriousness, Affleck ended up discovering a version of the character that was astonishing to him. The actor also shared a story where he randomly ran into Christian Bale while, ironically, they were both shopping for Batman Halloween costumes for their kids.
"We went to a costume store in Los Angeles, and I turn around and it's Christian Bale. He and I are standing in the Batman costume section, and I said, 'Look, man, you're the best. Do you have any tips?' (Bale replied) 'Make sure you can piss in that suit.'"
"You look at the cast and you look at the script, and that's so much of what's there, and I always thought there's only a certain amount you can tweak, past that, because you've almost made the movie. I remember a day about two weeks in, where I read a scene and I thought about how I should play it and I came in and watched it and I thought, 'OK, we should probably shoot it this way and that way.' Zack set the shot up so it was one shot, he put it on a crane and it came around, covered everyone's dialogue and it kind of encompassed the scope of what we want to do. I was just like 'F--k, I would never do that. That's so good.' I remember thinking we were in good hands."
We've heard Ben Affleck is directing a solo Batman movie for sometime in 2018, and it sounds like he might be picking up some tricks from Snyder while working on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. That wraps it up for our Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice breakdown of everything we learned at Comic-Con. Are you more or less excited for this superhero adventure now? Let us know what you think in the comments, or reach out on Twitter @GallagherMW. And, in case you missed it or want to watch it for the 100,000th time, check out the official trailer below.