Director Zack Snyder and "Man of Steel" star Henry Cavill promised to reinvent Superman for a modern generation.
"We certainly respect the history," Snyder told 6,000 screaming fans at Saturday's Comic Con panel. "But I kind of felt like Superman needed to be reintroduced to a new generation," Snyder said. "He's always been like this Boy Scout on top of a mountain and you can't really touch him."
"I just wanted to bring Superman into the modern world," Cavill added. "Hopefully I bring a version that everyone can relate to."
Snyder screened the first-ever footage from the film, which opens next June. As of this writing, Warner Bros has not made this footage available to the press.
The trailer opens on the Kent family farm in Kansas with nostalgic shots of an overturned child's toy wagon and what appears to be a young Clark Kent running through the yard with a homemade red cape on his back.
The voice of Russell Crowe, who plays Superman's father Jor-El, narrates the opening moments. "What it a child deemed of becoming something other than society, intended?" Crowe asks. "What if he aspired to be something greater?"
The footage then cuts to a grown up Clark Kent dressed in street clothes, walking alone along a snow-covered road, carrying a backpack.
The trailer clip then returns to footage of a young Clark lifting a school bus that has fallen off of a bridge into the water. The voice of a woman says off-screen, "My son was in the bus. He saw what Clark did," as a young Clark is seen lifting the bus from the water.
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The trailer then moves to inside a barn on the Kent farm, where the ship Superman traveled in from Krypton is hidden. As the ship is revealed, an image of an infant Superman, floating in the air is scene.
Kevin Costner, who plays Clark's earthly father Jonathan Kent, says, "It's not from this world Clark and neither are you."
"You have to decide what kind of man you want to be," he continues, "Whether his
character is good or bad, he's going to change the world."
As Costner speaks, footage of a now-grown Superman is shown, as he flies through the sky with a sonic boom behind in his wake.
Cavill then narrates about how his father felt the world wasn't ready for Superman and we see footage of Superman being escorted by the military.
Next, Superman is seen flying to engage what appears to be the film's main villain, General Zod (originally played by Terrence Stamp in "Superman II").
There is also a brief scene of Crowe back on Krypton, wearing a grey costume with the "S" shield on the chest, preparing to send a baby Kal-El off to Earth from the dying planet of Krypton.
"We had to act as if no films had been made," Snyder said when asked if "Man of Steel" references any of the earlier Superman films. "This is the first Superman movie in our heads. We couldn't steal from any of the other films."
Cavill said he based his inspiration on the Superman character from two modern comic book storylines, rather than on any of the previous cinematic portrayals.
"Primarily, 'The Death of Superman.' and 'The Return,'" Cavill said. "Beyond that, 'Red Son," an alternate Superman storyline which imagines what would of become of the character had he been born in the Soviet Union rather than fictional Smallville, Kansas.
Snyder refused to answer directly when asked if Zod is in fact in the film. But he all but gave away the secret, smiling broadly when asked, and saying, "Everyone in the film has to be relatable. If it were him [Zod], just in theory, he'd have to be super relatable."
Snyder was also asked if the Superman reboot was part of a larger planned effort to launch a "Justice League" film that could eventually compete with Marvel's "Avengers" film.
"We know that Superman is the jewel of the DC universe and we want to first get his house in order," Snyder said. "Beyond that, we'll see."
And in a lighter moment, Snyder was asked who would win in a fight between his Superman and Christopher Nolan's Batman."I love Batman, he's awesome," Snyder said. "But, really?"
Snyder also indicated that there would be a teaser for "Man of Steel" attached to "The Dark Knight Rises" when it hits theaters on Friday, July 20.