'Man Of Steel' Comic-Con Panel: 'We Had To Act As If No Film Had Been Made'

It's hard to imagine "Man of Steel" director Zack Snyder summing up his process more encouragingly, considering Superman's big-screen legacy following Christopher Reeve's 1978 Richard Donner-directed debut: "We had to act as if no film had been made."

That was precisely what the "300" and "Dawn of the Dead" remake director told a curious, enthralled San Diego Comic-Con crowd Saturday during a panel offering his 2013 DC Comics reboot its most vast exposure yet, E! News reports. The footage attendees glimpsed featured a solemn Russell Crowe voiceover as Jor-El foretelling "children being inspired to greater things." As Kal-El/Clark Kent's Smallville father played by Kevin Costner opines some time after the Last Son of Krypton's unexpected Earthly arrival, "People are afraid of what they don't understand."

That bit of Costner dialogue could summarize any apprehension fans can - and do - hold toward another Superman effort following director Bryan Singer's 2006 "Superman Returns." Brandon Routh was cast into the late Reeve's tight, Kate Bosworth  filled in Margot Kidder's Lois Lane, and Kevin Spacey took over Gene Hackman's mantle as Lex Luthor. In what was meant to be a continuation from the original four-film lineage picking up years after "Superman IV," Routh and Bosworth looked conspicuously younger than their predecessors, Spacey was a scene-stealing Luthor despite a weak script, and though generally positively received by critics, a 72-percent Rotten Tomatoes freshness rating couldn't have been what Warner Bros. expected from an installment meant to revive a franchise.

This one takes it back to the get-go, Snyder has said. "The Tudors" alum Henry Cavill is now the Man of Steel, complete with a touched-up set of tights. Snyder even believes that Hans Zimmer's new score will more than do right by the memories of the late John Williams' stirring 1978 orchestral.

"When we approached it, we had to say, 'This is a Superman for the first time,'" Snyder told the crowd.

Cavill added, "It's a dream come true and an honor to be here . . . I just wanted to bring as much of the modern Superman into the world. [The fans] know everything about him, you're there through thick and thin. This is for everyone else out there. To bring him to the modern world that everyone case associate with."

Snyder added that this won't be specifically devoted to a single, ripped-from-DC-canon serial. He claims it instead weaves threads into one another from many a Superman arc, save for the "Death of Superman" saga.

Speculation will surely be afoot - with a teaser debuting before this week's "The Dark Knight Rises" conclusion to Christopher Nolan's Batman saga - that Warner Bros. is aligning pieces on a chess board for a Marvel-style build to a Justice League team-up apex.

Snyder is saying neither "Yes," nor "No."

"Let's say this: We know that Superman is the jewel in the DC crown. What we're trying to do is get this house in order. And then, who knows what's possible?" Snyder mused.

Of course, Snyder should've also pointed out that if Superman is be DC's "Iron Man" in this equation - in other words, a true launch pad for a Justice League franchise - then there's a lengthy road ahead to pulling off a team-up. For one thing, the franchise would already have its equivalent to "Hulk," that key character introduction that went horribly, horribly wrong the first time: 2011's widely panned "Green Lantern." There's also the little matter of deciding who will inevitably carry on the Batman legacy, with both Nolan and star Christian Bale making it very clear that they're both through following "The Dark Knight Rises."

And Hera help us, let's not even dive into everything that's gone perpetually wrong with developing a credible Wonder Woman movie through the years.