It’s not easy being Superman, especially the version of Superman that we see in the DC Extended Universe, played by Henry Cavill. Though the fledgling superhero may have ultimately saved the world from Kryptonian invasion in Man of Steel, his first major battles involved a lot of collateral damage that left mankind divided over the issue of whether he was a messiah figure, or a dangerous alien.
The aftermath of Superman’s battle with General Zod became the driving force behind director Zack Snyder’s follow-up Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, which found Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) among the faction of society who believed that Superman needed to be stopped – and uniquely positioned to achieve that goal. The film achieved a modest profit at the box office and won a few hearts amid an overall negative reception, but one of the chief criticisms (even before it was released) was that Batman V Superman was too dark and violent to be truly enjoyable.
Warner Bros. noticeably flexed its marketing approach in response to the discussion surrounding the film, with the final trailer in particular offering a view of the movie that focused more on action, humor and “cool” moments. Now Reddit poster Mister_873 has shared a couple of character posters that eventually went unused in the movie’s marketing campaign – and while they’re perfectly good posters, it’s easy to understand why the studio ultimately decided not to use them.
While the Batman poster is more or less what we’ve come to expect from the Dark Knight – especially in Snyder’s movie, where he was weary and disillusioned after 20 years trying to clean up Gotham, and fixated upon Superman’s destruction – the Superman poster would likely only have intensified criticism over Snyder’s depiction of the character. With his heat vision charging up behind his eyes, the Man of Steel looks more like the villain from a horror film than a superhero and role model.
Since Superman actually doesn’t use his heat vision much in the film, the poster mostly brings to mind the “Knightmare” sequence from the movie, in which Batman dreams of a terrible future where Superman has gone very, very bad. If this plot point is revisited in future films – most likely the two upcoming Justice League movies – perhaps we’ll get to see the nasty side of Superman again.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is expected to release on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD this summer, though a release date has not yet been set. Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 2, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; an untitled DC Film on October 5, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; an untitled DC film on November 1, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on July 24, 2020.