After years of build-up, audiences are months away from seeing the Dark Knight and Man of Steel face-off on the big screen in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Previous sneak peek footage has teased the pair’s iconic face-off – but focused more on the aftermath of Man of Steel than where the DCEU (the DC Extended Universe) is headed. Fortunately, with the release of the film’s full-length Comic-Con trailer, superhero movie fans now have a much better idea of what to expect from the titular conflict.
However, new details from the trailer didn’t stop with the basics and Warner Bros. included a number of intriguing story details (as well as nods to comic book source material) that casual viewers might not understand – at least not out of context. To that end, we’ve put together a list of shots from the trailer that viewers may want unpacked.
Of course, our list is not all-inclusive, if you other details to call out, we invite you to share them in the comments after reading our picks!
NOTE: This post may contain SPOILERS for Batman V Superman – depending on the accuracy of our analysis. Look away if you’re trying to avoid all Batman V Superman details.
The Battle of Metropolis… and Gotham?
In Man of Steel, it was presumed that General Zod and Kal-El’s climactic (and controversial) fight was limited to Metropolis. However, Zack Snyder has now confirmed that Metropolis and Gotham City are actually “sister cities,” like Oakland and San Francisco – separated by a bay. Traditionally, in DC Comics fiction, Metropolis is akin to New York City – while Gotham, a “lower class city,” is located in the same area as New Jersey (though it draws inspiration from Chicago) – meaning that it isn’t a stretch to think that the devastation caused by the Kryptonian world engine, as well as the brawl between General Zod and Superman, affected Gotham City directly (and indirectly) as well.
It’s Personal for Bruce Wayne
The new trailer features the Battle of Metropolis from Bruce Wayne’s perspective – in a business suit (not a batsuit) on the ground. In the footage, Wayne is on the phone with someone (exactly who remains a mystery) in Wayne Financial when heat vision from General Zod and Superman’s Man of Steel fight rip through the building.
Later in the trailer, Wayne is shown holding a newspaper with the headline “Wayne Tower Destroyed” (and Joker taunts scrawled over the print) – indicating that when the Battle of Metropolis spilled over to sister city Gotham across the bay, Wayne was helpless to protect innocent lives – especially those of his coworkers, friends, and loved ones trapped in the crumbling building. Understandably, Wayne blames Superman for the deaths, leading to the revelation that drives the core Batman V Superman conflict: “He has the power to wipe out the human race, and I must destroy him.”
Alfred Visits (Abandoned) Wayne Manor
Bruce Wayne’s former home, Wayne Manor also makes an appearance – though, in keeping with the idea that Batman V Superman depicts an aged Dark Knight who has given up crime fighting, the hero’s mansion has also fallen into disrepair. So why does Alfred (Jeremy Irons) take a trip to the run-down manor?
The butler’s voiceover was a key part of the Batman V Superman teaser and his concerned warning to Bruce Wayne about good men turned cruel is also used in the Comic-Con trailer. As a result, it stands to reason that Alfred has returned to Wayne Manor to talk sense into Wayne who, presumably, has journeyed back to the batcave (underneath the mansion) as part of his crusade against the Man of Steel. Concerned for his friend, Alfred pleads with Wayne and makes his disapproval clear: “You’re going to go to war? He [Superman] is not our enemy.”
A Death in the Family
Prior teasers had shown a solemn faced Bruce Wayne gazing back on the Batsuit but the new trailer gives Batman something else to look at: the vandalized suit of Wayne’s former partner, Robin. Previous rumors had suggested that a member of Batman’s “vigilante family” had been killed at the hands of Jared Leto’s Joker – with most reports indicating Robin was the victim.
However, the 2015 Comic-Con trailer makes it pretty clear that a Robin has died as part of Batman’s crusade to clean up Gotham – a story that was also depicted in print. “A Death in the Family” followed the murder of the second Robin, Jason Todd, who gave his life to foil a Joker terrorist attack. In the comics, Batman struggled with grief and crippling guilt over Todd’s death. As a result, the “HAHAHA Joke’s on You Batman” graffiti on Robin’s suit is a not-so subtle hint that Leto’s Joker is responsible for the sidekick’s death and, consequently, the Dark Knight in Batman V Superman is still reeling from the emotional turmoil, enough to leave the Robin suit (and Joker’s message) as a sobering reminder of his personal failure.
The Bracelets of Submission
Sadly, the Batman V Superman trailer doesn’t spend any time clarifying Diana Prince’s role in the movie – nor does it showcase much Wonder Woman fight action. Viewers get shots of Diana out of her armor as well as two brief glimpses of Wonder Woman in battle. That said, amidst all of the Batman V Superman brawling, Warner Bros. has included one quick shot of Diana slamming her wrist guards together – and creating a massive shockwave.
Longtime comic book readers will recall that Wonder Woman has used the Bracelets of Submission in a variety of ways over the years – including a concussive blast capable of stunning even the toughest foes. It isn’t entirely clear how this explosion affects the area around Wonder Woman in the film but, based on source materials, it’s conceivable the bracelets could be used to disorient Superman mid-battle. Which raises the question: Did Bruce Wayne recruit Diana to help him apprehend the Man of Steel?
As previously rumored, General Zod (Michael Shannon) reappears in Batman V Superman – after the Man of Steel reluctantly snapped Zod’s neck to protect an innocent family and end the Battle of Metropolis. The trailer doesn’t confirm, with absolute certainty, that Zod’s corpse has found its way into Lex Luthor’s hands; though this certainly appears to be the case. Viewers will, understandably, look to the shipping crate’s USAMRIID label for additional clues – but the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases is a real organization, not a fictional group with an overt connection to LexCorp in the comics.
Still, given that Luthor is partnered with government agencies (Holly Hunter’s senator character for one), it’s safe to assume the future super-villain has access to Zod if he wants it. Prior speculation has teased the possibility that Luthor would create Doomsday out of the dead Kryptonian’s DNA but Snyder denied these rumors in Hall H – meaning Zod might, instead, be used to test for potential weaknesses in Superman. For the time being, viewers will have to wait for more details on Luthor’s plan – but expect Zod’s corpse to play a pivotal role.
Also keeping with previous rumors, the new Batman V Superman trailer confirms that Lex Luthor is in possession of a kryptonite fragment – though, like the body of General Zod, it is not yet clear what Luthor knows about the rock or how he might intend to use it. Regardless, anyone with the most basic knowledge of Superman mythology will know kryptonite is of seismic importance in a DC Comics story.
Earlier reports asserted Luthor could provide Bruce Wayne with the alien mineral for his fight against the god-like Superman – pitting the two heroes against one-another for his own gain – and it’s highly likely the kryptonite fragment will influence the main event fight. Of course, Luthor wouldn’t need to willingly arm Batman, as the tech-savvy Dark Knight may simply steal the kryptonite sample from LexCorp’s offices in preparation for his battle with Superman – lacing his bat armor with Kryptonite dust to even the playing field.
Kneel Before Lex
One of the more curious shots in the new trailer: an angry looking Man of Steel kneeling before Luthor. Based on years of DC comic books and Superman films, viewers might simply assume that Luthor has weakened Kal-El with the aforementioned kryptonite. Still, Superman doesn’t actually appear weakened, he looks subdued.
Out of context it’s hard to know exactly what is happening in the scene but is it possible that Lex somehow finds a way to control or manipulate Superman – leading to a no-holds-barred battle between the kryptonian as well as Batman and Wonder Woman? Whether through kryptonite poisoning, weaponized Zod DNA, or old-fashioned coercion (threatening harm to Metropolis, Martha Kent or Lois Lane), the context of this scene will be key to understanding how it actually fits into the story. One way or another, Luthor appears to have brought the Man of Steel to heel – even if only for a fleeting moment.
Lex Luthor: Man of the People
When Jesse Eisenberg was first cast as Batman V Superman‘s Lex Luthor, response online was mixed – with many celebrating the actor’s prior achievements but struggling to see him in the role of Lex Luthor. As time has gone on, fans have learned more about this new version of Luthor – but the Comic-Con trailer offered the clearest sneak peek so far.
Obviously, fans will have to wait for further details but given that Luthor has acquired Zod’s body and a kryptonite fragment, the malevolent genius is clearly looking for ways to harness extraterrestrial tech as well as, at the same time, defeat Kal-El and future otherworldly threats. Add to that Luthor’s support of the Senator who wants Superman held accountable for the destruction of Metropolis and it’s likely that Luthor believes he’s as a voice of reason – in a time of uncertainty. His quote, “Devils don’t come from hell beneath us, they come from the sky” coupled with his Paul Revere-like comment “The redcapes are coming” indicate that, at this point in his career, Luthor still views himself as protector – not a villain.
Batman V the Superman Guard
Following Superman kneeling in front of Lex, the Superman Guard is one of Batman V Superman‘s most head-scratching scenes. In the first teaser, the group’s allegiances were not clear, given that they bowed in reverence to the Man of Steel; however, in the new trailer, the guard is clearly shown firing guns (at potential hostages) – leading to a rough-and-tumble intervention by the Dark Knight. It’s certainly possible the group isn’t actually aligned with Superman and has, instead, co-opted the Kryptonian crest as a sigil for their own crusade. The aforementioned scenes of Batman fighting the guard and Kal-El walking untouched through an underground bunker seems to suggest that he’s complicit in the group’s actions; though, it could be that clever editing has made the soldiers appear more aligned with Superman than the final film will show.
Conversely, the hallway scene could actually show the Man of Steel arriving at the guard’s compound – after being summoned by the group’s leader. What if Luthor (or some other cunning evildoer) has commissioned the guard to turn public opinion against Superman and make it seem as though Kal-El is a ruthless world-policing dictator? That might seem like a stretch for Superman-loving movie viewers but, in this fictional post-Battle of Metropolis world, where Batman is a determined kryptonian hunter, Luthor’s greatest weapon might be turning the world’s greatest heroes against one another.
Quick Mention – Lex Luthor’s Hair
Months back, Warner Bros. treated fans to a preview image of Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor – complete with the character’s iconic bald head. Yet, recent publicity images and this latest trailed show the villain with a full head of hair. Comic and movie die-hards will recall that Luthor has, on multiple occasions, hidden his bald head under a wig – which wouldn’t be out of character for the young tech-genius in Batman V Superman.
That said, it’s also possible that Luthor’s balding head is created as a result of event in Dawn of Justice – and that the black and white reveal image showcases how the character will ultimately appear in the DCEU. Since Eisenberg’s Luthor is clearly experimenting with alien tech, materials, and DNA it’s certainly possible he is exposed (intentionally or unintentionally) to a kryptonian substance with some nasty side effects.