Christopher Nolan may not get the fanboy attention he once had, now that he’s done with the Dark Knight Trilogy, but that hasn’t stopped his upcoming sci-fi film Insterstellar from capturing major attention – both at in the mainstream and in the hallowed halls of Comic-Con.

Nolan and his Interstellar leading man Matthew McConaughey surprised attendees of SDCC 2014 by showing up in person – something Nolan never ever did throughout his whole stint as the director of The Dark Knight Trilogy, or even his previous mega-blockbuster sci-fi film, Inception. The pair was on hand for the Paramount Pictures panel, answering questions about the ultra-secretive plot of the film as well as debuting a new trailer.

Previous trailers and plot rumors pointed to a story where a man named Cooper (McConaughey) embarks upon a daring mission to save Earth through extreme distance interstellar travel, hoping to help our planet recover from an environmental hazard that has supposedly dwindled the food supply. For the SDCC panel, Nolan was unusually open to offering more details on the film. Here’s a breakdown of some of the major reveals:

  • Nolan wants to create a realistic viewpoint from inside of a space craft to outer space.
  • This movie is important now because Nolan says we’re at the “cusp” of space exploration.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey is the Interstellar’s inspiration – Nolan wants his film to be equally as ambitious.
  • He joked about not listing everything that’s influenced Interstellar to avoid people knowing what he’s copying from. He did say he was obsessed with Blade Runner and even knew all of its lines when he was younger.
  • Nolan says the story is really about what it means to be human and our role in the universe.

Interstellar Trailer 2 Interstellar: Nolan & McConaughey Preview Trailer #3 at Comic Con

After that, trailer #3 was screened for the crowd. It apparently won’t be online for a few weeks, but early reactions from a handful of web journalists pretty much say it all – as does our detailed breakdown of the footage. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Christopher Nolan Talks Interstellar Interstellar: Nolan & McConaughey Preview Trailer #3 at Comic Con

Here’s what our own Sandy Schaefer saw in Interstellar trailer #3:

The trailer is very heavy on the space exploration angle, indicating that human civilization has all but given up attempting to break new ground (meta-theme for cinema there) – and thus, is in pure survival mode, when they’re forced to start reaching beyond our world due to an encroaching ecological disaster (see: the dust storms shown in the previous trailer).

Among other things, this trailer all but reveals that Jessica Chastain is playing the older version of Matthew McConaughey’s daughter – who he contacts while on his mission, no doubt as the result of some wormhole travel paradox that allows for McConaughey to be the same age as when he left Earth, but talk to a decades-older version of his child (note: McConaughy specified that his character, Cooper, is a widow with two children – it seems that Casey Affleck *might* be his son, but that was shakier).

Beyond that, the trailer teases McConaughey and Anne Hathaway’s character (Cooper’s co-pilot) reaching an alien world, which is “played” by Iceland (as has long been rumored) – and the preview even concludes with a shot of their ship, approaching a vast alien world ensconced in strange, nebula like rings. There are other odd moments here and there (see: Hathaway meeting what appears to be an old version of David Gyasi’s character, mid-mission) that, no doubt, is the result of Nolan narrative trickery that will be explained in the actual film.

interstellar matthew mcconaughey christopher nolan Interstellar: Nolan & McConaughey Preview Trailer #3 at Comic Con

Now, check out corresponding testimony from other movie bloggers and/or reporters from around the web:

Of course, they couldn’t ALL be happy…

Stay tuned, because even though they claim it could be a few weeks’ wait, that new Interstellar trailer could be online sooner. When it is, you know where to find it ;-)

Interstellar will be in theaters on November 7, 2014.

Be sure to stay tuned for more Comic-Con 2014 breaking news.