Ever since fans got wind of the possibility that Man of Steel could serve as a launchpad to DC/Warner Bros.’ shared movie universe, they’ve been speculating about where, exactly, the Superman reboot would tie into the upcoming Justice League movie. Today, thanks to a few (somewhat coy) words from Man of Steel director Zack Snyder, we’re starting to get a little more clarity on the matter.

Early on,  Zack Snyder was quoted as saying that his Superman reboot was its “own thing” (a la the Chris Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy) and fans were understandably confused. Would the new Superman movie truly be a DC Movie Universe launchpad – offering Easter eggs like a Wonder Woman cameo –  or would its connection to Justice League depend on box office results? It was not outside the realm of possibility that Man of Steel would be offered as a standalone movie in order to test the public’s reception of star Henry Cavill and the general approach that Snyder (and producer Chris Nolan) took with the character: If it worked, we’d see Cavill back to lead the Justice League movie – if it didn’t work, Justice League could take a fresh approach, ignoring the films that came before it (The Dark Knight films, Green LanternMan of Steel).

Now, however, it would seem that DC/Warner Bros. is in fact pushing ahead with their plans to springboard Justice League off the back of Man of Steel – if the latest comments from Snyder are any indication. When asked directly about Man of Steel‘s connection to Justice League during a NY Post interview, Snyder offered the following response:

“I don’t know how ‘Justice League’ is going to be handled. Honestly, I don’t… But ‘The Man of Steel’ exists, and Superman is in it. I don’t know how you’d move forward without acknowledging that.”

When pressed for more specific information about the studio’s larger plan for a shared universe, Snyder added:

“Um, how can I answer that?… I can’t really say anything to that, because that’s a big spoiler. I will say, yeah, they trust me to keep them on course.”

After watching the (admittedly brief) Man of Steel teaser trailers, one can deduce that a major narrative/thematic arc of the film will be identity – specifically Kal-El/Clark Kent’s struggle to choose what kind of man he is going to be in this world. Saddled with both godlike power and a grounded, humble, and very human upbringing (thanks to his adoptive parents Ma and Pa Kent), Kal-Clark has to decide if his power should be put to use at all – and if so, how. When a fellow resident of his doomed planet Krypton shows up (General Zod, played by Michael Shannon), it gives Kal-Clark a vision of what his power would look like in the wrong hands  – and the motivation to become the antithesis of what Zod stands for.

Naturally, the end point of this re-imagined origin story – Kal-Clark deciding to take on the mantle of Superman, in order to protect a world he loves – is also a good doorway into the Justice League story. After deciding to defend a world that needs his protection, Superman could naturally identify and approach other people who hold similar power – Wonder Woman, The Flash – heroes that could even be introduced through brief mention or (less likely) cameo appearances during Man of Steel.

Taking Snyder’s actual words into account: one could infer that “acknowledging” Man of Steel‘s existence in the Justice League movie would mean that Superman’s world debut would be the milestone that ushers in the ‘Age of Heroes’ – while ‘keeping things on course’ would mean ultimately steering the origin story of Man of Steel to the sort of place described above, where Superman becomes the Earth’s protector and a beacon of heroism (or in Batman’s cynical view, a new threat level) that draws other heroes to his cause.

As for questions like what to do about characters like Batman and Green Lantern (reboot them entirely? Try to lasso in the actors who recently played them on screen?) well, that’s a different discussion. In the meantime, how do you feel about what Snyder said?

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Man of Steel will be in theaters on June 14, 2013.

Source NY Post