Bryan Singer’s attempt to both reboot the Superman franchise with Superman Returns and pay homage to its cinematic predecessors ultimately proved less profitable than Warner Bros. had hoped. Now Zack Snyder has been charged with giving the iconic costumed hero a makeover in the upcoming Superman: Man of Steel – and as far as the 300 director is concerned, he’s starting with a blank slate.

Snyder says his Superman reboot (which likely will be titled Man of Steel, but that decision is not set in stone yet) will “respect the canon” of the character without being a slave to his previous film incarnations.

Kirk Alyn and George Reeves may have been the first to don Supe’s red-and-blue duds onscreen back in the 1940s and ’50s, but Christopher Reeve’s version remains the definitive Man of Steel for most moviegoers today. Brandon Routh’s performance as Kal-El in Singer’s reboot was clearly influenced by Reeve’s portrayal – in terms of his mannerisms and general appearance – but Snyder seems to have something else in mind, having cast Henry Cavill in the lead role.

Hero Complex sat down to chat with Snyder about his plans for the Superman reboot, and the director had the following to offer:

“Literally, the one thing that everyone can start to think about is that we’re making a movie that finally goes with the approach that there’s been no other Superman movies. If you look at ‘Batman Begins’, there’s that structure, there’s the canon that we know about and respect but on other hand there’s this approach that pre-supposes that there haven’t been any other movies.  In every aspect of design and of story, the whole thing is very much from that perspective of respect the canon but don’t be a slave to the [previous] movies.”

Although Man of Steel screenwriter David S. Goyer has revealed that his script was very much influenced by the comics, Snyder has spoken out before about how his Superman reboot won’t follow any specific pre-written storyline. That too recalls Nolan’s approach to Batman, as those films borrow elements from their source material and yet are very much their own unique creation.

No filmmaker has taken quite that same approach to the Man of Steel before, but Snyder intends to change that:

“Superman is the one constant in the universe. You know that if you do Superman right — or at least if you do him with respect — you know you end up with something great…. [but] in some ways [beyond] that is virgin territory. No one knows what that is. In some ways Superman is the most recognizable superhero on the planet but also the most unknown. Just what he can be? People have preconceived ideas about him but probably all of them are wrong.”

Superman fans definitely have their own thoughts and feelings about how to properly portray the character onscreen, but there’s always the question of how much influence they should bear. On his end, Snyder at least seems interested in pushing the envelope and crafting a Man of Steel adventure that doesn’t ignore the history of franchise but is very much its own creation as well. Take that as you will.

While Snyder’s Superman reboot has already distinguished itself from its predecessors by casting the youngest actress yet to play Martha Kent in a film (Diane Lane) and pursuing a not-so-elderly Kevin Costner to play Pa Kent, the film will also reportedly feature a familiar villain in the form of General Zod, last seen onscreen in Superman II. That’s a different tact than that employed by both Nolan in Batman Begins and Marc Webb in his upcoming Amazing Spider-Man reboot, who instead selected to go with antagonists not yet brought to life in live-action form.

Whether that’s a sign that Snyder’s Superman: Man of Steel won’t be as drastic a departure as the director indicates it will be – or that Snyder wasn’t being misleading with his claims about Zod not being in the reboot – has yet to be seen. Production on the film is gearing up to begin this summer, so we’ll find out more soon enough.

Source: LA Times