If you thought Pacquiao/Mayweather was the most-hyped head-to-head you’ve ever seen, just wait until these two contenders step into the ring. Batman and Superman are arguably the two biggest names in comics, a pair of capes known the world over, and Warner Bros. has thrown the mega-stars of DC Comics into a production that’s one-half superhero movie and one-half Pay-Per-View event.
EW was lucky enough to be on the set of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and for this week’s special double-issue Comic Con Preview, we’re bringing you inside the production. The two heroes have crossed paths plenty of times in the Gordian tangle of comic-book canon, but never on-screen. But as Hollywood continues both its preoccupation with superheroes and universe-building—complete with more five-year plans than a Communist regime—it seemed inevitable that eventually these two brands would find their way into a single title.
Zack Snyder recalls the first time he pitched the idea, in a meeting with franchise co-captains Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, it was only meant as an Easter egg. “I said, ‘What about at the end of the movie we do a scene where there’s a crate full of kryptonite delivered to Wayne Manor,’” says Snyder. “Everyone was like…‘Okaay.’ Once you say it out loud it’s a problem because you can’t unsay it.”
Batman v Superman introduces a new Batman only four years after the release of the final film in Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Ben Affleck plays an older, wearier Caped Crusader, one drawn at least in part from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. “He’s on the verge of being swallowed up by the anger and the rage that we see haunt this character in the other manifestations of it,” says Affleck. “But this guy is further down the line and has become more embittered and cynical.” Worried that Superman’s unequaled power makes him more of a potential fascistic overlord than the hero we need, he makes it his duty to take him out of the sky for good.
Not content to consolidate only two eggs in this basket, they’ve also thrown in appearances by Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa) for good measure. After all, this isn’t just a single movie, it’s a waystation to the upcoming Justice League double-fister, not to mention a whole slew of other attractions on the DC Extended Universe™ road map. And building a franchise into a potential behemoth is no easy work.“It’s a marathon. No, it’s a marathon within a marathon,” says Snyder. “Do you know that race from Death Valley to the top of Mount Whitney? It’s, like, 100 miles and it’s from the lowest point in the continental United States to the highest. It’s crazy. Anyway, it’s like that.”
Dive into this week’s issue for even more Comic-Con fare, including an in-the-flesh look at Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an oral history of M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, a visit to the set of NBC’s upcoming Heroes: Reborn, and exclusive first-look images from anticipated movies and TV series including The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, Fantastic Four, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Fear the Walking Dead, Ash Vs. Evil Dead, and much, much more!
•Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice character portraits
•FIRST LOOK: Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
•Batman v Superman plot synopsis revealed
•Zack Snyder releases Batman v Superman’trailer early
Click here for more of Entertainment Weekly’s Comic-Con coverage.