USA Today has released the first official image of Henry Cavill as Superman in the upcoming Batman V. Superman, a photo that—along with the image of a meaty and morose Ben Affleck that quickly spawned the Sad Batman meme—confirms that it’s always darkest of justice before Dawn Of Justice. As you can see, the sequel’s Superman looks a lot like Man Of Steel’s Superman, only soggier. The charcoal rain mixes with Superman’s charcoal tears, as his heart bleeds charcoal for the sins of the charcoal world. He gazes, either defiantly or confusedly, at the process server who’s just handed him his Batman V. Superman summons. His super hearing picks up an Evanescence song playing 100 miles away, and he knows at least someone out there understands him.
The photo was released as part of an interview with director Zack Snyder, who allowed a few charcoal drips of information to leak dramatically across the page. First, he reaffirmed that the film paves the way for his Justice League movie with the introduction of Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and other characters we can no doubt soon expect to see, in photos of them putting down beloved pets or weeping openly on the subway. And he discussed how he originally had no intention of introducing Batman to Superman’s world so soon, believing he’d one day get around to that by making an adaptation of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. “But on the other hand it seemed organic the way our story was unfolding to start to feather him in,” Snyder said, of this very natural progression to jumpstart a comic-book movie universe to compete with Marvel’s as soon as possible.
Of course, as evidenced by that earlier Batman image and as promised months ago by Warner Bros. execs, this Batman may be light as a feather, but he’s also stiff as a board. “It’s cooler to see a crusty old Batman beating the snot out of guys,” Snyder said of his choice to skip ahead to this older, crankier Batman, rather than rehash the character’s days as an uncool hero. And as to whether the fact that it’s called Batman V. Superman means that one of those soon-to-be-snot-bereft guys will be Superman, Zack Snyder displayed his usual flair for nuance by pointing out that it’s a V., not a Vs.—and that’s “to keep it from being a straight ‘versus’ movie, even in the most subtle way.”
Batman V.(ery Much Adores) Superman is due in 2016.