New 'Superman' To Follow 'Batman Begins' Blueprint, Zack Snyder Says

'The whole thing is very much from that perspective of respect the canon but don't be a slave to the movies,' director tells L.A. Times.

"Superman" director Zack Snyder finds himself in much the same position Christopher Nolan did in the run-up to "Batman Begins." Nolan had to pick up the scraps of a broken franchise — thanks, "Batman & Robin"! — and re-engineer the Caped Crusader for a new century. Snyder, similarly, finds the Man of Steel in poor shape following an attempted 2006 reboot that left audiences underwhelmed.

Is it any surprise, then, that Snyder plans to follow the example Nolan set back in 2005? "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," Snyder told the Los Angeles Times. "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 movies."

To that end, it helps, no doubt, that Nolan has taken on a sort of godfather role on the project (officially, he's a producer), not just as a creative guide, but as a concrete example showing that such an approach can actually work.

"Chris is awesome. He's super-respectful but super-helpful, too. You can't imagine a more generous [collaborator]," Snyder said. "Once he sort of got what I want to do with it, he was like, 'OK,' and once he said, 'You know what, that's awesome,' now he's 100 percent. If I say, 'What do you think of this?' he's like, 'That's awesome,' and then there's a great give-and-take about it, a great conversation that we can have about it and making it better every day."

There are a lot of days still ahead. The movie — which, Snyder confirmed, has the working title "Man of Steel" — won't hit theaters until December 2012. Before they even begin shooting, Snyder plans to release a photo of Henry Cavill in costume as Superman, lest an unsanctioned paparazzi photo become the first-ever look at the revamped hero. What we end up seeing in the first official pic, and what ends up onscreen late next year, may not be at all what we're expecting.

"In some ways Superman is the most recognizable superhero on the planet but also the most unknown. Just what he can be?" Snyder said. "People have preconceived ideas about him but probably all of them are wrong."

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