'Man of Steel' trailer: Five mysteries from the new footage explained

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Screen shot 2013-04-17 at 10.12.26 AMAt its core, Man of Steel is as much an alien invasion story as a superhero tale. Case in point: This object wedged into eons of arctic ice looks like an extra-terrestrial mothership, and that’s exactly what it is. Superman fans also know it by another name: The Fortress of Solitude.

This is Superman’s home base, his HQ, where he goes to get away from the distractions of Earth life and reconnect with his Kryptonian roots.

In the Richard Donner-directed Christopher Reeve films, the Fortress builds itself from a crystal that was included in the intergalactic bassinet that Superman’s father, Jor-El, dispatched to Earth. Hurled into the arctic wasteland, the object sprouted into a jagged crystal palace. Kind of like Magic Rocks, only epic.

Man of Steel changes up the formula a little. Instead of building his own Fortress, Clark Kent steps into the existing home market — and emerges, as we see below, as Superman. The residents of Krypton are an advanced race, keep in mind. Their knowledge and exploration of the cosmos far surpasses our own, and when Jor-El launches his son to Earth, our planet isn’t unknown to them.

Screen shot 2013-04-17 at 10.15.03 AMSuperman isn’t the first citizen of his world to visit us, and the Fortress is proof. It is a massive craft left behind by a previous group of Kryptonian pioneers.

Screenwriter David S. Goyer, who also co-wrote The Dark Knight trilogy, describes Man of Steel as “a first contact story.”

“Even if he didn’t have superpowers it would literally be the biggest story that ever happened in human history. It would change the face of the Earth forever. Just his existence would,” Goyer told EW. “I think it was in one of the Donner films — which I adore — but I think there’s a moment where Lois Lane is interviewing Clark and says, ‘So you’re from Krypton, huh?’ and he says ‘Yeah,’ and then they just kind of drop it. He just said he’s from an alien world! And everybody just accepts it. I just thought the idea that we would treat [Man of Steel] as a first contact story was in a strange way it was kind of a big idea because everything sort of follows from that. So that was one of the Eureka Moments.”

NEXT PAGE: What is that multi-limbed machine attacking Superman?

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