Warner Bros brings darker superheroes to battle at Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Superheroes are going rogue with Warner Bros' DC universe, as the studio made a splash with its brooding caped crusaders and ragtag team of anti-heroes at Saturday's Comic-Con.

Director Zack Snyder and actors Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot offered fans at San Diego's annual pop culture and film convention an exclusive look at the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. The film, due out in March, will usher in a new age for DC Comics' cinematic universe.

Affleck, who plays Batman, said he felt the pressure of the role since actors such as George Clooney and Christian Bale have already worn the batsuit.

Fans also were the first to see a new trailer that served up destruction and grit, and cheered loudly when the final scene showed Superman ripping off the doors of the Batmobile, and Batman rising to face him.

Superman (Cavill) is questioned about his power and intentions, while Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter ego, is held responsible for a tragedy and channels his rage into becoming Batman. The trailer also features Godot as Wonder Woman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.

For the first time, Metropolis from the Superman world and Gotham from the Batman comics will be neighbouring cities, separated by a bay, Snyder said.

Affleck described Metropolis as big and successful, while Gotham is downtrodden. "The whole idea of wealth and power and how power engenders fear ... made it feel real and smart to me," he said.

Warner Bros, the studio behind Christopher Nolan's highly successful Dark Knight Batman trilogy, is expanding the DC universe and connecting each film to the others, a strategy similar to Walt Disney Co's Marvel Studios'.

Snyder will direct the Justice League movies based on the comic series that teams up superheroes including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the Green Lantern. The first film is due in 2017.

Before the Batman panel, director David Ayer introduced the cast of Suicide Squad, due out next summer. Fans also got a first look at the film highlighting a band of anti-heroes, such as Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, Will Smith's Deadshot and Jared Leto's Joker.

Moderated by actress Aisha Tyler, Warner Bros' panel also featured Guy Ritchie's slick 1960s spy caper Man From UNCLE and Pan, which traces the origins of Peter Pan.