Despite creating one of the most epic superhero trilogies of all time, Christopher Nolan has never been to San Diego Comic-Con. However, the filmmaker behind the Dark Knight trilogy finally graced Hall H with his presence as a special surprise during the Paramount panel to promote his upcoming film ‘Interstellar.’

Over the course of the presentation, the studio rolled out many unexpected moments. The first big one came when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson made his way through the crowd and invited his fans to a free screening of ‘Hercules’ that evening in San Diego’s Gaslamp District. But the panel’s finale is when the surprises really came to a head. Appearing alongside fellow SDCC virgin Matthew McConaughey, Nolan and his star mostly kept quiet on the details of their film, but the director did have some thoughts on his inspiration behind it:

“I grew up in a time when to be an astronaut was the highest ambition. The idea that we’d keep exploring space, pushing farther and farther out, seemed inevitable. I felt that had fallen off greatly over the past couple of decades.”

After explaining that he utilized IMAX technology in order to “use the biggest canvas possible to show audiences the biggest phenomena we could”, the duo exclusively unveiled a new trailer for Nolan’s follow up to ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. While it won’t be available for the general public for some time, /Film provides a pretty good description of what happens in it. Similar to the teasers that we’ve seen already, the trailer features McConaughey’s Cooper saying, “We used to look up at the sky and wonder about our place in the stars. Now, we just look down and wonder about our place in the dirt.” Then it goes through images of small town life, spacecrafts, Anne Hathaway and other astronauts preparing for the mission, and alien landscapes.

The report indicates that the footage is hard to capture in words, but Blastr notes that some of it is very reminiscent of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ and that isn’t by accident. Before Nolan recalled a story of him as a boy seeing a reissue of the seminal sci-fi classic with his father and his desire to recreate that experience for today’s audience, he had this to say:

“You’ll see all the things I’ve ripped off and I’m not joking when I say that.”

Judging by the reactions all over the internet, he may have succeeded in following in Stanley Kubrick’s footsteps with ‘Interstellar’. It’s too bad that we’ll have to wait a little bit longer to see the first trailer for one of my most anticipated films of the year, but apparently it’s worth the wait.

While we wait, here’s the panel from Comic-Con: