A decade on, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel still feels like a divisive entry into the DC canon. It’s hard to argue that the film didn’t make some controversial choices, such as Superman ending his enemy’s life during the final battle.
That enemy, Zod, wished to convert the planet Earth into something more Kryptonian in nature in Man of Steel, forcing Clark to kill one of the last surviving members of his kind, as corrupted as he may have been.
Shannon Stands by Zod’s Characterization
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Michael Shannon defended how Zod was portrayed in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, whilst arguing that the movie is “culturally” significant:
“I would argue that 'Man of Steel' is, in a way, this significant story, like, culturally, not just an entertainment thing. Because at the end of the day, what it was about, it was about a civilization, right, that ruins their own planet. I’ve never heard of that before. And then decides, ’Well, the solution to that is to go to another planet and take it, and then we’ll just go live there.’”
Shannon, of course, referred to the story thread in Man of Steel in which Zod and his forces invade Earth to make a new home for his people after Krypton is destroyed.
The actor explained how ”important” he found that particular narrative. He also drew comparisons to Terrance Stamp’s take on Zod from Richard Donner’s Superman films, mentioning that director Zack Snyder’s version of Zod was far more nuanced than Donner’s and Stamp’s:
And I thought, ‘Yeah, yeah, this story’s important.’ It was a totally different take on Zod. Terence Stamp was just mean, he was just being mean to everybody. And Zod was like, ‘Look, I just, my job is to protect my civilization.’ Like, that speech that he has, ‘And now I have no people.’ Like, I thought that was, like, beautiful and heartbreaking and…
Finally, Shannon was sure to heap praise onto Snyder, remarking that he likes him “so much:”
But I also just like Zack so much. I really, really like Zack Snyder a lot.”
What’s Next for General Zod?
Michael Shannon will reprise his role of Zod in The Flash movie, where Barry Allen will encounter the Kryptonian villain in an alternate timeline. Shannon was initially a bit puzzled about how the character’s return was going to work but admitted that he had a lot of fun being back on a DC set.
The Flash brings the number of times Michael Shannon played Zod up to two. His dead body also cropped up in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but that apparently didn’t require Shannon to be on set.
So, where will Zod be making his presence known next? Well, for starters, with James Gunn and Peter Safran revamping the DC Universe, it’s unlikely that Shannon will have the opportunity to play him again.
Fans’ best bet to see him again in the short term would probably be in an animated movie or, naturally, on the pages of the comic books.
It sometimes feels like DC is a little reluctant to include Zod in its productions for whatever reason. Clark never fought him in Superman: The Animated Series, nor has he turned up in person on Superman & Lois. He did have a part to play in the fan-favorite Smallville though.
Whatever the case may be, Michael Shannon’s General Zod can be seen for likely the last time in The Flash, due out in theaters on Friday, June 16.