It looks like Superman will face General Zod in Zack Snyder’s forthcoming franchise reboot, Man of Steel. The studio confirmed that Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road, 8 Mile, Boardwalk Empire) will be playing the role of the maniacal Kryptonian supervillain.
In a Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures press release, which you can read in full at Superhero Hype, Snyder said that “Zod is not only one of Superman's most formidable enemies, but one of the most significant because he has insights into Superman that others don’t.”
He continued, “Michael is a powerful actor who can project both the intelligence and the malice of the character, making him perfect for the role.”
Zod first crossed paths with Kal-El in the pages of Adventure Comics back in 1961, but the character garnered mainstream recognition following his appearance in Richard Donner’s Superman (1978) and, most notably, Superman II (1980). In the Donner films he was played by Terence Stamp, who ordered the world to “kneel before Zod” while Kal-El traded his sun-enhanced abilities for a chance at a normal life with Lois Lane. Various iterations of Zod—most of which have been influenced by the film version—have appeared elsewhere, including Superman: The Animated Series and Smallville.
Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns (2006) has been ripped to shreds for its laborious tribute to Donner’s films, and I was under the impression that Snyder was going to approach Man of Steel as if no Superman films came before it. Why, then, is he going after the one memorable villain from the original series that wasn’t Lex Luthor? Furthermore, will Snyder and Shannon be able to resist the urge to mimic Stamp’s iconic performance? Is there any chance we won’t hear the “kneel before Zod” line at least once in this flick? Am I asking too many questions?
Man of Steel hits theaters in December 2012.