Henry Cavill Explains Why Superman Killed Zod in “Man of Steel”

It’s been five years since “Man of Steel” hit the big screen, yet Henry Cavill is still answering questions about the film, with a new interview from SquareMile.com asking the “Mission Impossible: Fallout” star about the need for his Superman to have killed General Zod.

“The killing of Zod would have led to a wonderful reason why Superman never kills,” explains Cavill. “Not, he never kills just because his dad said so one day. He made the decision himself because of an impossible scenario, to which he then said, ‘I don’t care if it’s impossible again, I’m gonna find a way to make it possible in the impossible.”

Ultimately Henry would have liked to have seen this expanded upon in further films…

“We didn’t get the opportunity to show the other side of it, the ‘I’m ready to be Superman now and I’m ready to show the world the best examples’. That’s where the joy and glee comes from, and that sense of warmth from the character, which is his real superpower – he makes people believe in themselves. It was a shame because it would’ve been nice, and it would have been a lovely coupling with the seriousness and the depth of Man of Steel.”

“There’s an opportunity to keep on telling Superman stories, and getting them exactly right. Showing the things like hope and joy and that wonderful power of his to make people believe in themselves.”

Source: SquareMile.com

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afriend
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afriend

Why? Bad writing. After the fact justifications are interesting, but they ultimately show a lack of creativity up front. And before someone tries to bring up that Superman has killed in other continuities, that’s true, but it isn’t good there either. And depending on how one views releases of alternate cuts of a film, a case could made that Zod and Co’s deaths in Superman II were “de-cannonized”.

sundevil82
Member
sundevil82

It’s bad writing and the writers buying into the whole idea that Superman is not ‘cool’ and that he needs to be some kind of Badass. I enjoyed MoS as a good starting point but expected more development in a sequel (which we didn’t get because ‘hey batman!’). They basically turned him into Neo from the matrix, which is not who superman is. By all means make him modern and he certainly doesn’t have to be written as a cheesy character, but give him reasons for doing things and show him making his own decisions instead of having people just… Read more »

edge9000x
Member
edge9000x

Snyder said this years ago and it was a bad reason then too. “He kills Zod so he learns not to kill”. Most people learn killing is wrong without killing

DrAwkward
Member
DrAwkward

False dichotomy. Most people do NOT learn that it’s wrong to kill full stop. The vast majority of value systems allow (tolerate or accept or encourage) killing in the defense of self and others and for the cessation of evil. In fact, it’s ABNORMAL to stand idly by, twiddle your thumbs, and say, “Killing is wrong, so I’m going to let myself get killed without resistance. Or I’m going to watch someone kill my family, friends, or neighbors without fighting. Or I’ll let evil happen even if I can stop it.” That’s a radical position that isn’t mainstream, isn’t normal,… Read more »

car2nst
Member
car2nst

Well said!!! Some people confuse bad writing with great, meaningful, (& complex) deep characterization..You always need some negative force to make the positive force shine..otherwise we would never know the meaning of good.

( i can understand people not liking the direction of the neck snap but it’s hardly bad writing….but that’s mostly from Snyder haters, so what do you expect?)

edge9000x
Member
edge9000x

Nah. Superman isn’t the Punisher. Snyder shouldn’t have put him in the position that he had to kill. This is Superman. A character for all ages. If Snyder wants to write movies for characters where they go around snapping necks and mowing them down with machine guns then he needs to go make a Punisher film

afriend
Member
afriend

I would pay to see *that* film…

s-shield
Member
s-shield

I think with a little more focus, Superman killing Zod COULD have been all the things people say it is when they defend it. A meditation on the 21st century idea of a hero, a turning point in Clark’s life that makes him value all life, the thing that’s REALLY bumming him out in BvS, etc. In truth, it was just the resolution to a fight that was tacked on after the fact, since they couldn’t open the Phantom Zone again and needed a way to get rid of Zod. In retrospect, it’s still interesting to see a Superman movie… Read more »

neal bailey
Editor

Oh, boy, this brings me right back to that time I had to pee in some soup and run around in a restaurant naked while smacking people upside their heads so that I could learn all of that was wrong. It was really pivotal in building my character, in showing the hero I later came to be. There was literally NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE. (cough) I wonder if people trying to make excuses for Superman killing will apply their own logic and, because they keep doing it, and it’s clearly wrong, stop continuing to do it, realizing that it’s a shallow… Read more »

afriend
Member
afriend

Hey Neal, I remember that incident. We all just thought you were on the brown acid… Man, I suddenly miss college.

neal bailey
Editor

I WAS ON THE BROWN ACID. As we all know, you have to try the brown acid just to learn that taking brown acid is bad. Right?

WAIT. OH GOD, EEEEEEELS!

sundevil82
Member
sundevil82

The real slap in the face was when they made Wonder Woman with that lofty, old and ridiculous concept of good and the audience showed that it still wants that type of character. And isn’t that type of character also arguably the most popular one in the MCU? Shows how little faith they have in superman and how short sighted people can be.

neal bailey
Editor

People think, for whatever reason, that the boy scout won’t play. They look at the Reeve Superman and they think “Gosh, that’s hokey, a real blast from the past.” They don’t realize that Reeve dropped in the middle of the seventies, and if you look at almost any movie or the political feel of the era, it was like it is now. Bleak, angry, hurt, and disillusioned. An earnest hero was pretty much what everyone needed. The reason people think it can’t work in a modern era is simply because it hasn’t been tried with a solid writing staff and… Read more »

afriend
Member
afriend

It’s been a long time since we’ve talked Neal, but you’re absolutely right. When the characters around Superman in the 1978 film hear his “Boy Scout” ambitions, they scoff: Lois says he’ll end up fighting every politician in the country, Miss Tessmacher calls him “too good to be true”, Lex laments his “strong streak of good” (yeah, he’s the villain but any other protagonist of the mid- to late-70s would have been met with at least an offer of corruption), and the media make a mockery of him until they see how serious he is. Superman, at his best, never-not… Read more »

neal bailey
Editor

And there are a ton of folks who will say “This is just because people can’t handle alternative takes on Superman!” Except my twenty years of comics, love of Elseworlds, love of Smallville (when it was good) prove that wrong. Man of Steel could have been a great take. There is room for a darker, serious Superman. But as a friend of mine taught me, you don’t break the toys. Bugs Bunny can’t wear a Hitler mustache seriously. Batman can’t be a criminal. There are things that break the toys. And yes, Superman CAN kill. There are stories where it… Read more »

lcmcbain
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lcmcbain

Well Said Neal

DrAwkward
Member
DrAwkward

When people build you monuments, call you hero, and erect a one-and-a-half-story-tall stone statue in your honor for your restaurant behavior… then maybe we can have an intellectually honest conversation about it’s an aversion you need to learn or something corroborated by centuries of history and moral philosophy. Slaying the Dragon has never been bad writing, shallow, illogical, or ridiculous, but rather the mythological archetype of Good versus Evil. IRRESPECTIVE of how powerful (or good or moral) the hero. Be it Gilgamesh, Hercules, Samson, or whomever. Superman is no less a hero than any of these but his allergy to… Read more »

neal bailey
Editor

You’re talking about intellectual honesty on an internet forum about a subjective principle. Right there’s where you lost me.

jakeeyes
Member
jakeeyes

I get why this is a hot button issue, but Henry’s response is why I LOVE his take on Superman. The guy truly cares about the character. Thought was integrated into his interpretation. He wants to get the stories right. I liked MoS, BvS, and JL, but I LOVE Henry as Superman!

car2nst
Member
car2nst

Exactly! I personally would put more stock in Cavil’s opinion & carries more weight with me than random people on the internet, since you know he was the one actually in the movie.

PS…waiting for that good ‘ol down vote afriend….lol

cpm72586
Member
cpm72586

Never really had much of an issue with Superman killing Zod in MOS. Tornadocide was far more offensive to my senses. “No one stays good in this world” was also worse in my book.

sundevil82
Member
sundevil82

I didn’t have a problem with him killing Zod and I did really like MOS and Henry as Superman, but Goyer and Snyder could have given him some more character development and dialogue to take us through what he’s thinking instead of expecting us to wait through 2-5 movies to understand why he does things and how he becomes Superman. It still irks me that during the whole fight with Zod, he doesn’t try to talk or reason with him. He has two lines where he says ‘krypton had its chance!’ And ‘you’re a monster Zod, and I’m goin to… Read more »

SupermanArmy
Member
SupermanArmy

Right or wrong, with respect to Superman killing in MOS, WB/DC Films has a golden opportunity to course correct and give the world a Superman we can all be enamored with by making an announcement in two weeks at Comic-Con, that a MOS 2 movie is in production. Make it so!

SupermanArmy
Member
SupermanArmy

Here is a movie idea. Take inspiration from All Star Superman. Opening scene of MOS2 : Metropolis: Several drones and news helicopters have cameras pointed at Superman hovering several stories above the ground as a girl is standing on a ledge or roof threatening to jump off and commit suicide. Onlookers and police are on the ground witnessing the situation. Show Superman talking to her, and using his powers of persuasion to deter her from jumping. Make it evident that Superman will not use his superspeed to fly at her and grab her to safety. Show time pass – a… Read more »

sundevil82
Member
sundevil82

I honestly had that same thought for an opening scene for the sequel! haha. Looks like a lot of us are on the same page!

SupermanArmy
Member
SupermanArmy

I think Henry and WB will spring a pleasant surprise on all of us at Comic-Con. Hey, we can only hope.

sundevil82
Member
sundevil82

One more thing to say about this. Wonder woman also killed the villain Ludendorff in her movie with a sword to the chest. Why is this overlooked and we’re still talking about Zod 5 years later? My guess is because Patty Jenkins developed her character more and gave her the one thing that Goyer and Snyder forgot to give superman in his movies… CHARM. The funny thing is that Henry has it in spades yet they chose to downplay that part of his personality because of reasons. Like I’ve stated, I didn’t have a problem with him killing Zod, it… Read more »

andramus
Member
andramus

I’ve never understood why some fans can’t accept that there can be more than one valid interpretation of their character. Take Batman for example. There are a lot of Batman fans whose preferred interpretation of him is a brutal, semi-deranged revenge-driven character who gets off on beating up the mentally ill and only just draws the line at killing. They see Batman as a character whose primary motive is revenge and I can’t say that’s a totally invalid take on the character. However the Batman interpretation I subscribe to the most is a character whose primary motive is justice. He… Read more »

sundevil82
Member
sundevil82

I think it’s all in how the characters are presented. They didn’t give Henry much to say or do as Superman so that scene really stood out. I stated above that Wonder Woman also killed the villain in her film but was overlooked because they wrote her character very well. Same thing with Chris reeves Superman. People are willing to overlook flaws if they’re presented with a charismatic hero. It’s not on Henry at all and I want him to be able to showcase the sunnier side of Superman. All that falls on the writers and filmmakers.

liheibao
Member
liheibao

You know it was a bad decision when you still have to explain it 5 years later. Worse, lads are still making the same apologies for the kill scene. This wasn’t high-level literature or craftsmanship. Synder and Goyer wanted Superman to kill because, and not for any other reason, they thought it would make for a better scene. That’s it. The original script had Superman sending everyone back to the Phantom Zone. They changed course, even though Christopher Nolan disagreed, and the results were what you still see today. The majority of viewers didn’t care for it. If the idea… Read more »

car2nst
Member
car2nst

Huh? Did you even watch the movie??? I don’t recall Superman just snapping Zod’s neck in a wolverine-like rage out of nowhere for no reason at all? (as you imply that he just did at malicious & at random will) Yea…I’m sure Superman would have said to Zod…please stopping killing innocent people in a rage while I pause for a moment & figure out how the best way to end this conflict in the heat of battle after taking on the role of the Man of Steel within the first 24 hrs. SMH… Maybe if he was a seasoned Superman… Read more »

sundevil82
Member
sundevil82

My issue wasn’t with the death of Zod, but with the fact that Zod has time for 2 monologues during the fight and Superman doesn’t say anything to him. (I had the same issue with BVS) he Doesn’t try to talk him out of it, show him a better way, even be compassionate to his plight. That would have been a very Superman-like moment and thats why (I’m guessing) the scene fell flat for many people.

car2nst
Member
car2nst

True. That was a very clichéd moment that many Hero vs Villain movies overuse. “i will tell you my master plan while you stand by & listen silently in horror..Mwaahahahahahahaaaaa…..”

Spidey2878
Member
Spidey2878

” I will tell you my mater plan while you stand by & listen silently in horror… Mwaahahahahahahahahaaaaaa….”The incredibles right?

Spidey2878
Member
Spidey2878

Oops, I meant to say master plan not mater plan. My fingers got ahead of me. Lol.

Spidey2878
Member
Spidey2878

They do that in a lot of movies though. I guess it’s the classic formula for superhero movies. The bad guy has to reveal his plan to the hero, so that the hero is even more determined to stop the bad guy.

sundevil82
Member
sundevil82

I didn’t have an issue with Zod’s speeches either, in fact I enjoyed both. My problem was that Superman didn’t even attempt to counter. Again, I think that was a perfect moment to showcase what makes superman so special and separates him from other heroes. He could have shown compassion while trying to stop him or he could have tried to reason with him or even try to explain that there were other options before ultimately having no choice but to kill Zod. I actually wish they had given Henry Jor-el’s lines from the scout ship scene ‘the krypton you’re… Read more »

liheibao
Member
liheibao

DId you even read my post? Guess not.

car2nst
Member
car2nst

“This wasn’t high-level literature or craftsmanship. Synder and Goyer wanted Superman to kill because, and not for any other reason, they thought it would make for a better scene. That’s it.” You are pretty much saying that scene was just there to have Superman kill & for no other reason just to make the scene better. Whether you loved or hated the choice of the neck snap is irrelevant, it served a story telling purpose of his characterization, whether directly or indirectly by that choice of having it in the movie. I would have thought that his remorseful outcry afterwards… Read more »

liheibao
Member
liheibao

“You are pretty much saying that scene was just there to have Superman kill & for no other reason just to make the scene better. ”

That’s exactly why it was placed there. Goyer and Synder are on record with that being the reason why. Everything else is secondary.

car2nst
Member
car2nst

And yet it STILL contributes to the characterization of Superman, as I said before whether Directly or indirectly by their choice to have the neck snap..LOL

Besides…it worked for how the story was told in that entire dialogue & scene as poster redcape quoted from the movie…”there’s only one way this is going to end Kal, either you die or I do”

….it’s not like he just strolled up to Zod & said ” hey look over there”….snapped his neck & said…”made you look” SMH

liheibao
Member
liheibao

The fact that you liked it, or enjoy explaining it doesn’t mean that it “worked”. It didn’t aid characterization, as it was never touched on after it occurred. It was merely a decision made to have Superman kill, with no thought behind it. “In the original version of the script, he just got zapped into the Phantom Zone. David [S. Goyer] and I had long talked about it, and Chris [Nolan] and I talked long about it. And I was like, “I really think he should kill Zod, and I really feel like Superman should kill him.” That was the… Read more »

car2nst
Member
car2nst

Yes it actually does. His remorseful outcry RIGHT AFTER showed just that….LOL…Not everything has to be spoon fed to the audience to explain why a choice was made to be understood. As I said, liking or disliking it doesn’t matter. Even if Goyer & Snyder said they put it in there just to have them kill, it STILL INDIRECTLY (from there POV) & DIRECTLY (from the audience’s point of view) added to the storytelling of his character. In the words of Bob Ross….it was a Happy Accident….as the initial result was not planned with the reason behind the choice. The… Read more »

liheibao
Member
liheibao

“Yes it actually does. His remorseful outcry RIGHT AFTER showed just that. . .”

Remorse? How do you know what emotion it was that Superman was expressing? He never says anything, neither does anyone else. The best you can do is can guess, and that isn’t characterization.

You like the scene despite the flaws. Cool.

car2nst
Member
car2nst

“How do you know what emotion it was that Superman was expressing? He never says anything, neither does anyone else.” Guess you have never watched or heard about silent films before. You know they told stories without any dialogue throughout the whole movie using nothing BUT expressions. Who knew a facial expression could tell the audience what they are feeling? How about that old saying ” a picture is worth a 1,000 words” If you really need to be spoon feed an explanation by with the character themselves or a narration in the movie, maybe you should stick to simpler… Read more »

liheibao
Member
liheibao

This isn’t a silent film, and rather than admit what has actually transpired, you’re just grasping at straws. You’re defending your point with conjecture and adages.

The scene was crafted for Superman to kill. That’s it. There was no plan, no long term goal, and that is a fact.

Now, if you like it, fair and fine, but that’s still you crafting a scenario for a scene that doesn’t exist and never will.

car2nst
Member
car2nst

The principle is still the same whether it is silent or Modern..just more emphasis is on silent films & besides you said it was on record that Goyer & Snyder put it in there just because …interesting…when Goyer says the exact opposite here:

https://www.cinemablend.com/new/Why-Superman-Killed-Zod-Man-Steel-According-Screenwriter-90957.html

(The only thing I stand corrected on is the timeframe he was Superman, I said 24 hrs, Goyer said about a week.)

Shall I let you dig yourself a bigger whole?…or take my sincere, friendly advice & take what dignity you have left & just stop. This discussion has been laid to rest. Move on.

liheibao
Member
liheibao

Your Cinemablend link is from two years ago. The quote I gave was timely i.e. when the film was released, and not years after when even Goyer has had time to digest it and the errors made.

You obviously didn’t read the quote I gave and are only interested in further embellishing the scene that you’ve created for the story, one which doesn’t exist.

The fact remains that Synder and Goyer wanted to Superman to kill. There was no other objective behind it than that, hence why it wasn’t successful.

car2nst
Member
car2nst

ROTFLMAO….Yeeeaaa….now who is grasping at straws?…sounds like you are confusing something you thought was a dumb idea based on a quote with something that DID actually have an unintentional success of storytelling in the final product. (the fact you can’t grasp that is hilarious whether you or anyone else liked or disliked the scene)The common movie goer (whom also never read the Goyer/Snyder quote) saw & understood the snap, many agreed with it in the contexts of the movie, many disagreed that superman would kill, BUT the intelligent moviegoer can understand WHY it makes sense in the movie’s self contained… Read more »

liheibao
Member
liheibao

“something that DID actually have an unintentional success of storytelling in the final product.” The fact that you liked it and embellish it, doesn’t make it successful. It merely shows that you’re willing to go to great lengths to justify your enjoyment of something that didn’t work with audiences, was not very well planned or executed, and was not very good. You’ve offered conjecture, disparaging remarks, and self-congratulatory words, but all that does is reinforce that you liked the kill scene. It doesn’t change the fact that Superman was made to kill, just because, and for no other reason.

lcmcbain
Member
lcmcbain

^ Exactly (liheibao)

Kal-Ed
Member
Kal-Ed

If I had been the screenwriter I would have done something else entirely: used the heat vision to lobotomise Zod’s brain. There: he’s still alive and maybe his brain would take a coupla years to heal itself under the yellow sun.

All in all, I see that Superman didn’t have a choice. A rabid dog wants to eat one of your kids and you have to put it down somehow. That’s my take.

Waiting for the downvote on this one. ;-)

lcmcbain
Member
lcmcbain

The excuses and justifications never cease to amaze. As some have said it was bad writing, (worse thought process) plain and simple. It was an immature child’s writing no less. To those that use examples of having “no choice” but to kill like we humans must do in self defense or putting down a rabid animal to protect: Actually killing even in these circumstances is a choice. It is almost ALWAYS a choice. It is not a fait accompli. In self defense the main priority should be to stop the offender, not to kill the offender. To detain or capture… Read more »

LarGand
Member
LarGand

I have absolutely no problem with Superman killing Zod. I’ve been through all the reasons why over and over again, but basically he was facing a threat the likes of which neither he nor humanity had ever faced before – a genocidal maniac who would never stop killing. This was also Kal-El’s first real fight against a real, deadly threat – meaning the first time he confronts an opponent as powerful as he is, and one who is also a trained fighter and killer. Even then, Kal-El wouldn’t have chosen to kill him if not for the immediate threat Zod… Read more »

car2nst
Member
car2nst

Well said.

redcape
Member
redcape

Yep….Let’s not forget the story line where Zod had said, “there’s only one way this is going to end Kal, either you die or I do”! And I also remind everyone at that point, there was basically no Superman as we call him. He was still dealing with being an alien from another planet. He hadn’t been there long enough exposing his powers to be scrutinizing such an environment with Zod and his intentions as to whether nor not he was going to have to kill him. Let’s not brush aside that Zod was fine with wiping out the human… Read more »