"Man of Steel" FAQ
Frequently-Asked Questions about the movie "Man of Steel"
Last Updated: July 23, 2013
INTRODUCTION: This article attempts to answer some of the more frequently asked questions being received by the Superman Homepage about various plot points in "Man of Steel". The answers are culled from a variety of sources including interviews with both screenwriter David Goyer and director Zack Snyder, the official movie novelization, and the movie itself.
This FAQ is a continual work in progress. If you have any comments, suggestions, or corrections please feel free to email Steve Younis.
NOTE: Do NOT read this FAQ if you have not yet seen the movie, as it contains MANY spoilers.
CONTENTS(+ updated question; * new question since last update)
Q: What's the Kryptonian Codex? Why is it shaped like a skull?
Q: What did Jor-El do with the Codex? What happened to it?
Q: What is the Citadel?
Q: What is the name of Jor-El's flying creature?
Q: What other creatures were there on Krypton?
Q: What were the names of Jor-El and Lara's robots?
Q: I noticed one of Krypton's moons was shattered. What's that all about?
Q: What is the difference between the Black Zero and the Phantom Zone?
Kryptonian Technology and Zod's Plan
Q: I thought Jor-El died on Krypton? How did he come back to life?
Q: Why was there an ancient Kryptonian spaceship on Earth?
Q: Why did all those Kryptonian outposts on other worlds die?
Q: One of the pods aboard the Kryptonian scoutship on Earth was open and empty. Does that mean there was a survivor who lived on Earth?
Q: What is a World Engine and what does it do?
Q: Why would the Kryptonians want to change Earth into Krypton? Wouldn't that negate some of the superpowers Earth's atmosphere and lighter gravity gives them?
Q: Why did the Kryptonians want to terra-form Earth, as opposed to some other planet?
Q: What is a Genesis Chamber?
Q: Were there any embryos in the Genesis Chamber onboard the spaceship on Earth?
Q: Who is the rather tall Kryptonian and how did he get so big?
+Q: Where did the Superman costume come from? Wasn't that scout ship on Earth for thousands of years?
Q: Why did Superman get sick when he boarded the Black Zero spaceship?
Q: How did Superman end up on Earth in a black uniform after he passed out from the Black Zero's environment?
Q: Where did the name "Superman" come from?
Q: Why did Superman destroy the World Engine in the Indian Ocean rather than Black Zero in Metropolis?
Q: Why did Superman kill Zod? Couldn't he have done something else? Did that family Zod was going to kill survive?
Q: Who knows Clark Kent's secret?
Q: What happened to Dr. Hamilton and Col. Hardy? Did they die?
The MovieQ: Is "Man of Steel" a reboot?
A: Yes. "Man of Steel" is a completely new take on Superman. It comes at the story as if there's never been any other Superman movies before it. Fans should approach it in the same way.
A: When watching "Man of Steel" you'll hear are a number of songs played during the movie that aren't part of Hans Zimmer's musical score. They are:
"Ring of Fire" by Allison Crowe.
"Seasons" by Chris Cornell.
"The Long Walk" by Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders.
(Note: Allison Crowe actually makes a cameo appearance in the movie singing "Ring of Fire".)
KryptonQ: What's the Kryptonian Codex? Why is it shaped like a skull?
A: The Codex is an ancient Kryptonian artifact that decodes the genetic makeup of the artificially incubated babies on the planet. An ancient Kryptonian skull, inscribed with glowing green glyphs, the Codex dictated the genetic code of millions of Kryptonians as yet unborn. The Codex, as explained by Jax-Ur, contains the DNA of a billion Kryptonians.
A: Jor-El transferred the Codex into Kal-El. The process disintegrated the Codex, breaking it down into digitized information which was then transmitted directly into the baby's bloodstream. As Jax-Ur explains, Jor-El took the Codex and bonded it within his son's individual cells. "All of Krypton's heirs living, hidden, in one refugee's body."
A: The Citadel is the name of the structure within which Jor-El and Lara lived on Krypton.
A: The name of the creature is H'Raka. According to the official novelization, the hybrid creature was both genetically engineered and cybernetically enhanced. Large enough to carry one or more adult Kryptonians, H'Raka had two pairs of veined, membranous wings which she owed to chromosomes extracted from an extinct aquatic mammal. The book also describes the creature as having an appearance like a cross between a seal and a dragonfly.
A: Rondor beasts (bovine-like creatures) can be seen grazing in fields of genetically-engineered grass on Krypton. There also appear to be different species of Birds.
A: Kelex and Kelor. According to the official novelization of the movie, Kelex is a masculine bot, while Kelor is feminine.
A: While not explained or mentioned in the movie at all, the shattered moon in Krypton's orbit would appear to be a nod to comic book stories (the first being 1981's Phantom Zone #1) in which the Kryptonian villain known as Jax-Ur destroys one of Krypton's moons (known as Wegthor).
A: The "Black Zero" is the name of the penitentiary ship upon which General Zod and his followers were put on. The Black Zero (a huge, organically shaped tripod structure built to house thousands of refugees) was then sent attached to a gigantic Phantom Projector which sent the ship into the Phantom Zone (generally thought to be a prison dimension situated outside the normal space/time continuum).
Kryptonian Technology and Zod's PlanQ: I thought Jor-El died on Krypton? How did he come back to life?
A: He did die. The Jor-El we see later is a three-dimensional holographic artificial intelligence which contains the memories and consciousness of the real Jor-El. The Jor-El A.I. was activated onboard the ancient Kryptonian scout ship when Clark inserted the Kryptonian Key into the ship's console. He'd carried the Key on a strap around his neck ever since Jonathan Kent had given it to him when he was thirteen. Jor-El, having created the Key and the A.I. it contained, placed it in the rocketship when he sent his son to Earth as a baby.
A: Long ago, in an era of expansion, Kryptonians spread out through the stars, seeking new worlds to settle upon. The scout ship on Earth was one of thousands launched as part of that space exploration. It is assumed the occupants all died.
A: When Krypton abandoned space exploration the outposts on other worlds were abandoned, and being cut off from their home world, the outposts on other planets perished.
A: We don't know. According to the prequel comic book published by DC Comics, the open and empty pod once carried an ancestor of Kal-El's by the name of Kara. Earth's scientists did say that the spaceship was embedded in ice that was over 18,000 years old. So it would be highly unlikely that she or anyone from the ship's crew would still be alive after all that time.
A: The World Engine fires a gravity beam which penetrates deep into the planet until it meets the beam from the Black Zero (which is positioned on the other side of the planet). Thus linked, the machines feed each other, creating an axis of energy that trade waves of gravity in a devastating feedback loop. As explained by Dr. Emil Hamilton in the movie, the World Engine works in tandem with the Black Zero ship to increase the planet's mass. Clouding the atmosphere with particulates, terraforming the planet (modifying its atmosphere and topography) into something more like Krypton.
A: General Zod and his fellow Kryptonians were genetically engineered to protect and preserve all things Kryptonian. They are almost programmed to try and bring about restoring anything and everything Kryptonian. Plus, Zod explains to Jor-El's A.I. during the film that he and his people do not want to go through the years of physical pain and discomfort that they would need to go through to adapt fully to Earth's environment. In the official novelization Zod further explains, "I want to breathe the air of Krypton again. I want to feel the solid weight of our world beneath my feet."
A: Zod didn't know about Earth until the Black Zero received a signal from the Kryptonian Scoutship on Earth which became active when Clark Kent located it. Since Jor-El sent the Codex (embedded in his son's body) to Earth, where he knew there was a scoutship with a working Genesis Chamber on board, Zod believed that Jor-El's plan was for Kal-El to use the Codex to build a new Krypton on Earth. The World Engine required a suitable world, and since Zod had no compassion or care for Earth, with his only concern being the future of his own people, he had no compunction about destroying Earth to rebuild Krypton.
A: Krypton had long ago abandoned the unpredictability of sexual reproduction in favor of a more orderly and scientific system that allowed for complete control over each child's genetic makeup and destiny. All Kryptonians were artificially conceived in chambers called Genesis Chambers. Each developing embryo was expressly designed to fulfill his or her preordained role in society - as a worker, warrior, thinker, administrator, or whatever best served the greater good of Krypton.
A: No. They were empty. Zod was hoping to use that Genesis Chamber to create new Kryptonians once the Codex had been extracted from Kal-El's body.
A: His name is Nam-Ek. Standing at over nine feet tall, the hulking brute, believed to be mute, (according to the movie's official novelization) may have been the result of an illegal transgenic experiment, possibly involving Rondor DNA.
Kal-El/Clark Kent/SupermanQ: Where did the Superman costume come from? Wasn't that scout ship on Earth for thousands of years?
A: The Superman suit, as we know it, was onboard the Kryptonian scoutship. In the official novelization (written by Greg Cox), Jor-El shows Clark to the armory where space suits and skintight garments were still hanging in their nooks. One of the skintight garments is described as having a "big red 'S' on the blue suit". Putting on the suit Superman muses at how the steel-blue suit, which had once belonged to a distant ancestor, fits him perfectly. According to the prequel comic book published by DC Comics, members of the House of El were onboard the spaceship, so it's not unreasonable to think that there would be garments onboard the ship decorated with the House of El symbol/glyph. The Kryptonian skinsuit and cape are described as being "highly durable".
A: The conditions on board the Black Zero spaceship were for Kryptonians. Superman, having grown up on Earth and having adapted to Earth's atmosphere, was not able to properly breath upon immediately entering the ship. His body needed to adapt to the ship's environment. The ship's environment also nullified the superpowers he'd gained from Earth's environment and sun.
A: He wasn't physically on Earth. It was a mental image, a dream sequence of sorts, in which Zod had invaded his mind to learn as much about Superman as he could. It was a mental attack on Superman by Zod, showing him what he intended to do to Earth and its people. A similar process was done to Lois (off camera), where they learned about Martha Kent and Smallville from her mind. She apologizes to Superman about this, but he reassures her by telling her that Zod had done the same thing to him.
A: It appears as though Lois Lane first comes up with the name "Superman" to explain what the "S" on his chest stands for (even though he explains to her it's not an "S" but rather the Kryptonian symbol for "Hope"). However in the movie Lois is interrupted halfway through saying the word. In the official novelization she is definitely the one who comes up with the name "Superman," as she gets to finish that conversation with Superman before Dr. Hamilton interrupts. In the theatrical cut of the movie, a military analyst is the first to fully say the name "Superman" when he informs General Swanwick that, "Colonel Hardy's on his way in. And he's got Superman in tow."
A: The plan was to hit the Black Zero with the the spaceship Kal-El was brought to Earth in. Kal-El's ship was powered by a Phantom Drive, which bends space. Zod's ship used the same technology. Crashing the two drives together would create a singularity (like a black hole), which would be an opening to the Phantom Zone. Superman explains that Zod's people, having spent years in the Phantom Zone, would still be tethered to the energies they were exposed to there. Opening a gateway to the Phantom Zone would pull them back in.
Zod's ship was surrounded by gravity fields created by its connection to the World Engine. To crash Kal-El's spaceship in to the Black Zero the gravity field needed to be shut down (as anything that got close was reflected away). Superman had to destroy the World Engine (located on the opposite side of the world somewhere in the Indian Ocean) to shut down that connection and stop the gravity field from expanding.
A: Superman and Zod had fought to a standstill. The official novelization explains that the position they were in wouldn't allow Superman the leverage he needed to fly - to carry them away from the train station. "It was all he could do to restrain his opponent." Additionally, Zod clearly stated several times that he'd never stop, and even told Superman that the only way the fight was going to end was with one of them dying. Zod even explained that his sole remaining purpose (now that his own people were gone) was to destroy everyone on Earth. "I exist only to protect Krypton. That is the sole purpose for which I was born, and every action I take, no matter how violent or how cruel, is for the greater good of my people. And now I have no people. My soul... that is what you have taken from me. I'm going to make them suffer, Kal. These humans you've adopted. I will take them all from you... one by one!" "There's only one way this ends, Kal! Either you die - or I do." The official novelization even goes on to explain that Zod may have intentionally forced Superman's hand as a way to attain a "glorious death in combat". Superman is clearly devastated at being forced to kill. Superman ended the fight, not only to save the lives of the family Zod was threatening with his heat-vision, but the millions of others Zod would have continued to kill. There was no way to restrain him, no way of sending him into the Phantom Zone, and Zod had clearly stated he'd never stop killing humans.
A: Obviously Martha Kent knows. Lois Lane definitely knows. It appears as though Pete Ross and other people in Smallville might know (such as Father Leone and Lana Lang). It's uncertain if Perry White, Steve Lombard and Jenny (from the Daily Planet) know, as they saw Lois kissing Superman, but don't necessarily know he's Clark Kent.
Daily PlanetQ: Is Jenny at the Daily Planet really Jenny Olsen?
A: At the end of the movie, in the credits, the character (played by Rebecca Buller) is simply listed as "Jenny". She is an intern at the Daily Planet newspaper. Jenny does have an ID card hanging around her neck during the movie, and the name on that ID card shows that her full name is actually "Jenny Jurwich", not "Jenny Olsen".
The whole "Olsen" rumor began when IMDB.com originally listed Buller's character as "Jenny Olsen". The actress herself didn't correct people in interviews when they asked her about playing "Jenny Olsen", further confusing the matter.
A: The Daily Planet building is never shown to be destroyed, but it's never clearly shown not to be one of the buildings that were destroyed during the Black Zero's gravity beam attack on Metropolis. We assume that it wasn't destroyed, as the staff are back at work at some point in the not-too-distant future when Clark Kent arrives for his first day as a reporter at their offices.
Other CharactersQ: What happened to Dr. Hamilton and Col. Hardy? Did they die?
A: When Colonel Hardy intentionally crashed the C-17 aircraft into the Black Zero, he and all other humans on board would most likely have died in the explosion. The official novelization even states that Hardy knew he wasn't going to survive the crash.