Some fans – and noted fanboy comic book writers – are up in arms over the controversial ending to the Man of Steel.
Note: Spoilers follow.
The end of Man of Steel saw Superman snap Zod’s neck, killing the Kyrptonian General (we guess he won’t be coming back as a good guy like Loki, anyway…)
In an interview podcast with Empire Online, director Zack Snyder addresses the question of Superman killing, and following that we also learn that producer Christopher Nolan was at first against the Superman killing Zod ending.
Below you can find Zack Snyder’s words transcribed from the podcast, followed by what David Goyer had to say about Christopher Nolan and the Zod death scene as well.
You can also listen for yourself in the player below.
They also make a point of there not being many Superman “heroics,” which has been a complaint by some, and it’s stated the movie is more “Superman Begins,” meaning it just hasn’t happened, yet. While they do show some heroics and Lois hints at it, the scene at the end with General Swanick (Harry Lennix) is only like three weeks following the Zod event (so CBN‘s guess is wait for the sequel for more regarding that).
(starts around the 59:00:00 mark)
In the original version of the script he just got zapped into the Phantom Zone. David [Goyer] and I had long talks about it, and Chris [Nolan] and I talked long about it, and I really feel like we should kill Zod, and I really feel like Superman should kill him.
The why of it was for me – I go – if it’s truly an origin story, his aversion to killing is unexplained, it’s just in his DNA. I felt like we needed him to do something just like him putting on the glasses or going to the Daily Planet, or any of the other things that your sort of seeing for the first time that you realize becomes his sort of his thing. I felt like if we could find a way of making it impossible for him, you know “kobayashi maru” – totally no way out – I felt like that could also make you go ‘okay, this is the why of him not killing ever again.’
He’s basically obliterated his entire people and his culture, and he is responsible for it, and he’s just like ‘I can’t. How could I kill ever again?’
Even though Zod says to him ‘Look there is no way this ends with, like what are you going to do put me in jail? I don’t know what are you going to do with me, but I am just going to keep doing this to until you stop me [I am engineered]. Yeah, I am, just a killing machine and that’s what I am going to do. I had a task before which was to rebuild Krypton, but you’ve robbed me of that task, the task is gone, there is no chance of that task, so now what am I going to do? All I am is a killing machine? So I’m going to start doing that.’
And I wanted to create this scenario where Superman is going to see those people get chopped in half, or he’s got to do what he’s go to do. And I think Zod knows that. It’s almost [suicide in its way] in a way, it is, it’s like death by cop, you know in a way. In my mind if Kal has the ability to kill him, then that’s a noble way for him to die. It’s like that whole “good death is its own reward” concept in the movie.
I think if there were more adventures for Superman to go on, you then are also given this other thing, where you don’t know 100% what he is going to do. I think that when you really put in stone the concept that he won’t kill, and it’s totally in stone, it really erases an option in the viewer’s mind. Now, I think that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t now have a code, that he is like ‘okay I just can’t don’t do that, this has to be outside, I gotta find another way, that’s how it is,’ but again you will always have it in the back of your mind this little thing [of] how far can you push him. If he sees Lois get hurt, or if he sees his mother get killed, you just made a really mad Superman that we know is capable of some really horrible stuff when he wants to be.
That’s the thing that is cool about him, I think in some ways; the ideas that he has the frailties of a human, sort of emotionally, but you don’t want to get the guy mad.
(starts around the 1:11:00 mark)
Killing Zod was a big thing, and that was something originally that Chris Nolan said there is no way you can do this. That was a change. Originally, Zod got sucked into the Phantom Zone along with the others, and I just felt like it was unsatisfying, and so did Zack. We started questioning, we talked to some of the people at DC Comics and said ‘do you think there is ever a way Superman would kill someone?’ And at first they said ‘know way, know way.’ But then we said, ‘what if he didn’t have a choice?’
And originally Chris didn’t even want to let us to try and write it, and Zack and I said ‘we think we can figure out a way that you will buy it,’ and so, I came up with this idea of the heat vision and these people about to die, and I wrote the scene and I gave it to Chris, and he said, ‘ okay, you’ve convinced me, and I buy it.’
And I think it’s a shocking ending. I’ve seen the film four times with an audience, and everyone gasps at the ending. They don’t see it coming, and I think it makes some people feel uncomfortable, other people say ‘right on,’ but that was the point, and hopefully we’ve done at the end of this film, we’ve gotten people to – the mainstream audience not the geek audience – to question.
Hopefully we’ve redefined Superman.