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Michael Shannon Cast As Zod In Superman: Man Of Steel

Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon will play General Zod in director Zack Snyder’s Superman movie, now officially titled Man of Steel. He joins a cast that so far includes Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Diane Lane as Martha Kent and Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent.

“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,” Snyder said in a statement. “Michael is a powerful actor who can project both the intelligence and the malice of the character, making him perfect for the role.”

Shannon, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the 2008 drama Revolutionary Road, emerged last month as a contender to play the main villain in Man of Steel. Earlier reports pegged Viggo Mortensen and Edgar Ramirez as candidates for the part, long rumored to be Zod.

Made famous in 1978’s Superman and 1980’s Superman II by Terence Stamp, Zod first appeared in April 1961, in the pages of Adventure Comics #283, where he was the megalomaniacal leader of Krypton’s military forces who attempted to take over the planet using an army of robot duplicates of himself. He was exiled to the Phantom Zone until he was released at the end of his sentence by Superboy. After attempting to conquer Earth, he was returned to the Phantom Zone, from which he escaped from time to time.

Somewhat different versions of Zod have appeared over the years in DC Comics continuity, most recently in the “Superman: Last Son” storyline by Geoff Johns and Superman director Richard Donner, where he escaped from the Phantom Zone with Ursa and Non to conquer Earth and transform it into a new Krypton. He played central roles in the subsequent “New Krypton” storyline, World of New Krypton miniseries and “War of the Supermen” event, after which he was returned to the Phantom Zone.

Shannon, 35, co-stars as the intense and occasionally brutal federal Prohibition agent Nelson Van Alden in HBO’s critically acclaimed Boardwalk Empire.

Superman: Man of Steel is written by David S. Goyer from a story by Goyer and producer Christopher Nolan. Charles Rovan, Emma Thomas and Deborah Snyder also are producing. Thomas Tull and Lloyd Phillips are executive producers. Filming is expected to begin this summer for a December 2012 release.

Here’s the official press release:


BURBANK, CA, April 10, 2011 – Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures announced today that Michael Shannon will star in the role of General Zod in director Zack Snyder’s new Superman film, titled “Man of Steel.”

Snyder stated, “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. Michael is a powerful actor who can project both the intelligence and the malice of the character, making him perfect for the role.”

As General Zod, Shannon will go toe-to-toe with Henry Cavill, who plays the new Clark Kent/Superman in the film. The main cast also includes Amy Adams as Lois Lane, and Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as Martha and Jonathan Kent.

Michael Shannon was honored with an Academy Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Sam Mendes’ “Revolutionary Road,” with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Shannon was most recently seen in the award-winning HBO drama series “Boardwalk Empire,” from executive producer Martin Scorsese. He will next be seen in Sony Pictures Classics’, “Take Shelter,” from director/writer Jeff Nichols.

Charles Roven, Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Deborah Snyder are the producers of the film. The screenplay is being written by David S. Goyer based on a story by Goyer and Nolan. Thomas Tull and Lloyd Phillips are serving as executive producers.

“Man of Steel” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.


  • Oan Alien

    Well I officially hate this movie. stop using the same crap and giving us origin stories! Give us something different.

  • Michael Sacal

    Rehashing Zod is pretty unimaginative. I would have hoped that the movie might be an adaptation of the Man of Steel mini series with Lex and Bizarro as the main villains (though I do admit that that might remind people too much of Superman IV, which might be a good enough reason to want to avoid that particular mix of villains)

  • Matt

    i friggin wanted brainiac.

  • Spiderguy

    I would have loved to see Brainiac, Metallo, or even Livewire (from the Superman animated series) in this movie, not an abbridged version of Superman and Superman 2.

  • Agent-of Zurg

    I think this is a good idea for a new flick since they just did Lex in the last superman flick. And since Lex was such a big part of the first couple of movies with Reeves in them. I bet this flick is going to rock!

  • Jacob

    It might seem unimaginative at first, but it really comes down to what they do with him. When they did Zod in Superman II, they completely revitalized the character and made him into what we know today. Now, it’s incredibly unlikely, but the possibility is still there.

  • Jacob

    Me too, man… Me too.

  • Jacob

    This casting is pure win.

  • Michael Sacal

    We’ve seen Zod reimagined multiple times in the comics over the last decade, from Loeb’s rehash of the 60s version in the fake Silver Age Krypton, to Kelly’s Russian version, to a couple or trio of others, counting Johns’ and Donner’s version.

    If they are going to do Zod, I’d like them to do the version from the Man of Steel Krypton, which only appeared in an out of continuity Elseworlds. The design of the charatecter is very interesting, and his motivations are as well.

  • Michael Sacal

    It’s not bad at all. I just hope the plot lives up to it.

  • Lou

    I would have liked Brainiac too ! But maybe he’ll be in the sequel :) We definitely don’t need another origin story and not a continuation of the Donner films, with Lex. Enough Lex in the movies already !!!

  • batfan86

    The story and action will probably be good, but this choice for villain seems boring to me. Superman has a diverse rogues gallery, but they pick another Kryptonian?

  • Jcupach

    Not too be too critical but I disagree with Superman having a good rogue’s gallery. OK it’s diverse but I can’t see many choices that I would put into a blockbuster movie. Bizarro and Myxlplyx (yeah I know it’s misspelled) were silver age goofyness. Luthor and Braniac are OK but they don’t really give Superman a phyical challenge. Doomsday had the initial kill Superman story. Then there’s Toyman, Atomic Skull, Titano. There’s not really much to work with.

  • T.

    Superman has one of the lamest rogues gallery in comics. If they want to create a cool action movie that gives a chance to show off some awesome combat action, Zod is the best choice? Brainiac simply isn’t as cool a combatant for Superman in hand-to-hand combat. Don’t blame Snyder, blame the decades of Superman writers who never thought to give Superman a good rogues gallery.

  • frank

    Absolutely perfect!

  • Michael Bryan Walt

    Zod. General “Friggin” ZOD. Oy! I was really hoping for another of the big guy’s villains, you know… like maybe… hum, let me think… Brainiac, Lobo, Mongrel, Doomsday, or, now here’s a thought for a huge epic (read that as two movies) storyline: DARKSEID and the invasion of earth!! But noooo, we get General Zod — again! Sweet baby – place the name of your deity here -! Well, if Zack and crew are going this way, at least the casting is pretty good. Michael Shannon could play the Hell out of the role. I’m a be fan of “Boardwalk Empire” and Shannon is a great villainous G-Man in the series. Still looking forward to this version of “The Man of Steel” with some hope, but, come on… Zod. General “Friggin” Zod! Again, Oy!

  • Dawnell_do

    He would be too much for this reboot.

  • Christopher Furness

    I can’t complain about the casting choice itself, I’m sure he’ll do a great job getting people to kneel *pause* kneel before Zod. But I agree with many of the comments here in that I was hoping for another of the rogues gallery to be the main antagonist. Not because I don’t like Zod or because I feel any animosity towards anyone else trying to portray him. I just would have preferred to see Parasite or Brainiac. It’s likely that there will be two villains anyway, if it follows the Batman reboot formula. But because of Nolan’s aversion to anything that looks otherworldly, there is only a certain amount of choices it could be. Hopefully, it will be the Eradicator will be introduced so Doomsday will be in the sequal/threequal.

  • Madcattv2

    Let’s hope it’s a good movie and it does well…because I want a sequel with maybe a villain we’ve never seen on screen before.
    …Because I’m too old to wait another 10-20 years for another shot at another reboot!

  • JMC

    You do realise the last time Zod was seen on the big screen was 30 years ago don’t you? Heath Ledger reprised the Joker 19 years after Jack Nicholson and that seemed to work out well.

    I have a lot of confidence in Goyer and Nolan’s treatment, but feel free to react like a typical fanboy.

  • JMC

    How can a guy who can not only go toe-to-toe with Superman physically, but is a master strategist, and more than likely a better fighter than Superman be boring? Stop thinking Terence Stamp and 2D Silver Age villain, and see the huge potential in the character. Johns did an excellent version just recently and I reckon this will be the template for the character.

  • JMC

    It’s extremely unlikely that Darkseid will ever be seen in a Superman film. More than likely he’s being explored as a character in a Fourth World film (Damn that would rock!) or possibly an upcoming JLA film. But he’s never gonna show up in Superman.

  • JMC

    I think this is great news! Zod has logical ties to Superman and is a global threat, and has the potential to showcase a number of amazing fight scenes. He hasn’t been seen on film for 30 years – it’s not like he’s been popping up everywhere (Smallville doesn’t count!) I love the fact that Zod is a perfect example of the negative aspects of having an all-powerful god-like entity on Earth – think of the dramatic possibilities! How can the public trust Superman when Zod demonstrates the potential danger of having a Kryptonian around – that them would certainly flow into ongoing sequels.

    I’m confident that Brainiac will play a role in the film, likely in a similar fashion to the Superman Animated series in which he was a background character that later became a major threat to Superman – probably in the sequel. But he’s too important to be used in only one film – he needs to build up as a huge threat over at least a couple of films!

    And of course Lex Luthor HAS to appear – hopefully as a character lurking in the background manipulating and taking advantage of Zod’s attack on Earth to generate a hate campaign against Superman.

    You guys should try being optimistic for a change – it’s much more fun, and you are a lot happier. But then, some people just love being miserable for the sake of being miserable…

  • William Hodge

    I’m officially disappointed too.

  • Michael Sacal

    If Superman’s rogues gallery is that bad, why not just create a new villain for the movie? The animated series and Smallville do it all the time. The AS gave us Live Wire, for instance, while the TV series gave us a different freak of the week during the first hree or four seasons, as well as different caliber villains in the subsequent seasons that didn’t come from the comics.

    That said, Conduit would have been a good choice for a villain in the movie.

  • Thesuperbrandospam

    Just to be clear, according to the press release the title of this movie is “Man of Steal”. It’s not “Superman: Man of Steel” or “The Man of Steel”.

  • Michael Sacal

    Just like the 80s reboot :) heh.

    I’m still worried that it will carry the same title is that but the plot will be a mix of Crapright and Not-So Secret Origin.

  • Michael Sacal

    In the Man of Steel reboot Lex was fairly abscent for Superman’s first year or so, so in the movie he could be like that, a puppetmaster who orchestrates things behind the scenes until he and Superman come face to face in the second or third movie.

  • Michael Sacal

    Ok, let’s have Zod in the movie, and Faora and Jax-Ur too… just have the movie end with Superman executing them for their crimes, which would lead to his exile from Earth due to guilt in the next movie and his encounter with Mongul and the Eradicator on Warworld like in the comics, heh.

    Make the movie an adaptation of aspects of the Man of Steel mini series and Superman #22, and have the sequel follow the Exile storyline. The floor on the movie theaters will be sticky because of all the blood from the exploding heads of Silver Age fans who won’t be able to take it! lol

  • Michael Sacal

    Technically Darkseid is a Superman rogue since he made his first appearance in a Superman spin off, Jimmy Olsen, so he could be in a Superman movie.

  • JMC

    I doubt that

  • Billykeeler

    everyone please STOP with the comparisons with the joker to zod. The Joker was a character from the comics, and there where a FEW good Batman movies in between Nicholson and Ledger. The last good Superman movie, 30 yrs. ago, had zod in it; there are way too many DC super-villans to have to go back to a Richard Donner creation.

  • Michael Sacal

    He’s in Smallville now. Someday, it may happen in a movie too.

  • Wookiee

    Here’s the difference: Joker is the iconic Batman villain. At some point, Nolan would have had to handle him.

    Zod is at best a third or even fourth string Superman villain. He is definitely not as interesting as Brainiac or Darkseid.

    It’s not so much a fanboy reaction as just being sick of rehashes (a la Superman returns, which was basically Singer’s love letter to the Donner movies).

  • Wookiee

    You can doubt it all you want, it’s true. The Fourth World was first introduced in Jimmy Olsen.

  • JMC

    Saying “I officially hate a movie” based on nothing less than assumptions and speculation is a fanboy reaction no mater how much you try to explain it.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that this film is a “rehash” In fact everything points to the opposite. Your inclusion of Superman Returns, which has nothing to do with this film makes no sense either.

    And including Darkseid as the villain would be impossible due to budget (how are you going to afford CGI for all those Fourth World characters) not to mention dissapointing fans if they didn’t show up, as well as overshadowing Superman if they did.

  • JMC

    I meant that I doubt that he will show up in a Superman film – and I explained my reasons for doing so above. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting either…

    And while he did appear in Jimmy Olsen that was only because Kirby was doing the series at the same time as the Fourth World series. When you think Superman villains you don’t think Darkseid.

    Zod, a character with Kryptonian ties and links to the Superman legacy makes more sense than Darkseid, a character that needs to appear in a Fourth World film, not Superman: Man of Steel.

  • Nilla

    But if you really think about it, Zod is Superman’s biggest enemy. He’s equally as powerful, just as intelligent, and willing to do anything to get what he wants. He’s exactly what Superman fears. There’s a reason he lets Bruce keep all that Kryptonite. He’s afraid of the damage he could do if he ever goes rogue. And that’s essentially what Zod is.

  • Michael Sacal

    Or the Cyborg… or the Eradicator… or Bizarro.

  • Michael Sacal

    The Eradicator would also be a villain with Kryptonian ties and a stronger link to Superman’s legacy than Zod.

  • Michael Sacal

    “(how are you going to afford CGI for all those Fourth World characters)”

    Isn’t it sad that Superman doesn’t merit the same budget as Avatar to justify doing something like the Fourth World on screen?

  • JMC

    If James Cameron ever says, “I want to do a Fourth World film” it’ll happen just like Avatar. And while I’d much rather see that than Avatar, Avatar 2, and 3 but doubt it’ll happen.

  • JMC

    Well, the points moot because the villain has already been cast but I think a villain that hates Superman’s father and wanting to take his revenge on his son, as well as conquering the planet has a much stronger link than the Eradicator (who outside of the Death of Superman storyline has little relevance or recognition to the Superman mythos) But each to their own.

  • JMC

    Lex Luthor is Superman’s arch-enemy and clearly Superman’s “Joker.” The problem with Luthor’s appearances on film has been the campy quality (eventhough I love Hackman’s take). If they took a page out of Ian McShane’s portrayal of Al Swearengen in Deadwood and made Luthor a credible threat then most of the fanboy community wouldn’t resist the idea of Lex reappearing in the franchise. Hopefully that’s what they’ll do in the sequel.

  • JMC

    Unfortunately to feature the Cyborg and Eradicator you would need to harken back to the Death of Superman storyline and to do it justice you’d need to pace it over three films. I’d love to see it, but that’s a big commitment by the studios.

    Bizarro isn’t a threat – he’s too pathetic.

  • Michael Sacal

    Not necessarily. I’m sure that Dark Knight Rises won’t be an adaptation of Venom or Knightfall and it will still feature Bane.

    Characters in general can be introduced in plots that aren’t necessarily copies of the originals from the comics. We’ve seen that done many times over the last two decades in comics published Post Crisis, cartoons, and TV shows.

  • Michael Sacal

    “a villain that hates Superman’s father and wanting to take his revenge on his son, as well as conquering the planet ”

    Is a rehash of Superman 2 and The Donner’s Cut. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.