Man Of Steel Storyboarder Defends Superman Killing Zod


Depending on who you ask, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was either an engrossingly sombre and original take on a beloved character, or a betrayal of everything that Superman stands for. Perhaps the biggest litmus test for sorting fans from detractors is the climax of the 2013 film, in which Henry Cavill’s titular hero breaks the neck of General Zod in order to prevent the supervillain and fellow Kryptonian from killing civilians.

What some saw as a thought-provoking challenge to our notions of heroism, others decried as a tasteless and misguided dismissal of the age-old rule that Superman never kills. Now, storyboard artist, animated filmmaker and frequent DCEU contributor Jay Oliva has made it very clear which side of the fence he lies on with his recent Tweet.

Responding to a user who criticized ‘the neck-breaking Superman,’ Oliva, whose work on Man of Steel marked his first time storyboarding a live-action feature film, defended the character’s chosen action as a necessary evil:

Btw he broke Zod’s neck to save everyone. How else could he have stopped Zod from killing? Fly away So Zod would be alone to kill everyone? Put him into a super villain prison? Ask him nicely to stop? Superman had no choice. Just like he had no choice vs doomsday in comics.

The director of the two-part animated film Batman: The Dark Knight Returns has a history of standing up for Snyder on social media, last week describing the filmmaker’s planned 5-movie DCEU run as “epic, grand, emotional, joyful and unforgettable.” The Justice League helmsman has recently been getting a little emotional himself online, too, a few days ago posting to Vero the first photo he ever took of the holy trinity that is Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman all together.

As Snyder bids the DCEU farewell for now while he works on an adaptation of the Ayn Rand novel The Fountainhead, Warner Bros. presses on, with the franchise’s next installment, Aquaman, scheduled for release on December 21st this year.

With the studio currently in a position where it likely feels the need to win back audiences who were turned off by their recent string of movies, you can expect the DCEU to play it relatively safe for the time being and offer few moments as provocative as Man of Steel’s neck-breaking scene. Whether or not that’s a good thing, you can decide for yourself.

About the author