We might be seven summers removed from when Man of Steel launched the DCEU into existence, but there’s still no sign of a sequel on the horizon, with Henry Cavill’s recently-signed contract extension reportedly for cameo appearances only. In fact, there’s a widespread belief that the franchise doesn’t have much interest in Superman at all, with the Big Blue Boy Scout being relegated to the sidelines ever since headlining the movie that started the shared universe.
The DCEU might have seven films scheduled for release by the end of 2022, at least one of which is guaranteed to feature an appearance from Superman, but despite the general sense of apathy on the studio’s part surrounding a Man of Steel sequel, fans still can’t stop talking about the controversial ending of the original that saw Kal-El break one of his cardinal rules by snapping Zod’s neck.
In general, Superman doesn’t kill, but countless people involved in the production have given their two cents on why Clark Kent would be forced into ending a life. Now, writer David S. Goyer has chipped in with his thoughts on it and in a recent interview, the Batman Begins scribe admitted that approaching an all-powerful entity like Superman from a more realistic angle was a huge challenge.
“It’s easier to work with a character like Batman realistically than it is with a metahuman from another planet. There’s a higher threshold for suspension of disbelief with Superman than there is with Batman. The attempt with Man of Steel was to apply the same kind of standards, to tell the story of Man of Steel in a fairly realistic way and to try to think about what would happen to the world if a character like that emerged. The entire premise of the movie was that if a character like this emerged from another world who had these kinds of powers, it would be the biggest thing that ever happened in human history.”
Goyer went on to explain that Superman was left with no choice but to kill Zod having been backed into a corner during Man of Steel‘s epic third-act showdown, and with the character having only recently started to discover the full range and extent of his powers, he soon realized that only one of the two Kryptonians would be making it out of their battle alive.
“It’s not some frivolous fight, it’s almost like 9/11 when they fight… He’s finding somebody who’s said, ‘I won’t stop’, who’s said, ‘You can’t put me in a prison I won’t ever stop’. We wanted to put him in a stalemate… I absolutely understand a lot of people had problems with it. When I have had a hand in adapting these things, you wanna be as respectful to the core material as possible but you also can’t protect against failure. You have to take big swings. With big swings there are big rewards. We took enormous swings with Batman Begins and with The Dark Knight that turned out to be well-received, but we were trying to tell a different kind of Superman story, a Superman story that hadn’t been told before and it required us taking some big swings. We talked about it. We talked about whether or not people would accept it, and the editorial staff at DC had accepted it. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t a mistake, but if you sit there and you say, ‘I don’t wanna take any risk. I’m worried I might offend a portion of the audience,’ I don’t think that’s a particularly healthy way to try to make a film or a television show.”
Some fans still haven’t gotten over the fact that Superman killing Zod is so out of character for someone that’s always been a beacon of hope, and at least Goyer acknowledges that there was a lot of backlash to his creative decision. It just remains infuriating that the effects it had on Superman still haven’t been explored in any more detail during his tenure in the DCEU.