WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS for Batman V Superman
During the promotional build-up to Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Warner Bros. took to social media with the hashtag #WhoWillWin so fans could debate which of DC’s titans would come out on top in the title fight. At first glance, it would appear that Kal-El would have the upper hand given his nature; but there are plenty of ways the Dark Knight can top the Man of Steel, as evidenced in the film. However, before viewers got a chance to watch it all go down (and Batman defeat Superman), the resolution of their battle was very much up in the air.
Everybody had an opinion, weighing the pros and cons of the two combatants. That includes none other than Michael Shannon, who portrayed villain General Zod in Batman V Superman‘s predecessor, Man of Steel. He had a very interesting outlook on the scenario, which some might find amusing given what’s transpired in the films.
Prior to the film’s release, Vulture polled numerous Hollywood and comic book personalities (including MCU stars Sebastian Stan and Tom Hiddleston), asking each who they thought would emerge victorious. When the outlet got to Shannon, he was very blunt in his apathetic response and cast a vote for his Kryptonian brethren:
I’m so utterly unconcerned with the outcome of that fight. So profoundly, utterly unconcerned. I can’t even come up with a fake answer. I guess I have to root for Superman because he killed me, so I would hope that he would continue his killing spree and become like a serial killer Superman. That’s a new take on Superman. We’d all be in a heap of trouble if Superman was a serial killer. He could just wipe us all out. But then he’d be lonely.
Shannon’s comments are very reminiscent of an aspect in sports, when after suffering a playoff loss, some fans of the losing team hope the winner becomes the champion (so the losing fans can say they fell to the eventual champion). From that perspective, it’s easy to sympathize with Shannon. Zod did lose his life during the Battle of Metropolis, so it makes sense he would want Superman to defeat a mere mortal man. Unfortunately for him, things didn’t really turn out that way and Batman almost cast a fatal blow thanks to the aid of Kryptonite.
While Shannon’s begrudging answer is humorous, many moviegoers are probably pleased that Kal-El did not kill Bruce Wayne. After all the controversy caused by the collateral damage in Man of Steel, longtime fans of the character would probably not have been able to stomach a “serial killer Superman” that gleefully murders foes left and right. Modernizing the mythos for a new audience is one thing, going that far off the book is something else. Regardless of how destructive Superman action is in the DCEU, his ultimate goal is saving people (destroying the World Engine, battling Doomsday, etc.). He’s someone who values life, and doesn’t even want to trade blows with Batman when the stage is set for their fateful showdown.
Yet, Shannon’s joke about a different kind of Superman could be oddly prophetic, depending on how things shape out. The “Knightmare” sequence from Batman V Superman could be seen as a vision of a possible future for Earth, after Darkseid has arrived and corrupted Superman against his allies. Hopefully, Bruce Wayne heeds Barry Allen’s advice and Lois Lane is kept safe from harm, but for now anything is possible.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now playing in U.S. theaters. Suicide Squad will arrive on August 5, 2016, followed by Wonder Woman on June 23, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps. on June 19, 2020.