[MILD SPOILERS for Batman V Superman ahead.]
Everyone knows about the jokes surrounding comic book characters and death: it’s fairly inconsequential to them. Despite this, the way in which 2013’s Man of Steel saw Superman (Henry Cavill) brutally snap General Zod’s (Michael Shannon) neck seemed pretty definitive — assuring that the villainous Kryptonian would appear as nothing more than the corpse in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Shannon previously dismissed his comments about Zod undergoing a transformation for Batman V Superman, indicating the character will instead return as a “ghost” of sorts. The actor has now offered some more clarification, regarding that very topic.
Speaking with Cinema Blend, Shannon explained that he will in fact make an appearance in Batman V Superman as more than just an inert corpse:
Yeah, I say some stuff. But not a whole lot! I mean, I am dead. [Laughs] … I’m just like a ghost. It’s kind of like Russell Crowe in the first one. Jor-El. For some reason, these Kryptonian spirits, they linger. Even once you crack my neck, you can’t shut me up.
Kryptonian technology far surpasses that of anything we have here on Earth in the DC Extended Universe – and as such, Kryptonians have the ability to essentially upload their consciousness into computer systems to achieve near immortality. Kal-El’s father Jor-El did this in Man of Steel, so while we never saw Zod do the same, it’s entirely possible that Batman V Superman will provide an explanation for him to return as a computer program. It has also been suggested that many moments already seen in the trailers come from flashbacks or nightmares that occur during the film, so Zod’s “ghost” could prove to be something fabricated by Clark Kent’s own sense of guilt over what happened in Man of Steel.
Having Zod show up in Batman V Superman in some form or another not only serves to uphold the limited continuity of DC’s fledgling superhero universe, but it also reinforces the notion that Man of Steel bore consequences. Many people complained that the final scenes of the recent Superman reboot brushed off the nature of the destruction of Metropolis and Gotham – as well as Superman’s ultimate decision to take Zod’s life – and the Batman V Superman trailers alone have also demonstrated that the film will address at least some of those complaints head-on.
Shannon — by his own admission — still won’t appear in the upcoming superhero melee all that much, so Zod’s apparent return may not weigh on Superman’s psyche all that much, and simply exist to uphold continuity between the films. That is, of course, assuming that Shannon is telling the truth now…
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14th, 2019; Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern Corps on June 19th, 2020. Untitled Batman and Superman solo films will be coming at dates TBD.
Source: Cinema Blend