Bryan Singer Talks ‘Man of Steel’; Zod’s Emblem Revealed

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 12th, 2013 at 8:04 am,

Zack Snyder would have enough of a challenge on his hands making Man of Steel reinvigorate the Superman license, while simultaneously launching a potential movie universe for DC’s entire Justice League. But the film will also be charged with correcting some of the mistakes of Superman’s last appearance: Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns (2006).

It would be unfair to say Singer’s take was a total failure, since Snyder is repeating some of his predecessor’s work. He’s found himself a relative unknown for the titular role, and a new take on the classic Kryptonian super-suit – but that’s where the similarities largely end. Expectations range from skepticism to unbridled optimism, but now we have an idea of where Singer sees the most promise, and the most cause for concern.

Snyder’s casting of an Oscar-nominated actress for the role of Lois Lane promises something different from the secondary characters (even if it’s not as dramatic as changing gender), and a close look at the Man of Steel trailer shows that this movie will tell a vastly different story from any previous. And in case it isn’t already clear, it won’t be resembling the sequel to Superman Returns for which Bryan Singer laid the foundation.

Superman Man of Steel Not Dark Bryan Singer Talks Man of Steel; Zods Emblem Revealed

So, is Singer disappointed that the next Superman movie has been handed to someone else? Speaking with Total Film, the director reveals that he still wonders what might have been, but is first and foremost a fan of the big blue Boy Scout:

“If this was a few years ago, I might have [been disappointed] – but so much time has passed. I’ve done two movies since, I’ll be on my third movie now in the [X-Men] universe… so whilst it would have been nice then, now I’m actually genuinely looking forward to seeing Zack’s movie. At my heart I’m a fan. I’ve always been a fan.

“The original ‘Superman’ movie was the one that educated me – the first act of Donner’s ‘Superman’ was what inspired me to take ‘X-Men’ so seriously. Now I get to go see a ‘Superman’ movie and I don’t have to f***ing make it! [laughs] They’re not easy! He’s not an easy character!”

That’s quite the understatement, since the character has challenged experienced writers for decades, for fairly obvious reasons: If Superman can do almost anything, what could possibly bring conflict? Screenwriter David S. Goyer and Zack Snyder have decided to build the conflict for their film from the inside out, addressing the fact that Superman is a son of two fathers and not truly a ‘man’, regardless of how much he pretends to be one.

Those ideas set a fairly serious tone for what is usually seen as (and promised by star Henry Cavill to be) a character that is nothing if not the stuff of fantasy, and certainly not a Batman-level-brooder. Of course, playing it on the safer side of whimsical nostalgia doesn’t always work, since Superman Returns‘ functioning as a direct sequel to Richard Donner’s film(s) didn’t please everyone either.

Brandon Routh as Superman Bryan Singer Talks Man of Steel; Zods Emblem Revealed

It’s one of the hardest challenges for a modern comic book writer: finding the balance between a) capturing what made the character so successful in its earliest days, and b) updating the story to make the character relatable for a completely different generation. Singer knows which side of the equation his film landed on, but notes that a deeper, darker story is always difficult to tell given Superman’s unwavering morality:

“I got very nostalgic with my movie but even if you take it in another direction it’s very challenging… inherently he’s such a good guy… what’s easier about ‘X-Men’ is that they’re all so conflicted. ”

Singer hits the nail on the head, and voices the concerns and vehement criticism from fans taking issue with the ‘darker’ view of Superman Goyer and Snyder are going after. Of course, to make the argument even Singer stops short of – that Superman is always a good guy, and possessing nothing of, say, Batman’s inner turmoil – is to claim that ‘being good’ and ‘being conflicted’ are mutually exclusive.

But while Superman may be a hero, he’s also a refugee from another world, adopted, and eventually forced to choose between his new family and the old one he never knew… let’s just say that a story ignoring the emotional and mental toll that would take on anyone is missing out on an opportunity to say something powerful.

The person who will be largely responsible for pushing Superman beyond his role as ‘good guy’ in Man of Steel is none other than classic villain General Zod (Michael Shannon). Equipped with a suit similar to to Superman’s, the set photos of Shannon haven’t shown the costume in its entirety. Fan renderings and the accompanying Man of Steel toy lines have given an idea of what to expect, but thanks to Kapow Props, we now know what logo will be emblazoned on Zod’s armor. Have a look:


Man of Steel Zod Crest Emblem 570x320 Bryan Singer Talks Man of Steel; Zods Emblem Revealed

We still have our questions about the relationship between the Houses of El and Zod prior to Krypton’s destruction, but at least we know both possess a family crest worthy of mounting over a fireplace.

What do you think of Singer’s take on the difficulty of telling a new and edgy Superman story? Should Superman be portrayed as a troubled soul, or does that miss the point of his character entirely? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Man of Steel hits theaters June 14th, 2013.


Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Total Film, Kapow Props [via CBM]

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
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  1. Superman is too perfect of a character. He is boring to watch, that is why Superman movies are not good.

    • im telling you if they made a superman with an appropriate villain then the movie would be fantastic. they finally gave us a superpowered villain in zod.

      lex luther is supermans nemises but no way can be carry a movie, movies are totally different from comic mos of the time. thats why returns was so bad. you cannot have a superman movie and not have someone that can equal him.

    • Well, I am one who was personally disappointed with The Amazing Spiderman and The Dark Knight Rises, so the Man of Steel really does not have to be “that” good to compare, and something tells me it will be better.

    • wait till brainiac gets involved.

    • I would say 90 percent of the time you would be right, and honestly superman would/could not exist as a character at all in today’s world because he is too perfect, this aint the 30′s. However The best and in my opinion only good superman story lines of late are the ones that address deeper issues like how superman’s responsibility for the planet Earth, as well as how is someone who is so inherently good (idealistic/cheesy) relevant in this time period. 2 great examples that deal with these issues are Red Son, and Kingdom Come. I recommend you read these to get some perspective.

    • The only film super film of late that had people complaining hes boring was returns which was a boring movie not cause just superman was boring in it.

  2. Can it, the one. Superman is THE freggin MAN and that’s why he’s so hard to get right. He’s the hero that all superheroes aspire to be. You think the original Reeve films aren’t good?

  3. Snyder has done justice to Superman! No cheese in this Superman movie! Action packed!

    • Have you seen it already

      • Probably he is judging from what he has found out yet about the movie from the teases? I heard rumors that this movie is almost as action packed as Avengers.

  4. Cry me a river. I do not think that it is difficult to tell a good story with Superman. Granted, not every writer/director is going to “get it,” and I imagine that studio-executives and other would-be puppet masters can comprise a a hideous obstruction with all of their ulterior motives and such. And of course everyone is always trying to please everyone.

    But it should not actually be hard to write a good screenplay about a character like Superman. His strength and near-invincibility may have been what thrilled ten-year-olds back in 1940, but that is not what makes him a great character. He has plenty of potential internal conflict, and the world is a sufficiently complicated place to give even a Kryptonian a headache.

    Having recently watched some “making of” documentary footage from Superman Returns, I think that Singer may have been a little delusional about parts of that film, but it had some commendable qualities. Man of Steel looks very good so far.

    • I have to disagree I think Superman has got to be one of THE hardest superhero’s to adapt a movie for. It might sound easy, but what thrilled 10 year olds in the 40′s is a pretty low bar as far as writing and character development goes. It is difficult to write and center a movie around a character that is perfect and invincible, where does the sustained drama and conflict come from? I also think that most writers and directors have the same mindset that you do, “I loved superman as a kid, how hard can it be?” But realistically making an intelligent movie full of action and drama, and is actually good, is incredibly difficult.

      • While not all comic book stories written for Superman are appropriate for a movie, DC has proven that writing stories for Superman is not THAT difficult. The only problem (like all other superheros) is trying to adapt a story that will fit in the 2-3 hr movie format.

        In fact, because of the introduction of CGI, telling those stories has become much easier. Back in the 70′s with Reeve, they were severely limited in what they could do with practical effects and the costs involved. Now they can do virtually anything and everything we have read about in the comics. So bringing villains like Metallo, Brainiac, Doomsday, The Atomic Skull, Bizarro, Parasite, etc to life believably can be done.

      • The point that I was trying to make is that Superman is ***not*** just an invincible, overly simple character. He has a complex identity that is can totally be a springboard for good, deep storytelling. Heck, one could write a great story that didn’t even focus on action or big setpieces. The idea that kids love him because of his strength and bright costume is just the tip of the iceberg. Even Smallville’s first couple of seasons demonstrated (*at times*) what an adaptable character Clark/Kal is…before it degenerated into ridiculosity. :P

  5. As long as Lex Luthor has nothing to do with MOS I believe it will be a great movie his character is played out its time for some new villains to make an appearance

  6. The big twist of ‘Man of Steel’ is Zod is Simon bar Sinister and he stole his costume from Underdog.

    • :O

    • Underdog Should Sue!

  7. his personal story is the only way to make a superman movie good. this one will be the best superman movie ever, but that in itself is not much of a compliment. i think it will be awesome though considering who is involved on all levels

    • I agree. Often, the attempts at villains/etc just detract from the story. The personal route works best.

  8. hmm…. i preper the smallville zod emblem. this just looks really plain.

    • I agree. To me, this looks too much like the Japanese hiranaga “hi” and somewhat a rounded nearly upside-down Omega (or ohm in electronics) symbol which already belongs to Darkseid.

      • haha, it somewhat does. I wouldn’t be surprised if that wasn’t an inspiration. Japanese has been used before (like using backwards katakana for The Matrix code)

  9. There was a lot to like in Singers version.

    The Lex and Crystals storyline was painful but it was a great homage in style to Donner’s work.

    I think if the story had been good we would be seeing the third installment now.

    Having said that I am looking forward to Man of Steel.

  10. I’m really hoping Man of Steel would not only be a good film, but will spawn many sequels. Everyone talks about how hard of a character Superman is to write. But they’ve been doing it in the comics for nearly 70 years.
    The mistake studios make is not hiring some of these comic book writers to pen a screenplay.
    Superman is suppose to be a fun character to write. I mean, look at him. What’s so hard about him ? I just think some writers are lazy and lack the imagination.
    Singer’s 2006 film did nothing to moderize Superman. It might as well have been Superman 3. The airplane/shuttle sequence is the only thing that is good about the film.
    Eventhough Brandon looked the part of Clark Kent, he did nothing as superman. He didn’t look the part and looked way out of his league in the red and blue

    • I think he looked like a wanna be Christopher Reeve SUPERMAN but I second your comment there is so much to write about him. Film makers/WB should hire DC animated writers or Comic book writers so his story could have a little more originality. Hopefully MOS will deliver us that, even though I`m confident it will reach success.

      • Comicbook writers didnt help green lantern

        • I don’t think writing was the biggest problem with that one, but fair enough.

      • I don’t know, personally I wouldn’t want writers from the animated series no matter how good they are, I always viewed tv shows as their own thing and movies as their own thing.

  11. I think ‘Man of Steel’ will be biggest superhero film in 2013. My favourite superhero is Batman and Superman. I’m a DC comic book fan. I don’t like Marvel comic book. Marvel comic book characters (Iron Man,Hulk,Thor,Captain America etc) are disgusting. I appreciate Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Best trilogy in superhero genre. The Rock will kick their (Marvel superheroes) monkey ass!

    • ok -_-

    • Posts like this are why you never want to be a fanboy…

  12. I suppose I was the only one who absolutely loved Superman Returns.

    • Nope not at all many of my co workers love it and will defend it.

    • I didn’t hate it too

    • I actually enjoyed it myself. I thought Kevin Spacey made for a great Lex Luthor and Brandon Routh did a decent job of Clark/Superman. I really thought it was unfair to tag on all those years of development to the cost of Singer’s film, as I did want a sequel to it to explore more of the son of Superman. This all being said I have never read the comics of any of the super heroes out there, but I do enjoy their films none-the-less. While I am not the biggest fan of Superman (that honor goes to Batman) I am curious to see how Man of Steel turns out, but I don’t see myself rushing to see it opening weekend.

    • I loved it also. Still do. That end scene is perfect.

      • Loved SR and wanted a sequel also,I will just have to settle for Man of Steel instead.

    • I liked it enough to buy the dvd :)

    • I liked it.

  13. Why does Zod’s emblem resemble the Omega sign? Is he somehow related to Darkseid in this story?

  14. I always thought it would be cool to do superman film from the perspective of a normal person in the dc universe, marvel put out a grpahic novel in this style awhile back and it put a whole new spin on things.

    • Marvels?

      Great book, started with him as a young and eager reporter that covered the original Human Torch’s escape from his tomb and ended with him as an old, grizzled veteran and respected journalist that quit after Gwen Stacy died.

      I guess that’s what we got the S.H.I.E.L.D. show for later this year but it’d be cool to have a DC take on it.

  15. Im still waiting for a movie based on a villian.

    • You haven’t seen Chronicle?

      • I ment an established dc villain. Tho chronicle was great

        • Chronicle wasn’t about a villain either, it was about three normal kids suddenly gaining superpowers and what would happen if one of them had been abused and bullied his whole life once he realised how much power he had.

    • That would be great! Always wanted a movie from Joker’s point of view, similar to the Killing Joke.

  16. Sooo I guess General Zod is sponsored by True Religion Jeans?

    • That’s very true it does look like True Religion Jean logo they better tweak it quick before they get slapped with a lawsuit.

  17. I would argue that Superman is a conflicted character and several writers and artists have explored that conflict as it relates to his powers and the fragile world he lives in and having to always be the good moral person. I thought Frank Miller did a good job with the character by playing to the extreme of his goodness and I thought Smallville did a good job, overall, playing to the conflict of his powers and role in the world.

    There is so much more to the character than we perceive and I feel the tone of the trailers capture a lot of that.

  18. All the previous movies had a wimp Lex Luther. They played off Lois too much and the plots were pitiful. A great Superman would sell out. In returns, the airplane rescue was one of the greates rescues on film, but the movie digressed quickly after that.

    • I agree that Luthor hasn’t ever been updated to the more imposing mogul of politics and industry we have seen in more recent years. He’s pretty much been a 2 bit villain with a megalomania complex in all the Superman movies.

      If they actually had him written in a seat of power where he was a public figure but with secretive world domination plans, that would be more of a challenge.

      Not that I am asking to have Lex return but he does deserve to be a part of Superman’s rogue’s gallery (if MoS is successful in rebooting the franchise)

  19. In reality, a super powered indestructible alien flying around planet Earth would scare the living s*** out of all our prospective governments.

    They wouldn’t stand for it. Even if “Superman” was totally good, helping people, fighting bad guys…… etc. They would be trying to capture him for study, or failing that…. kill him.

    That’s the movie I want to see.

    • Exactly.

      Plus you’d have a large section of society wondering if he had a hidden agenda and never trusting him.

      • Yep.

        And some people would form crazy cults to worship him like a God.

        • I cant agree more, Singers Superman was all about paying homage to what Superman was(RIP Christopher Reeves) & Snyder’s version from what it looks like is about what it would be like to be Superman now in a militarized society…

          • I’m with this line of thought. It looks as though we may finally get a Superman film that isn’t an exercise in nostalgia. (Nostalgia can be great, but not if it is a prison for the character.)

    • @ Heustis
      You’re exactly right and if IMO from what we’ve heard and seen in the trailers I think that’s going to be a major focus of the films.
      My guess would be that 7 out of 10 people and 99.5% of the worlds nations would be pooping a brick.

  20. I agree with most people that Returns was not that good but i am really excited for Man of Steel i think it will be fantastic

    • That is very cool.

  21. Not thrilled with the Zod emblem nor have I ever been a fan of this hyper texturing they have done on both of the outfits. Along with the weird filigree and muted colors on the Superman uniform, it feels like they went too far with changing the original look. Not that I was opposed to getting rid of the spandex look and red trunks but is is not the direction I was looking for.

  22. I am another Superman Returns fan. While I think this is going to be the Superman film fans have been dying for, it wouldn’t have happened if not for Superman Returns.

    As for the logo, it looks like something Ultraman would wear moreso than Zod, but it looks good I guess.

  23. I’m sorta thinking….

    Maybe in future, Superman sees a variation of this emblem, thinks Zod is back but gets his ass handed to him when he got it wrong and it’s actually Darkseid, making him seek out other heroes to help him, thus debuting the Justice League?

    They wouldn’t necessarily have to “defeat” Darkseid either, just hold him off long enough to force a retreat while he forms another plan and next time, he could get his own hands dirty too?

  24. One would think given the fact that Superman can do anything the stories are unlimited. You have a character with the powers of a god so I think you have an advantage writing stories for him – he can be put in a realistic situation with any kind of villain or disaster. We all know Batman, Iron Man, Spiderman have limits. Superman does not and can realistically be written into stories where his powers are put to the test in situations the other heroes couldn’t touch.

    • Problem is, because Superman has so many powers, it’s tough to write a realistic situation where he doesn’t just save the day within 5 minutes.

      I think that’s why they’re going with General Zod as the villain here, give him someone with the same powers as himself only Zod is confident and knows how to use them while Kal-El has been brought up knowing he was different but not exactly revelling in who he really is and has to discover himself while taking on a threat that could easily crush him.

    • Superman being the Uber-Hero makes it hard to build much tension when he is fighting regular people, Kryptonite or not. There is a reason why they are using the Zod character again, a hero needs to fight from underneath sometime for there to be a payoff.

  25. However, one could deduce from the trailer and other news, that Superman is stronger than the other Kryptonians in MOS having been raised under earths yellow sun, while Zod and company have spent a comparatively shorter time under exposure. So Zod doesn’t quite “know” how to use his powers until later in the film (probably the third act). At least thats my guess…

    • True but my thinking is that Zod was raised as a proud Kryptonian who knew about his powers all along while Kal-El was raised as a human that didn’t get why he was stronger than the other kids growing up.

      Doesn’t matter who lived under the yellow sun longer if one knows what he’s capable of and the other is having to learn about it quickly after discovering he’s not even human.