Compared to Iron Man 3 and Marvel's "Phase Two" movie lineup, the Superman reboot Man of Steel has had a pretty easy trip through the rumor mill. What few rumors we've heard haven't been all that juicy, the most fantastical being talk of a possible Wonder Woman cameo in the film - which really isn't all that wild at all, considering the speculative consensus among fans that Man of Steel will be the launchpad of a Justice League movie universe for DC Comics/Warner Bros.
Today, however, there is a new Man of Steel rumor that is rather outlandish, involving the possible revelation of a "secret villain" who could appear in the film alongside Boardwalk Empire star Michael Shannon, who will play rogue Kryptonian, General Zod. The same source also has information that hints at certain big moments in Iron Man 3, including the "big baddie" showdown.
Screen Crush picked a few details out of a Brickset rundown of upcoming LEGO movie tie-in sets. Toy merchandise has been spoiling superhero movie secrets for a while now (see: the Amazing Spider-Man toy set), so this comes with little shock or awe; as often as toy sets reveal things that filmmakers and studios have yet to show onscreen, tie-in toy lines just as often diverge from their film inspirations, offering set pieces, characters, costumes, etc. that the film itself does not. Such is the case here, with this LEGO set description list below (via Brickset):
76000 Arctic Batman vs. Mr.Freeze – Aquaman on Ice76001 Batman vs. Bane – Chase with Tumbler76002 Superman Metropolis Showdown76003 Superman Battle of Smallville76004 Spider-Man – Hunting with Spider-Cycle76005 Spider-Man – Mission at Daily Bugle76006 Iron Man Extremis 76008 Iron Man vs Mandarin76009 Superman Black Zero Escape.
New Man of Steel Villain?
Before we get any further into it, let me just say up front: the rumored "secret villain" is not Lex Luthor. It's not Darkseid. It's not Doomsday, Metallo, Parasite, Lobo, Mongul, Bizzaro or any one of the dozen or Superman rogues you may initially imagine (or see pictured above). In fact, it's doubtful that many outside the circle of hardcore comic book fans have even heard of him:
Does "Black Zero" ring a bell?
The name refers to series of characters and/or organizations that have appeared in Superman comics, including:
- A space saboteur responsible for the destruction of Krypton.
- A terrorist organization that fought in the millennium-long "War of Clone Rights" on Krypton.
- A Kryptonian military force commanded by Ursa (a.k.a. Faora, who will in fact appear in MoS).
- An intelligent computer virus hiding in Superman's Fortress of Solitude technology.
- A version of Superboy from an alternate timeline where Superman never returned from the dead after his battle with Doomsday.
Internet logic dictates that the LEGO line would never utilize such an obscure character/organization unless it was directly tied to the film. While we certainly agree with that logic, we can't really support the claim being made on other sites that Man of Steel will feature the villain version of Black Zero.
Sure, we know Man of Steel will delve into the backstory of Krypton; the events that led to its destruction,and sent young Kal-El and Krypton military commander General Zod on their destined courses for collision on Earth. While it's possible that Black Zero (the character) could be remolded into some kind Krypton saboteur (sans the "psycho-molecule" superpowers), it really isn't the more likely scenario.
The more likely scenario is that Black Zero will be the Kryptonian military unit run by General Zod and his lieutenant (lover?) Faora, the latter of which will be played by actress Antje Traue (Pandorum). This seems all the more likely considering that modern comic book iterations of Zod - including those written by DC Entertainment executive Geoff Johns, whose work is being mined for this film - have presented the character as a fascist military commander who tangled with Superman's dad, Jor-El (Russell Crowe, who will be given ample screen time in the movie). Finally, Man of Steel set photos have hinted at Shannon sporting a black uniform as a Zod costume, and while that's a flimsy hinge to hang speculation on, if it quacks like a duck...
All in all: don't be surprised if this LEGO set describes a sequence of Superman taking on Zod and his forces - which will still be a pretty sweet action sequence under the direction of Zack Snyder. But we're not holding our breath for some Marvel-style big villain reveal to happen.