Zack Snyder's Man of Steel 2 would've explained why Superman killed Zod. Warner Bros. experienced a ton of success with Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy and turned DC's other major hero over to Zack Snyder for a similar treatment. Unfortunately, the film garnered a mixed reception instead of the glowing responses Nolan got for his take on Batman. Possibly the biggest criticism to come out of the movie pertained to one of its final moments: the killing of Zod. In Man of Steel, Henry Cavill's Superman snapped Zod's neck to save the planet.
The 2013 film may have made $668 million worldwide, but that wasn't good enough and resulted in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice being made to fast-track Justice League. Neither film turned out how those involved expected, and ultimately brought the end of Snyder's time in the DC world. His themes and stories were cut short and changed, and that apparently includes how he planned to deal with Kal-El's deadly decision.
Square Mile did a profile on Henry Cavill in the lead up to his role in Mission: Impossible - Fallout, and his DC role was addressed. During the interview, Cavill discussed Zod's death and states that Snyder's plan was to use it as a catalyst for a sequel in which Kal-El would become the Superman that fans expected.
"The killing of Zod would have led to a wonderful reason why Superman never kills. Not, he never kills just because his dad said so one day. He made the decision himself because of an impossible scenario, to which he then said, ‘I don't care if it's impossible again, I'm gonna find a way to make it possible in the impossible.’"
Snyder's take on Superman was very much a deconstructive approach and this type of growth is something many expected to get if the arc was properly told. Superman doesn't kill Zod in Man of Steel because he wants to, but rather because he doesn't see any other way to stop him and save the family that was moments away from being his latest victims. It clearly is a decision he wasn't proud to make, so seeing him develop to the point where he never does so again makes a no kill rule more meaningful. Thanks to the changes of the DCEU's trajectory though, this never came to be.
"We didn't get the opportunity to show the other side of it, the ‘I'm ready to be Superman now and I'm ready to show the world the best examples’. That's where the joy and glee comes from, and that sense of warmth from the character, which is his real superpower – he makes people believe in themselves. It was a shame because it would've been nice, and it would have been a lovely coupling with the seriousness and the depth of Man of Steel."
This isn't Cavill taking a jab at the direction the DC universe has gone, but rather him just noting what could've been. Since audiences will never see this original storyline play out, there's no telling whether or not the arc would've felt natural or worked in Man of Steel 2. As Cavill continues on as Superman, though, it will be interesting to see whether or not future films attempt to tie this vision in. The resurrected Superman in Justice League may just have a new outlook and personality from the start, thus neglecting the possible thematic elements Snyder had in mind. Either way, Cavill's future Superman appearances should have more of the joy he's mentioning - just probably not because of Snyder's arc being fulfilled. And whether or not those appearances come in Man of Steel 2 remain to be seen.
Source: Square Mile
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