Zack Snyder's Man of Steel may still be under wraps thanks to Warner Bros. and DC Comics' vigilance, but that doesn't mean rumors are hard to come by. And as is so often the case, the latest revealed villain comes courtesy of the film's accompanying toy lines.
LEGO unveiled more of its planned releases coinciding with the launch of Man of Steel, naming a previously unknown character and what could be a confirmation of key plot events. Spoilers lay ahead, so those wanting to be surprised should probably stop reading now.
After LEGO's toy lines previously leaked the presumed antagonists of Man of Steel, the newest sets displayed at the 2013 London Toy Fair this week haven't disappointed. As reported by BrickHeroes, the name and contents of one toy set in particular should catch the attention of fans:
Superman 76003 - Battle of Smallville : General Zod, Colonel Hardy, Tor-An, Superman and Faora
While seemingly confirming a major action setpiece in Kansas, the new details also involve a previously unrevealed character: Tor-An. In the comic books, Tor-An was a trusted soldier of General Zod (played by Michael Shannon in the movie) who escaped the planet's destruction and was sent to Earth. Disguised as CEO David Carter (among others), Tor-An acted as a sleeper agent for Zod's Kryptonian forces, doing whatever he could to get Superman off his game.
[Update: ComicBook.com cites an anonymous source claiming Tor-An will be appearing in Man of Steel, played by actor and stuntman Richard Cetrone (Sucker Punch), along with another Kryptonian - Dev-Em, an escaped criminal played by Revard Dufresne (Sucker Punch). We'll update as the rumors are either substantiated or denied.]
There's every chance that writer David S. Goyer could ignore that existing material and merely use Tor-An as yet another trusted officer of General Zod's, since apparently even the gender of beloved characters is in question. If that's the case, it's even more likely that the implied plot twists we brought up in our in-depth analysis of the Man of Steel trailer could prove accurate.
The Kryptonian spaceships seen hovering above the Kent Farm hinted that Zod won't be alone when he arrives at Earth, and with Faora and Tor-An accompanying him, we have more evidence of an all-out Kryptonian invasion. Given the name of the LEGO set, it seems that a sizable fight will take place in Smallville, but what it will entail is still a mystery.
All these details, if accurate, lend more and more meaning to the claims made of Snyder's scope and scale for the film. A scale that Jor-El himself calls "massive." It certainly fits Goyer's style of conflict, since The Dark Knight trilogy rarely saw many head-to-head fights, instead using antagonists who relied on entire armies or gangs to do their bidding. The stacked odds made the victorious Batman even more heroic, and would likely do the same for Supes (Henry Cavill).
Introducing plenty of villains is always a risk, and with a Superman movie, the stakes are already substantial. However, if Superman defends Earth from an invading army, not just a single enemy, then his choice to fight for his adopted home - instead of the one he left behind - could go a long way in convincing the world (and the US Army) that he's to be trusted, not feared.
Given the closing lines of the full-length trailer, we'd expect that to be a significant theme. That's all speculation on our part, of course, but it would go a long way in communicating the relevant contemporary messages that Goyer has alluded to in the past.
Expect significant rewrites for the character of Tor-An regardless, since the idea of seeing an Australian CEO burst out of his suit to fight Superman doesn't quite fit Snyder's claims of a "serious" story. The plot line does fit in some aspects, since the Jor-El-narrated Man of Steel teaser consisted not of vague moral messages from a father to his orphaned son, but specific knowledge of Earth's people.
If that's the case, perhaps the use of sleeper agents or a planned invasion (due to knowledge of Krypton's looming destruction) will create a rift between the Houses of El and Zod before Kal-El even comes into being.
Your guess is as good as ours at this point, but it's clear with each new bit of information that Man of Steel is still going to surprise us, no matter how many details are leaked prior to release.
What are your thoughts on the apparent addition of Tor-An to the cast? Is one villain a safer way to go, or does an outnumbered Superman seem more intriguing? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Man of Steel will be in theaters on June 14th, 2013.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.