It seems fitting that Zack Snyder's Man of Steel should be as shrouded in secrecy as Superman himself, but for fans, the wait has been excruciating.
Luckily, DC rolled out their new line of Man of Steel figures at Toy Fair 2013, giving surprisingly detailed looks at the new Superman suit, as well as the combat armor of General Zod (Michael Shannon), his right-hand-woman Faora (Antje Traue), and most surprisingly, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) himself.
Besides capturing the likenesses of the cast, the 12" figures prove that Zod's battle armor will be as intimidating as one might hope (and Faora's is a perfect match), while hinting at even more intrigue and strife in the days leading up to Krypton's destruction.
The images come courtesy of ToyArk (thanks to Colin for the tip) and seem to confirm that the hulking mass seen in the Man of Steel trailer is, in fact, Zod in his Kryptonian battle dress. We still don't know if the black version of the supersuit seen on set is merely an undergarment or something else entirely, but there's no denying that the film's costume department has taken the task seriously.
Have a look:
Zod's armor exists well within the usual category of 'sci-fi soldier,' but lacks the spikes or horns that constitute so many 'villain' looks (as seen in the more modern takes on Zod's armor). That might seem negligible in such a grand and fantastic adventure, but reinforces previous claims that this version of Zod isn't a typical bad guy.
Shannon has spoken at length about his take on Zod not as a villain, but a general simply doing his job. How 'his job' means coming to Earth and leveling an entire city block remains to be seen, but perhaps some speculating can be done given the more surprising aspects of Jor-El's statue. Specifically, the rifle he's carrying.
So far all we've seen of Russell Crowe's Jor-El continues the classic version of the character as a brilliant scientist of Krypton, with striking ceremonial clothing befitting one of the planet's elite. Needless to say, this new bone-colored battle armor doesn't exactly fit that description. Perhaps there's more to Jor-El than meets the eye?
With so much emphasis being placed on Zod as a soldier following orders, and Jor-El's traditional preference for scientific, non-violent solutions, it's becoming more likely that the two will be crossing paths in a major way before Krypton is reduced to rubble. We don't know what would cause Superman's father to put on armor and grab a firearm, but the first teaser trailers make it clear that he knew of Earth and human beings before his death - the same Earth Zod now intends to invade and subjugate.
We're just spit-balling, but that seems to be enough cause for Jor-El to, say, stall the military's plans and send his son to inspire Earth's people instead. If Zod's military solution to Krypton's looming destruction is to conquer Earth, it's hard not to sympathize with him as well (since we know how Krypton's story ends). If nothing else, this feud would give Shannon the chance to deliver one of those speeches he's been talking about. Plus, it would give Superman a legacy to defend, not just a super-powered soldier to fight.
We won't know the significance of Jor-El's gear and weapon until the film is released, but we'd bet Russell Crowe will be doing more than just calculations in Krypton's final hours. What do you think of the character designs and armor sets? Are we reading too much into collectible figures, or are we asking the same questions you are?
Man of Steel hits theaters June 14th, 2013.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.