Back in 2013, moviegoers walked out of their Man of Steel screenings feeling one of two ways. Some rejoiced at finally getting a Superman movie where the title character gets to punch something. However, others cursed the decision to turn the Big Blue Boy Scout into a killer. It’s certainly true that Man of Steel’s entire third act, which memorably destroyed a good chunk of Metropolis and ended with Superman snapping Zod’s neck, polarized longtime fans at the time of the film’s release. But according to Man of Steel writer David S. Goyer, this was part of the filmmakers’ goal to take risks and give audiences something they’d never seen before.
Goyer recently participated in a Comic-Con@Home panel (via Collider) to discuss the myriad comic book adaptations he’s worked on. When Man of Steel came up, Goyer explained that he and producer Christopher Nolan sought to bring a “realism” to Superman’s origin. Obviously, this worked wonders on Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. But since Superman is the most powerful being on Earth, applying the same logic wasn’t as easy.
“I absolutely understand a lot of people had problems with it,” said Goyer. “When I have had a hand in adapting these things, you wanna be as respectful to the core material as possible but you also can’t protect against failure. You have to take big swings. With big swings there are big rewards. We took enormous swings with Batman Begins and with The Dark Knight that turned out to be well-received. But we were trying to tell a different kind of Superman story, a Superman story that hadn’t been told before and it required us taking some big swings.”
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“We talked about it,” Goyer continued. “We talked about whether or not people would accept it, and the editorial staff at DC had accepted it. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t a mistake, but if you sit there and you say, ‘I don’t wanna take any risk. I’m worried I might offend a portion of the audience,’ I don’t think that’s a particularly healthy way to try to make a film or a television show.” He added that he saw it as Superman’s first and only kill, envisioning that “afterwards he vowed that he could never do it again.”
Regardless, Goyer shared that he wrote an alternate scene where Zod lived to fight another day.
“The idea was that Superman would – there was one of those sort of cryopods on the ship that ends up becoming the Fortress of Solitude that he’s able to put Zod back into and then throw out into space,” Goyer said. “We did talk about it and maybe some people would’ve been happier with that. But it felt like a cop out for the story that we were telling.”
Were you happy with the way Man of Steel ended? Do you prefer Goyer’s alternate ending? Let us know in the comments down below!
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