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Man of Steel writer David Goyer defends Superman killing Zod

With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad on the horizon, the DC Expanded Universe is set to evolve in a big way next year. The film that kicked it off was 2013’s Man of Steel, and although it was financially successful it has also proven to be one of the more divisive comic book films in recent memory.

The decision to have Superman (Henry Cavill) kill General Zod (Michael Shannon) to save a family in the film’s destructive finale was a particular point of contention, sparking quite the reaction from journalists and fans alike. While speaking with Nerdist (opens in new tab), Man of Steel writer David Goyer weighed in on the issue. "The way I work, the way Chris [Nolan, who executive produced the film] works, is you do what’s right for the story. That exists entirely separately from what fans should or shouldn’t think of that character. You have to do what’s right for the story.

"In that instance, this was a Superman who had only been Superman for like, a week. He wasn’t Superman as we think of him in the DC Comics... or even in a world that conceived of Superman existing. He’d only flown for the first time a few days before that. He’d never fought anyone that had super powers before."

"And so he’s going up against a guy who’s not only super-powered, but has been training since birth to use those super powers, who exists as a superhuman killing machine, who has stated, ‘I will never stop until I destroy all of humanity.’

"If you take Superman out of it, what’s the right way to tell that story? I think the right way to tell that story is if you take this powered alien who says, ‘You can have your race back, but you have to kill your adopted race,’ the moral, horrible situation to be in is to actually be forced to kill, not wanting to, the only other person from your race. Take Superman aside, I think that’s the right way to tell that story."

In any case, there’s a good chance that Superman’s fight with The Dark Knight won’t end with a neck snap when the two DC superheroes face off in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which opens in UK and US cinemas on March 25 2016.

Amon Warmann
Amon Warmann

Amon is a contributing editor and columnist for Empire magazine, but is also a Film and TV writer for GamesRadar+, Total Film, and others. He has also written for NME, Composer Mag, and more, along with being a film critic for TalkSport. He is also the co-host of the Fade to Black Podcast, and a video mashup creator. Can also do a pretty good Bane impersonation.