Man Of Steel Writer Explains How Superman Became A Killer

As you may recall, many Superman fans (including Man of Steel executive producer Christopher Nolan) expressed irritation, disbelief, even outrage about screenwriter David Goyer’s decision to show the title superhero kill Zod onscreen. During a recent interview on the Nerdist podcast, Goyer was asked about this decision, responding with some carefully considered reasoning. “You have to do what’s right for the story,” he said. “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… he’d only flown for the first time a few days before that.”

In other words, Man of Steel Superman had yet to mature into the classic Superman fans know and love. This explanation is unlikely to win over Goyer’s opponents, as it suggests a loose moral framework that’s miles away from the strict idealism of earlier screen Supermen. But under the circumstances of the story Goyer and Nolan created, this may have been necessary. “He’d never fought anyone that had superpowers before,” Goyer explained. “And so he’s going up against a guy who’s not only superpowered, but has been training since birth to use those superpowers.”

Detractors may still wonder why Goyer wrote a story that forced the character to betray his nature, but they should find common ground in the writer’s acknowledgement that Superman definitely didn’t want to kill Zod. “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.”