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David Goyer Defends Decision To Let Superman Kill, Says 'Man Of Steel' Is Basically 'Superman Begins'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist September 24, 2013 at 1:11PM

One of the most controversial points of the already uneven "Man Of Steel" this past summer, was the decision (spoiler alert) to have Superman kill General Zod. Christopher Nolan wasn't initially a fan of taking it in that direction (early drafts had Zod sent to the Phantom Zone instead), while comics writer Mark Waid (of “Superman: Birthright” fame) was nothing short of enraged by what he saw in theaters. But speaking at the BATFA and BFI Screenwriters' Lecture last night, writer David S. Goyer defended his choice to put blood on the hands of Clark Kent.
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Man of Steel,  Henry Cavill,

One of the most controversial points of the already uneven "Man Of Steel" this past summer, was the decision (spoiler alert) to have Superman kill General Zod. Christopher Nolan wasn't initially a fan of taking it in that direction (early drafts had Zod sent to the Phantom Zone instead), while comics writer Mark Waid (of “Superman: Birthright” fame) was nothing short of enraged by what he saw in theaters. But speaking at the BATFA and BFI Screenwriters' Lecture last night, writer David S. Goyer defended his choice to put blood on the hands of Clark Kent.

"This is one area, and I've written comic books as well and this is where I disagree with some of my fellow comic book writers—'Superman doesn't kill'. It's a rule that exists outside of the narrative and I just don't believe in rules like that. I believe when you're writing film or television, you can't rely on a crutch or rule that exists outside of the narrative of the film," he explained. "So the situation was, Zod says 'I'm not going to stop until you kill me or I kill you.' The reality is no prison on the planet could hold him and in our film Superman can't fly to the moon, and we didn't want to come up with that crutch."

In short, it seems that in providing a grittier reality that we've seen for Superman, Goyer and co. were aiming for a grittier resolution to the fate of Zod as well. And the writer also makes it clear that it's a difficult lesson for the emerging superhero and one that will resonate in "Superman Vs. Batman" and beyond. "Also our movie was in a way 'Superman Begins,' he's not really Superman until the end of the film," he said. "We wanted him to have had that experience of having taken a life and carry that through onto the next films. Because he's Superman and because people idolize him he will have to hold himself to a higher standard."

It's some pretty rich thematic stuff, and while diehard Superman fans may lament their hero being flawed on the big screen, it does make for a deeper storytelling experience. How that will resonate when Superman faces Batman we'll have to wait and see. That movie arrives on July 17, 2015. [DigitalSpy]

This article is related to: David S. Goyer, Man Of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice


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